Strong demand for plastic bag levy
Mayors from across New Zealand have combined their voices to demand a plastic bag levy.
More than 90 per cent of New Zealand city and district mayors signed an open letter, calling on central government to impose a plastic bag levy, or set aside and let them take up the reins.
On Monday Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) sent the letter to Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson.
The letter follows revelations that a third of turtles and seabirds that washed up on New Zealand’s shores had plastic in their stomachs.
Signed by 65 mayors and council chairmen and chairwomen, the letter builds on a previous show of support from a 2015 LGNZ Conference, when 89 per cent of councils supported a levy.
‘‘The experience of those in local government is that plastic bags make a considerable impact on local environments and communities bear the environmental and financial burden,’’ an LGNZ spokesman said.
She said international experience had shown levies were effective in Denmark, Ireland and China, where they resulted in a dramatic reduction in plastic bag use.
The letter was launched in June by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, and supported by Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Dunedin’s Dave Cull.
Plastic bags often blow out of landfill and need to be recollected.