Parliament smoking ban leading by example - Fox

Parliament smoking ban leading by example - Fox

Marama Fox is praising the decision to make the front of Parliament smoke-free, saying it ends the hypocrisy of imposing bans elsewhere.

The forecourt and lawn of New Zealand's Parliament are now smoke-free, which Speaker of the House David Carter says will make experiencing the halls of power that much better for visitors.

The ban will be in force from Thursday.

"Each year thousands of people visit Parliament, and it's important their experience is positive and welcoming.

"I'm delighted to provide a healthier environment by extending the smoke free boundary at Parliament and supporting the transition towards a smoke-free New Zealand," he says.

Smoking out the back of Parliament is still allowed.

In May, Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox called on Parliament to lead by example by making the area smoke-free.

She asked Mr Carter to make Parliament smoke-free and had discussions about where the ban would apply.

"I think it's absolutely brilliant, I challenged Parliament to lead by example and not be hypocritical in requiring schools to be smoke-free and workplaces to be smoke-free and yet our on Parliament grounds were not.

"I thought it was disrespectful to have dignitaries be ushered through the front door while people are out the front door having a fag."

Still having an area to smoke is a "happy compromise" for workers who need a place to smoke, she says.

"If you're bound to this place because of the rules, then we must accommodate people…I'm happy with that, especially out the front where we receive our dignitaries - it's our front of Parliament, our face to the world."

She believes the several months it took to make the decision was relatively quick considering how long it can take for some things to be done around Parliament.

"That's what I've found in Parliament is that most things happen at the rate of molasses. There are checks and balances that need to be put in place," she says.

Much of Wellington could soon be smoke-free, with the council planning to ban smoking in Civic Square, the Botanic Gardens, bus stops, entrances to buildings and laneways in a bid to become the world's first smoke-free capital.

Ms Fox backs the plan, saying it echoes the Government's mission to be smoke-free by 2025.

h3 Free Parliament wifi h3

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Service has also launched a free wifi in the public areas of Parliament buildings where mobile devices are allowed.

It will also eventually include the grounds of the Parliament precinct.

The 'Parliament Free' wifi network doesn't require a password or any other details to connect.

Labour MP and chair of the parliamentary cross-party committee for ICT, Clare Curran, says Parliament is one of the most-visited public places in the country.

"[Free wifi] shows a genuine commitment to public engagement by our Parliament."   

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