Government flip-flops on plastic bags ban - but one is coming eventually

The Government seems to have flipped and flopped and flipped again on what it's going to do with plastic bags.

On Tuesday, the Associate Environment Minister proudly announced a ban on single use plastic bags - then suddenly the Prime Minister was backpedaling on it.

But as Newshub has learned, the bag ban does look set to go ahead, eventually.

Lord Howe Island, between New Zealand and the Solomon Islands has a problem - plastic is killing its birds. A failure to take action means soon plastic will outweigh fish in our oceans.

"This is a concern of all the regional countries," said the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela.

The visiting Solomon Islands Prime Minister has big plans to eliminate plastics - so what are our big plans?

"We're just waiting for advice," Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday.

Waiting and waiting, while other countries act.

The UK has a plastic bag charge and is also banning straws, France has banned bags, parts of Australia and Canada too, parts of India, China and several US states.

On Tuesday, for a minute, New Zealand looked like it was catching up - the lack of policy flipped, a ban was coming.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage told RadioLIVE DRIVE's Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen the ban could be announced in "the next few months" on Tuesday.

But on Wednesday morning, the flip quickly flopped to a personal preference.

"She expressed her personal preference yesterday - I want the whole of Government to make a decision," Ms Ardern told The AM Show.

But by Wednesday afternoon it looked set to flip back again.

"I'm very eager to see that quickly - there's obviously a huge issue that the globe is dealing with that New Zealand needs to deal with too," said Ms Ardern.

So the Government's plastic bag policy is clear as mud.

But Newshub understands the ban will go to Cabinet soon - and barring any hiccups of the NZ First variety, it will pass.

Straws and other plastics like that are very unlikely to be banned, instead staying in the landfills and oceans.