As local councils grapple with the litter left behind by holidaymakers, a Members Bill from National could soon introduce stiffer penalties for people caught illegally dumping rubbish.
"It really annoys me seeing our beautiful natural environment ruined by the careless and thoughtless actions of lazy litterbugs," says National’s Environment spokesperson Scott Simpson.
"It's sadly far too common to see people brazenly throwing litter from moving cars, to say nothing of others who dump their rubbish without a thought about the impacts."
Scott says his Member’s Bill will ensure Councils have a more powerful tool to help prevent littering and keep our communities safe and clean. It is due to have its Second Reading in Parliament in February.
“This Bill will increase the maximum on-the-spot infringement fines councils can impose for those caught littering from the current measly $400 to a serious $1000. This will send a clear message to those who litter that it is entirely unacceptable.
“Councils and communities are continually dealing with the mess left behind by those who would instead litter our countryside than dispose of their rubbish legally and properly."
As the MP for Coromandel, Scott sees how particularly bad litter is during the holiday season when we have thousands of visitors. Some of them care little about the litter they leave behind when they go home.
“With the current maximum infringement fine set at just $400 some councils don’t even bother issuing on the spot litter fines."
He hopes an increase to a $1000 maximum will change that and send a strong message to litterbugs.
“This Members Bill builds on National’s previous efforts to curb littering which included the ‘Do the Right Thing’ anti-littering campaign and funding of over $80 million to more than 130 projects through the Waste Minimisation Fund.
“Fines are just one part of the solution but, combined with working with councils and changing people’s attitudes I believe we can reduce the amount of litter left behind and ensure our environment looks better, our wildlife is better protected, and our clean, green reputation is upheld.”