Government announces $3 million litter initiative

The Government has launched a $3 million policy to try and stop people littering.

The 'Do the Right Thing' initiative also aims to change behaviour and educate people, and was announced by Environment Minister Nick Smith on Saturday at National's Bluegreen Forum in Auckland.

Dr Smith said litter is not only an eyesore, but plastic, paper and cans damage our waterways, marine environment and wildlife.

"This funding includes support for national litter survey data, so we can celebrate those communities that are doing a good job of keeping their community beautiful and also give a bit of a wind-up to those who are really not pulling their weight," said Dr Smith.

The initiative will be funded through a grant to Keep New Zealand Beautiful from the Environment Ministry's Waste Minimisation Fund, the education component will be run through the Enviroschools organisation and the information campaign aligned with the Packaging Forum.

"Litter is one of those annoying things. If you go to South America, parts of Africa or Asia, the litter is just absolutely everywhere," said Dr Smith.

"We have a deeply ingrained Kiwi culture that's come up from 50 years of good work from Keep New Zealand Beautiful - generally Kiwis are pretty good. It's my view that this $3 million is about making sure that we keep those standards up and we live up to New Zealand's clean, green brand."

Dr Smith said he can't recall ever littering himself, but added that his children ensure he does the right thing.