The Government must be responsible with Kiwi families’ incomes in their approach to waste and must consider their commitment to impose no new taxes when deciding on extending the waste disposal levy, National’s spokesperson for the Environment Scott Simpson says.

“The Government has made a commitment to introduce no new taxes in this term. Any move to increase the waste disposal levy, which they seem to be leaning towards, must be balanced against this promise.

“Excessively increasing the levy, as Minister Sage has spoken about, would increase costs on families and likely lead to more dumping of waste. This would be completely counterproductive to more effectively managing and reducing our waste.

“This Government is already adding thousands of dollars a year in costs to Kiwi households through cancelled tax cuts, higher rents, slower GDP growth and the cost of petrol. Extending and increasing the waste disposal levy would place more cost on Kiwi families who are already seeing increased costs under this Government.

“It must ensure that they are taking the best approach in terms of balancing the interests of the environment, Kiwis’ incomes and the industries who are spearheading the changes.

“The Government’s signalled approach to ban plastic bags is an example of needless virtue signalling. Especially when the industry was already phasing them out.

“Typically most cost effective efficient solutions are industry lead without the need for heavy-handed regulation. That’s why in Government, National worked hard with industry to take an industry-led response to combat the usage of single-use plastic bags.

“We secured an agreement that will see a reduction of 75 per cent of plastic bags used in New Zealand this year. And this was done without imposing new taxes, increasing costs on families or increasing regulation.

“People and businesses must be responsible for their own actions and inactions. Approaches by businesses and communities that promote reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering resources will see an attitude change that will have a more positive, enduring effect.

“National takes a very pragmatic and practical view towards environmental protection and enhancement. We are open to exploring other options in our effort to reduce waste. But we don’t want to see the Government imposing significant costs on Kiwis, especially in light of their promise to bring in no new taxes.”

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