GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Hope and Heartlessness


I went to a meeting yesterday . 26 people – really good hearted people from all walks of life – called together by Barrister Jo Wickliffe to see if we could help solve a problem.

You see, Auckland City doesn’t have a night shelter.

So homeless women, men , and young people are taking nightly refuge wherever they can – doorways, bus shelters, even bushes in parks.

Auckland City Council have recently been waging a heartless campaign on people who are sleeping in bus shelters. Council workers, supported by police, have been moving homeless people on and putting all their possessions into a rubbish compacter truck.

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It’s cruel behaviour made possible by demonising a group of our fellow New Zealanders as the undeserving “homeless”.

Much harder when you know them by name.

They are not all drug addicts and alcoholics or professional beggars. Many are people just like you or I who , for whatever reason, fell upon hard times and need a bit of kindness to help them get up again.

So here is a brilliant 10 minute film about Don – shot one evening in Queen Street Auckland by cameraman Conan Fitzpatrick.

Please watch and share.

You can find it here:

It’s a story of hope in that it reminds us that there ARE good people in the world who do good things.

Conan had just sat down and begun interviewing Don when a group of Argentinian High School Students came along , sat down with them and then one of the young women asked Don a simple question…
“So.. how are you?”

What happened next is a lesson in compassion that Mayor Goff and every Auckland City Councillor needs to learn.

Auckland needs a night shelter and if we have to make this an election issue next year – then we will.


Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. You see, Auckland City doesn’t have a night shelter… of course not the council are too busy with million dollar reports on white elephant stadiums and I believe a few Marinas are in the pipeline, America’s cup gets millions as well as stealing the harbour with ratepayer money and assets to keep the luxury polluting cruise ships who don’t pay a tourist tax coming here to buy Prada. Clearly more important than people who live here but can’t afford a home (or car) anymore.

    The general public will get nothing from Auckland council in real terms (unless some mate can make a $$$ on an overpriced hotel) or maybe a ‘re education centre’ might be in the pipeline in the future of Auckland, who knows, Phil seems pretty friendly with Chinese benefactors and is still a big fan of neoliberalism. Meanwhile the council CEO structure is hidden and apparently nearly 50% of the ratepayers money now goes on supporting the council wages themselves. So weird when you have rampant user pays and basic services keep getting down graded and you can’t afford to solve homelessness but can afford upgrades for the world’s wealthy?

    The priorities are clear for Auckland council and have been for about 2 decades.. and it’s about social cleansing of the poor and middle class and asset stripping, as well as keeping the COO structures to siphon off money and reduce accountability while making sure the ratepayers are still forced to fund it.

    Natz forced through the unitary plan and supercity so maybe a closer look at politics and actions might be in order for the woke lefties who were asleep at the wheel, as is how the neoliberal structures of the council are working out, power being taken away from democracy at local level and into more organised fiefdom.

  2. Auckland Council does not walk the talk. It bangs on about looking after the homeless and getting them sorted but where’s the action. No my friends, the Council has become a willing slave to bureaucracy and vested interests, pandering to the corporates and not really giving a damn about those in need with all the associated problems that go with that.

    The true test of the Council’s attitude would be if there was an event like an international leaders forum held in Auckland and you can bet dollars to donuts that the poor would be shunted off the streets and even carted off by the police to appease the Council and its masters.

    I applaud the Argentinian students who displayed a level of compassion and humanity towards Don that reflects what they stand for and what they believe in. Of course, this is not what the Council stands for nor what they believe in.

    • what do you expect when so many foreigners have been allowed to come into our country Castro Kororareka ( Russell) was once the hell hole of the pacific now we have Auckland a divided hell hole and who divided it ?

  3. I’m so used to asking what’s wrong with people – but looking at those kids I’m forced to ask “What’s right with them?”

    What makes them compassionate enough to do that? I’m certainly not like them and in fact I can only think of one person I know who acknowledges homeless people in the street.

    They put us all to shame.

    Defintely worth sharing on social media

  4. Thanks Bruce. Please post here when/if there is a decision made on how to address this, and identify how everyone can help. Like savenz, I believe the solutions will be grass roots, while pressure can be loaded on those who are able – but unwilling – to help.

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