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Zero waste is a slogan, not a realistic goal

Media release
15 March 2007

Waste Bill unrealistic

Zero waste is a slogan, not a realistic goal, says Business NZ.

In its submission to the Local Government & Environment Select Committee today, Business NZ said the cost of recycling or treating every last scrap of waste would be colossal and would reduce the amount of money that could be spent more productively - for example, on infrastructure, health or education.

Business NZ economist John Pask told the committee that the Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill was an overreaction to the issue of waste.

“Those who generate waste should pay the full cost of dealing with it. And where there may be specific waste issues - for example in the disposal of used computers – the logical course of action would be specific treatment requirements.

“But there is no justification for an overall waste levy. That would just be another undifferentiated tax.”

Business NZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said the proposal for a waste levy had not been put to a cost/benefit test, and the case for more general interventions in the market for waste had not been proven.

“The nature of the New Zealand economy must also be considered – the terrain, the infrastructure, population density, and the fact that many products and materials may have to be moved from one end of the country to the other.

“The issue of waste deserves more sensible and specific treatment than slogans and catch-all levies. Industry-led solutions for specific waste management issues and improved education are better alternatives.

“Business NZ recommends that this Bill should not proceed.”


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