Our approach to begging

Begging on the street is a growing issue. To find a solution, we need to work together so all Wellingtonians can have a good quality of life.

Our position

Begging is a complex, national issue and our aim is to end begging in Wellington by addressing its causes. 

It’s important to note that, while begging and homelessness can share some of the same underlying causes, not everyone who begs is homeless and not all people who are homeless beg.

Why are people homeless in Wellington?

What we're doing

We are taking a two-step approach to end begging in Wellington. This involves advocacy to deal with the underlying causes of begging, and street management to deal with the impact of begging. 

We work alongside partners to:

  • encourage Central Government and its agencies to positively address the issues that cause begging
  • support agencies and the community to work together to address issues that cause begging
  • work with other local authorities across New Zealand to make sure there is a connected, national understanding of issues that cause begging.

A bylaw that bans begging in the city will not be introduced.

Keeping our streets safe and clean

We’ve carried out research into begging in Wellington

In 2015, we worked with strategic consultants ThinkPlace to carry out an exploration into begging by talking to citizens and residents – including those who beg; visitors to the city; retailers and businesses.

We also involved the following agencies:

  • DCM
  • Ngati Kahungungu ki Poneke
  • NZ Police
  • The Compassion Soup Kitchen
  • Wellington Night Shelter
  • Wellington's Street Outreach Team

What we found out

Our exploration revealed the following issues cause begging in Wellington:

  • Intergenerational social issues, such as family violence, poverty or disconnection from whakapapa
  • Lack of cheap housing and low benefit levels
  • Addictions, habits and co-existing mental health issues
  • Barriers to getting a job, such as criminal convictions, lack of opportunities to develop skills
  • Lack of services and support when re-integrating after prison incarceration
  • Social services are overloaded and/or mismatched to needs
  • Lack of purposeful activity and few opportunities for positive social engagement.

Begging in Wellington: An Exploration into our Community Issue (1.3MB PDF)

What you can do

If you are concerned about someone who is begging or rough sleeping, phone our Contact Centre on 04 499 4444.

We handle these calls so agencies can focus on delivering their core services. It also means we’re able to follow trends around the city and allocate our resources effectively.

If you think the behaviour of someone on the street is unlawful or unsafe, phone Wellington Police on 04 381 2000. In an emergency, phone 111.