“Government to clear beggars before international sporting event”. We’ve seen variations of this kind of headline many times over the years. China before the Olympic games. India before the Commonwealth games. South Africa before the Soccer World Cup. What terrible problems such countries must have! What a shameful way to treat those at the very bottom of society’s pecking order – sweeping them aside and trying to pretend that they don’t exist! Tut tut tut.
That sort of thing would never happen here, right? Wrong:
Beggar-ban considered in Palmerston North
Palmerston North is moving to rid the city of beggars before the Rugby World Cup. Its police are supporting calls from angry business owners to rid the city centre of beggars including a potential bylaw that could empower police to prosecute any beggars who do not leave the CBD.
We already have “third world” rates of diseases such as rheumatic fever and pneumonia. We already have the ‘Hidden shame’ of child poverty, and Kiwis dining on cockroaches and cat food. We already have longstanding problems of poor housing, overcrowding and poor nutrition getting worse in the wake of the recession and the GST increase. And now we’re planning to clear beggars from the streets, thus taking another step closer to those “third world” countries that we so like to look down on.
Still, out of sight out of mind eh. How about those All Blacks?