Thousands of Queenstown locals push for smoking ban

A Queenstown woman has collected more than 10,000 cigarette butts along the city's picturesque waterfront in just one month.

She's disgusted, and is calling on the council to ban smoking in the area.

Liz Smith was so disturbed by the amount of cigarette butts along Lake Wakatipu shore, she and her boys got stuck in and cleaned up the mess.

"We've got the lake, the mountains, and I think as locals and especially the council, we should be protecting this," she explained.

On day one she picked up 73 butts - and that pile only grew. On another day, she collected 1000.

The final total in one month? 10,527.

Ms Smith has had a few friendly chats with smokers while out collecting

"They were like, 'I would never discard a coffee cup or a chocolate packet', and yet they did with a cigarette butt - but they didn't realise the consequences of that."

Ms Smith says some cigarette butts come through the town's drains - others are from smokers who just ignore the bins.

She says the butts are made of plastic, leech chemicals and stick around for 10 years, and wants smoking totally banned in the area.

"The aspiration goals for New Zealand 2025 is to be smokefree - I'd love to see Queenstown take a stand and make this change first."

Thousands of locals have given her their support online and those Newshub spoke to also gave the thumbs up.

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult says it's a disgusting habit, but in considering a ban, the rights of smokers will need to be considered.

The council is looking at restrictions with a decision likely later this year

Ms Smith says the number of cigarette butts goes up dramatically when there's a major event or during peak tourist months.

She hopes with a bit of encouragement other people will have the same approach and keep Queenstown beautiful.