Green Party vows immediate 20 cent charge on plastic bags, eventual total ban, if part of next Government

The Green Party wants to put an immediate 20 cent charge on single use plastic bags, the first step towards a complete ban.

The charge would be one of the ways the Greens want to help clean up our coastlines. Source: 1 NEWS

At an environment policy announcement at Seaview in Wellington, Greens leader James Shaw joined volunteers picking up plastic and rubbish on the beach.

He said if elected, the party would phase out single use bags by the end of their first term in 2020, and introduce a refund programme nationwide for recycling drinking containers, which is estimated to double recycling rates.

"Ninety percent of local councils endorsed the idea because they've seen that it's worked in Australia where South Australia, a state with a container deposit scheme, has the lowest rate of litter."

Fifteen cents from the 20 cent levy on plastic bags would go to community groups for environmental clean ups, and the rest would go towards research and development into alternative packaging.

The Greens would also commit to a zero waste New Zealand by 2050 goal.

Green Party Leader James Shaw today announced his party will entirely phase out single use plastic bags in the first term of the next government, if elected. Source: 1 NEWS

President Trump keeps tabs on Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath from Camp David retreat

The White House says President Donald Trump has been meeting with his Cabinet and other senior administration officials to discuss the federal response to the flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

In a statement issued today, the White House says that Trump held a video conference from the presidential retreat at Camp David.

Trump instructed the relevant departments and agencies to "stay fully engaged and positioned to support his number one priority of saving lives."

Trump also reminded his department heads that the full impact of the storm won't be apparent for days.

Residents of Texas and Louisiana are facing heavy flooding and wind damage.

Harvey came ashore in Texas on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.


High-profile NZ First recruit Shane Jones lagging behind National's Shane Reti in battle for Whangarei

In the battle to win the Whangarei seat, a new Q+A Colmar Brunton poll reveals voters are strongly leaning towards National candidate Dr Shane Reti over New Zealand First's Shane Jones, who is hoping for a political comeback. 

In the electorate that stretches from Hikurangi down to Langs Beach, 42 percent said they would vote for Dr Reti, compared to Mr Jones who is on 24 percent. 

Labour's Tony Savage is on 22 percent and Green Party candidate Ash Holwell is standing at 10 percent. 

National has held the seat of Whangarei with a consistently healthy majority since 1975, with Dr Reti winning the seat with over 13,000 votes in 2014. 

Mr Jones unsuccessfully contested the Northland seat for Labour in 2005 but came in on the list. After a stint as the Pacific economic ambassador, he wants to get back into politics. 

National has held the seat of Whangarei with a healthy majority since 1975, but NZ First's Shane Jones poses high-profile competition this election. Source: Q+A

"I'm not arrogant about it, it's a big majority but look, you don't come these contests without having a profound sense of confidence and self-belief," Mr Jones told Q+A.

"But of course at the end of the day, Whangarei has to back me as well and I'm getting a hell of a lot of positive response."  

Meanwhile, Dr Reti believes the seat should be held by someone who lives in the electorate, taking aim at Mr Jones who lives further north and was raised on a Northland dairy farm. 

"I fundamentally think, Whangarei deserves an MP who lives in the electorate and has already demonstrated years of commitment to the electorate," Dr Reti told Q+A.

Support for Labour has soared since the 2014 election party vote result for Whangarei when Labour came in at 17.8 percent. 

The latest Q+A Colmar Brunton poll shows Labour standing at 37 percent, with National just four points ahead. 

New Zealand First is on 16 percent, with the Green Party coming in at 3.6 percent. 

In the latest Q+A Colmar Brunton Poll, Shane Reti stands at 42 percent, compared to NZ First's Shane Jones at 24 percent. Source: Q+A