Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Waikato DHB wants Hamilton City Council to ban smokers from outside its central city office

An artist's impression of a Waikato DHB office in Hamilton where the council is considering a request to make the streets outside smokefree. Photo / Supplied.
An artist's impression of a Waikato DHB office in Hamilton where the council is considering a request to make the streets outside smokefree. Photo / Supplied.

Smokers could soon be banished from the streets outside an office building in Hamilton being tenanted by Waikato District Health Board.

DHB bosses have announced they will request Hamilton City Council make the streets directly outside the office smokefree.

The office, which is to house 700 relocating DHB staff, forms part of the KPMG Tower on Alexandra St and also fronts Collingwood and Anglesea streets. It was previously tenanted by Farmers.

DHB executive director of facilities and business Chris Cardwell said the central business district office would be smokefree in line with other DHB facilities and campuses.

That meant all staff and visitors to the building, which will accommodate some mental health services, must not smoke inside.

However, as with the Waikato Hospital campus, the DHB wants the ban extended to some streets outside the building.

"The DHB will also be encouraging the Hamilton City Council to make the streets directly outside the office designated as no-smoking areas too," Cardwell said.

"As a public health promoter, it's important we lead the way in trying to improve the health of the community.

"Any health professional will tell you that the number one thing you can do for your health is to give up smoking, or not take it up in the first place.

"The last thing we want is people standing around outside the offices smoking. It's bad for our staff working inside the building and it creates a bad impression for the public."

A DHB spokeswoman said it had not clarified which streets would be smokefree yet because the discussion with council was still in the early stages.

Hamilton Central Business Association general manager Vanessa Williams, who welcomed the addition of 700 workers to the CBD, said she did not think a smoking ban on the streets outside the office would deter shoppers from the city.

Much of Hamilton is already designated smokefree by the council including Garden Place and Civic Square, within 10 metres of all council playgrounds and council-owned or operated buildings and facilities, the Hamilton Transport Centre, Hamilton Gardens, the streets surrounding Waikato Hospital, all city parks and sports fields, all bus stops and shelters, and part of a pedestrian mall outside Centre Place.

Hamilton City Council city safe manager Kelvin Powell said the current policy, introduced in 2012, allows the council to add any part of the city.

"The council will consult with the public before a new location is officially added into the policy."

The policy is self-enforced and areas include signage indicating no smoking.

- NZ Herald

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