New Zealand has signed up to the International Open Data Charter, in a move to help drive innovation, support public accountability, and encourage engagement with government, Statistics Minister Scott Simpson has announced.
“The Government holds a vast amount of valuable data on behalf of New Zealanders. Open government data is non-personal, unclassified and non-confidential, and is freely available to anyone to use and share. Personal, confidential, and classified data remain protected,” Mr Simpson says.
“New Zealand has joined 17 countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom, in confirming its commitment to the practice of openness in government. As well as meeting increased user demand for open data to drive innovation, this will ensure we are accountable, transparent, and resilient in our use of data.”
The International Open Data Charter is a non-binding agreement with six principles and supporting actions, mandating that data should be:Always open unless there is a good reason not to be (‘open by default’) Timely and comprehensive Accessible and useable Comparable and use standardised formats For improved governance and citizen engagement For inclusive development and innovation.
“Supporting the Government priority for data, a key objective of signing up to the Charter is to ensure Government-held data is used to help achieve better outcomes for New Zealanders, through data-driven innovation, informed decision-making and evidence-based policy.”
Stats NZ, through its Government Statistician and Chief Executive, is responsible for the implementation of the Open Data Charter principles.
The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
“Microbeads pose a high risk to our aquatic and marine environments. They are too small to retrieve or recycle, do not biodegrade, and are mistaken by marine life for food, causing long-term damage to marine animals,” Mr Simpson says.
The ban will take effect six months after World Trade Organisation notification, which will take place when the regulations are gazetted in November. Microbeads will be fully banned in New Zealand by May 2018.
“We consulted in January 2017 on a proposal to ban microbeads in personal care products like facial cleansers and toothpastes. We received over 16,000 submissions that all supported a ban. Many submitters urged the Government to broaden the scope of the proposed ban to include other products containing microbeads.
“In response, we have widened the scope of the ban to include all ‘wash-off’ products for visual appearance, exfoliating, cleansing or abrasive cleaning purposes that contain plastic microbeads. As well as personal care products, this includes household, car or other cleaning products.
“Foodstuffs have already removed products with plastic microbeads from their shelves. Major manufacturers are also phasing out plastic microbead ingredients.
“This ban is part of a global initiative to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in oceans. The New Zealand ban parallels similar initiatives in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union and Australia to ban or phase out plastic microbeads in products.
“New Zealand is a small consumer of plastic microbead products by international comparison but this initiative is important for maintaining New Zealand’s good name in marine stewardship. We have responsibility for one of the largest areas of ocean, we have one of the best fishery management systems, we are leading with conservation measures like the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area and this initiative on microbeads will enhance our clean, green reputation.”
Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson today announced a Waste Minimisation Fund grant of nearly $55,000 to Tauranga-based Beyond the Bin to help turn its event waste reduction workshop into a free online e-course consisting of a series of 10 short videos.
“We all love to go to them – outdoor concerts, festivals, sports events – but large community events like these can create a mountain of waste,” Mr Simpson says.
Made by and for event organisers, the Beyond the Bin online videos will feature practical examples of how waste diversion can work at large events. The videos are designed to increase engagement with event waste-minimisation practices, and to inspire event organisers and food vendors to aspire to ‘zero waste’.
Started in 2015, Beyond the Bin is a small and dedicated social enterprise team passionate about diverting waste from landfill. Its goal is for 80 per cent of all New Zealand events to be composting their waste in the near future.
Beyond the Bin has worked with some of New Zealand’s and Australia’s largest events, developing zero waste initiatives, working on the ground in waste operations and managing big crews of volunteers. It is the only dedicated event waste training organisation in New Zealand.
“Poorly managed event waste results in litter on the ground, harm to the environment and vast quantities of potentially recoverable waste sent to landfill. Minimising the waste footprint, can improve the experience; zero-waste events give people pride in their events.”
The government’s Waste Minimisation Fund was established in 2009 and is funded by a levy of $10 per tonne charged on waste disposed of at landfills. Over $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.
For more information about Beyond the Bin visit: www.beyondthebin.org.nz
For more information on the Waste Minimisation Fund visit http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/waste-minimisation-fund/about-waste-minimisation-fund
A plastics processing facility in Lower Hutt now has the capacity to turn over 200 million plastic drink bottles a year into high grade food-safe packaging, thanks to a $4 million Government grant.
The facility was today opened by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Associate Minister Scott Simpson.
“This new plastics processing facility is an important part of the Government’s programme of building New Zealand’s recycling infrastructure. We are encouraging Councils and the public to do more to recycle plastics like soft drink bottles and fruit and vegetable punnets, but we also need the facilities in New Zealand to be able to remanufacture them into usable products,” Dr Smith says.
“The significance of this project and the Government’s $4 million investment is for the first time having the capacity to recycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic into food safe packaging. This high-tech, onshore recycling solution will mean greater employment in New Zealand, less energy used in transport and a reduction in the importation of virgin PET plastics for manufacturing.
“China recently announced a ban on importing waste and recyclables from other countries, including New Zealand. This will reduce end markets for our recyclables, and makes it even more important that we are able to recycle on shore. Flight Plastics will be able to recycle 6000 tonnes of the 8000 tonnes of PET plastic collected for recycling each year in New Zealand.
“As a country we need to be thinking smarter about ways to reduce our waste, and this facility will provide a fundamental change in the way plastic waste is managed,” Mr Simpson says.
“It is pleasing to be able to back an innovative project such as this, which shows Kiwi ingenuity is able to develop practical ideas which enhance our clean, green image.
“The expense of new infrastructure, as well as cost of getting products from one place to another for recycling, has sometimes limited opportunities for on-shore economic development in this space. This is where our Waste Minimisation Fund shows its strengths. The Government’s dedicated fund, created through a levy on waste disposed of at landfills, is available to support these kinds of projects.”
The Waste Minimisation Fund provides financial support to projects that reduce environmental harm and provide social, economic and cultural benefits. It is funded from a levy introduced by the National-led Government in 2009, which is charged on waste disposed of at landfills to discourage waste and to fund recycling initiatives. More than $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.
Collecting and using waste oil as an alternative fuel source to diesel, light fuel oil and gas in Fulton Hogan’s asphalt production plants throughout New Zealand is a tremendous achievement, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson says.
“The Recovering Oil Saves the Environment (R.O.S.E.) product stewardship scheme shows Fulton Hogan is a company with a typical kiwi approach. Fulton Hogan, along with partners Salters Cartage and Petroleum Services have collected and used 2.5 million litres of used lubricating oil this year – that’s no small achievement,” Mr Simpson says.
“I am delighted to see the huge progress made by the members of this voluntary product stewardship scheme. It is a great example of a forward thinking business being innovative and using a waste stream as a resource.”
“What is particularly important is seeing how Fulton Hogan has helped other businesses improve their practices to protect the environment. Getting garage owners to tidy up their backlog of oils and dispose of the old drums in various states of repair, along with developing a double skinned igloo site tank for oil storage on the garage sites shows a real sense of environmental responsibility.
“Under the Waste Minimisation Act, I can accredit product stewardship schemes that meet the criteria for reducing waste and environmental harm. I commend the R.O.S.E. scheme members for making a positive difference and encourage other organisations and industries to seek accreditation so they too can receive the environmental and economic benefits of product stewardship.”
Further information on product stewardship and the Waste Minimisation Fund is available from www.mfe.govt.nz/waste.
The Government’s Waste Minimisation fund has granted $1.25 million to support the upgrade and recommissioning of EnviroNZ’s plastic extrusion plant in Christchurch, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
The plant will be able to recycle over 1,000 tonnes of woven polypropylene bulk fertiliser bags into high quality pellets each year. These polypropylene pellets will then be used by New Zealand companies to make locally manufactured products such as irrigation tubing and rope.
The plant was originally acquired as part of EnviroNZ’s purchase of Christchurch-based Mastagard in 2014, but had been mothballed since 2012.
“This funding will enable EnviroNZ to carry out polypropylene recycling. The company will install additional bulk fertiliser bag processing and storage equipment, such as a shredder, wash plant, blowers and silos.
“By establishing essential infrastructure in New Zealand to recycle the used bags, EnviroNZ will help reduce the quantity of woven polypropylene bulk fertiliser bags currently being disposed of on farms.”
Fertiliser manufacturers and distributors Ballance and Ravensdown produce about 1 million single-use bulk fertiliser bags, approximately 3,000 tonnes. EnviroNZ has worked with Ballance and Ravensdown to establish a successful collection system to recover these bags from farms. Farmers are now sending on average 100 tonne of bags per month for recycling
To date the collected bags had been baled and stored, waiting to be exported offshore. Now they will be able to be processed onshore once the upgrade and re-commissioning of EnviroNZ’s plastics recycling plant is completed.
“It’s exciting to see EnviroNZ working with other New Zealand companies to recycle these bags in an environmentally safe way, and at the same time provide a primary source of material to another industry. Recycling and minimising waste is a key strategy for protecting New Zealand’s environment for future generations.”
The Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund was established in 2009 and is funded by a levy of $10 per tonne charged on waste disposed of at landfills. Over $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.
For more information on the Waste Minimisation Fund visit http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/waste-minimisation-fund/about-waste-minimisation-fund
Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson visited Agpac Ltd’s Plasback, congratulated them on the scheme’s successful recycling of agricultural plastic, and announced Plasback’s reaccreditation as a Product Stewardship Scheme.
“Plasback collects plastic, such as silage wrap, irrigation pipes and fertiliser bags, from the agriculture and horticulture sectors and processes it into new products, such as Tuffboard, an innovative plywood replacement used on farms,” Mr Simpson says.
“Plasback provides farmers with an easy and practical way to recycle their plastic waste. Since 2010, when Plasback first became an accredited Product Stewardship Scheme, over 2500 farmers across New Zealand have signed up to have their plastics collected, and Plasback has recycled more than 6500 tonnes of plastic - equivalent to 650,000 sacks of potatoes.”
Product stewardship is the responsible management of the environmental impact of a product. It aims to reduce the impact of manufactured products at all stages of the product life cycle.
“Plasback provides twin benefits to the environment, as it reduces the harm associated with burning and burying plastic, and it reduces the need to extract more raw materials for new products. Business initiatives such as Plasback promote the sustainable use of resources and encourage producers and suppliers of products to take a whole life-cycle view of their products.”
“Under the Waste Minimisation Act, I can accredit product stewardship schemes that meet the criteria for reducing waste and environmental harm. A product stewardship scheme will only be accredited after it has been thoroughly assessed to ensure accreditation criteria have been met. In turn, accredited schemes have to report to me on their objectives and targets.”
Hohepa Hawke’s Bay has been awarded nearly $175,000 from the Government’s Community Environment Fund to restore and increase a wetland adjacent to the Taipo Stream in Napier, Associate Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
Hohepa Hawke’s Bay is owned by the Hohepa Homes Trust, which has provided homes, education and vocational services in Hawke’s Bay to people with intellectual disabilities since 1957.
“The wetland is an important natural habitat for many native and endangered species. The two-year Lower Taipo Stream Environmental Enhancement project will increase the wetland by at least 6 hectares, providing additional habitat for the nationally endangered matuku or Australasian bittern,” Mr Simpson says.
“Planting appropriate streambank grass plantings and other vegetation and creating better streambank slopes will improve in-stream conditions, including lower water temperature from greater shading, and provide habitat preferred by whitebait, keeping eggs moist and protected from UV light.
“The project aims to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving our precious wetland habitat. Information kiosks and interpretive signage will be located at strategic points along the proposed wetland zone. Local school children will be involved in the wetland development and use the opportunity to learn about practical environmental enhancement.
“The Lower Taipo Stream Environmental Enhancement project will also provide paid and voluntary work opportunities for up to 25 people with intellectual disabilities, who will be involved in land preparation, pest control, collecting seeds and growing eco-sourced native plants, planting, care and maintenance of the wetland.”
The project will work closely with iwi, regional councils, the Department of Conservation and landowners throughout the region in undertaking the environmental protection and restoration work. Lotteries, Fonterra and the Department of Conservation have provided the project with additional financial support.
“This is a great undertaking by Hohepa Hawke’s Bay, creating a win-win opportunity through preserving natural habitat for endangered species, raising New Zealanders’ awareness of environmental issues and supporting people with intellectual disabilities in our local community.”
The final phase of a collaborative project protecting and enhancing fresh water and coastal ecosystems along the Whangawehi Stream on the Mahia Peninsula is being supported by $145,000 from the Community Environment Fund, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson says.
“The Government is committed to working with local communities, councils and iwi to sustain our waterways and ecosystems. In the upper Whangawehi catchment, people are working together to mitigate the impact from all land users in the catchment, including a new waste water plant, and to coordinate environmental work and education in the community,” Mr Simpson says.
“This final year of the Whangawehi Catchment Restoration Project involves improving water quality in the head waters of the Whangawehi catchment by fencing and planting 10.2 hectares of riverside habitat and creating connectivity between the different ecosystems already protected.
“On Okepuha Station 23,000 native trees will be planted along the margin of the Whangawehi Stream inside 4 kilometres of stock exclusion fencing. Ten newly purchased traps will be laid out within the 10.2ha fenced area to reduce pest pressure and allow the return of indigenous biodiversity in the Whangawehi upper catchment.”
The project has previously received Government funding from both the Community Environment Fund (in 2015) and Te Mana o Te Wai (2016-17) for projects in the lower and middle Whangawehi catchment areas.
“Over the past seven years the project has achieved significant improvements in water quality in the Whangawehi Stream and in protecting native plants and animals. The community has seen increased schools of whitebait, more abundant long fin eels and a 15 per cent increase in the recreational status of the water quality.
“I was delighted that the Group was rewarded by winning the Supreme Award at the recent 2017 Green Ribbon awards as well as the award for Caring for our Water.
“The Government’s target of 90 per cent swimmable rivers and lakes by 2040 is going to require 1000km of rivers be improved every year for the next 23 years. The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group is a powerful example of what is possible. I look forward to the completion of this final part of the restoration and the benefits it will bring to local iwi and communities.”
Love Kaipara has been awarded nearly $135,000 from the Waste Minimisation Fund to support moving Kaipara communities towards zero waste, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced.
“Love Kaipara is leading the way in encouraging behavioural change throughout Kaipara through promotional advertising campaigns and school education programmes. It is establishing important relationships with the local community, and empowering people of all ages to minimise waste and care for their environment,” Mr Simpson says.
The aim of the project is to educate people about recycling and help them to reduce the number of recyclables unnecessarily going to landfill and to reduce littering and illegal dumping of rubbish. It will encourage individuals, community groups, businesses and organisations to embrace the zero waste philosophy.
“This funding will enable Love Kaipara to spread important messages about waste minimisation throughout Kaipara by delivering educational programmes at local schools and by communicating to audiences through print and radio advertising and social media. Love Kaipara will support the Northland Field Days in their endeavours to become a zero waste event.
“This project provides a great example of how passionate organisations in the regional community, such as Love Kaipara, can utilise Government funding to support their waste minimisation initiatives, which have the potential to positively change the behaviour of an entire district.”
The Waste Minimisation Fund provides financial support to projects that reduce environmental harm and provide social, economic and cultural benefits. It is funded from a levy introduced by the National-led Government in 2009, which is charged on waste disposed of at landfills to discourage waste and to fund recycling initiatives. Over $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.