“It feels like the wild west” Councillor says aggressive begging is getting worse

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 16, 2024 |


The owners of a Christchurch supermarket say they’re doing all they can to combatting aggressive beggars in the community

As first reported by Chris Lynch Media, residents, particularly on Stanmore Road, said they felt unsafe at the behaviour of beggars in the the area.

Following publication of the first article, hundreds of residents from across Christchurch, contacted Chris Lynch Media with similar concerns.

Kerry and Sally-Anne Tull, owner operators of New World Stanmore, said “everyone should feel safe when they come to shop or to work and we’re relentlessly playing our part to help solve the problem of aggressive beggars in our local community. 

“We’re in almost daily contact with the local police on this issue and also seeking regular support from local council.

Kerry and Sally-Anne Tull, owner operators of New World Stanmore Photo: Supermarket news

“Our teams are constantly on high alert for aggressive beggars coming onto our premises and we’re always quick to take action to remove and trespass them. 

“We encourage locals to report any incidents of aggressive begging on Stanmore Road to the Police by calling 105, and if it happens on our premises to tell us so we can report it too.

We care about our customers, community and team and want to help genuine people who are doing it tough. We do this by partnering with our local foodbank Delta and the Christchurch City Mission.”

Environment Canterbury councillor Deon Swiggs, who lives in the area, said he’s been part of a group who invested millions through the development of commercial buildings and more than a dozen residential properties in there area.

“I truly believe the area has potential. There’s not just one issue leading to the behaviour. I could go on, but I have to say, that since the vape shops have come in, the behaviour and level of it has increased substantially.

Environment Canterbury councillor Deon Swiggs

“It feels like the wild west in the east at times. Drugs, mental health, poverty, dislocation, it’s all part of it and I feel really sad for those caught in this trap which leads to desperation. However, it is no excuse for the behaviour of individuals, often it’s the same ones over and over, which begs me to wonder, how effective their support networks are” Swiggs said.

“There has always been street people in the area. Kianga Ora is supposed to support social housing tenants, but they have not been managing tenancies when issues arise. It seems they are putting it into the too hard basket. It’s not on. 

“It annoys me that in the lower part of the street, the Council is spending millions on gold plating the street, it will look nice, but it isn’t addressing the underlying issues. And as our economic times get more challenging I do fear we will see more desperate behaviour coming through. 

“If agencies are going to continue to encourage the area to be a ‘safe space’ for people, then they need to step up and invest in the area by having appropriate facilities that give proper support to people. I don’t think outreach walking around and saying “hi hows it going” every so often is cutting it anymore” Swiggs said.

Last week, Corinne Haines told Chris Lynch Media, “we are aware of the problem with aggressive beggars at Stanmore.

“Most aggressive beggars are not people experiencing homelessness, although they can present themselves as being homeless or are mistaken by residents as homeless.

“Our Outreach Service has visited the area and monitors it. Our role is to support people who are experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping. Most of the people causing problems for residents at Stanmore have a place to stay,” Haines said.

“The most important thing residents can do is don’t give beggars money. Giving money leads to this kind of situation and escalates aggressiveness,” she said.

“Residents experiencing threatening behaviour should report this to the police.”

Christchurch City Mission’s advice on how to help genuine homeless people.

We take a compassionate and informed approach to helping genuine homeless people in Christchurch.

This is how we recommend you interact with rough sleepers you might meet on the streets:

  • Don’t give money.

  • It’s okay to offer food.

  • It’s kind to make eye contact and say hello.

  • Call our Outreach Service on 0800 787 855 or email us at [email protected] if you want to make sure they have been offered help, or if you are a business and they are sleeping outside your premises.

  • Call 111 if you have serious concerns for their health, or concerns that harm may come from their behaviour.


Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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