Ook in Nieuw Zeeland zijn er plannen om per december dit jaar algemene rookverboden in de horeca af te kondigen. Maar het verzet is hevig: veel pub-eigenaren op met name het zuidelijke eiland dreigen bij elke overtreding de alarmcentrale te zullen bellen, zodat deze overbezet zullen raken.
Calling 111 when someone lights a cigarette or cutting “smoke portholes” in the walls are options some Kiwi bar owners might be tempted to try when smoking is banned in the country’s 10,500 bars in December.
The portholes strategy was used by Irish pub owners faced with a smokers’ revolt after smoking was banned in bars there in March.
Already a South Island publican has been causing headaches for emergency services by dialling 111 whenever a smoker lights up in his pub.
“They (emergency services) got really upset, but I’m not sorry about that,” says publican Geoff Mulvihill at Timaru’s Carlton Hotel.
While some bar owners might be prepared to sit back and wait for the demise of the classic Kiwi pub as a result of the new law coming into force on December 10, around 20 other country pubs have joined Mulvihill in the 111 protest.
A non-smoker, Mulvihill held “smoke-free” days in August where customers were given free cigarettes with two drinks, but he was forced to stop after health officers told him he was breaking the law.
His actions are supported by other mainly small-town publicans, who say most of their customers smoke. They are worried their profits will plunge following the law change.
Mark Barrack, part-owner of Auckland’s Duke of Wellington pub, is concerned about staff safety. “It’s fine while customers are sober, but when they’ve had a few (drinks) it will be a different story. I refuse point blank to put my staff at risk.”