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March 4, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Beggers Can’t Be Choosers

But should avoid Palmerston North

Palmerston North students are being advised not to give money to beggars with a “Give Wisely” poster campaign introduced around town to deter generous students.

Students are advised against donating money to beggars and are instead persuaded to give money to established charities. Prior to the campaign, there were reports of beggars intimidating the public and stealing from parking meters.

“If people don’t give money, they won’t be there,” said city safety co-ordinator Maria Prangnell.

Massey University Students’ Association president Steve Christodoulou said that although students are financially struggling, they are none the less “generous in nature.”

Police reported beggars earning up to $700 a week. Similarly, the Wellington City Council reported last year that Wellington beggars earned up to $100 a day.

Stephanie McIntyre, director of assistance agency Downtown Community Ministry (DCM), believes that Wellingtonians are generous, with street begging alone supporting some homeless people.

“For the person who can tolerate the humiliation, there are benefits for them.’’

The Palmerston North campaign is ongoing, with police already reporting fewer beggars on streets.

The Wellington City Council last year reported ‘‘a noticeable and marked increase’’ in the number of beggars on Wellington streets, prompting questions as to whether Wellington will need to instigate a similar campaign.

Last October, the Government confirmed a three-year investment of over $104 million towards non-government housing providers in an effort to decrease homelessness.


Sofia Roberts

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