This policy seeks to transform all sectors of the Aotearoa New Zealand economy into a circular economy in which the production of unnecessary waste and hazardous substances is eliminated and, where this is not possible, they are effectively managed through reuse and recycling,  safely, effectively, and responsibly, to ensure the wellbeing of current and future generations.


All activities in Aotearoa New Zealand reject waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature.

Values and Principles

  • Honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi: Tangata whenua have primary decision-making power over the elimination and reduction of waste and hazardous substances production, as well as their management and disposal, and all decisions in this area show respect to the taonga of te taiao.
  • Ecological Wisdom: Material growth should be limited, such that waste production is avoided or redirected for use in a circular economy.
  • Social Responsibility: The management of waste and hazardous substances should not further disadvantage or burden marginalised groups within or outside Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Appropriate Decision-Making: Decisions regarding the management of waste should be based on mātauranga Māori and western science, and determined in partnership with whānau, hapū and iwi.
  • Non-Violence: A precautionary approach to hazardous material should be taken to ensure that no person, ecological environment or native species is harmed by the production, management or disposal of hazardous materials.

Strategic Priorities

The Green Party’s strategic goals include:

“Our nation will be in transition to a zero waste economy, where single use plastics are largely eliminated, wasteful consumption is ended, and all-of-lifecycle product stewardship is in place across the economy.”

Actions in this policy that will help achieve this include:

  • Transition rapidly and justly to a circular economy, where life-cycle and end-of-life analysis are widely used and the components of products used in Aotearoa New Zealand are either repairable, reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable. (1.1)
  • Affirm the tino rangatiratanga of iwi, hapū, and whānau in:
    • Decisions regarding waste elimination, management and disposal,
    • Their customary role as kaitiaki, including in their efforts to protect sites, such as customary food gathering areas and wāhi tapu, from the negative impacts of pollution. (1.5)
  • Facilitate a zero-waste-to-landfill cultural shift, including promoting thoughtful and moderated consumption and restricting advertising promoting hyperconsumption. (1.12)
  • Minimise the use of inherently polluting substances at the production and import stage. (2.2)
  • Develop a national resource recovery network that redirects waste streams for use as resources wherever possible across the economy. (2.4)
  • Require all products that include plastics and rare earth metals to be readily recyclable. (2.7)
  • Lead international efforts to avoid plastic pollution and clean up plastic and other harmful waste from the Pacific Ocean. (2.25)

Connected Policies

This Waste and Hazardous Substances Policy is connected to our Economic, Environmental Protection, Freshwater, Land Use and Soils, and Marine Policies.