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Council Proceeding with Punitive Homeless Bylaw

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Wednesday 10 December 2008

Council Proceeding with Punitive Homeless Bylaw

Auckland City Council's Finance & Strategy Committee today moved to initiate work on a punitive bylaw to move homeless people from the city's central business district.

An amendment by City Vision-Labour councillors to spend the $50,000 needed for the bylaw process on a range of positive actions identified in the council's homeless action plan instead was defeated by three votes to two.

FOR:             Councillors Armstrong, Bhatnagar, Goldsmith

AGAINST:     Councillors Northey and Casey

ABSENT:      Councillors Donnelly and Lotu-Iiga, Deputy Mayor Hay, Mayor Banks

A further motion to abandon putting any more work or resources into such a bylaw was also defeated by the same three votes to two.

Councillor Cathy Casey said she was disgusted that Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) councillors should opt to waste ratepayers' money on a bylaw that no-one is actually calling for.

"Over the last three years this council has made great progress in dealing with the issue of homelessness.  We have worked closely with social service agencies such as the Salvation Army, Lifewise and the City Mission to ensure a compassionate and appropriate response to rough sleepers.  An outreach service has been established and is working well.

"Research commissioned by this council has rejected punitive actions and encourages instead a collaborative and positive approach to this complex social issue.  Criminalising the homeless does not work."

Councillor Richard Northey said he was profoundly disappointed that C&R councillors had rejected the opportunity he had given them to abandon pouring more ratepayer resources into a punitive bylaw.

"No voluntary agency or Government Department working on homeless issues has ever sought such a bylaw but their constructive, caring, cooperative and comprehensive measures backed by council's homeless action plan are generating real benefits and results.

"Existing laws and bylaws are more than adequate to deal with the issue."

ENDS

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