National could bring back cash for drink bottles

A blast from the past on Saturday with the National Party raising the possibility of the return of a container deposit scheme - cash for returning drink bottles.

It was one of a dozens of suggestions at the launch of National's environmental policy.

Raglan is a rural Kiwi town with nature at its heart.

It’s where National chose to launch its first policy document under Simon Bridges on the environment.

Mr Bridges went big on the environment during the leadership race and this is what National proposed today, in its discussion document:

  •  Subsidies for electric vehicles
  •  A container deposit scheme - that's a cash for returning containers
  •  A Water Infrastructure Fund to help councils improve water quality
  • A new national park in the Catlin Islands
  • Slowly ramping up the emission trading scheme to help reduce emissions

But nothing will be too drastic, Mr Bridges says National are practical environmentalists.

Environmental groups liked some of the policy but wanted to see more on climate change.

Steve Allan from Greenpeace said it was a big tick on proposing new marine reserves and a national park in the Catlins but still a massive gap for National on agriculture.

Dewy Sacayan rom Generation Zero said now is not the time to be pragmatic, especially when it comes to climate change.

And all the parties now have two environmentally focused minor parties - TOP and Sustainable NZ - chomping at both their heels

Vernon Tava recently set up Sustainable NZ and he said: “There will be some people who vote National who would like to press National to do a little better on the environment.”

With environmental concerns becoming more mainstream, the National Party needs to navigate appealing to a wide audience while maintaining that core base, which includes a lot of farmers.

And with two new blue-green parties at the fringes, National risks losing votes to them if they don't do enough.