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No-waste strategy should extend beyond Canterbury

The Green Party has congratulated Prime Minister Jenny Shipley for highlighting the foolishness of siting a rubbish dump in the Malvern Hills near Christchurch.

However Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald is challenging the Prime Minister to put her money where her mouth is by adopting a zero waste strategy at central government level.

"I urge Mrs Shipley to make a commitment to implementing a zero waste strategy if she is serious about stopping the rubbish dump near Darfield. Unless there is leadership and political will at the national level, local authorities throughout New Zealand will face the increasingly impossible task of persuading rural communities to accept rubbish from cities such as Christchurch," Mr Donald said.

"It's all very well for Jenny Shipley to say Canterbury's rubbish shouldn't be dumped in her electorate. The harsh reality is that her government is doing less to minimise waste and promote recycling than National was doing in government 20 years ago."

Mr Donald said that when he was the Christchurch City Council recycling officer in 1979, the Department of Trade and Industry had a unit dedicated to waste reduction and recycling initiatives.

"When 'hands off' government came into vogue the unit was closed down and we have gone backwards ever since.

"The Green Party would be very happy to work with the Prime Minister on this issue if she is open to genuine solutions to our rubbish problem.

"What she needs to accept is that there must be both central government incentives to reduce waste and recycle the remainder, and also penalties imposed on those who won't play their part.

"If New Zealand is to give substance to its clean, green image the government has to stop relying on voluntary codes of practise by industry which aren't working. We are well behind Europe, and even Australia is doing more to achieve zero waste," he said.

Mr Donald has been asked by the Malvern anti-dumping group to speak at their public meeting on Monday 5 July in Darfield (8.00pm, Darfield High School).

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