1 Oct 2013

Judgement in lounge smoking goes against SkyCity

6:06 pm on 1 October 2013

Smoking in a SkyCity lounge could be banned after a High Court Judge found the way smoking approval is determined, is inconsistent with the law.

The Ministry of Health uses an open air calculator, which takes into account floor space and ventilation.

The Cancer Society, the Salvation Army and the Problem Gambling Foundation brought the case, arguing the Diamond Lounge at SkyCity is not open air, but an enclosed space.

Although he did not rule on the Diamond Lounge itself, Justice Hansen said the calculator contradicts the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, and therefore smoking approval for the lounge needs to be reconsidered.

In a statement, SkyCity general counsel Peter Treacy said SkyCity will work to comply with the law if the Diamond Lounge is found not to be an open area following this judgment.

The Cancer Society says the ruling could have implications for bars country-wide. Spokesperson Jan Pearson said a new way of assessing smoking rooms needs to be established and fewer approved.

The Salvation Army says the Ministry of Health should re-examine all public smoking areas at venues that have been assessed using the ministry's Open Air Calculator.

National director of addiction services at the Salvation Army, Captain Jerry Walker, wants all previous approvals to be checked, to make sure they're all legal.

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson says the industry has found the open air calculator to be very appropriate and fit for purpose.

He says it's provided certainty for the industry in terms of what is acceptable and what is not.

The Ministry of Health says it will review the long term implications of the judgment on workplaces and licensed premises.