Council, 25 June 2009.

Explanatory note

Policy updated 28 June 2018.

On 28 June 2018, the Council resolved to extend the smokefree policy to include Council-owned footpaths used for outdoor dining noting it is voluntary in nature.


By focusing on public outdoor locations, the Council will send a positive message that our children and young people’s health and the environment (i.e. litter and fires) should be protected from the effects of smoking. Compliance with the policy would be voluntary and it would not be enforced by Council staff. The objective which the Council seeks to achieve would not unduly infringe the ability of others to smoke in outdoor public places should they want to.

Definitions and scope

There are around 849 neighbourhood parks that are generally small and provide places for informal recreation and small scale community events and facilities. They form part of a network of open space that includes walkways and cycle-ways. There are around 49 garden and heritage parks.These parks vary in size and have a significant place in our natural and cultural heritage. Garden and heritage parks also play a significant role in supporting the Garden City image of Christchurch. The Council manages around 97 regional parks that are large open spaces, mostly on the urban fringe, that protect and enhance scenic, cultural and environmental values. There are around 112 sports parks in the district. These parks, which are generally large, green areas, enable people to participate in organized sport and other forms of active and passive recreation. There are around 383 outdoor playgrounds that provide places for recreation and play.


The policy will contribute to Christchurch District Community Outcomes for ‘a safe and healthy communities’.

Relevant legislation

The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA 2002) states that one of the purposes of councils is to promote the social, economic, environment and cultural wellbeing of communities in the present and for the future. Section 11 of LGA 2002 provides that the role of councils is to give effect to their purpose, and perform the duties and exercise the rights conferred on them by under LGA 2002. Section 23 of the Health Act 1956 also states that it is the duty of every council to improve, promote and protect public health within its district.

Policy details

The core objective of this policy is the reduction of smoking uptake by children and young people. This policy is an educational tool to discourage smoking in public outdoor places where people, particularly children and young people, gather.

Key policy areas

  • Council-owned parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Reserves
  • Sports parks
  • Gardens and heritage parks
  • Bus passenger shelters
  • Council buildings and facilities (principal entrances and exits)
  • Council footpaths licenced for outdoor dining use

The public will be asked to refrain from smoking in Council-owned playgrounds and parks (including sports parks); buildings and facilities principal entrances and exits; bus passenger shelters; and licenced outdoor dining areas. Smokefree signage, as appropriate, will be displayed at these public spaces.

Council-owned events

Events owned by Council will be consistently promoted as smokefree events. The need for smokefree events would be promoted in the events team’s promotional material, public announcements at events and on screen at major events such as Sparks. All other events that are held on Council-owned land are provided the opportunity to use Council Smokefree signage and encouraged to promote being Smokefree where possible.

Information and education

The Council will work with Smokefree Canterbury member organisations (Community and Public Health  and Cancer Society) to ensure a robust communications plan is rolled out that promotes positive role modelling. The Council will work with Smokefree Canterbury members to ensure information relating to the new legislation and the health impacts of smoking and passive smoking are easily accessible to the community. Messages on signage and any communications will focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Smokefree signs will be integrated in the signs replacement/renewal programme where it is appropriate in parks, playgrounds, and other Council-owned and managed open public places. For example, smokefree signs may not be appropriate in remote locations, where there is low usage and exposure of the area, or where there are other hazards which take priority over smokefree signage in the area (e.g. cliff dangers).

The policy is not a ban on smoking in a public place.  No enforcement measures will be used against those who breach the policy.  Introducing a policy where people can choose to comply is in the spirit of promoting health lifestyle choices.


There are no delegated authorities to apply the policy.

Associate procedure

As partners of the investigation, development and implementation of the policy, Smokefree Canterbury member organisations will be involved in the monitoring and evaluation of the policy.

Approval date

25 June 2009

Dates updated

  • 28 June 2018 (updated)
  • 25 June 2015 (updated)
  • 25 June 2012 (reconsidered)


General Manager City Environment