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Give Kremers an award, not a conviction

Give Kremers an award, not a conviction

The actions of the Ashburton District Council to bring charges against a civic-minded tip recycler have been described by Green MP Mike Ward as "short-sighted, unfortunate and environmentally insensitive".

Methven recycler Michael Kremers was convicted of trespassing and banned from entering the Methven tip for two years after being police found him retrieving recyclable materials that were destined to be buried.

"Instead of giving Mr Kremers a conviction, the guy deserves a key to the tip," said Mr Ward, the Green spokesperson for Waste Issues. "While they're at it, why not give him a contract to work at the tip every day?

"Seriously, in a country that throws away 10 million kilograms every day into holes in the ground, guys like Michael Kremers are to be commended, not convicted.

"It's very clear that Methven has a problem and Mr Kremers seems to be the man that could solve their problem. He's making good use of the rubbish that would be otherwise go to complete waste."

Mr Ward said people like Michael Kremers should be encouraged for their commitment to recycling, and applauded Judge Bisphan's sympathy for not imposing a penalty. However, "it should have never come to this," he said.

"I believe the Ashburton District Council have blown a damn good opportunity to do something constructive about their waste issues by banning Mr Kremers for two years.

"It is unfortunate, the Council had the opportunity here to establish a working relationship with a committed conservationist. My advice would be, sit down and talk with him and come up with a lasting solution."

Mr Ward sees a novel way in which the Ashburton District Council could redeem itself - an annual Kremers Award.

"How about restoring some goodwill by offering an award to the most civic-minded recycler in the area? The annual Kremers Award should go to a good citizen who has taken the initiative to help reduce the mountain of waste that the District produces.

"Otherwise, I suggest the Ashburton District Council award for the most short-sighted and environmentally insensitive action by a local body," he said. "This could be a nationwide competition."

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