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Kiwis must clean up their act

Kiwis must clean up their act

Green MP Mike Ward has offered a novel way to encourage New Zealanders to be more mindful of their rubbish during this week's Clean Up New Zealand Week: "Leave it lying around or send the rubbish back where it came from."

Mr Ward, the Green spokesperson for Waste said few kiwis make the effort these days to 'Keep New Zealand Beautiful' so he is calling for those who do to put their feet up for a week to expose the amount of litter New Zealanders leave lying around the country.

"Instead of sending the tidy to clean up after the untidy, we should leave the huge volume of trash lying around or send it back to the fast food outlets, retailers and manufacturers from where it came," said Mr Ward.

"This would send a far more urgent signal to the Government that cosmetic surgery and good intentions are no longer enough.

"'100% Pure' may be the brand but trash is the reality and annual cleanups are no substitute for real measures to clean up our act."

Mr Ward said the business community must take the lead. "We are sufficiently offended by litter to hold a special clean up day every year, on top of the regular local body litter maintenance.

"However, a few dollars in sponsorship from a handful in a business community that is largely responsible for the crud that litters our landscape, seems entirely inadequate.

Mr Ward said Clean Up New Zealand does not address the real problem in New Zealand in that we simply produce far too much waste. He said litter is just a tiny portion, but the most visible, of the four billion kilograms of waste that go into our landfills every year.

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"While the idea of a cleaner country is admirable, persuading New Zealanders to head out with clean-sac and good intent knowing full well that the contents of the clean-sac will be buried, out of sight and out of mind, begs the question when are we going to get serious about producing products that are made to last.

"Instead of manufacturers, packagers and retailers beavering away to produce the reason for next year's Clean Up week, we must provide real incentives to reduce the vast quantities of packaging. The cost of the cleanup belongs to the people who gain most from the products and the packages, namely the manufacturers, packagers and the retailers.

Mike Ward has prepared a private members bill putting a levy on plastic shopping bags and Green co-leader Rod Donald heads to North America this week to investigate beverage container deposits in the US and Canada. Both measures that the NZ Government has been unwilling to entertain.

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