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Industry challenges to bylaw partially successful

Media Release
3 April 2006

Industry challenges to bylaw partially successful

Local Councils have failed in a bid to get the waste industry to contribute towards the costs of waste planning and minimisation initiatives.

Waitakere City, North Shore City, Rodney District, and Christchurch City had each passed bylaws which would have seen waste collectors and contractors levied for every tonne of rubbish destined for landfill. The bylaw was designed to provide economic incentives for different methods of dealing with waste.

Proceeds from the levy would have been used by the Councils to fund waste planning and minimisation initiatives, with corresponding environmental benefits, as intended by the Local Government Act. Unfortunately the High Court determined the Act was not sufficiently prescriptive to allow a levy of this type.

Waitakere City Council spokesperson Jon Roscoe says the decision is disappointing, particularly because some confidence had been expressed by government officials (from Ministry for the Environment and Department of Internal Affairs) that the legislation permitted this sort of levy through a bylaw. He says that it is also disappointing to note that amendments to the Local Government Act 1974 to remove any uncertainty which existed, and which were first promoted by Waitakere City in 2004, are not likely to be considered in the recently announced Local Government Reform Bill.

Discussions however have been continuing with key waste industry stakeholders, Councils and several ministries, including the Ministry for the Environment, to resolve a nationally based waste levy scheme to allow for waste reduction initiatives.

In a separate set of proceedings heard at the same time a challenge was also mounted against the ability of the Waitakere City, North Shore City and Rodney District bylaws to introduce a licensing regime for contractors carting waste within those districts. This was unsuccessful and the licensing provisions of the bylaw were upheld.

Mr Roscoe says that the Court’s decision in relation to both matters seems relatively straight forward but he is not prepared to comment further until the Council has had time to consider the decision in detail.

He is unsure at this stage whether the Councils will be prepared to appeal the decision.


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