Council is proposing to revoke (remove) the begging and rough sleeping provisions contained in the Street Use and Public Places Bylaw adopted last year.
Tauranga City Council reviewed its Street Use and Public Places Bylaw in 2018. As part of this review, Council voted to add some provisions in the bylaw to restrict begging and rough sleeping in our city. This decision was made in response to complaints received from members of the community about being intimidated by people begging or rough sleeping in proximity to shops, in certain areas of Tauranga.
Begging and rough sleeping provisions in the current bylaw
20.2 No person shall beg in a public place within five metres of a public entrance to retail premises within defined areas in the CBD, Greerton and Mount Maunganui.
20.3 No person shall rough sleep within five metres of a retail premises within defined areas in the CBD, Greerton and Mount Maunganui.
Enforcing the bylaw – how it works
The begging and rough sleeping provisions of the bylaw are not enforced by the Police.
Council staff do not have the power to issue infringements or forcibly remove individuals who are breaching the bylaw. If the individuals do not move willingly when asked to by a Council bylaws officer, the only option for council is to apply to the court to serve them with a court order.
In November 2019, the new Council asked to take another look at the bylaw and the provisions on begging and rough sleeping, to ensure they help address the perceived problem they were meant to fix.
Having reviewed the options available, Council proposes to remove clauses 20.2 and 20.3 and the associated definitions of ‘begging’ and ‘rough sleeping’ in the bylaw. As a result, begging and rough sleeping would no longer be expressly regulated under the bylaw.
- Council does not consider a bylaw to be the most appropriate means to address the nuisance and other negative impacts of begging and rough sleeping in public places
- Council acknowledges that the current bylaw may have contributed to sending a message to the community that intimidatory behaviour is not acceptable around retail premises. However Council considers that this message can be delivered in ways other than through a bylaw
- The underlying issues that cause begging and rough sleeping should be addressed through collaboration with local social agencies and homelessness service providers, along with central government, rather than through a bylaw
- There are other provisions in the Street Use and Public Places Bylaw 2018 that address behaviour sometimes associated with begging and rough sleeping, such as obstructions in public places, and these provisions will remain
- Threatening or offensive behaviour in public places is an issue for the Police, covered under the Summary Offences Act
Council will continue to work alongside the community organisations set up to work with people experiencing homelessness in Tauranga. Council is also supporting and participating in a network of homelessness service providers, with the aim of developing a coordinated approach to supporting members of our community experiencing housing distress across the western Bay of Plenty. An area of action resulting from the provider network is the commencement of work on a homelessness strategy for the western Bay of Plenty. This work will be funded by Tauranga City Council alongside other regional funders.
Submissions closed at 5pm on Friday, 20 December 2019
Statement of proposal (78kb pdf)
Draft amended Street Use and Public Places Bylaw (859kb pdf)
Hearing of submissions will take place on Wednesday 29 January 2020. Deliberations are scheduled for Thursday 20 February 2020. If you have any questions, please contact the Policy team on 07 577 7000 or email@example.com