Litterers face instant fines

By John Cousins

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<inline type="poll" id="6359" align="outside"/>Instant fines for littering are to be introduced in Tauranga _ even though council staff say they will continue to take an educational approach to enforcement.

The council yesterday agreed to give staff additional powers to issue tickets for littering, with punishments ranging from $100 to $400 depending on the volume and dangers posed by the rubbish.

Councillor Catherine Stewart said she saw a lot of broken glass around the streets and if people could be fined then they should be fined, rather than getting off with a warning.

Environmental compliance manager John Payne said the fines would be an additional tool when they could not reach a resolution in other ways.<inline type="poll" id="6359" align="outside"/>

The emphasis would continue to be on education.

"There are always two sides to the story.''

Mr Payne said that if someone blatantly offended and dumped dangerous litter then it may be appropriate to issue an infringement notice.

He said the level of proof had to be fairly high and not a single case of littering had been taken to court by the council for seven years.

Warning notices were usually enough.

Mr Payne supported extending litter enforcement powers beyond environmental health and bylaw enforcement officers.

Councillor Larry Baldock said the instant fines added teeth to the bylaw and was less complicated than taking people who littered to court.

He suggested that parking wardens should issue tickets.

"Let's hope we see an improvement in behaviour.''

Councillor Bill Faulkner said he did not want to see litter police and Councillor Murray Guy said the community should be encouraged to be more proactive in reporting littering.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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