100K petition to ban plastic bottles delivered with huge toroa

A petition urging MPs to ban to ban single-use plastic bottles was delivered to Parliament, along with a huge toroa made out of used bottles.

More than 100,000 people supported the ban, which was presented to Green MP Eugenie Sage on Thursday.

Greenpeace plastics campaigner Juressa Lee said the large plastic toroa was made in remembrance of a toroa that was found in Tairāwhiti.

"A family who was out enjoying the beach saw the toroa struggling in the waves. Eventually that toroa died. They discovered the reason that toroa died was because it had swallowed a 500mL drink bottle, whole."

She wanted the Government "to go bolder and go further and ban the plastic bottle".

"Just a few years ago we never thought it was possible to ban single use plastic bags.

She said tackling plastic pollution was an issue New Zealanders agreed on.

"I've never heard anyone deny we are in a crisis"

When asked her view on banning plastic bottles, Green Party's Eugenie Sage said that "this Government has taken action on plastics".

"Last term, the single-use plastic bag was banned, then the hard to reuse, difficult to deal with problem plastics, stirrers, plastic produce labels, expanded polystyrene takeaway containers, there's a programme to phase that out.

"It's all part of a big programme to really change the way we deal with waste.

"The phase out of plastic bottles isn't part of that programme, but 100,000 signatures should encourage Parliament and Government to really look at that, and do we need to move on that more quickly?

Sage was asked if she thought action needed to be quicker. She said she was not part of the Government, "but the Greens can certainly advocate, that is why this petition needs to be seriously considered, by, I hope, the Environment Committee".

She said as Associate Environment Minister last term, they did not look at phasing out plastic bottles then "as there was so much work to do", with the landfill levy taking precedent.

"It should be on the agenda, it should be in the waste strategy and there should be tools under the Waste Minimisation Act to do it."

The Government opened up consultation for its plan for the future of New Zealand's waste in November last year, that closed in May with any changes not expected to go to Cabinet until the end of this year.

Earlier this year, a petition calling for the end of single-use food and drink packaging and the creation of policies to help businesses offer reusable options was accepted by Environment Minister David Parker.