Kiwis overwhelmingly want a ban on single use plastics, according to 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

New Zealanders overwhelmingly support banning single-use plastics such as packaging, bottles and straws, according to the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll. 

Eighty-two per cent of respondents thought the single-use plastic bag ban, that came into force last month, should extend to other single-use plastics. 

Fifteen per cent were against extending the plastics ban and four per cent did not know. 

The groups of people who more likely than average to support banning other single-use plastics were Green Party supporters (with 98 per cent in support), Labour Party supporters (91 per cent), people aged 60-69, people with a years household income up to $30,000 and women. 

1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll asking: The Government has recently banned single-use plastic bags, do you think the ban should be extended to other single-use plastics, such as packaging, bottles, and straws?"

Those who were more likely than average to be against were men aged 18-54 and National Party supporters. 

Under the New Zealand ban,  businesses can no longer provide plastic shopping bags to customers . It was estimated 750 million single-use plastic bags were used in New Zealand each year.

However, the country is now struggling to deal with its low grade, single use plastics, as councils stockpile, ship offshore or send it landfill. 

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage said the poll results showed people wanted to keep plastics out of the environment.

When asked if New Zealand would see a wider plastic ban, Ms Sage said "it took 12 months to do the ban on single use plastic shopping bags, we've got a much wider work programme" and that packaging announcements would be coming this week". 

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"Rather than doing it product by product, we need more generic solutions to our waste challenges, so it's working with businesses, working with industries, people taking more responsibility, Government's got to make it easier for people to do that."

"We want more comprehensive change... It's not just about banning stuff, it's about looking at the whole system." 

The Government instead set to look into a product stewardship scheme, which could see businesses accountable for the products they sell, such as packaging. 

"It's not about just banning stuff, it's looking at the whole system, how do we get manufacturers to think about what products they're creating so that materials in them can be recovered and refused at the end of their life," Ms Sage said. 

Sustainability Business Network's Rachel Brown said if a business "makes something or imports something they need to be responsible for it at the end of its life". 

"That's the future of business, whether businesses like it or not."

National environment spokesperson Scott Simpson said that most New Zealanders understood "there's too much plastic in our lives and most of us want to see less plastic in our lives". 

Last month, Auckland group Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away held an event to show the issues with individuals attempting to go plastic free in their weekly shop. It called on corporations to take responsibility for the plastic products produced. 

Greenpeace's Jessica Desmond who was at the event, said Government needed to regulate corporations so plastics were better controlled and there were incentives to stop producing plastic at a high rate. 

"We want to see the Government regulate problematic plastics, we can control what corporations do and sell in New Zealand, so it needs to be at a Government level. 

"It's more a volume issue, we're dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute globally, it feels like it's every other week we see a whale or a turtle wash up with a stomach full of plastic, it's really a crisis at this stage, we're choking on it," she said. 

"Ninety per cent of plastic that has ever been produced has never been recycled, most of it ends up in landfill or it leaks into our waterways and eventually into our oceans."

1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll - Between July 20 and 24, 1003 eligible voters were polled via landline and mobile phone. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level.