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Call for better tools for waste issues endorsed

MEDIA RELEASE

LGNZ endorses call for better tools to address waste issues

For immediate release on 13 July 2006

Local Government New Zealand says the report Changing behaviour: Economic instruments in the management of waste released yesterday by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment highlights some areas of ongoing concern for the local government sector.

President of Local Government New Zealand, Basil Morrison, says the report provides a useful contribution to the current debate on issues surrounding waste management policy and legislation.

“The report is timely given that some of the same issues it highlights are covered in the Waste Minimisation Bill which is currently before the Select Committee. We will be encouraging the Minister for the Environment and the Government to carefully consider and act on appropriate recommendations in the report.”

The report calls for greater use of economic tools in the management of waste, a concept that the local government sector has supported for sometime. These tools encompass a range of options to address the costs of waste management, such as the ‘polluter pays’ concept and waste levies.

“The notion of user pays, in the disposal of waste, is a concept that Local Government New Zealand supports. The key is to change peoples’ behaviour to the way they dispose of their waste products. If people are charged for dumping their rubbish this may have positive follow on effects in other areas such as recycling. People may become more conscious of the types of products and packaging they purchase,” says Mr Morrison.

Local Government New Zealand has been seeking clarification on the legality of councils’ ability to charge end users for waste disposal costs for sometime. The organisation therefore, endorses the report’s finding that such legislative barriers need to be addressed.

The organisation also agrees with the need for a broader legislative review, as envisaged by the New Zealand Waste Strategy and now well overdue.

“Like the Commissioner, we are also concerned that specific actions identified in the New Zealand Waste Strategy have not been implemented. Many sectors contributed to the development of strategies to address waste issues and it’s now time we saw some action.”

“Local authorities carry out their waste management functions as effectively as possible given the resources and legislative framework available to them. However, Government leadership is critical in making progress on waste management issues. We support the report in its call for renewed leadership from central government and will be closely monitoring progress in this area,” said Mr Morrison.

ENDS

Local Government New Zealand is the national voice of all 85 councils of New Zealand.

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