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Green Party seeks plastic bag charge

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/10/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">The Green Party is launching a bill proposing a 15 cent plastic bag fee, but it's not likely to find favour with the government.</span> © Getty The Green Party is launching a bill proposing a 15 cent plastic bag fee, but it's not likely to find favour with the government. The Greens want to slug Kiwi shoppers with a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags but the member's bill they've just launched doesn't look like gaining government support.

"I'm not sure a tax is the right way to go," Prime Minister John Key told reporters.

"We are certainly encouraging people to be responsible, we're working our way through it."

Under the Greens' bill, the fee charged would go to waste minimisation projects and education.

New Zealanders currently use 1.6 billion single-use plastic bags each year, waste spokeswoman Denise Roche said.

"Consumers paying a small charge on single-use plastic bags has been very effective in the UK, where it has reduced plastic bag usage by 85 per cent since it was introduced late last year, and raised nearly PS30 million ($NZ51 million) for charity," she said.

Plastic bags are responsible for 100,000 marine mammal deaths each year, she said.

The bill will go into a ballot, where there are about 80 others waiting to be drawn.

Members' bills don't get through their first readings without government support, or if its support parties break ranks and back them.

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