Auckland Mayor John Banks has vowed the city council will not spend city money to put homeless people into hotels during the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
Banks said a $NZ34 million budget for the World Cup included $NZ22m for roading and transport infrastructure around Eden Park and $10m which would be spent only with public approval.
However, he said if he was still mayor in 2011, a suggestion the homeless would be put into hotels, simply would not happen.
Banks said he did not know or care where the suggestion came from but it might be a council official’s report which said there was a budget to do it.
“It is a ludicrous proposition. First and foremost the hotels in Auckland are not going to accept these people as guests.
“Secondly, we are not going to treat them as second-class citizens.
“Thirdly, we need to clearly understand they are part of the city, they are not going to go away and they need support.”
Banks said he had no problems allocating funds for Outreach programmes and workers through the City Mission and the churches.
He had already started and would continue up to and beyond the World Cup.
He said he had been homeless himself as a young man, knew what it was like to sleep rough and the council would treat the homeless with respect and dignity, like any other citizen.
“One day I might be homeless again and we are going to do the right thing.”
Diane Robertson from the Auckland City Mission said it was working towards a long-term solution and wanted progress on accommodation under way “well and truly before the World Cup.”
She said a recent survey revealed 91 rough sleepers within 3km of Sky City.
The mission planned to apply to the council next month for resource consent to build an 80-bed facility for the homeless.