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Smith’s million dollar white elephant

Charles Chauvel
Environment Spokesperson

10 August 2011

Smith’s million dollar white elephant

A new $1 million government waste initiative looks set to hit the skids before it even launches, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Charles Chauvel says.

National’s plan to promote e-waste recycling will see 15 new electronic drop-off centres set up around the country over the next two years.

“Given New Zealand is facing a looming waste crisis with the digital television switchover, Nick Smith’s proposal might look good in theory, but practically it raises some serious questions,” Charles Chauvel said.

“The scheme relies on the user paying, and anecdotally we already know people simply won’t pay to recycle their old TV sets and computers, and will dump them in landfills instead.

“E-Day, where people could take their old computers to be recycled for free has been canned, and the Minister himself has estimated something like 400,000 televisions are likely to be ditched come next September. That’s a lot of toxic waste that has to go somewhere.

“Labour has said for some time now that we need a comprehensive recycling programme, along similar lines to Australia’s Product Stewardship Bill, which allows people to take their old sets to the store when they go to buy a new one and leave it with the retailer for recycling,” Charles Chauvel said.

"A small surcharge - a few dollars - is added to the price of the new set to pay for the scheme, which means taxpayers wouldn't have to fund it. What we’ve got from Nick Smith instead, is a very expensive non-starter.”


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