16 August 2012
Thank you for not smoking, says council
Auckland Council will take a non-regulatory approach to a smokefree policy for the city, it was agreed today.
The Regional Development and Operations Committee decided against a bylaw banning smoking but supported commitments made in the Auckland Plan and local board plans to reduce smoking in public places and council-controlled areas.
Officers reported that a bylaw ban would cost $164,000 to develop and ongoing staff costs to enforce it.
The Auckland Plan recommends working with central government and other agencies to investigate options for banning smoking in parks, swimming pools, public transport stops, sports grounds and entrances to public buildings.
It supports the government’s goal of New Zealand becoming smokefree by 2025.
A non-regulatory policy, as recommended by the council’s Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum, would enable coordination across the region and build on existing initiatives that include promotion of smokefree regional parks and facilities at Auckland Zoo, Eden Park and Mt Smart, smokefree signage at Northern Busway stations, and promotion of smokefree events.
Councillor Ann Hartley, committee chair, said: “There’s evidence that non-regulatory or voluntary policies have produced positive results and we have to build on that approach.
“Towns and cities up and down the country are wrestling with this issue and the practicalities and costs of enforcement through bylaws. Encouraging people not to light up in public places is less heavy-handed and most towns are opting for non-regulatory policies supported by signage and awareness.
“Smoking is deemed an anti-social activity across much of society and is becoming self-regulating backed by the efforts of the government and organisations like the Cancer Society, Action on Smoking and Health and district health boards.”
Local boards will receive the committee’s report, as decision-making about community facilities and local parks rests with them.
A proposed smokefree policy will be reported back to the committee early next year.