Sephora has been given a formal warning by Auckland Council after staff swept confetti into the city's stormwater drains during its Queen St opening in July.
The international cosmetics retailer faced backlash after workers were filmed sweeping confetti into the drains. The company has since claimed the waste was "biodegradable, water soluble and plant-based".
"We worked closely with Auckland Council to meet all requirements (including waste management and health and safety plan) for its approved event permit to ensure the confetti was safe for the environment," a Sephora spokesperson told Newshub at the time.
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Yet Auckland Mayor Phil Goff denied Sephora's claims, calling the alleged approval "totally untrue".
"Unacceptable for anyone, particularly a major retailer, to be polluting our waterways," he tweeted.
"Waste must be collected and disposed of responsibly. I'll be writing to Sephora for an explanation."
Head of the New Zealand Māori Council, Matthew Tukaki, called the incident an "absolute disgrace".
Sephora and its event contractor and permit holder, Darkhorse, have since been given a formal warning for "discharging confetti into stormwater drains" by Auckland Council, says the council's regulatory compliance manager Steve Pearce.
Pearce confirmed the French cosmetics company had permission to use confetti canons, but was not authorised to sweep the waste into stormwater drains.
"The discharge of any contaminant to the public stormwater system is a breach of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA)," he said.
As it was their first offence, no further enforcement action will be taken against Sephora or Darkhorse.
"The formal warning will be taken into account, should either party breach the RMA again.
"The council will be closely monitoring future event permit applications from Darkhorse to ensure that all events are operated in a safe and effective manner with regard to waste management and event management," Pearce said.