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Northland waste plan is trucking away jobs

30 August 2005

Northland waste plan is trucking away jobs

Plans to truck Northland's waste to Auckland at a cost of $16,000-a-day are environmentally shortsighted and are throwing away an opportunity to create jobs in the region, Green Party Waste-free Spokesperson Mike Ward says.

"It seems bizarre that the economically and environmentally suspect option of trucking Northland's waste to Auckland is still going to work out cheaper than building a new landfill at a cost of $10 million," Mr Ward says.

"But it simply shortsighted that the relevant decision makers are not prioritising a reduction in the total volume of going to landfills in the first place. Resource recovery techniques exist for keeping much of the waste out of the ground in both Northland and Auckland. And clearly $16,000-a-day would buy a lot of resource recovery jobs in the North.

"We have come to the end of cheap land filling, where it costs virtually nothing to throw stuff in a hole in the ground, because environmental requirements are becoming more realistically stringent. The business of waste disposal is only going to become more expensive and it is the ratepayers that are footing the bill.

"We are seeing huge increases in the amount of waste being produced by manufacturers and consumers - 10 million kilos a day and growing. The resulting huge costs on cash-strapped local authorities is not on when there are internationally tried and tested methods like container deposits and plastic bag levies that discourage folk from taking home products with a short shelf life and packaging that can not be recycled.

"My private member's Waste Minimisation Bill, currently in the ballot, would introduce a national landfill levy which would deter waste from being trucked to other regions and ban materials that can be recycled from going to landfill, both of which would make resource recovery jobs more viable.

"It also focuses on requiring producers and consumers to be more responsible, environmentally and financially, for the disposal of waste. Extended Producer Responsibility measures that require manufacturers to take responsibility for the life-cycle of their products, because ultimately it is the waste generators who should pay for waste disposal.

ENDS

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