Helen Clark, Sam Neill and Dr Jane Goodall support plastic bag ban

Helen Clark, Sam Neill and Dr Jane Goodall are among the growing list of lobbyists asking the NZ Government for a total ban on single-use plastic bags.
Helen Clark, Sam Neill and Dr Jane Goodall are among the growing list of lobbyists asking the NZ Government for a total ban on single-use plastic bags. Photo credit: Getty

A former New Zealand Prime Minister, a high-profile Kiwi actor and a British anthropologist have thrown their support behind a move for the Government to ban single-use plastic bags. 

Helen Clark, Sam Neill and Dr Jane Goodall are among the growing list of lobbyists calling for a total ban on plastic bags.

On Tuesday, the Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand (JGINZ) and Greenpeace will present a letter to Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, asking the NZ Government for a regulatory ban. 

The letter is signed by Ms Clark, in her new position as JGINZ patron, and supported by several companies, councils, non-governmental and community organisations, asking the Government to "Ban The Bag". 

Along with the letter, a petition signed by 65,000 New Zealanders will also be presented.

Ms Clark says: "The banning of single-use plastic bags from stores, communities, and the environment would be a big step in the right direction towards achieving the targets of sustainable development goals, a step where we are well behind many other countries which are enacting legislation.

"I hope that the New Zealand Government, supported by corporations, community-based organisations and many New Zealanders, will ban the bag."

Greenpeace says New Zealand currently ranks among the worst countries in the world for creating urban waste and has fallen behind many in instituting a ban on single-use plastic bags.

Greenpeace campaigner Elena Di Palma says New Zealand's plastic waste problem is quickly spiralling out of control. Kiwis use about 1.6 billion bags per year that are used for an average of only 12 minutes, yet each one can take up to 1000 years to degrade. 

They are choking our oceans and marine life.

"The aim is to ban all single-use plastic bags - we really need to get single-use plastic out of our lives," Di Palma says. 

"Plastic bottles, straws, plastic cutlery - all have a terrible impact on our environment and are deadly to the creatures we share the seas with."

JGINZ CEO & co-Founder Dr Melanie Vivian says: "There is an urgent need for all to take responsibility for the impacts we are having on our planet and its inhabitants. 

"The consequences of our conveniences are now starkly obvious. To turn the impacts around, behaviour change will need to come from us all - governments, businesses, communities and individuals." 

 

Facts about single-use plastic in New Zealand: 

87 percent of New Zealanders agree that we have too much plastics in our lives. 

Scientists estimate that about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans each year. 

New Zealand's turtles are mistaking plastic bags floating in our oceans for jellyfish. A staggering one-in-three turtles found dead on New Zealand's beaches have swallowed plastic.

Newshub.