Single-use plastic bags to be phased out over the next year, Government announces

Single-use plastic bags are to be phased out, in an attempt to help New Zealand live up to its clean, green image. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the move to phase out the bags over the next year, with a six month phase-out period proposed. 

The move comes after a petition with 65,000 signatures called for a ban on the single-use bags.

Single use plastic bags (file picture).
Single use plastic bags (file picture). Source: istock.com

"We use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business," Ms Ardern said. 

She said it was "important we take the time now to get this right" so Kiwis could adjust shopping habits. 

Ms Sage was confident New Zealand would embrace the change, with the Government working alongside retailers to help with the transition.

Corin Dann with this extended interview with the Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.
Source: Q+A

"New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and we want to help ensure we live up to it. Phasing out single-use plastic bags helps do that."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The public are able to give their views on the change until September 14, which includes options when the complete phase-out date should be and retailers that should be exempt. 

The Prime Minister made the announcement today in Auckland to phase out plastic bags over the next year. Source: 1 NEWS

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Tranzit managing director confident no Mitsubishi link in bus crashes

The managing director of the bus company that owned the vehicle involved in Wednesday's crash near Inglewood, does not believe an investigation will find a problem with Mitsubishi buses.

A 69-year-old man died following the accident in Taranaki, which was carrying students from Inglewood High School at the time.

Yesterday the Transport Minister, Phil Twyford, announced the Ministry of Transport and the NZ Transport Agency will investigate three recent bus crashes, all involving Mitsubishi Fusos.

The three crashes in Rangitikei, Mt Ruapehu and central Taranaki, killed two people and injured several others and all took place within a fortnight.

Tranzit Coachline managing director Peter Snelgrove said while the buses are all Fusos, the bus involved in Taranaki was a larger MP model.

"Once the Serious Crash Unit, the CVIU (Commercial Vehicle Enforcement) inspect all the vehicles, it won't be a Mitsubishi problem," he said.

Mr Snelgrove said while the cause of the crash was not yet confirmed, he was sure all of Tranzit's buses were safe.

"We're 100 percent confident in our fleet maintenance, we have a stringent maintenance programme.

"We knew within minutes of the accident, [because] all the vehicles are electronically GPS monitored so we know the speed, the direction, what happened, except what the driver was doing, we know everything else," he said.

He said an investigation was still underway, but the data they had received from the vehicle showed no sign of speeding at the time of the crash.

When asked for comment on the investigation, NZTA said it could not speculate on what could have contributed to any of the crashes, while police investigations were still underway.

"Any issues which arise from these investigations will be addressed by the Ministry of Transport and the NZ Transport Agency, and reported back to the Minister of Transport.

"The Minister has made it clear that the facts related to these three crashes must be established before talking about any response," said the statement.

The latest incident saw a school bus crash in Taranaki, leaving the driver dead in what may have been a medical event.
Source: 1 NEWS