Could the CBD be smokefree?
Smokers might have to stub out their cigarettes in the Auckland CBD if a new bylaw is passed.
Auckland Council is again investigating a bylaw to make smoking in designated open spaces in the city illegal.
Even though the council already has the country’s most comprehensive smokefree policy, Mayor Len Brown says it’s time to take a more proactive and regulatory approach.
‘‘There has been a reduction of smoking in this city, which I think is partly due to our policy, and public opinion is on our side to give that policy more grunt and show some strong leadership in this regard,’’ he says.
The proposed ban could range from high density areas such as pavement dining and civic squares to beaches and the entire CBD.
However the practicality around this issue is questionable, as under current national legislation a bylaw would not grant Auckland Council powers to issue infringement notices to smokers.
The legal recourse would be prosecution, council’s social policy and bylaws manager Mike Sinclair says.
‘‘Auckland Council does not have the legal mandate or powers to specify where or under what conditions cigarettes can be sold and currently businesses do not require a licence to be able to sell cigarettes,’’ Sinclair says.
Nimesha Patel is the owner of Midday Counter on Karangahape Rd and would be supportive of the bylaw it it was actioned.
‘‘We don’t make that much money from cigarettes as it is mostly taxes, but they do attract customers in to buy other things,’’ she says.
The Waitemata Local Board has been unanimous in its support for the initiative, chair Shale Chambers says.
‘‘We, early on, before any regional policy, began declaring all local parks, sportsfields, reserves, playgrounds, skateparks council-delivered events, libraries and community facilities, swimming pools, and public outdoor areas smoke-free,’’ he says.
The bylaw will take some time to develop and investigate as it involves research, stakeholder engagement, legal review and approval, full public consultation and hearings and public deliberations.
If it goes ahead, it is another step towards a smokefree city and could be the first major outdoor smokefree bylaw in New Zealand.
Auckland Council is investigating creating a smoking ban in the CBD and other open spaces.