Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

Single-use plastic bags to be phased out

By Regan Paranihi

Today Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage have announced that single-use plastic bags will be phased out over the next year.

Ardern says the government is phasing out the use of these bags to look after the clean, green reputation of New Zealand.

“We’re listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem. This year 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban. It’s also the biggest single subject school children write to me about.”

She says every year New Zealanders use a mountain of bags which often ends up in the coastal and the marine environments, causing more damage than anything else.

“We are a Government determined to face up to New Zealand’s environmental challenges. Just like climate change, we’re taking meaningful steps to reduce plastics pollution so we don’t pass this problem to future generations.”

Sage says many countries around the world are taking action on plastic pollution and now it’s time for New Zealand to follow suit.

“The Government will work alongside supermarkets and other retailers to help people make the change to reusable bags and we want to hear from New Zealanders as to how we can best do this.”

She says they are suggesting a six-month phase-out period and is confident it can happen if everyone is on board.

“New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and we want to help ensure we live up to it. Phasing out single-use plastic bags helps do that,” said Eugenie Sage.

People have until Friday 14 September to share their views. This includes options for the date the phase-out is to be complete by, what bags should be included, any retailers that should be exempted, and how best to help people with the transition.

To have your say visit http://www.mfe.govt.nz