Rodney Hide on the bag ban

Plastic bags supermarket trolley: Photo Newshub

Rodney Hide writes at NBR about the plastic bag ban and how incredibly stupid it is: Quote:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the ban on single-use plastic bags in the middle of the government calling for submissions.  So much for due process.

She had good reason: “It’s also the biggest single subject school children write to me about.”  It’s a great way to make policy. Hey kids, write in. Make it a class project. It will even count as a part of a unit standard.

The consultative document itself would make an okay school project but for a government report it is a disgrace.

There is no attempt even to list the costs and benefits, let alone estimate them. End quote.

We have highlighted just how hopeless the thinking is of this nanny state policy:Quote:

There is no clear statement of the problem.  The report meanders, appearing at times to describe the problem as one of litter, then to the use of fossils fuels, and then the need for a circular economy rather than a linear one, whatever that means.

The prime minister in her “message” reports plastic bags have been found in the tummy of a dead whale off Spain. She doesn’t report that the poor whale also had nets, ropes and a jerry can in its gut. There were no bags from New Zealand.

Certainly, the amount of waste isn’t a problem.  The report explains that plastic bags by weight are only 0.01% of landfill waste. For every tonne of waste, 100 grams is plastic bag.

As for the ban’s detail, that’s yet to be decided.  However, the consultative document offers some guidance.

For example, what bags are to be banned? “A new plastic bag (including one made of degradable plastic) which has handles and is below a maximum level of thickness. The terms ‘plastic’ and ‘degradable’ (including ‘biodegradable’, ‘compostable’ and ‘oxo-degradable’) would be defined in regulations with reference to international standards. We are seeking your views on the maximum level of thickness for these bags.”

Who would the ban apply to?  “Any person or entity selling or distributing these bags.”

At what point would the penalty be enforced?  “When sold or distributed for the purpose of carrying sold goods.”

How would the ban be implemented? “Regulations [by Order in Council, that is, by ministerial say-so] under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 (s 23(1)(b)).”

What would be the penalties? “Persons knowingly contravening regulations made under section 23(1)(b) are liable to a fine of up to $100,000.”

That’s it.  $100,000 fine for handing out a plastic bag to help a little old lady at the supermarket.  But it’s easy enough to dodge. Just get a thicker bag. Or one without handles.

I was chatting to my friendly checkout lady at the supermarket this week, concerned about the filthy reusable bags customers were using on the checkout counter.  I don’t like my food dragged through their organic bugs. She explained I had seen nothing. Just the other week she had had a mouse jump out of one.

The consultative report was silent on the mouse. That’s a shame.  A YouTube clip of a jumping mouse would have changed the minds of a number of children. End quote.

The truly sad thing is Jacinda Ardern thinks the kids wrote those letter of their own volition. Instead, what is most likely to have occurred is some green womble teachers made a project out it and now we have policy. Such a shame she listened to the wishes of the students of green wombles and not the students at charter schools, who have also written to Jacinda Ardern about the closure of their schools. A letter which fell on deaf ears and willfully blind eyes.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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