'The legislation needs to be introduced' – Wellington council demands action on plastic bag levy

Wellington City Council is demanding the government takes action over plastic bag levies and has made their own moves to raise awareness about the damage they are doing to the environment. 

The council is offering it's city's residents the opportunity to go on tours of the local rubbish dumps to see where plastic bags end up.

Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett hopes that the tours will continue to build support for a levy and encourage people to use an alternative to plastic bags. 

"We've been calling on this for a few years," Ms Pannett told TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme this morning. 

"We know it works, many countries have already done it and we think Wellingtonians really care about the environment so they will change their behaviours as a result of these tours.

"Many countries including countries that we closely align ourselves with like Ireland and Britain, already have a levy and there are even countries like China, Italy that have banned plastic bags.

"We have seen clear evidence in the UK they have had a massive drop because of a 5p levy."

When asked why local councils haven't introduced the levy, Ms Pannett explained that they don't have the legal authority to do so, otherwise it would have been implemented a while ago. 

The council is offering tours of the dump as it ramps up pressure over the issue. Source: Breakfast

Dental Association says price not the only reason fewer Kiwis getting teeth checked

The New Zealand Dental Association doesn't believe the high cost of going to the dentist is to blame for the low rate of Kiwis getting their teeth checked each year.

Ministry of Health figures show only 47.5 per cent of Kiwis over the age of 15 visited the dentist for the year ending June 2016.

And that figure is consistently dropping.

President of the New Zealand Dental Association Susan Gorrie says she doesn't believe it's the cost of the dentist that is putting people off making an appointment.

Ms Gorrie told TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme this morning that going to the dentist isn't a "high priority" for most New Zealanders.

"They're anxious about going to the dentist so they put it off, or (say) it's not going to happen to them, they're not in any pain at the moment so they'll give it a miss for another year."

Ms Gorrie says Kiwis have a good start in New Zealand with dental care being free from birth until they're 18.

"We should hit 18 with really good teeth, knowing how to look after them.

"Only 80 per cent of those (who are) eligible go. Even when the cost is not a factor, people still don't go."

She acknowledges there is little financial assistance for lower income families who can only access funding from WINZ for emergency work.

The New Zealand Dental Association says they don't think the high cost of going to the dentist is to blame for the low rate of dental appointments. Source: Breakfast