National Party sets its sights on illegal dumpers
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.