After indoor fire bylaws were called partly ineffective by council staff, they have been okay-ed for an investigation into improvements.
At the Regulatory committee on August 9, council staff received the go-ahead to explore more effective options in the Indoor Domestic Fires Bylaw 2017.
The bylaw currently addresses issues like public nuisance from indoor fires, prohibited fuels, and suitable design of indoor fireplaces.
The item report found the bylaw filled a regulatory gap on design but public nuisance doubled up with the Unitary Plan and prohibited fuels were unenforceable.
Policy advisor Chelsea Majoor said in Auckland, fine particles linked to domestic fires contributed to 260 premature deaths and domestic fireplaces were related to over $700 million in health-related social costs.
“The review has found only half of the bylaw is working well,” Majoor said.
Cr Daniel Newman said parts of the bylaw, like prohibited fuels, were difficult to enforce without a warrant. “Have you ever sought a warrant for the purpose of investigation and enforcement?” Newman asked.
Senior policy manager Paul Wilson said council had not sought a warrant under the bylaw. “They do get investigated but they are lower priority. There is that delayed response time,” Wilson said.
Member Glenn Wilcox said that there was a small number of things covered in the bylaw that are not already regulated through other bylaws. Wilcox suggested collapsing the bylaw may be the right approach.
Council staff will investigate options for the bylaw and come back to the committee for approval next year.