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Greens want waste-free New Zealand

26 January, 2004
Greens want waste-free New Zealand

The Green Party sees a waste-free society as essential to New Zealand's future well being and will push for product durability standards, package reuse and an end to landfills to achieve it.

"We must change the culture around waste, just as we have with drink-driving," said MP Mike Ward, the Green spokesperson on waste reduction.

The Greens' Waste Free policy, launched today at the party's Summer Policy Conference, also calls for a dedicated waste minimisation agency, packaging levies and deposit refund schemes. The underlying vision for the Greens' proposals, a waste-free New Zealand by 2020, echoes recent calls from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE).

In 'See Change: Learning and education for sustainability', the PCE observed that New Zealanders each generate 900kg of waste a year, "considerably more than the waste produced by the average American".

The report asserted that our increasing consumption demonstrably creates more waste and less happiness.

"Working longer and longer hours to buy stuff that just gets thrown away is a waste of perfectly good lives and a rather wonderful planet," said Mr Ward, "it is not environmentally or socially sustainable."

The Greens' proposed waste-minimisation agency would be modelled on the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority, established in 2001 through the efforts of Jeanette Fitzsimons, which uses action-based, win-win partnerships to encourage consumers to make the right choices.

"We will be helping to make the shift by providing the ideas and telling the good stories that show how buying quality and avoiding waste is more attractive than trashing the planet," said Mr Ward.

The launch of the Waste Policy concluded what Green Co-leader Rod Donald described as "the most positive, lively Summer Policy Conference that we've ever had".

"As well as work-shopping a wide range of policies, the conference endorsed our parliamentary caucus' stand on the Foreshore and Seabed. Those principles will form the basis of the party's response when the Government unveils its proposed legislation.

"Another highlight was the launch of a Green campaign to save New Zealand's largest braided river, the Waitaki, from the proposed Project Aqua hydro scheme."

ENDS

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