Greens propose plastic bag levy to raise money for charity

The proposed Bill would affect every retailer, not just supermarkets (Getty / file)
The proposed Bill would affect every retailer, not just supermarkets (Getty / file)

Every year, New Zealanders use more than 1.6 billion plastic bags.

A new member's Bill submitted by Green Party's Denise Roche aims to curb that, proposing a charge of at least 15 cents on every single-use plastic bag.

Not only is the charge hoped to improve environmentalism, but the money raised would go to charity.

Ms Roche's Bill has been based on a model used in the UK where they introduced a £0.05 (NZ$0.09) charge per bag.

"Within six months there was an 85 percent drop in use of single-use plastic bags, and they raised £30 million in that six months that was then given to charities to do good works," she told Paul Henry.

"There's 100,000 sea animals that are killed every year from plastic bags."

Because the money raised wouldn't be going to the business which sold the plastic bag but instead to charities via the Government, Ms Roche said ideally, the levy will be processed in a similar way to GST.

In England the shops choose a charity and hand over the money directly.

"But here in New Zealand we already have a system of collecting a waste levy for every tonne that goes to landfill," Ms Roche said.

"That goes to the Ministry for the Environment to fund good waste minimisation programmes, and we can do the same with this."

The proposed Bill would affect every retailer, not just supermarkets.

"It's not fair for just supermarkets to do it when takeaways and dairies and garages are [using plastic bags] too," Ms Roche said.

The Bill enters the ballot on Thursday.

Newshub.

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