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14th Jul: Mayor joins call to introduce plastic bag levy
Published: 14 Jul 2017 - - Author: Mayor / WDC

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall has added his support to a call on the Government to impose a national levy on single-use plastic bags. 

He says, “I look forward to a future where plastic bags are no longer taken for granted at the supermarket checkout and where everyone in the community has been part of that change.”

PRESS RELEASE: Whanganui Mayor joins call to introduce plastic bag levy

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall has added his support to a call on the Government to impose a national levy on single-use plastic bags.

In May, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, supported by the mayors of Auckland and Dunedin, launched an open letter to the Associate Minister for the Environment, Scott Simpson, asking for the levy to be introduced, or for the power for local councils to regulate retailers themselves.

Mayor McDouall says, “It’s no longer good enough to continue to derogate the environment for the sake of convenience. We each have to take small actions for change. These individual actions will collectively build momentum and turn things around.”

“I look forward to a future where plastic bags are no longer taken for granted at the supermarket checkout and where everyone in the community has been part of that change.”

Mr McDouall says, “A compulsory levy at the point of sale is eminently doable and would make all the difference.”

Image - 'Stuff'

Around two-thirds of New Zealand mayors have now signed the letter, which states, “In England, for example, a compulsory levy was introduced in October 2015, which reduced plastic bag usage by 85% within six months. There's no reason we wouldn't achieve the same here in New Zealand.

“At the 2015 LGNZ Conference, 89% of councils supported a national levy on single-use plastic bags. Our experience in local government showed us that plastic bags were impacting our local environment and our communities were bearing the environmental and financial burden.

“Since then we have seen some improvements to encourage recycling, but we strongly believe more action is needed.

“We pride ourselves on our clean, green reputation in New Zealand. This is a practical step we can take to enhance that image and improve our natural environment.”

Mayor McDouall says, “Whanganui’s Resource Recovery Centre, a joint initiative between iwi, a community group and the Council, is an award-winning facility, and the Council has   committed to reducing waste to landfill by 50%. But we can do more. After a submission from Plastic Bag Free Whanganui, the Council is investigating the possibility of making Whanganui plastic bag free. I hope the government will also assist local authorities to progressively rid our environment of the scourge of single-use plastic bags. Step-by-step, we’re cleaning up our act.”

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