Begging: it's a tale of two cities
A woman who begged for cash to get to Nelson has turned up in Trafalgar St, begging for money to get back to Wellington.
The woman, who would not give her name, has recently been seen begging in the city's main street, with a sign saying, "Homeless Need Help Please. Need Money 2 Get 2 Welington [sic]".
Yesterday, the Dominion Post website ran a story about beggars earning up to $100 a day on the streets of Wellington. The woman was featured in a photograph accompanying the story, holding a sign begging for money to visit Nelson for "fulltime work".
She obviously made it across Cook Strait, and now wants to return to the North Island.
The Nelson City Council specifically prohibited begging under the Trading in Public Places Bylaw 213, executive manager of network services Alec Louverdis said.
"If someone is actively begging - asking for money - they will be approached and asked to move on," he said.
"Council would then consider other, more firm measures to ensure that the begging stops."
A trespass notice would be issued as a last resort, he said.
The woman was accompanied by a male friend, who said he had come to Nelson for a job interview with Nelmac, which didn't work out because of his criminal history.
He said the pair met in Auckland during the Occupy movement protest, where they lived among the protesters.
Both said they travelled frequently to look for work. They said they spent time between Auckland, Wellington and Nelson, but would work "anywhere" doing "anything".
They were unaware of the council bylaw prohibiting begging.
Kay Brereton of the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation said she did not personally know the woman from the photo.
"What I saw while I was in Wellington was a certain number of people who developed a begging habit and got quite good at it."
She said beggars often refused welfare benefits, instead choosing to live rough on the streets. They sometimes had an undiagnosed mental health condition or an addiction problem.
In those cases, people were not making a rational decision to be homeless, she said.
"Some people just can't handle living inside a house for any period of time."
- © Fairfax NZ News