More money is on tap for minimising waste – but going online to learn about the scheme could be a time-waster

The government has replenished another trough and is calling the hogs to get their snouts into an $8 million swill.

No, this one is not under the control of Shane Jones, the Minister of Munificence whose announcements regularly trigger the Point of Order Trough Monitor.

The announcement this time was made by Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage, who emulated Jones by emphasising the employment prospects.  

Her press statement begins:

Creating jobs in the vital waste reduction sector is the focus of the latest application round for the Waste Minimisation Fund, which opens today.

“In particular, projects around food rescue and distribution, supporting existing waste sector organisations and advancing product stewardship are encouraged as we support New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said.

“COVID-19 has challenged businesses and organisations in the waste and materials recovery sector. This year’s funding round, with up to $8 million available for grants, focuses on addressing immediate needs and upgrading waste systems so they are resilient for the future.

“A priority for all projects will be to demonstrate how they will support more jobs.”

This year programme administrators will be favouring 10 to 20 projects “of strategic importance to waste minimisation as New Zealand responds to Covid-19”.

“This links with the Government’s plan to invest in projects that are designed to reduce, reuse and recycle and ensure New Zealand has a proud track record on waste.”

This trough has been around for some 12 years, according to Sage’s statement.

But when Point of Order went looking for more information to check out its history, we didn’t get as far back as 2008.

We googled “Waste Minimisation Fund” and quickly found a promising link –

About the Waste Minimisation …

The purpose of the Waste Minimisation Fund is to boost …

But when we followed the link – oh dear.  We were wasting our time.

Access denied

Sorry, the page you’ve requested is restricted. If you think you should be able to access this page please email webmaster@mfe.govt.nz and let us know what you were trying to access.

Restricted?  Access to information about the fund is restricted?

Restricted to whom?

Perhaps we could go through the time-consuming exercise of invoking the Freedom of Information Act.

Fair to say, the minister’s press statement had a morsel of historical information:

Since 2008, more than $300 million of landfill levy revenue has been invested into more than 200 waste reduction projects and initiatives through the Waste Minimisation Fund and distributed to councils to support waste minimisation.”

Examples of WMF projects include:

    • Flight Plastics received WMF funding to introduce full bottle grade PET pelletising recycling technology to New Zealand.
    • A food rescue programme run by Whangarei-based One Double Five Whare Awhina Community House Trust was granted $350,700 last year to expand its service to small Northland communities.  Since starting in 2016, the Trust has diverted 22 tonnes of food from landfill, providing meals for almost 17,000 people.
    • Māori waste movement Para Kore has received almost $2 million over the past decade. From a beginning in three Waikato marae, it now delivers education and training on recycling and how to minimise waste to more than 400 marae, kura and Māori organisations throughout the North Island.
    • Rural recycling programme Agrecovery enables farmers and growers to more easily recycle or safely dispose of on-farm waste under a voluntary product stewardship scheme.

“The Waste Minimisation Fund plays allows Government to invest and work with industry, councils and community organisations to encourage waste minimisation and reduce waste disposal to landfill.”

To get more information about the 2020 WMF application round, we were invited to go to https://www.mfe.govt.nz/node/15185.

The three-week expression of interest period began yesterday and ends on 22 May.

The press statement further explained:

The Waste Minimisation Fund

The Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) is funded through the waste disposal levy on material which goes to landfill. It was introduced under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

Fifty per cent of the money collected from the levy is distributed to councils to spend in accordance with their Waste Management and Minimisation Plans. The remainder (minus administration costs) is used for the WMF, which is managed by the Ministry for the Environment.

The purpose of the Act is to encourage waste minimisation and a decrease in waste disposal.

A list of projects that have been awarded WMF funding can be viewed on the Ministry for the Environment’s website www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/waste-minimisation-fund/projects-funded-date.

Good luck, if you go looking for the promised information. Being of a once-bitten-twice-shy inclination we haven’t bothered checking it out.

But we are concerned about waste and are especially keen to be assured the government is not wasting taxpayers’ money with its plethora of programmes for redistributing our wealth.

One thought on “More money is on tap for minimising waste – but going online to learn about the scheme could be a time-waster

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