Manawatū district public spaces now smoke and…



The new policy prohibits smoking and vaping in most public spaces, council facilities and public outdoor areas, and during council-run or supported events.

Both smoking and vaping are now banned in most public spaces in Manawatū following the district council’s adoption of new rules.

The Manawatū District Council has adopted its Smoke and Vape Free Policy 2022, aligning with the government’s aim to have fewer than 5% of New Zealanders smoking by 2025.

Legislation banning smoking in workplaces, schools, restaurants and many public places, was extended to include vaping in 2020.

The council’s own policy would extend the ban to most public spaces, council facilities and outdoor areas.


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The move comes after a number of public health agencies made requests over several years for Manawatū council to introduce a smoke and vape free policy.

Councillor Alison Short said her council was lagging behind in putting a policy in place.

“The policy reflected the national direction and the policies of many other councils around New Zealand.

“I am glad that we adopted the policy after requests from some public health organisation, including the Palmerston North Cancer Society.”

Councillor Shane Casey said people would probably see updated signs.

“Parks, reserves and other public spaces are now smoke and vape free. We now have a policy in place, which is in line with other districts. However, there won’t be any policing.”

Murray Wilson/Stuff

Councillor Shane Casey says people will soon see updated signage in public spaces.

The council’s policy is based on an educational rather than enforcement approach, similar to policies in most cities and districts.

Resident Smith Morrison, 37, was asked about the rules when visiting the Feilding Farmers’ Market. He said the policy would improve health and wellbeing by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke and discourage youngsters to smoke.

“I think the district should have adopted the policy at least three years ago. However, I am glad that both smoke and vape are included in the policy because vaping is as bad as smoking.”

In the 2018 census, Manawatū’s smoking rate was found to be above the national average, at 14% of the district’s population. Some demographics, such as adult males in rural areas, had smoking rates as high as 75%.

The New Zealand Health Survey 2020/21 showed the smoking rate was 10.9%, with 6.2% of the population being daily e-cigarette users (including nicotine-free vaping) in New Zealand.

The council agreed the policy did not require public consultation as it had limited impact on the public.

According to the Ministry of Health, around 5000 people die each year in New Zealand because of smoking or second-hand smoke exposure.

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