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The government announced more funding for this and that – along with bigger levies for trash disposal – while the Nats were arranging for Crusher Collins to vie with Kindly Jacinda when voters determine who will lead the next government.
Mind you, the Greens aren’t averse to Crusher-like imagery. Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage turned up at an outfit called the Green Gorilla – a waste service provider in Auckland – to announce plans to put the squeeze on citizens with new levies aimed at reducing trash.
Green Gorilla did nicely, thank you, from hosting this event. It was given $3.1 million for a new commercial and industrial waste line, which is able to process mixed commercial and industrial waste and divert it from landfill.
Generosity Jones had gone further north – into a patch where he will be hoping to harvest enough votes to make him MP for Northland – to announce “a package of wellbeing infrastructure investments in Kaipara”.
Phil Twyford and Stuart Nash, meanwhile, were rolling out more support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund. As Ministers for Economic Development and Small Business respectively, they announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business Partners (RBP) Network, on top of $15 million invested since March.
Sage’s press statement highlighted a $124 million Government investment in recycling infrastructure.
But this was offset by her announcing the confirmation of plans to increase and expand the waste levy to divert material from landfill, and recycle revenue into resource recovery and waste minimisation.
The giveaway part of the statement mentioned the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund and said the government is investing the money in several initiatives across the country. This will include plastic recycling and reprocessing plants, weighbridges for improved waste data collection and improved material and community resource recovery plants.
“This $124 million is a massive investment in reducing waste – about as much as the entire Waste Minimisation Fund allocation in the past decade.
“Increased investment in waste minimisation and resource recovery infrastructure will ensure New Zealand emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic with a far better resource recovery and recycling system, creating hundreds of permanent jobs and incomes across New Zealand.”
Then came the clawback part of the deal:
The Government has decided to:
- Level the playing field by expanding the waste levy to cover additional landfill types, including construction and demolition fills (progressively from 1 July 2022). At present the waste levy only applies to municipal landfills that take household waste, with no levy on the remaining almost 90 percent of landfills throughout the country.
- Progressively increase over four years the levy rate for landfills that take household waste from the current $10 per tonne – set in 2009 – to $60 per tonne. The current plan is for first changes to the levy to take effect from 1 July 2021. Current economic conditions will be considered before implementation timelines are confirmed later this year.
- Collect better data about the waste we are creating, and how we are disposing of it, so ensuring our waste can be better managed.
- Invest the additional revenue from the waste levy in initiatives that support waste reduction, such as building New Zealand-based recycling infrastructure. This includes helping businesses such as Green Gorilla, which takes construction, commercial and industrial waste materials and re-purposes them so they are not thrown away.
Sage played down the cost of the levy:
“The proposed levy increases are likely to have a minimal impact on a family’s weekly budget. The Ministry for the Environment estimates that when fully implemented, the new levy could increase the cost of the weekly council kerbside rubbish bag by about 25c, depending on individual council decisions.”
She declared she was
“ … proud to announce the expansion of the national waste levy, which is key to the Government’s wider plan of reducing the ever-increasing amount of rubbish ending up in landfill. Two previous reviews of the levy have recommended expanding and increasing the levy. This is the first Government which has implemented those recommendations.”
Up in the Far North, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced an array of shovel-ready projects to be funded as part of the infrastructure investments announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Jones on July 1 “to kick-start the post COVID-19 rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand.”
Paparoa Community Charitable Trust will receive $750,000 as a contribution for the completion of a new 10-unit retirement village.
Maungaturoto Community Charitable Trust will receive $1.75 million towards the construction of a dementia unit in Maungaturoto. The new unit will be attached to the existing Maungaturoto Rest Home and Retirement Village and addresses the need for more aged care options in the region.
The Kauri Museum in Matakohe is receiving a $3 million makeover that includes creating a centre of excellence to create a deeper, stronger understanding of the significance of the Kauri to the community and the rest of New Zealand.
The $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF), set out in Budget 2020, earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild. Cabinet then decided the key sectors and regional breakdown of funds with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principle.
Twyford and Nash announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business Partners Network, on top of $15 million invested since March.
“The Regional Business Partners scheme has been hugely successful since the first COVID-related cash injection of $15m. The new support will keep up that momentum,” Mr Twyford said.
“More than 6,200 businesses have benefitted from free advice. Another 4,600 have registered to take part. Support for firms with up to 100 staff is delivered via vouchers for professional advisory services worth up to $5,000.”
Regional Business Partners connect firms to expert advice at no cost to the business. Advice covers topics like business strategy, finance and cash flow, continuity planning, HR and employment relations, digital services, marketing, and health and wellness for owners and staff.
The new funding includes $37.25 million to directly fund the professional advisory services and $2.75 million to increase resourcing within the network.
Eligibility criteria can be found at https://covid19.nzte.govt.nz/page/regional-business-partner-network
15 JULY 2020
As part of a broader plan to reduce the increasing amount of rubbish ending up in New Zealand’s landfills, the Government is to fund new recycling infrastructure and expand the national waste levy scheme.
14 JULY 2020
A package of wellbeing infrastructure investments in Kaipara which focuses on improving the lives of the elderly and upgrading the iconic Kauri Museum has been announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today.
14 JULY 2020
More support is rolling out for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, to help them adapt and innovate to deal with the impact of the virus.