Bridges backs homeless ban in Tauranga

Simon Bridges completed a nationwide tour speaking to supporters and party members in Tauranga. Photo: SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF

National Party leader and Tauranga MP Simon Bridges backs a bylaw that would ban begging and sleeping rough in Tauranga. 

Speaking in front of a public gathering in Tauranga on the last leg of his whistle-stop tour around the country, Bridges said the city council has been "far, far too soft" on the issue of homelessness. 

In June, councillors voted 6-2 to add a "begging ban" into the draft Street Use and Public Spaces bylaw, which is going out for consultation. 

The bylaw would make it illegal to sleep or beg within five metres of any Tauranga retail space. Homeless could be prosecuted. 

The ban would go against council staff advice, which said it would only be enforceable by court action. 

Simon, a former Crown prosecutor, disagrees and says council could find a way to enforce it. 

"They [council] should pass it and make sure it's implemented and enforce it.

"I'm not suggesting we should be making victims out of them. We need to be compassionate. There's a range of support the Government can provide to those who are genuinely homeless.

"My understanding is a similar bylaw has worked pretty well, not without exception, in Nelson and Hamilton."

Simon says the Greerton begging issue, which spearheaded the begging ban proposal in Tauranga, was complex.

"I see these people on the streets and they are aggressive.

 "I wish that it happened while I was in Government, when we could do more about it, rather than externally, when all I have got is a microphone."

 - Stuff/Matt Shand


12 Comments

Sad

Posted on 26-07-2018 19:46 | By Merlin

Sad Simon has all the answers when in opposition and not in Government. Not being very constructive as the new leader of National. Just another rhetoric banger.

Johnny come lately

Posted on 25-07-2018 08:49 | By soul2soul

It’s remarkable how he says he would do more if he was still in government. Was 9 years in power not enough time to have been proactive and see what was happening in his own backyard? When all is said and done people are still homeless, are still poverty stricken. #National party’s legacy for us.

Short memory Simon?

Posted on 24-07-2018 18:35 | By nerak

You must have, on this and many other topics, because in the nine years you were in Govt you achieved very, very little, especially for your home constituency. I think I’m not the only one tired of hearing you bang on about how great you are, and what you would do. Why didn’t you do it when you had the opportunity?

Get Real People!

Posted on 24-07-2018 15:22 | By Mommatum

With the advent of Housing First and other initiatives in Tauranga Simon is right. While support should be provided to get the genuinely homeless housed, it is time that local authorities grew some balls and clamped down on begging and anti social behaviour on our public streets. As one example of catch the bus and have been harassed by people begging and abused because I don’t carry cash. I used to love going op shopping Greerton but due to aggressive begging (not by genuinely homeless people but by organised gangs of thugs with good acting skills....until they’re told No) I haven’t been back in months. As an older woman on a walking stick I’m to scared to. So good on Simon for telling it like it is even if for some (misguided souls) the truth hurts. Get real people!

short term memory

Posted on 24-07-2018 14:31 | By red

Simon seems to forget this was a problem when he was in government... but he was busy schmoozing big business and didn’t have time for community issues. Time for you to follow the path from where your words come from, and disappear up your behind!

Simon says.

Posted on 24-07-2018 13:51 | By local yokel

Simon says he wishes it happened when he was in Government as he could have done more about it but he was in Government and was the National MP for Tauranga but he didn’t do anything about solving the problem then when he had 9 years to sort it out.

Haha..

Posted on 24-07-2018 13:40 | By Marshal

I love it. What is rattling around in peoples heads if they think you ban such things .. Its way up there with drug and alcohol bans . Get real and sort the source of the problem. !

Pass the buck Simon...

Posted on 24-07-2018 13:22 | By MichaelB

Your policies are one of the main causes of this problem and ..yes...it was happening under your watch. To say it didn’t once again shows your ignorance arrogance and typical denial.

Pity his party did nothing

Posted on 24-07-2018 11:38 | By lpm67

If National had got off its fat a while in power the problem wouldn’t be so bad now. Simon is just trying to make sure he gets elected next time but is still not addressing the fundamental problem.

Agree

Posted on 24-07-2018 09:42 | By overit

For once I agree with Simon.

Bit

Posted on 24-07-2018 08:38 | By Merlin

Bit rich having a go at the Council after their efforts on homelessness whilst in power.

The Prosecutor

Posted on 24-07-2018 08:11 | By Slim Shady

Prosecuting people for sleeping. They’ll be prosecuting people for smoking Mars bars next.

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