Judge to Weigh in on SkyCity Smoking Ban Exemption

For years, New Zealand’s Cancer Society and the Ministry of Health have been at odds over smoking lounge in SkyCity’s VIP area. Now, the Cancer Society has enlisted in Justice John Hansen to decide whether smoking should be permitted in the area once and for all.

The Diamond Lounge is considered an open area, allowing patrons to smoke, but the Cancer Society does not agree with this definition. Last year, the Ministry of Health sent investigators to determine just how open the space was, and it was deemed an open enough space to permit smoking. Representatives of the Cancer Society continued to disagree, and have decided to take the issue to court.

According to Duncan Webb of the Cancer Society, the Ministry of Health made “a fundamental error in the investigative process.” As such, the organization wants a second opinion.

Justice Hansen will offer up his take on the issue. His decision will provide the final conclusion for the case. The Cancer Society has fought long and hard to have the smoking ban exemption removed, and this will be the organization’s last chance to prove that the Diamond Lounge should be a smoke-free area.

SkyCity’s VIP Lounge Could Lose Smoking Privileges

SkyCity Auckland is stuck in the middle of a debate between the Cancer Society and the local government. The organization has challenged the government’s smoking ban policy and SkyCity’s VIP lounge could lose its indoor smoking privileges.

Despite New Zealand’s new indoor smoking ban rules, there are some areas that remain exempt. Patrons are not normally allowed to smoking inside casinos and other entertainment venues but the government’s definition of an ‘outdoor area’ has made it possible for the Diamond Lounge in SkyCity Auckland to allow players to smoke inside.

If the government redefines an outdoor area and it affects the Diamond Lounge, representatives state that they will not fight the decision. The casino will ban smoking in the VIP room, and officials state that the move will not have significant negative effects on its business. SkyCity has also refused to testify in the Cancer Society’s case against the government, so the operator is not entirely worried about losing profits as a result of banning smoking.

Nigel Morrison, chief executive of SkyCity, admits that he would like his casino to offer players the ability to smoke indoors, as many patrons are in fact smokers. However, he does understand that attitudes about smoking continue to change and that now could be the time for SkyCity to update its policies on the matter.