Monday, January 7, 2013

NZ Post: Please Check Your Front Steps

The bench, as seen on Google...
Recently in Wellington, I sat on a bench beside NZ Post House, a corporate structure on Waterloo Quay.
Just a simple concrete bench, somewhere to park the bum for ten minutes. The good thing: within two metres were two 'No Smoking' signs, which meant I'd have clean air to relax in. But within two minutes, the best-laid plans of mice and men began to unwravel, to wit:
3.30pm - sat down.
3.32pm - a couple stood behind me and lit cigarettes. When the no-smoking area was pointed out to them, they moved begrudgingly away into the nearby carpark.
3.35pm - a woman lit up beside me. When I showed her the sign, she apologised and walked off.
3.39pm - a man leant on the wall behind me and lit up. When asked to move, he got rather snotty, took two paces out onto the footpath and sniped: "Is this good enough?"
3.43pm - another smoking couple arrived: their response to my enquiries was another grumpy departure.
3.45pm - Hmmm, thought I, if I'm feeling such little love, then who - if anyone - enforces these no-smoking areas? Was the answer above? Up the lift to NZ Post's office...but the receptionist could not enlighten me at all. She seemed lacking in any knowledge of who actually owned the building and thus who was administratively in charge. She did know that a no-smoking zone existed: "The zone's been there for quite a while, but we only removed the butt bin a few months ago." I must be a little slow. What's the point of a no-smoking zone, if it has a bin for cigarette butts?
3.55pm - Down the lift, and outside to count the number of 'No Smoking' signs nearby. What did I find? NINE of 'em, not only by the seat but also at strategic points all around the open carpark in front of NZ Post House...where I also found two more smokers puffing away by the cars. The response from one, when I pointed out to her the sign less than a metre away, was: "So? Everyone else does it here!" 8 smokers in 25min in a signed 'No Smoking' area! WTF!!!
Scene of the crime: the No Smoking carpark is behind
the trees: the bench is to the right - thanx, Google!

It's the same with those who text while filling their cars at service stations! Though signs forbid this, many do it anyway. Yet I've never seen a service station attendant tell anyone to stop texting.
So the question remains: who polices no-smoking zones?
What - if anything - are the penalties for lighting up there?
People with commonsense observe a sign, whether there's a penalty attached or not. Others seem to have a "What are ya gonna do about it?" attitude.
If those who erect these signs do nothing, then the policing seems left to those who're concerned enough to say something. But they have no power to actually do anything, and may even get themselves in trouble.
Surely it's the responsibility of those who erect the signs to police the area. If they fail in this regard, there should be penalties against them, for failing in their civic duties or employer responsibilities.
THAT may make the rest take notice...or take the signs down.


Fridayitis said...

Hear hear. And do you know if NZPost is going to do anything about their situation?

Writer Of The Purple Sage said...

I haven't had any response from them as yet.
However this post HAS been getting an unusual amount of hits. Perhaps it's 'doing the rounds' among NZ Post Head Office staff first!
Watch this space...hopefully a response will be forthcoming soon.

Writer Of The Purple Sage said...

Well, here's a response:
"Dear Sir,
I am the investigator for your incident.
I have received a response back from the New Zealand Post Property Manager for Wellington.
In regard to your question: Is it NZ Post's responsibility to police this 'No Smoking' area at the foot of their building?
Yes, it is, in terms of our own staff. We have an acceptable code of conduct for all staff and one of the areas of conduct is that there is no smoking outside New Zealand Post House. Our staff have a designated area and this is away from the building.
We rely on the good will of the public to respond to the 'no smoking' request. In some cases they ignore the request. The building manger at New Zealand Post House will move people on when he sees them smoking in the 'no smoking' area. He holds regular daily inspections of the exterior of the building and does ask the smoking public to move away.
The signage is clearly visible but as this is a public area and members of the public do use the area to smoke, New Zealand Post is unable to enforce the request as it is only a request not a bylaw.
There is a Bylaw, number 24, laid down by the Wellington City Council that states ‘smoking is prohibited in any area with a Dangerous Goods sign and in Cable Car Lane’, but there are no other bylaws in place to stop any member of the public smoking outside a building.

Kay Currey."
So there you have it - nothing's changed.
So again I ask, what's the point of the 'No Smoking' area if it's NOT 'No Smoking' at all???