Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, the Government has announced.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage made the announcement on Friday, proposing a six-month phase-out period.
The move will help look after the environment and safeguard New Zealand's clean, green reputation, Ms Ardern says.
"We're listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem. This year 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban."
It is the biggest single subject schoolchildren write to Ms Ardern about, she says.
Each year hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bag end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environment causing serious harm to the environment, she says.
"We need to be far smarter in the way we manage waste and this is a good start.
"We are a Government determined to face up to New Zealand's environmental challenges. Just like climate change, we're taking meaningful steps to reduce plastics pollution so we don't pass this problem to future generations," Ms Ardern says.
Ms Sage was confident New Zealanders would embrace the change.
"Public calls for action have encouraged a significant number of retailers, including supermarkets, to move on single-use plastic bags. We want to support their efforts by ensuring the retail industry moves together in a fair and effective way."
The Government wants to hear from New Zealanders as to how they can best implement the change.
They plan to work alongside supermarkets and other retailers to help people make the change to reusable bags.
People have until Friday September 14 to make a submission.
How to make a submission
You can make a submission in these ways.
- Use the online submission tool, available at www.mfe.govt.nz/consultation/plasticshoppingbags
- Download a copy of the submission form to complete and return to the Government. This is available at www.mfe.govt.nz/consultation/plasticshoppingbags. If you do not have access to a computer, a copy of the submission form can be posted to you.
- Send a written submission to: Proposed Mandatory Phase Out of Single-use Plastic Shopping Bags, Ministry for the Environment, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143. Include your name or organisation, your postal address, your telephone number and your email address.
- Email a submission to firstname.lastname@example.org as a PDF or Word document.