Pressure builds for a tax on plastic bags

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has reiterated his calls for a 10 cent levy on plastic bags during an event marking Plastic Free July.

"In the United Kingdom they put the equivalent of 10 cents a bag use and they cut their use by 85 percent," Mr Goff said.

"In Auckland's case, that would mean probably 400 - 500 million fewer plastic bags going into our landfill each year."

He believes our Government should introduce a nationwide levy of 10 cents a bag.

"I think public opinion has moved faster than the Government and the Government really should show the courage and change the law," Mr Goff said.

A community group in Auckland's Grey Lynn says it's been campaigning for years to promote the use of reusable bags rather than disposable bags.

"Our group would prefer to see them banned outright, however I think a levy would be a very good start," says Colinda Rowe, chair of Grey Lynn 2030.

But Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson says the Government is not contemplating a plastic bag tax.

"I am meeting with stakeholders in the sector, mayors and officials regarding the issue of plastic bags and the disposal of them," he said.

"I have set up a working group to explore options to reduce plastic bag consumption.

"Plastic bags are part of a much broader conversation about plastic waste/plastic packaging."