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Bylaw changes: Begging activity

Published: 30 October 2018

Auckland Council wants to make sure all Aucklanders can enjoy our region’s public places while also keeping safe. 

The council is currently consulting on proposed changes to the Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw. This bylaw aims to minimise nuisance and safety risks to people when using public places.

One of the proposed changes is to remove the wording around begging activity in the bylaw.

The current bylaw was implemented in 2014 and includes a clause on begging activities that prohibits a person from using a public place to beg in a manner that may intimidate or cause a nuisance to others.

Review of current rules

Councillor Linda Cooper, Chair of the Regulatory Committee, says the bylaw has since been reviewed to look at how well the current rules are working and identify improvements.

“We know that begging is a complex, social issue with many drivers and challenges,” she says.

“Our review found that the bylaw isn’t the most effective mechanism to any nuisance and intimidation issues because of begging activity.

“Our compliance officers, alongside City Watch, have found it is face-to-face engagement, relationship building and providing access to social services that gives more meaningful support and makes a difference in the long term. 

“The proposed change acknowledges evidence that prosecution under a bylaw isn’t an efficient course of action for these issues and is unlikely to address the root cause of behaviours.

“It’s important to note that this change will reflect what is already happening on the ground, as officers already use a graduated approach to these issues.”

Focus on the behaviours of all Aucklanders

Removing the wording around begging in the bylaw aims to shift the focus away from just those in the vulnerable community, to the behaviours required of all Aucklanders in public places.

“We want Auckland to be a welcoming, enjoyable and safe city for all Aucklanders, and each one of us has a role to play in ensuring that this is the case,” says Councillor Cooper.

Service levels will not change

The proposed changes won’t change the council’s levels of service to safety and nuisance complaints but will ensure the most appropriate legislation is used.

Any nuisance behaviour can still be addressed by proposed clause 6(1)(a), which addresses nuisance or aggressive behavior from any person in a public place. The council works with police to address this behavior once it escalates to a criminal threshold.

Where appropriate, businesses will still be able to obtain trespass notices, and persistent offenders may be referred to the New Beginnings Court or face prosecution.

Have your say now

You now have an opportunity to tell us your views. This consultation is currently open and is seeking public feedback until 5 December.

Have your say events are also being held across the region over the next month.

Make a submission and find out more at the Auckland Council website.

More information

What are bylaws and why do we review them?

  • Bylaws are rules made by local councils that affect the way we live, work and play.
  • As a statutory requirement, bylaws are reviewed every five to 10 years. This process involves public consultations to make sure our bylaws are useful and reflect what Aucklanders need.
  • Some of these bylaws are no longer needed as other legislation has become operative.