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Waste disposal levy undergoes changes

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Staff Reporter

08 June 2024, 6:03 PM

Waste disposal levy undergoes changesBroader scope and incremental rate increases announced.

The New Zealand Government has revealed significant alterations to the waste disposal levy, as outlined in the decisions of Budget 2024.

These changes aim to redirect levy revenue towards a wider array of projects that support environmental sustainability and address climate change concerns, alongside waste minimisation efforts.

Outlined within the Budget 2024 legislation is a bill that expands the scope of activities eligible for levy utilisation under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

In conjunction with this expansion, the waste disposal levy rates are set to incrementally rise over three years, commencing from July 1, 2025.

This increase supplements the planned levy rise slated for July 1, 2024.

Vincent Arbuckle, a spokesperson for the government, highlighted the significance of these amendments: "Broadening the scope of the waste levy will help fund a more comprehensive set of Government waste and environment priorities."

Under these adjustments, levy funds can now facilitate a broader range of environmental initiatives, including the restoration of freshwater catchments, such as Kaipara Moana and Wahapū o Waihī (Waihī Estuary), along with freshwater improvements.

Additionally, the levy can now support the management of waste generated during emergencies, such as cyclones, and the remediation of contaminated sites and landfills vulnerable to severe weather events.

The revenue raised from the levy will be allocated towards various initiatives, including waste minimisation promotion, environmental harm reduction, and local authority management of emergency waste.

The government also aims to utilise levy revenue to support its waste management and minimisation responsibilities, including policy development and implementation.

The proposed levy rate increases are structured to provide additional revenue for central government activities and responsibilities related to waste management and the environment.

These increases, phased over three years, aim to incentivise waste reduction and encourage resource recovery by making recycling and composting more economically viable alternatives.

Public sentiment, as evidenced by a consultation held from November 2019 to February 2020, largely supported the need for changes to the waste disposal levy system.

Over 80% of respondents advocated for alterations to the existing framework, with the majority expressing support for both increasing and expanding the levy.

With these adjustments, the government aims to not only incentivise waste reduction but also foster a more sustainable approach to waste management and environmental stewardship across New Zealand.