Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill - Hone Harawira

Thursday 11 September 2008, 7:59PM
By Hone Harawira

Madam Speaker, in a world of discarded lifestyles, plastic wrap-arounds, high-impact packaging, and personal attacks in parliament, this Bill is a breath of fresh air.

And on this day when we mourn the loss of life from 911, and the loss of liberty suffered in the police terrorism raids by those before the courts in Auckland, we recognise also the way in which the rampant exploitation of Papatuanuku and all her resources is forcing us to acknowledge our own fragile place on this earth, and the urgent need for us all to take a reality check on how we respect our world.

Madam Speaker, let me extend my congratulations to my brother Nandor for the effort he put into this Bill to encourage us to reduce waste; and given how much waste is generated by this place, I can understand why he got out before he got suffocated by the garbage that masquerades as parliamentary debate in this Chamber.
I know that he had to put up with a lot of nitpicking from businesses who over-package to enhance sales, from the corporate entities that generate even more trash than product, and from politicians who must be getting a kickback to nod when multi-nationals say they’re already doing a lot to reduce waste, and that to do even more would impact on the viability of their businesses – yeah right ...
And I know too that because of some of those compromises, this Bill is not exactly what he would have wanted, but congratulations to him anyway for pushing it, and pushing it, and pushing it, to this point where it has become a reality.

We particularly like the product stewardship scheme to make producers responsible for their products right throughout the products life-cycle.
That will encourage producers to use more environment-friendly products, and discourage the huge waste that is part of our society.
And unlike the emissions trading scheme where the big polluters don’t have to pay for years, this Bill will encourage everyone to reduce waste or pay for it from day one, big producers or small.
That’s future thinking, and we like it.
Like Waste Streams idea about charging importers an extra $5 for every tyre brought into Aotearoa to put the brakes on importers bringing container-loads of second hand tyres in, which has got to be a good idea given that 5 million tyres are dumped here in Aotearoa every year; 5 million car, truck and industrial tyres dumped in landfills or chucked in our rivers and paddocks.
And not just the nice little ones that people use for flower gardens, or worm farms, or to hang over the swimming hole, or those rubber swan sculptures, or for the sandpit either, but also those big ugly, thick rubber tyres which leach toxic waste into our rivers and landfills as well.

We know that the Bill got changed a lot at select committee with a whole trash-pile of supplementary order papers, and while the extra amendments and changes have reduced the bureaucracy and simplified the Bill, unfortunately, just like the Emissions Trading Scheme, they also held back some of the good bits as well, like how Councils actually wanted stronger legislation but felt their proposals had been watered down by extensive lobbying from commercial groups opposed to the idea that they should accept responsibility for the waste that they create.

Madam Speaker, the Maori Party is happy to support this Bill, because:
it is consistent with our long term call for government to take responsibility for the dumping of toxic waste which has caused dioxin poisoning in Taranaki, and the widespread health problems for the people of Paritutu, including birth defects, behavioural problems, diabetes, and cancer;
it will help to address some of the concerns we have raised around the contaminated former sawmill site at Minginui, and the likelihood of chemicals leaching from the landfill site into local waterways and streams.
it will give weight to the advocacy of Sawmill Workers Against Poison – people like Joe Harawira and Glenda Paul – who have been fighting to repair the damage created at more than 600 former sawmills by chemicals which have been proven to have adverse effects on our lands, our rivers, and our people.
and because it fits with our call for Kiwis to take responsibility for Aotearoa.

This Bill Madam Speaker, is a refreshing change, and a step in the right direction, and to that end, we are pleased to support it at this third and final reading.