8 Hakihea 2020

We support the move to replace hard-to-recycle plastics with alternative products that are more sustainable or have a better recycling capability. A high percentage of plastic products used in Aotearoa go to the landfill because there is limited recycling capability for certain types of plastics – and a large proportion of this plastic waste ends up in our aquatic ecosystems.

This has a negative impact on the health of aquatic life and diminishes the relationship between Iwi and Tangaroa. The unsustainable and continued pollution of our marine environment contradicts the values of Te Āo Māori and will not ensure future generations have access to healthy marine resources. If we do not care for Tangaroa, Tangaroa cannot provide for us.

On December 4, we responded to the Ministry for the Environment’s consultation to reduce the impact of plastics on our environment. We support both a regulatory change to phase out some plastic products and government support and resourcing that enables organisations and communities to take action on plastic pollution. This enables everyone to do the best they can – which will accelerate the change needed for a more sustainable Aotearoa.

Iwi and their settlement entities aspire to reduce unsustainable practices. This aspiration has been demonstrated through waste commitment policies and local community agreements. With government support and resourcing, initiatives like these could grow – potentially generating greater change than what is proposed for regulation.

We also support interim exemptions to the phase out where viable alternatives are not yet available, such as the use of polystyrene for domestic and international transportation of seafood. The seafood industry are well aware of the harmful effects polystyrene bins have on the environment, however until there is an alternative option that can function with the same properties at a reasonable cost, we believe an exemption is appropriate.

We’d like to acknowledge the feedback we received from iwi about this kaupapa. We believe the values of Te Āo Māori must be incorporated into management decisions to achieve the necessary goals in reducing plastic waste in the environment. Sustainable use practices are paramount to ensuring that the environment is healthy for future generations. This will require a long-term investment from the Government and our people to both sustain the environment while ensuring, social, cultural and economic well-being of the people in Aotearoa.

For more information, read the full response by clicking on the image below.