Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Waste bill to be amended

The Greens and the government have reached an agreement to progress Nandor Tanczos' Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill, which has been before the Local Government & Environment select committee for the past year. The deal will see the bill renamed, various redundant sections removed, and the proposed Waste Minimisation Authority replaced with an advisory board. However, the core provisions of extended producer responsibility (renamed "product stewardship") and a waste levy will be retained, though the latter is set at $10/ton rather than the proposed $25/ton. Overall then the bill will be weaker, but still an improvement on the current situation.

The next step is for the select committee to consider the proposed amendments, but with the Greens and Labour enjoying a majority, that is a formality. The bill will however need the support of NZ First or United Future in the House, and neither has been particularly supportive (though NZ First is likely to be mollified by the amendments, and United Future may adopt a different attitude now that Gordon Copeland has gone on crusade with Brian Tamaki). If it passes, it will become the fourth (or maybe fifth) Green member's bill to pass the House this term (Sue Bradford's already done two, and Sue Kedgley's Employment Relations (Flexible Working Hours) Amendment Bill looks like it will pass in the next month) - quite an achievement for a party which isn't part of the government, and one which highlights their skill at using MMP to push their policy agenda.