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No guilt intended in progressive nappy call

No guilt intended in progressive nappy call

Green MP Mike Ward says the party's recently launched pro-cloth nappy campaign is not intended to be a 'guilt trip' for parents and that some criticism seems to assume that disposables are empty when dumped.

A Hawke's Bay columnist reacted to the Greens' cloth nappy call by labelling Mr Ward a 'reactionary' standing in the way of progress and said "parenting is hard enough without adding guilt feelings to the job".

"New Zealand has to get real about waste," said Mr Ward, the Green Party Waste-free Spokesperson.

"Continually filling up landfills and leaving our grandchildren with a damaged environment is not progress. The Green campaign on nappies is not about returning to 'old-fashioned' methods. We have clearly pointed out that modern, pre-sewn cloth naps are equally convenient, meaning they do not fall off, do not risk pricking baby with pins, draw moisture away avoiding nappy rash and, with liners, are easy to clean up.

"The Green Party's involvement in this campaign is aimed at political decision-makers, so any guilt felt by parents is unfortunate and unwarranted. Local government is spending money dumping disposables that could be used to subsidise laundering services that swap soiled naps for clean ones, as many local bodies in Britain are now doing. Work and Income could offer grants or loans to provide low income earners with the initial lump sum needed to get started with modern cloth nappies, which otherwise save money over time."

Meanwhile a political commentator claimed recently that each baby would have to use 13 kilos of nappies a week to dump two tonnes of them during their infancy. At 50 grams each, this meant babies would be using 250 nappies a week, which would cost far more than the $30 weekly saving Mr Ward quoted.

"This Wellington insider obviously weighed an empty disposable. The gels used in throwaway nappies, banned in women's sanitary products two decades ago, soak up a fair amount of liquid, so a full nap can weigh much, much more than 50 grams. The total weight of used nappies in a household's waste stream does add up to many kilos a week."

Mr Ward's next nappy campaign moves will be: * Contacting the Environment Minister and for the Social Development Minister, who oversees Work and Income, to discuss overseas policies on the issue and how they can be adopted in New Zealand. * Writing to local authorities to encourage them to support cloth nappy initiatives such as laundering services and provision of initial supplies of modern cloth nappies. * Writing to hospitals to encourage them to support cloth nappies rather than handing out disposables.

"People understandably often take the easiest path available to them, so it's up to decision-makers to make the sustainable options the most convenient," said Mr. Ward.

For info on the British nappy initiatives visit or, in summary,


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