Spot fines to deter smoking in public places should be introduced to Auckland, a councillor says.
Councillor George Wood said he supports the introduction of $100 on-the-spot smoking fines and wants the council to discuss possible legislative changes with the Government to ban smoking in public places.
"I think a similar fine to littering of maybe the lowest being $100 should be introduced. It would mean that people knew there was a bylaw with some strength. If you just have a nice wishy-washy deterrent people don't follow it," he said.
"There may need to be specific legislation brought in [to protect pedestrians] especially in proximity to buses and people that are waiting for public transport and obviously public places such as Aotea Square and Queen Elizabeth Square."
Wood described a non-regulatory smoke-free policy endorsed by the council's Parks Recreation and Heritage Forum earlier this year as a "toothless tiger''
The policy, if ratified, would ban smoking in a limited number of controlled public places in the city such as parks, reserves and sports fields. There would be no enforcement of the ban, just warning signs and education campaigns.
The policy will soon be examined by the council at the Regional Development and Operations Committee.
Wood said the policy wasn't strong enough and many councillors were ignoring the issue of smoking.
"I could take you to places where people are being forced to queue for their buses close to where office workers congregate for their smoke," he said.
"Albert Street is very bad and there is nothing people can do. A lot of councillors want to turn a blind eye because smokers are very vocal in relation to preserving their rights."
Parks Recreation and Heritage Forum Chairman Sandra Coney said, earlier this year, there was significant public support for smoke-free parks but further discussions and public opinion was needed before the legislation could be extended to other public places.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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