Auckland Council proposes to move from weekly to fortnightly rubbish collections

A councillor is frustrated with the new proposal to shift to fortnightly rubbish collections.
A councillor is frustrated with the new proposal to shift to fortnightly rubbish collections. Photo credit: RNZ

Story by RNZ

A councillor fears the city's kerbside rubbish collection could be reduced from a weekly to a "inconvenient" fortnightly service, and is urging Aucklanders to speak up.

A draft of Auckland Council's Waste Management and Minimisation Plan for 2024 outlines a plan to "transition to a fortnightly kerbside rubbish collection".

But that would only happen once the kerbside food scrap bins were "well established," the draft said.

The council's goal was to incentivise waste reduction.

Manurewa-Papakura Councillor Daniel Newman said the food scraps collection should be an addition to the weekly rubbish collection, rather than a replacement.

"This is one of the most inconvenient and unproven changes that council officers have ever proposed, and it would be deeply unpopular with many Aucklanders," Newman said in a statement.

"While it might be the case that not every household needs the rubbish collected every week, that is a choice that Auckland households rather than politicians and Auckland Council staff should make."

He said ratepayers relied on the service and expected it to remain.

Newman accused some councillors of "denying choice so as to force a behavioural change" in Aucklanders.

He urged residents to prepare submissions in response to the council's plan.

"This needs to be a matter where Aucklanders speak up.

"It is absolutely the case that the weekly kerbside rubbish collection service is under threat unless Aucklanders persuade council to retain it."

Auckland Council's draft also noted that the council should "support residents who are concerned about moving to fortnightly collections" to make sure the system "work[ed] for those in large households".

The New Zealand Herald is reporting the reduced service would take effect from 2026.

Its report said the goal was to reduce kerbside rubbish from a 2022 baseline of 141kg to 120kg per capita by 2028 and to 100kg by 2030, helped along by the recent general rollout of the food scrap bins expected to reduce up to 41 percent of bin contents by weight.

The council currently collects recyclable bins once a fortnight.

Auckland Council has made it clear it has a budget deficit, with asset sales and big rates increases on the cards.

The council has already sold some of its shares in Auckland Airport and Mayor Wayne Brown has suggested selling a long-term lease to Port of Auckland and putting the proceeds into a new $3 billion to $4b investment fund.

Councillors Mike Lee and John Watson both criticised the proposal, with Lee describing it as "an asset strip" while Watson said the city would lose control of a major asset for the length of time it was leased.