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Greens’ waste Bill well intended but needs work, CCC suggests

18 August 2006

The Green party’s Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill, if it became law, would be unacceptable but the Christchurch City Council thinks that it is a good foundation to build on and provide solutions to the country’s wasteful habits.

The Bill is open for submissions until 1 September. Introducing it in June, Nandor Tanczos, the party’s environment spokesperson, said it “provides an economic engine to drive waste minimisation through the levy. It provides a body to provide national coordination and leadership, and it gives a mechanism to reduce the production of waste in the first place through the extended producer responsibility provisions.”

Christchurch City Council is one of several local bodies whose waste minimisation levies were recently overturned in court. Councillors on Thursday (17 August) decided on a submission which supports the Bill’s intentions but warns that, without changes, it is unlikely to achieve its aims.

The submission, to be presented by Mayor Garry Moore and Councillor Sally Buck, says the national debate about reducing waste is positive and supports the Bill’s greater emphasis on national and local waste minimisation policy and tools. It also believes a national levy makes sense, as does the idea of councils cooperating regionally and seeking more commitment from business.

However, it also says the Bill, if it becomes law, would be too rigid and administering and enforcing it would likely result in excessive costs. For this reason, the council says, it would be unacceptable to the public, business and councils.

“Christchurch has done more about waste minimisation than any other city in New Zealand and we are keen for progress to be made on this nationally,” Mr Moore says. “The Council believes its experience and the research staff have done looking at best overseas practice will be of great assistance to Parliament as it considers how to modify the Bill so it can achieve its intentions.

“We think the law needs to focus more on avoiding and reusing what we currently dump and encouraging us throughout New Zealand to develop solutions which suit our local circumstances, rather than saying exactly how things should be done,” Mr Moore says. “This Bill could potentially deal with all ‘wastes’ – liquid, gaseous, energy, as well as material going to landfills that could be used again.”

● The full report, including the submission, can be viewed here

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