Waste fund flowing offshore

On Wednesday, the government announced it will use the Waste Minimisation Fund to finance a programme to deal with a type of hazardous waste from material that was banned from use in New Zealand nearly 10 years ago. While we absolutely agree with cleaning up hazardous waste we do have some concerns about who does it.

Since 2004, the manufacture, import or use of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) – found primarily in old electrical equipment – has been prohibited in New Zealand. However there is legacy waste that still needs to be collected and disposed of in a safe way. So the government has allocated $550,000 to Transpacific, an overseas-owned company, to make sure it happens.

Clearly there is money to be made in the safe disposal of hazardous waste, but instead of New Zealanders getting the profits, the profits are going off shore.

The Waste Minimisation Fund is an initiative of the Greens’ Waste Minimisation Act that was introduced in 2008, and it was envisaged that the fund, which is collected from a levy of $10 on every tonne of waste that goes to landfill, would be used to increase innovation in the waste/recycling sector, create jobs and help build the New Zealand economy.

The Greens maintain the Waste Minimisation Fund should be used to assist smaller New Zealand businesses rather than be allocated to large foreign-owned companies. In the case of hazardous waste, Transpacific seems to have taken over the market. And while we acknowledge there may be no New Zealand firms that could do the job, we believe that for many other waste products, it points to a failure of the government to invest in local solutions and local businesses.

The government could create an integrated system to deal with waste, but instead are dealing piecemeal with specific legacy issues. The TV Takeback is another example. The government is subsidising the recycling of analogue TVs without a plan for how the newly purchased TVs will be dealt with when people replace them in four years.

It’s time the government tackled the issue of mandatory product stewardship, where we ensure that products are responsibly recycled at the end of life, rather than leaving it to the market and subsidies from the Waste Minimisation Fund.

14 thoughts on “Waste fund flowing offshore

  1. It all starts at home. I have a very pro environment son.With a Masters degree in same. Currently living back home after long time away but interesting to see what he chucks out! I ask him “what’s wrong with this…”? etc. The convenience lifestyle has osmotically influenced.
    So, training again.I see reuse, recycle and a few extra dollars at the next car boot sale. I love recycling and challenge everyone to stop and think about what they buy, how much the push to have everyone in paid employment has a lot to answer for if not wisely deployed. Waste removal all starts with how much we dispose of in the first place.

  2. Hasn’t it been true always that nat-govt loves to subsidize big/foreign businesses? i.e.Hollywood tycoons need our financial support most, and heaps other examples…

    * It’s only fair to let the public know any/all risks involved to invest in MRP…
    OMG National doesn’t like it, how can anyone try to stop my money grabbing/ripping off small people’s grand plan? people should be fooled and truths shouldn’t be told…

  3. Funny thing is Labour sold Solid Energy assets without a whisper of complaint, which makes complaints about current asset sales sound fake.

    If you can’t see the difference between selling of elements of a non-strategic, environmentally destructive business and critical hydro generation capacity, then you’re pretty mindbogglingly stupid photonz1.

    And for the record I don’t think you are, so you’re clearly being contrarian for the sake of it.

  4. When I was at school, we were taught to recycle our waste… Clearly the National government needs to go back to school. If there’s a financial incentive to dump more waste, there is no incentive to recycle properly. This isn’t just bad for the environment; it’s bad for our wallets as taxpayers as well. We’re losing the value of what it took to produce those items in the first place, and instead dumping it in a landfill.

    The current wasteful system clearly doesn’t representation what Kiwis want or need. The decision to grant an Australian company such a lucrative contract also does not represent New Zealanders. In other words National doesn’t have our best interests at heart, if they have a heart at all?

    It should also be noted that Transpacific, the Australian company National has employed, also supplies extensive services to the mining, oil and gas industries. Helping them to expand their business in New Zealand will help National to turn its vision for New Zealand into a reality… Drilling rigs as far as the eye can see, an open pit mine at every street corner and free marketeers sitting around making millions off the environmental destruction. This might be the right wings utopia, but it certainly isn’t ours.

    Photonz1 says quack quack!

  5. Jackal summonses up all his intelligence and makes an animal noise.

    I suppose that may be considered a step up from being unable to tell the difference between profit and revenue.

    Or Kiwisaver and NZ Super Fund.

    Green Party intellectual debate at it’s finest……… animal noises.

  6. Frank Macskasy says “MRP was never National’s to sell in the first place. ”

    Considering they had an election policy of partial privatisation, and we voted them in at the last election, there’s little to complain about.

    Billions of dollars of assets are sold and bought every year by NZ Super Fund and ACC and no one gives a dam.

    Funny thing is Labour sold Solid Energy assets without a whisper of complaint, which makes complaints about current asset sales sound fake.

  7. It’s time the government tackled the issue of mandatory product stewardship, where we ensure that products are responsibly recycled at the end of life, rather than leaving it to the market and subsidies from the Waste Minimisation Fund.

  8. fin says “In one sentence you imply that the Greens have made MRP investment a poor investment AND a bargain.”

    If you read what is ACTUALLY written, rather than your interpretation of what is “implied” and “inferred”, then you’ll stop getting it wrong.

    At this stage the Greens policy has scared off Kiwi investors, which will lead to greater overseas ownership. The green policy has resulted in something they have always campaigned against.

    Whether or not Mighty River Power is actually a poor investment, depends on whether the Greens get to implement their policy.

  9. Wow Photon! In one sentence you imply that the Greens have made MRP investment a poor investment AND a bargain. And in the same sentence you infer that the Greens are only now worried about money going offshore, when it was Rod Donald/Greens who championed ‘Buy NZ made’.

  10. In addition, perhaps it would helpful if the Greens and Labour outlined the markets in which they have no plans to directly interfere in future.

    That way, investors will be more comfortable investing in, and developing, say, local waste disposal and collection companies. It’s good to get the business, but it’s also good to know the profits won’t be taken from you by state decree.

  11. Re rubbish and that rubbishy Ozzy company. Ask Waiheke folk what they think of their rubbish collection by that company. We had a perfectly good rubbish trust till they gave the contract to the OZ lot, Now we have a pretty rubbish dump, very attractive, but the collection and disposal is another story. All our crap goes to town on the vehicular ferry and gets dumped at Onehunga. The more they dump the more they get paid.

  12. The Greens just scared off all the Kiwi mum and dad investors from Mighty River Power shares, leaving large overseas investors getting a bargain, and NOW you’re suddenly worried about money going offshore???

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