By-law banning beggars protested

Last updated 19:12 06/07/2013

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Protestors took to Auckland's golden mile today to demand the dumping of a proposed by-law to ban beggars. 

The by-law was requested by several businesses backed by police and would target beggars making demands of shoppers "in a manner that may intimidate or cause a nuisance".

Around 80 protestors took a stand outside department store Smith and Caughey's with organiser and veteran protestor John Minto, Mana party Co-Vice President and Candidate for Auckland Mayoralty, saying they targeted the department store because it represented  ''old money.''

"Smith and Caughey's is a shop for the one percent,'' Minto said.The store was founded in 1884 by Marianne Caughey, who arrived as a poor Irish immigrant.

She was a staunch Christian who founded the Helping Hand Mission, which became the Auckland Central Mission which still today looks after homeless people living on the street. 

She also gave the city a convalescent home for women and children, two homes for orphanages, built a hospital, created a resthome and bequeathed parks and money to the city. She is recognised as one of the shinning examples of philanthropy in the country. 

The store is still largely held by the Caughey family due to her foresight of structuring its ownership through a charitable trust.

No beggars turned up to the protest.There have been 80 complaints about beggars in Auckland since the start of 2012.Auckland council said it recognised that there are a number of underlying issues with protecting people who are seen to be creating a nuisance.

Irishman Joe Carolan from Unite Union was amongst the protestors and said he was supporting the right of people who have fallen through the cracks. 

Wellington City has an alternative to the issue of problem begging.

It runs an Alternative Giving Fund asking people to donate their spare change to it rather than give it to beggars on the street.Its campaign began last week and follows initiatives in other cities around the world.

Charity boxes are expected to go up late this year in Wellington to give people an immediate alternative instead of giving money directly to beggars.

 All donations will go to six organisations that support the city's vulnerable residents.

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- Fairfax Media

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