Last chance to have your say on the government waste levy consultation

Last chance to have your say on the government waste levy consultation

Levy plays a critical role in shifting New Zealand towards a zero-waste future

Published: Friday 31 January 2020

With the Government’s consultation on changes to the waste levy due to close on Monday 3 February, Auckland Council is encouraging Aucklanders to have their say. 

The Government is proposing to both increase the levy and apply it to a wider range of landfill types.

Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair, Councillor Richard Hills, says that the landfill levy will play a significant role in tackling climate change and growing New Zealand’s circular economy, while also providing both central and local governments with funding to help fast-track waste minimisation initiatives to drive New Zealand towards a zero-waste future.

“A significant majority of local boards strongly supported an increase in the waste levy as part of our zero waste goals. It is the number one priority action in Auckland’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018,” says Councillor Hills.

“This is a real game-changer for reducing waste and cutting back on carbon emissions so it’s important for Aucklanders to take the opportunity now and have their say.  The levy is one of the most effective tools to change behaviours around waste. As those behaviours change and we reduce our waste, the less we will spend on waste.”

An increase in the landfill levy provides an incentive for Aucklanders to reduce the amount of waste they currently send to landfill as well as supporting economic development as local businesses seek to innovate and develop products and services to divert recoverable resources into productive new uses.

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What does the waste levy do?

In Auckland, the waste levy funds a significant amount of waste minimisation activity, including Auckland Council’s Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund.  In the September 2019 funding round, 33 community organisations and businesses received $476,040 in grants for a range of projects designed to promote waste minimisation and reduce waste going to landfill at both a local community and regional level

The 2017 report, A Wasted Opportunity, which was commissioned by a broad spectrum of interested parties, including Auckland Council, concluded that an increase in the waste levy will drive economic growth and increase employment opportunities, as well as increasing recycling rates and reducing waste to landfill.

An increased levy will have minimal impact on Aucklanders’ pockets

Councillor Hills says that Auckland Council’s approach to waste minimisation will mean that Aucklanders will not take a big hit in the back pocket as a result of the waste levy increase.

"While advocating for a levy increase, we’re equally focused on enhancing Auckland Council’s kerbside collection services, such as the regional roll-out of a food scraps collection service from late 2021, as well as other services that will provide waste minimisation opportunities for families to offset any potential cost impact for households,” says Councillor Hills.

How to make a submission

The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Monday, 3 February 2020.

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) prefers submission to be received via the online submission tool.  Alternatively, people can respond to the questions in the consultation document and email or submissions can be posted to:  Waste disposal levy expansion consultation, Ministry for the Environment, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143.  

After the consultation closes

MfE will prepare a summary report of all submissions and then make recommendations to the Minister based on the feedback received.  Changes could potentially come into effect from either mid-2020 or mid-2021 if Cabinet approves the policy proposals.  The phasing of changes will be dependent on which option is chosen.  At this stage, government is proposing that all new levy rates will be in place by July 2023.

Ready, set, action

Councillor Hills says Aucklanders need to act now to make their voices count on this important issue.  “This weekend is your last chance to have your say on the waste levy.  We need to take the opportunity to use every lever we can to address the climate emergency we’re facing.  This is a simple, pragmatic step that is part of the solution to reducing harm to our environment.”