Make Your Empties Go Another Round.
One Green Bottle Floating In The Sea... Two Green Bottles Floating In The Sea.
When I was a kid New Zealand was actually pretty green. We didn’t really have plastic. The fruit and veges came in a cardboard box, the meat was wrapped in paper, milk came in a glass bottle, and even rubbish sacks were made of paper.
Today if you sit down at a park bench and see empty soft drink cans or alcohol bottles you probably roll your eyes. Back in the day we knew how to Be A Tidy Kiwi, we knew how to Keep New Zealand Beautiful. Even Dad’s beer came in a wooden box of glass bottles with the legend “Make your empties go another round” printed on it.
When Chris Hipkins was having his so-called policy bonfire. Ditching or delaying policies they didn't want to proceed with in election year. One policy dumped stood out to me. It was the policy whereby if you returned a drink container you got a small amount of money back, known as the Container Return Scheme (CRS).
You might remember such a scheme from when you were a kid. If you were a bit short on cash you could hand back in empty glass bottles, and you'd get a small amount of cash back. They have such schemes in many countries around the world, including if you look at the labels of some drinks in this country in some Australian states.
I couldn’t work out why it was being dumped, and I gather the Greens, who obviously supported it, were pretty mystified too. Why would anyone oppose a scheme to return drink containers so as to reduce the amount of packaging going into landfill?
It surprised me to read in an article this morning, from Guyon Espiner, that the Prime Minister had hired Andrew Kirton as his Chief of Staff. Coming directly from heading the lobby firm Anacta, who have been fighting against the introduction of the CRS. I assume because it might put a minor dent in industry profits.
As far as sniff tests go this one stinks. Really bad. Like I would be disgusted, but not surprised, if National or especially ACT made such a move - but Labour? Surely there must be more to this?
A lobbying firm headed up by the Prime Minister's chief of staff Andrew Kirton worked for liquor companies in their fight for major changes to a container return scheme that has now been ditched by the government.
Kirton worked for the New Zealand arm of trans-Tasman lobbying firm Anacta, resigning just one day before he was announced as chief of staff for Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on 1 February.
Documents obtained under the Official Information Act by RNZ show Anacta was lobbying the government on behalf of Asahi and Lion, who feared the scheme would hurt their businesses.
So why is Big Beverage so opposed to the CRS? It’s not like it’s a new tax or is going to cost the drinks company any money. The deposit is added to the sales price and given back to the consumer on return of the container.
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