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Banks: stop buying from illegal street traders

Banks calls on public to stop buying from illegal street traders

Auckland Mayor John Banks says a concerted campaign has been launched to drive illegal traders out of the central city.

“Illegal street traders add nothing to Queen Street. They denigrate our streets, steal business from rate-paying retailers and give Auckland a third-world appearance when it’s trying to promote itself as a first world city.”

He is calling on the public to stop buying from them.

The Mayor says two repeat offenders are especially being targeted in a joint effort involving Auckland City enforcement staff and a security firm, contracted by Heart of The City.

The two traders allegedly work in concert.

One now faces five charges laid in the district court for allegedly trading illegally.

Four charges alleging assault by the trader have also been laid by the security firm, First Security.

Mr Banks says illegal traders have allegedly kicked enforcement staff in the groin, delivered a punch to the head and twisted arms when confronted. In the past two and a half months there had been six seizures of traders’ stock, now being held by the city.

“Street clean-up efforts in the past few weeks have delivered an almost illegal-trader free Queen Street. The effort is now going into stopping these people using private property,” Mr Banks said. “ A lot of businesses are making the security firm their agent – with power to move on illegal traders seeking refuge on private street frontages. They’re being threatened with trespass charges.

“Aucklanders tell me Queen Street has improved a lot in the past couple of years. Daylight on Queen Street is safer than being at home and we continue to work with the police to iron out problems arising after dark. We’ve also wiped out graffiti with our zero tolerance campaign. Now there’s zero tolerance on illegal street traders who’d have us look like a home for Bagdad beggars. A lot of work still has to happen if we are to be the proudest main city in the South Pacific.”

The Mayor says forcing the law onto illegal street traders is the part of his strategy to upgrade Queen Street’s image, its footpaths, public amenities and facilities.

Auckland City is currently working on developing a new streetscape. Queen Street will be more attractive, more pedestrian friendly, and will boast a distinct Pacific and uniquely Auckland flavour.

He says Queen Street has been the focus and hub of the city and region for 150 years and the council will ensure it continues to be.

“Central city retailers and their representatives at Heart of the City have had enough of illegal street traders sprawled out and freeloading outside their shops. No member of the public would say it was fair, and no member of the public should buy any of these illegally sold wares,” Mr Banks said

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