Almost all public spaces in Auckland will become no go zones for smokers after the Auckland Council today signed off a policy to get the city smoke-free by 2025.
However those who do smoke in public areas, such as stadiums, skate parks and train platforms, will not be punished with the council relying on "social pressure" to stop people smoking in public areas.
The Regional Development and Operations Committee approved the policy at a meeting this morning after getting feedback from local boards and other stakeholders.
The policy will be implemented in three phases:
Stage 1 will be in place by the end of this month and cover stadiums, swimming pools, playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields, and parks and reserves; council service centres, local board offices, libraries, community facilities and halls, museums, leisure, recreation and arts centres; and train stations and platforms, bus stations and shelters and ferry terminals.
Stage 2 will take effect in May 2015 and will include shared spaces and all plazas and civic squares.
Stage 3 will take effect in May 2018 and will see smoking banned in areas around sports clubs (i.e. clubs on council land not already covered by the public places above), "al fresco" dining areas, urban centres, public beaches and the common areas of council housing.
Committee deputy chairwoman Councillor Sandra Coney said the council was starting with a non-regulatory policy that would be promoted through education and awareness.
"This provides a less costly and more socially co-operative option and other authorities both within New Zealand and internationally have seen results from this approach," she said.
"The council will monitor the impact of the policy on smoking rates across Auckland and will reconsider whether a bylaw is needed in 2016."
Coney said the public ban on smoking had wide public support and called it a huge step forward for Auckland.
"Besides the health benefits, a smoke-free policy will help take butts out of the stormwater system, and assist in fire prevention," she said.
Should fluoride in water be the responsibility of central government?