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The National Party will request Parliament’s Environment Select Committee formally examines plastic pollution in our oceans, reflecting increasing international scientific and public concern about the issue, National’s Environment spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“Plastic waste in our oceans is a rapidly emerging environmental issue that is killing marine life and contaminating human food sources. It is deeply concerning that by 2050 it is projected there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish and it is time something more was done.

“While our contribution will be small by international comparison we must do our bit to reduce it and a Parliamentary report into New Zealand’s contribution will help us do that.

“It will show how significantly New Zealand’s oceans are affected by plastic, where it is coming from, and what kind of plastic it is which will help us tackle it.

“It will also help us build on our reputation as world leaders in ocean conservation, on top of conservation measures like the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area and National’s proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, our fisheries management system and our ban on microbeads.

“And while we have continued to build our recycling infrastructure and to improve our attitudes to waste and recycling, we must do even better – focusing on improving our recycling rates and reducing our demand for plastic in the first place.

“With Parliament’s Environment Committee lacking work to do because the Government is failing to put forward any legislation, this is a real chance to make a difference in an area of growing importance.”

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