National are tired and fluffing around the edges

A major new campaign to stop people littering aims to change behaviour and to educate people, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Parliamentary Private Secretary Scott Simpson announced today at National?s Bluegreen Forum in Auckland.

“Litter is a risk to New Zealand?s clean green brand and the best solution is where everyone responsibly disposes of their waste. That is why the Government is investing $3 million in a behavioural change campaign, the development of education materials and a national litter survey to help ensure we keep New Zealand beautiful.”

“The environmental harm from litter is not just the aesthetics but the harm plastic, paper and cans can do our waterways, marine environment and to wildlife. There is also the risk to New Zealand?s clean green brand.”

The ?Do the Right Thing? initiative will be funded through a grant to Keep New Zealand Beautiful from the Ministry for the Environment?s Waste Minimisation Fund. This is the most generous support the Government has ever given Keep New Zealand Beautiful. The criteria for the fund was changed in 2016 by the Government to included improved litter management. The education component will be run through the Enviroschools organisation and the information campaign aligned with the Packaging Forum.

“Keep New Zealand Beautiful is an iconic kiwi institution and it is fitting in its 50th year we back this trusted name and organisation with the job of getting Kiwis to ?Do The Right Thing?,” Dr Smith says.

“This funding includes support for national litter survey data. This will enable areas to celebrate being New Zealand?s tidiest kiwis and for those being the worst to be shamed into lifting their game. This data will be used to recognise at the Green Ribbon Awards those groups and communities that best live up to the Keep New Zealand Beautiful ambition.”

Not saying that keeping things tidy isn’t worth doing, but this is by and large a local government function. ?This is just a feel-good slush fund for little greenies to trough in.

Being a tidy Kiwi starts at home. ?Your parents set the standards. ?Then it is strongly enforced by schools. ?By the time you get to your thirties, most of the remaining litterers have grown out of the self-centred lazy attitude that besets us during our early years.

If there is a real problem with litter it is because councils are slowly withdrawing from the responsibility of providing public places to dispose of it “thoughtfully”, as servicing these locations are costs that can be cut from budgets.

In the end, a feel-good ribbon party isn’t going to do anything more than make National appear green. ?And that’s all there is to it, really.