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Smoke Free Legislation Bad For Clubs

Media Release From Clubs New Zealand

Proposed Government smokefree legislation puts clubs in a worse position than hotels, the Chief Executive of Clubs New Zealand Mr Roger Parton said today.

“Recent statements by the Minister of Health Hon Annette King and the Hospitality Association that clubs are exempt from the new smoke free laws, are totally incorrect,” he said. “As they stand, the proposals are bad for all clubs and we will fight them”.

Mr Parton said that as clubs were not included in the definition of licensed premises, they were not required to meet the new conditions.

“However, this is a two edged sword as many clubs do meet that definition because they hold off licences” he said. “Further, because they employ staff, many will be required to get the written consent of every employee before anyone, including members, can smoke on the premises. They will not be able to use the exemption afforded to licensed premises by the proposed legislation.”

Mr Parton said that the situation was much worse for those 42 clubs that have Permanent Charters. “They either have got the written consent of every full time, part time and casual employee, otherwise they must be smoke free under this proposed law.

Clubs New Zealand was extremely concerned at the thrust of this new legislation that would intrude into what are essentially private clubs, created for and operated by the members for the members. This includes all chartered clubs, R.S.A.s and sporting clubs.

Mr Parton said that as employers, clubs had a duty to provide an environment for all employees that was safe. “There is technology available that will provide an environment that is friendly to both the non-smoker and the smoker, be they members or employees,” he said. “We have had this technology tested by NIWA and it received a very good report. I know this will not satisfy the anti-smoking brigade but we know the technology works.”

Mr Parton accused the Government of being duplicitous over the whole smokefree issue. “It is obvious that they have handled this in such a way that they hoped for a major fight between the clubs and pubs, so that the real issue, this appallingly draconian legislation will escape public scrutiny.”

“I wonder if the public actually realise that this legislation creates the smoke police, that they can enter premises including dwelling houses, seize material and detail for what they consider a reasonable time? Do the public know that they can be fined $2,000 if they give someone a toy cigarette? Is the public aware that this legislation includes herbal cigarettes and by definition that would include cannabis?”

Mr Parton said that Clubs New Zealand believed that this legislation was badly conceived and drafted. “It is based on ideological beliefs and zealous adherence to a particular view, rather than any consideration for the trading environment of today and the rights of all people in this country to be free from state interference of this sort”.

“Every club should make a submission on this Bill because it strikes at the heart of the club movement,” Mr Parton said. “We will be making strong representations to the Health Select Committee and to every Member of Parliament to reject this Bill and come up with some sensible legislation on the subject.”

ENDS

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