The move is part of an update to the Council’s Smokefree Action Plan, which confirms the Council’s commitment to the Smokefree Aotearoa goal that fewer than 5 percent of New Zealanders be smokers.
All Wellington City beaches will be smokefree – from late September (beginning of ‘Daylight Saving’ time). The Grey Street pedestrian area, alongside Lambton Quay, will also become smokefree once construction work to upgrade the area is completed in the next few months.
Councillor Brian Dawson, who holds the Council’s Social Development portfolio, says the plan is not about being punitive. “While we are designating these areas ‘smokefree’ we’re not going to be coming in waving a big stick and punishing smokers. Our approach is based on education and positively reinforcing the stop smoking message.
“Wellingtonians in general are thoughtful people and respect the Smokefree areas we already have and we believe the same will be true for these new areas.”
To help educate the public new smokefree signs and an online map will be developed to better inform people about all the smokefree areas.
Areas already smokefree in Wellington City are: playgrounds, skate parks, sportsfields, bus stops, Waitangi, Midland and Truby King parks, the Botanic Garden, Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Bolton Street Cemetery, Te Ngākau Civic Square, the Zoo and Zealandia, and entrances to all Council buildings including libraries and swimming pools. Beaches and the Grey Street pedestrian area are added in in the updated Action Plan. Laneways are smokefree on a case-by-case basis.
A Council survey last year of 2269 people found nine out of 10 non-smokers and almost half of smokers support Wellington becoming increasingly smokefree.
The Council agreed to amend the wording of the Action Plan to recognise that vaping can be an effective tool to help people stop smoking – and that the Council wants to encourage that. At the same time the Council would like to encourage vapers to avoid vaping in Smokefree areas as a courtesy to other users of the space.