Queenstown beggar pockets $100 a day tax free

Credit: Debbie Jamieson/STUFF Queenstown beggar Stephen Robertston collecting $100 a day

To all of the people fist pumping that “rick pick” landlords may now finally have to pay their ‘fair share’ of tax, how do you feel about this guy dodging tax? Quote.

Stephen Robertson and his paper cup have?become a fixture at the top of Queenstown Mall since he arrived in town from Auckland at the start of February.

The man who is believed to be Queenstown’s first beggar claims people in the resort are much more generous than “snobby” Aucklanders.

“I’m enjoying my life. I’m loving?it here. It’s so cool,” said Robertson, who claimed to make up to $100 on a good day begging in his new home.? End Quote.

Assuming he begs only 5 days a week, because heck, even beggars deserve a day off now and then, he could be earning roughly $500 a week, tax free. quote.

DowntownQT town centre manager Steve Wilde said businesses had been in touch with him since Robertson appeared on the streets and were concerned about his welfare.

“If someone needs some help then we would want to see that happen.” 

However, the expectation was that anyone asking for money on the streets would do so in a “busking-type” situation.

“If people are going to set up on the street and ask for money the quid pro quo is that there’s an entertainment element to it and that guy does not fit this category.” end quote.

You expect him to actually make an effort in return for his reward? quote.

Robertson’s income from begging was supplemented by an invalid’s benefit.?

He had been sleeping in a?tent given to him someone who was leaving town, and the Salvation Army had provided him with food and a sleeping bag.?

Salvation Army?social worker?Hine?Marchand?said Queenstown was one of the few centres in New Zealand that didn’t have emergency housing or a refuge for those who needed it.

Umm, did you miss the bit where it said he moved to Queenstown from Auckland? His choice to be in Queenstown, so why the heck would anyone expect to run around and look out for his welfare. End Quote.


A quick check on the MSD website shows he can get around $265 per week from an invalids benefit, plus potentially a disability benefit of $63 per week, plus potentially an accommodation supplement, plus temporary additional support. The list goes on. Yet he thinks it perfectly fine to pocket $100 per day and not pay a cent back to the society that supports him.

By my calculations, $500 per day 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year = $26k per annum, tax free, for doing nothing except being an eyesore and a nuisance. Which works out to be $3.5k in tax that he’s not paying. Sounds fair doesn’t it?