Community support for more smokefree spaces in Upper Hutt

Published on 06 July 2020

Family at Moonshine Park

Widespread public support for making even more public spaces across Upper Hutt smokefree has encouraged Council to look at extending its smokefree policy.

In 2006, Upper Hutt City Council was one of the first Councils to introduce smokefree outdoor areas by adopting the Smokefree Parks and Open Spaces Policy.

Council is now set to consider whether it wants to extend the current policy when the Policy Committee of Council meets on 15 July.

Council’s decision to revisit the policy has been guided by the results of a policy review, which included a public consultation where the community were asked what they thought about smoking and vaping in outdoor public spaces.

Council asked whether people were in favour of increasing the number of smokefree community spaces, where our children don’t see smoking and aren’t exposed to second-hand smoke.

Mayor Wayne Guppy said the consultation showed there was widespread community backing for extending the policy.

“Through this engagement we have found that there is a high level of community support (81%), for increasing smokefree and vapefree public spaces across Upper Hutt.

“There was an overwhelming amount of support for smokefree areas where children are likely to go.

“For example, 96% of respondents thought that playgrounds should be smokefree, and 81% of people agreed that Council-funded events should also be smokefree.”

Mayor Guppy said Council welcomed the fact that a quarter of all respondents were smokers or vapers, who also supported reducing the visibility of smoking, especially around children.

“Children do what they see, we want to make smoking less normal by making it less visible to our children. 

“We want our public spaces across the city to be healthy environments for our children and young people to play in and enjoy.” 

Council reached out to the community through existing community groups and made the survey available in the places many of our people spend their time such as the Cossie Club, the Women’s Centre, a local Pharmacy, Medical Centre, supermarket and through Orongomai Marae, to name a few.

Council also held mini focus groups with key people to ensure their views were heard, the Mayor said.

The next step is that the draft Smokefree Parks and Open Spaces Policy 2020, with recommendations, will be presented at the Policy Committee of Council on 15 July 2020 at 4.30pm.

The proposed policy will be available for the public to access via the website or the Central Library.