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First Steps Towards National Waste Minimisation

First Steps Towards A National Waste Minimisation Strategy

A plan to help reduce the amount of waste generated nationwide has been unveiled by the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, and Local Government New Zealand representative, Don Riesterer, at the Zero Waste Conference in Kaitaia today.

Towards a Waste Minimisation Strategy is a report that has been developed by a
Working Group established in July this year by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand. Don Riesterer, Mayor of Opotiki is a member of the working group.

"The Government has acknowledged the importance of reducing waste and this report has given the development of a waste minimisation process a good start," Marian Hobbs said. "There is still a lot of work to be completed before a National Waste Minimisation Strategy can be fully endorsed by the Government."

The report emphasises that the purpose of preventing wastes is to protect our environment.

"To do this effectively we must fully value our resources," the Minister said. "One practical implication of this is that those discharging wastes, whether to land, air or water, should pay the full costs of doing so, including the environmental costs."

The report also emphasises the need to take a broad view of waste streams. The working group recommend not only addressing the issue of solid waste but also waste that ends up in our water and air.

The group also proposes that the economic value of waste materials be recognised.

"Quite often there’s brass in muck," Marian Hobbs said.

"A number of community groups, councils and businesses are already successfully diverting resources from the waste stream, and we need to encourage these activities."

The working group has proposed a levy on waste to fund waste minimisation activities.

"There is still work to be done to determine the effectiveness of this idea and to determine how a levy could be administered, what effect it would have on waste flows and illegal dumping, and what criteria would be used to determine how the revenue could be spent," Marian Hobbs said.

"In the coming months a great deal of work is needed to ensure that a robust strategy is developed, and that proposed policy options are affordable and achievable."

The release of the draft strategy is designed to stimulate discussion and debate on waste issues that will help to form the final strategy.

The Minister, Local Government New Zealand and the Working Group invite comments on the content and direction of the Draft Waste Minimisation Report. Copies of the report are available from the Ministry for the Environment and from both the Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand websites.


Paddy Gresham (04) 917 7486
Manager - Pollution and Waste Group
Ministry for the Environment


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