The Green Party welcomes the decision by Countdown Waiheke to stop using single use plastic shopping bags in their store following a nationwide campaign by Green Party MP Denise Roche.
“It’s fantastic that Waiheke is leading on phasing out plastic bags, and I urge other supermarkets around the country to take up the initiative. However, it is easier for the Government to introduce legislation than each and every community having to convince each and every supermarket to start charging for plastic bags,” Green Party waste spokesperson Denise Roche said.
“Last year, more than 16,000 people signed a petition to stop single use plastic bags, and more than 700 people attended my 28 public meetings around the country.
“That petition is currently being considered by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, and MPs have the ability to protect our environment by committing to a charge on plastic bags.
“The Government cannot continue to ignore the plastic bag problem littering our countryside and oceans. Dolphins and turtles die from choking on carelessly disposed plastic bags.
“The people of Waiheke have done a fantastic job convincing Countdown to change, and the Government can listen to people all around New Zealand who also want to see plastic bag use phased out.
“A consistent and fair charge for plastic bags is being done in a number of other countries, such as Britain, and New Zealand can do the same.
“New Zealand goes through one billion plastic bags a year, and this could be easily reduced by bringing in a charge for plastic bags.
“Waiheke Island will now start seeing fewer plastic bags stuck in trees and floating on the beach; the rest of the country can have that too,” Ms Roche said.