Our approach to begging

Begging on the street is a growing issue we’d like to solve collectively so all Wellingtonians feel supported and have a good quality of life.

Beggar sitting on a busy Wellington footpath.

Our position

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

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. 

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


This includes working 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.

Street management

This includes:

  • working with residents, retailers, business and the police in the CBD and suburbs to clearly understand the impact of begging and collectively develop ways to address these concerns
  • working alongside key agencies to understand the individual circumstances of people who beg
  • funding for the coordination of the city’s social agencies to connect the city’s vulnerable  to appropriate services – this also includes funding for community organisations that deliver social service support and groups that provide opportunities for meaningful activity during the day
  • monitoring the number of people who are begging

What you can do

If you are concerned about someone who is begging, phone the Council on 04 499 4444.

If you think the actions of someone begging on the street are unlawful, phone Wellington Police on 04 381 2000.



Need a Hand? (854KB PDF)

Need a Hand map – our guide to services in the city

We've created a map to help you find the services listed below, along with other agencies that provide support.

The Council's City Housing team aims to give housing help to those in genuine need, with low incomes or special needs.



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


In 2015, we worked with 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 - find out more about them and how you can support their work:

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-exisiting 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.

More information

Tara Ruff, Safety Advisor

Email tara.ruff@wcc.govt.nz
Phone 027 803 0455