An Auckland bar owner has been convicted and fined for breaking smoking laws after patrons repeatedly lit up in non-smoking areas.
In a landmark case, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service has successfully brought a prosecution against a North Shore bar that faced four charges of patrons smoking inside the premises.
The bar owner was sentenced on Friday in the North Shore District Court and fined $2700 and $850 in lawyer's costs and $130 court costs.
Auckland public health manager Dean Adam said the bar owner was given ample opportunity to modify his business to meet new guidelines.
"He refused to make changes despite numerous discussions with officers from Auckland Regional Public Health Service," he said.
This case was considered a landmark as the primary issue had not been before the courts and, up until now, there had been no judicial guidance on its interpretation surrounding 'closeable openings'.
Adam said the bar owner at the centre of the case was still able to operate.
Bar and restaurant owners were urged to check new Ministry of Health guidelines for non-smoking areas.
Even if their venue had complied in the past, they ran the risk of not meeting new criteria.
Adam said a number of establishments continued to take take shortcuts around the Smoke-free Environments Act.
He said there was "definitely room for improvement" as the Government's 2025 smoke-free target grew closer and public opinion shifted in favour of a complete smoking ban in outdoor dining areas.