Na­tional Party sets its sights on il­le­gal dumpers

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties will soon have the power to re­ally hit il­le­gal dumpers and lit­ter­bugs where it hurts if Na­tional MP Scott Simp­son has his way.

Mr Simp­son has drawn up a pri­vate Mem­ber’s Bill that would in­crease the max­i­mum on-the-spot in­fringe­ment fines coun­cils can hand out to those caught lit­ter­ing from the cur­rent “measly” $400 to a “se­ri­ous” $1000.

“This will send a clear mes­sage to those who lit­ter that it is en­tirely un­ac­cept­able,” he said.

“It re­ally an­noys me see­ing our beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment ru­ined by the care­less and thought­less ac­tions of lazy lit­ter­bugs. It’s sadly far too com­mon to see peo­ple brazenly throw­ing lit­ter from mov­ing cars, to say noth­ing of oth­ers who dump their rub­bish with­out a thought about the im­pacts.

“My Mem­ber’s Bill will en­sure coun­cils have a more pow­er­ful tool to help pre­vent lit­ter­ing and keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe and clean. It is due to have its sec­ond read­ing in Par­lia­ment in Fe­bru­ary.”

Coun­cils and com­mu­ni­ties were con­tin­u­ally deal­ing with the mess left be­hind by those who pre­ferred to lit­ter the coun­try­side than dis­pose of their rub­bish legally and prop­erly, he said. As the MP for Coro­man­del, he saw how par­tic­u­larly bad lit­ter was dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, when thou­sands of vis­i­tors ar­rived, some of them car­ing lit­tle about the lit­ter they left be­hind when they went home.

“With the cur­rent max­i­mum in­fringe­ment fine set at just $400, some coun­cils don’t even bother is­su­ing on-the-spot lit­ter fines. I hope an in­crease to a $1000 max­i­mum will change that, and send a strong mes­sage to lit­ter­bugs,” he said.

The Bill built on Na­tional’s pre­vi­ous ef­forts to curb lit­ter­ing, which in­cluded the ‘Do the Right Thing’ anti-lit­ter­ing cam­paign and fund­ing of more than $80 mil­lion for more than 130 projects through the Waste Min­imi­sa­tion Fund.

“Fines are just one part of the so­lu­tion, but, com­bined with work­ing with coun­cils and chang­ing peo­ple’s at­ti­tudes, I be­lieve we can re­duce the amount of lit­ter left be­hind and en­sure our en­vi­ron­ment looks bet­ter, our wildlife is bet­ter pro­tected, and our clean, green rep­u­ta­tion is up­held,” Mr Simp­son said.

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