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