'Palmerston North City Council is exploring ways to make the city centre less attractive and less accessible to beggars.
A council sub-committee is considering a number of options that include putting outdoor furniture and artwork in places where beggars sleep, directing the public to donate to collection boxes rather than to beggars themselves, and encouraging buskers to occupy places where beggars often hang out.
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The Council is currently trialling the outdoor furniture idea at The Lab restaurant throughout May and June.
Outdoor furniture is being placed onto the footpath and this is intended to "create a physical barrier" to deter beggars from sleeping outside. If it's successful the restaurant will have the opportunity to buy the furniture and other affected businesses will also be approached.
Then the policy would be suggested to other businesses, in the hopes that they can take "pro-active steps to avoid becoming a new location for beggars".
Salvation Army Palmerston North captain Stu Lee told Newshub that while the issue of beggars is "difficult for the restaurant owner", the Salvation Army has concerns about the people who are begging and whether they're getting the help that they need.
"We'd be concerned that this plan doesn't help these people to address the issues behind why they're begging and risks just making it a problem for someone else."
"As far as we know the people begging here have not sought help from The Salvation Army yet, so we don't know why they're begging, but the reasons people beg are usually complex and difficult.
Addressing these issues requires time and the right people to build relationships, but in the long-term we believe we'll be better off as a city helping these people."
A Council spokesperson told Newshub that the Mayor, who is the spokesperson for the committee, was not available for comment this week.