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Auckland Council Seeks Local Board Feedback On Smoke-free

Auckland Council Seeks Local Board Feedback On Smoke-free Policy

Auckland Council seeks further feedback from local boards and other groups before it presents the draft smoke-free policy for approval to the Regional Development and Operations Committee (RDOC) on 24 July.

Local board feedback, along with input received from presenting the draft policy to the Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum on 14 May, will inform the final draft policy.

Councillor Sandra Coney, the chair of the forum, said: “The council is committed to a smoke-free Auckland to create a healthier, more enjoyable city for all of Auckland’s residents and visitors. We have listened to feedback from many groups and the draft policy continues to evolve based on that feedback.”

The council plans to gradually introduce smoke-free policies to parks and public spaces across Auckland to create a healthy and safe city for all residents. Besides the health benefits, smoke-free would help take butts out of the stormwater system, and assist in fire prevention. The council’s policy proposes a staged implementation, and a non-regulatory approach.

The smoke-free policy would be promoted through education and awareness via signage and other communications, and would rely on social pressure from the public to encourage others to comply.
The smoke-free policy is an initiative that comes directly from the Auckland Plan which states: “All parks and reserves, children’s play areas and other public space identified in bylaws will be smoke-free by 2025.”

Many Auckland parks and places are already smoke-free. This includes all regional parks, many local parks and playgrounds, Mt Smart, Eden Park and the zoo. There is a high degree of public support for these initiatives. More recently, some local boards have made their own smoke-free commitments. This new smoke-free policy would recognise these commitments and create region-wide consistency.

The forum provided feedback on the draft policy, including that transport areas such as bus-stops and train stations should become smoke-free in 2013, instead of 2015, and that the need for a bylaw be examined during the 2016 review or earlier.

“Work on the smoke-free policy is timely as 31 May is World Smokefree Day. The day is about encouraging friends and family on their way to becoming smoke-free. The council’s smoke-free policy is another step in that direction,” said Councillor Coney.

If approved, the smoke-free policy will be implemented in three phases. Outdoor facilities such as stadiums, swimming pools, playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields and all parks and reserves would become smoke-free in 2013; transport areas such as bus stations in 2015 or before; and urban centres, outdoor dining areas (on Council land such as footpaths), public beaches and plazas and civic squares in 2018.

ENDS

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