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Council homeless law not the answer: Greens

4 December 2008

Council homeless law not the answer: Greens

Auckland City Council's plan to create a new bylaw to force homeless people out of the city is pointless and cruel, the Green Party says.

"Even the police are questioning the necessity for a new law aimed at moving rough sleepers out of the central city," Auckland-based Green MP and Housing Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"Citizens & Ratepayers councillors seem to want to follow the example set in Beijing, where homeless people were forcibly propelled from the streets in time for the Olympics, only in this case it is probably the Rugby World Cup that's on their minds.

"The police already have laws they can use to move people along when they are causing a problem," Ms Bradford says.

"There is no sign that the councillors have a decent plan as to what will happen to homeless people once they have been forced out of Auckland CBD. This is a heartless attempt to sanitise Auckland and flies in the face of advice from those who are already working so hard to really deal with the issues, like the Auckland City Mission.

The Green Party certainly sees homelessness as a key issue for government and local government. However, the party's solutions do not rely on punitive posturing - instead it would like to see:

* Substantial research done on the true numbers of homeless, including not just those sleeping out, but all people who are transient, or in overcrowded or other grossly substandard housing.

* Increased government and local government funding and other support to groups who work with and for the homeless, providing real housing, health and welfare solutions.

* An acceleration of state and community sector housing build and acquisition so that real housing needs can be more quickly met.

"In a period of deepening recession it is imperative councils and government alike look for responsible solutions to social problems, rather than introducing measures like this which will only accentuate hardship and alienation, to the detriment of our whole society," Ms Bradford says.


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