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National’s Environment Spokesperson Scott Simpson’s Members Bill to toughen up the penalties for people caught illegally dumping rubbish has passed its first reading in Parliament today.

“Nothing annoys me more than seeing our beautiful natural environment ruined by the careless and thoughtless actions of lazy litter bugs”, Mr Simpson says.

“It’s far too common to see people brazenly throwing litter from moving cars to say nothing of others who dump their rubbish.

“That’s why I sponsored a Member’s Bill to ensure we have more tools to help prevent littering and keep our communities safe and clean. This Bill will increase the maximum instant fines councils can impose for those caught littering from measly $400 to a serious $1000. This will send a clear message to those who litter that it is entirely unacceptable.

“Local councils and communities are constantly dealing with the mess left behind by those who would rather litter our countryside than dispose of their rubbish correctly. New Zealanders are rightly proud of our environment and while the overwhelming majority do the right thing, it is spoiled by those who refuse to.”

In Auckland alone, litter clean-up costs almost $5 million a year. This is money that could be better spent on things like roads and parks for the community.

“This Members Bill builds on National’s previous efforts to curb littering which included the ‘Do the Right Thing’ anti-littering campaign and funding of over $80 million to 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 we 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.”

The Litter Increased Infringement Fee Amendment Bill has been referred to the Environment select committee for consideration and opened to submissions from the public.

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