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Wellington smoking ban being pushed from Japan

Feb 2nd, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Hiroshi Yoshikawa campaigning in Wellington for the 2011 General Election

Anyone can make a difference in the future of Wellington, even if they live in another country.

A Japanese man who visited Wellington late last year has created an ePetition in an attempt to prohibit public smoking in the Wellington city area.

Hiroshi Yoshikawa, 62, of Kashiwa City, Japan, came to Wellington in October last year to assist the New Zealand Green Party election campaign.

He said after living in Wellington for nearly two months, he noticed a large number of people smoking in public.

“I saw many people smoking on the street and felt very bad,” he says.

In his native city of Kashiwa, Mr Yoshikawa says smoking in public areas is illegal, and any person who goes against regulation is fined 2000 Yen, roughly $31 NZD.

He says Wellington has a world reputation as a beautiful, clean green city, and by petitioning the council, he hopes to help it maintain that reputation.

Anyone can create an ePetition – an online petition on the Wellington City Council website – about any issue the council is responsible for.

Communications and marketing manager for Wellington City Council, Trina Saffioti, says the number of ePetitions created annually varies, but they are usually issues people feel strongly about.

Once the ePetition closes, it is verified and presented in an appropriate meeting.

Despite the low number of signatures Mr Yoshikawa’s ePetition has so far received, he will still be given a chance to present it.

“Even if you only have five signatures, it’s still democracy in action,” says Saffioti.

This could prove difficult for Mr Yoshikawa though, who is currently seeking someone to present the ePetition on his behalf.

“If somebody could present instead of me, it will be best,” he says.

To sign Mr Yoshikawa’s ePetition, go to Wellington.govt.nz, click on Have Your Say, and follow the link.

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