Shoppers fear Greerton will be a no go zone

Shoppers have returned to Greerton since the begging and rough sleeping by law came into place earlier this year. File image: SunLive.

An elderly lady says she will have to stop shopping in Greerton village if the begging ban is revoked.

Joy and her husband returned to shopping in the town centre when the begging and rough sleeping by law came into place on April 1 this year.

The eighty-year-old says they avoided Greerton for at least a year because they were intimidated by the homeless begging and being verbally abusive.

“It's really quite intimidating to go into the shops and have people sort of spread eagled at your feet.

“If they just ignored you and you ignored them it would have been fine but to get verbal abuse basically because you didn't give them something.

“To be honest while it was happening, we shopped at either Bayfair or The Lakes, we just wouldn't go into Greerton.”

Recently Tauranga City councillors voted to move forward on a recommendation to revoke the begging and rough sleeping provisions in its Street Use and Public Places Bylaw 2018.

The by law prevents people from begging and rough sleeping with five metres of public entrances to retail or hospitality premises in the Tauranga City, Mount Maunganui and Greerton CBDs.

Joy is upset that the by law could be revoked and thinks the council needs to spend time in the CBDs to see the difference the by law has made.

“Ask the people or get out there and see what it's like for yourself and imagine it with bodies sitting and yelling at you from doorways because they block up the doorways that are shut overnight.

“I was so angry when I thought those people [councillors] haven't been in in the job long.

“In a way, I felt what right have they got to speak for us even though we elected them.

“If there'd been any mention of that from any of the nominees there’s no way they would have got my vote because it has just been so pleasant since they changed the by law, to go and shop there.”

The Ohauiti residents says Greerton is their closest shopping centre and they don’t want to have to spend extra time and money going to Bayfair or The Lakes

“That for us is extra petrol and everything else, which we don't particularly need, but at least it was peace of mind.

“Peace of mind for people is really important as you get older. You don’t want to feel as though you’re being abused because verbal abuse is often worse than physical.”

Joy and her husband head to Greerton at least once a week for lunch because it’s much nicer now.

“It changed from a place that people wouldn't go and didn't want to go to and shop to a place that was really lovely to shop and like us I'm sure there are a lot of other people that are going back more often.

“It is a lovely place to shop and it would be a shame to see that go down the gurgler.”

She thinks a lot of people will stop shopping there and she knows a dozen people that avoided Greerton because of the beggars.

“I am involved in a group of women and there were a lot of them that just said oh we won’t shop there now.

“People feel guilty that they're not able to give them money. It puts the guilts on you and you shouldn't have to feel like that. I mean it’s people’s prerogative if they want to give or not give.”

Joy has concerns for the homeless people’s welfare despite the intimidation and abuse.

“I mean we care too, just because we get cross with tripping over them and being abused by them it doesn't mean to say you don't care about people.

“I know there are a lot for one reason or another who are genuine homeless but, I do believe that there’s also people out there who aren’t and are just takers and I mean that’s sad.”

An overview of the proposed changes to the bylaw, the draft bylaw and an online submission form are available at www.tauranga.govt.nz/streetuse

To make a submission about the proposed change, people can go to the website or fill in a form at the council’s customer service centre at 91 Willow St, the Greerton Library, or the Greerton Lotto Shop.

Consultation runs until 5pm on Friday, December 20, 2019 and hearing of submissions will take place in January 2020.




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15 Comments

Bylaw enforcment

Posted on 29-11-2019 16:58 | By sambro

Why have a bylaw if it is not enforced by the police, and council staff do not have the power to issue infringements or forcibly remove individuals who are breaching the bylaw without a Court order. So, one bylaw is don’t drink in public places, this bylaw is enforced so why not the sleeper/beggars one which has had SOME impact ??? Is this selective bylaw enforcement ? Why not just leave the sleeper/beggars bylaw intact (because it will probably cost rate payers $10,000 to change) and encompass all the other magical avenues the council intends to pursue to solve this problem ... which they should have done in the first pace ?

@sambro RE Sunlive poll

Posted on 29-11-2019 14:50 | By This Guy

Most people in the echo chamber agree with each other what a surprise! But if you look at this websites daily unique visitor count then you’ll see only about 1% of the population of Tauranga actually visit here, so a poll here shows nothing about what the general population feels about the issue.

Enforcement.

Posted on 28-11-2019 16:08 | By morepork

Laws can, and should be, enforced. The fact that it may be difficult does not mean it cannot be done. You can’t reasonably expect Police to recognise who is a professional bludger and who is a real case. The fact that someone can’t pay a fine is a matter for a Judge to decide; maybe they work it off in other ways. If Courts are overloaded, that is another issue; it does not preclude the enforcement of the Law. As responsible citizens we should SUPPORT the enforcement of Law, not write it off as unenforceable. If a Law really is stupid, it should be changed; until then it should be enforced.

WE HAVE OUR VILLAGE BACK

Posted on 28-11-2019 09:17 | By Colleen Spiro

I am extremely perplexed about this issue....I listened to Greerton Village Assn Manager Sally Benning saying that everything was back to normal with the BYLAW IN PLACE, but having read the thread on the Greerton Village FB page, it seems that according to some residents THE PROBLEM NEVER WENT AWAY. Who is telling porkies and WHY.

Its working,dont change it

Posted on 28-11-2019 07:33 | By peter pan

The shop owner`s are the one`s who are affected by the begging,and they are happy with the system as it stands so change it your peril.I for one have listed some councilors i will not vote for next election,including the General .

Poll Results

Posted on 28-11-2019 01:12 | By sambro

SUNLIVE poll results on this speaks for itself. LISTEN council !!! (and this poll cost us "how much" ?), NOTHING ! Is that what the problem is ?

First world problems

Posted on 27-11-2019 16:37 | By Eric Bantona

Firstly - “ what right have they got to speak for us even though we elected them“. Absolute logic fail. They have every right, that’s the whole point of local government and local councillors. Secondly, I shopped here and Tauranga city centre before and during the bylaw. I didn’t give anyone money, now and again I bought someone a coffee and something to eat, and I ignored any abuse directed at me. This bylaw cannot be enforced, why is everyone forgetting that? If anything it just moves the problem elsewhere but hey, as long as you can pop in and have some lunch that’s fine right?! There are some that are professionally begging, this is where the police is need to step up! The council has no teeth in this instance! And Raewyn - where else can the genuinely homeless go? Just out of your view right?

Rights.

Posted on 27-11-2019 16:18 | By morepork

All of us have Rights (which we take for granted, but which were, in fact, hard won for us by our forefathers over centuries...), including Homeless people. BUT, those rights do not give you a warrant to harass and pester other citizens, to detract and devalue businesses trying to make a living in the area and ruining the enjoyment of people just wanting to relax and enjoy the space. Revoking this law will not cure Homelessness (which is a whole ’nother issue). It is a sensible Law that was formulated because it was needed. It should be enforced (instead of bleating about it not being enforceable and adding fuel to the fire...) and the "new" Council would do well to think again before revoking it.

CBD

Posted on 27-11-2019 16:01 | By mumbojumbo

It’s a lot similiar in the CBD. I’m a young 17 year old female and often work late night shifts because of school and as a result of the homeless people sleeping there I have to drive around for almost an hour waiting for a park close to work so I don’t have to walk far in the dark. It’s honestly quite terrifying to hear them shouting or physically fighting with each other.

CBD

Posted on 27-11-2019 16:01 | By mumbojumbo

It’s a lot similliar in the CBD. I’m a young 17 year old female and often work late night shifts because of school and as a result of the homeless people sleeping there I have to drive around for almost an hour waiting for a park close to work so I don’t have to walk far in the dark. It’s honestly quite terrifying to hear them shouting or physically fighting with each other.

Shopping

Posted on 27-11-2019 13:20 | By soo

I too steered clear of Greerton Village when I was being harassed all the time by these beggars. We need to be able to shop without feeling anxious so at present the law is working for me.

Homeless

Posted on 27-11-2019 12:39 | By Raewyn

I do have sympathy for the homeless but alot of them are quite rude to passerbys and I dont think they should be allowed to line our streets! It is called loitering and I thought that is breaking the Law!

I agree

Posted on 27-11-2019 12:08 | By Kancho

I’m similar to Joy. During the Greerton alterations to traffic flow or loss of flow I also avoided Greerton as well as when the beggars where in residence. Bad lan guage, aggressive behaviour. I noted earlier a group arriving and parking and then going to their "spot ". So organised begging. I have recently returned to Greerton and whilst still frustrated with the traffic flow and access to the supermarket the village feels good. So the council worries about the beggars rights ! Well what about RATPAYERS rights. Annoyed by the new council so soon into their reign

Didn't take long

Posted on 27-11-2019 12:06 | By Kaimai

City Hall ignoring voters already.

Local politics

Posted on 27-11-2019 12:03 | By Scott Robertson

No votes in it for National if this bylaw stays. You can’t "lock ’em up" if there is no one to lock up.

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