Mayoral candidates talk rubbish

By Alexandra Newlove

5 comments
Whangarei's ReSort centre, the district's largest transfer station, in Kioreroa Rd, is where people dump their rubbish in the city.
Whangarei's ReSort centre, the district's largest transfer station, in Kioreroa Rd, is where people dump their rubbish in the city.

Getting politicians to talk rubbish isn't that hard, especially when it's relating to Whangarei's rubbish collection and disposal system.

Since November 2010 all of Whangarei's non-recyclable rubbish is sent to Puwera Landfill. It is no longer shipped out of the region as it was for a few years while the landfill was being developed.

Puwera Landfill near Portland, is a joint venture between Northland Waste (the district's rubbish collection contractor) and Whangarei District Council (WDC). It is owned and run by the Northland Regional Landfill Limited Partnership which also runs ReSort, the district's largest transfer station, at Kioreroa Rd.

Whangarei District Council spent nearly $100,000 and 1000 hours cleaning up after "fly-tippers" or illegal dumpers in the financial year to the end of May, according to council figures. The local authority dealt with about 833 incidences of illegal dumping during the period.

Cleaning up cost $98,671 including tipping fees and took up 980 hours of council time, including time spent travelling to the sites of the rubbish.

WDC figures show 124 infringements worth $42,850 were issued regarding the litter.

Our Whangarei mayoral candidates are talking rubbish:

Stuart Bell:

"The cost of keeping rural transfer stations open 24/7 is somewhere around the $5 million a year mark. That covers the cost of the staffing and getting the rubbish taken away. That's equivalent to an 8 per cent rates rise across the board or $5 million of other stuff that won't happen. The money has got to come from somewhere."

David Blackley:

Go-Whangarei promises "better rubbish" through a reduction in tip fees; free rural transfer stations open 24/7 and a possible introduction of plastic bins.

The candidate said the cost to the environment is huge if the district's rubbish system is left as it is, with fly-tipping in streams and bushes a daily occurrence.

"The problems originated when council decided to put fences around rural areas and charge for them. Since that has occurred we have a rubbish problem," Mr Blackley said.

"There is an underlying issue that the council has lost touch with the economic realities out there. There are people out there who cannot even afford the cost of a sticker."

Kay Brittenden:

"It's a fine idea but I don't know how efficient it will be. How many people will be in town and will think I'll just take my rubbish out there [to a rural station].

"If it's 24/7 you have to look at lighting and are you going to man it? So, there's more costs there."

Ash Holwell:

"Cheaper rubbish means more rubbish and filling up the landfill we spent millions creating.

"It's just another way Go-Whangarei want to lump costs on future generations. I've stood on the pit face of Puwera [landfill] and it is truly frightening.

"We currently recycle some 1s and 2s. In the Waikato they've done 1 through 7 for the last 10 years. Their dump has 17 to 20 full-time employees and economic multipliers of $2.6 million for a town of 5000.

Matt Keene:

"I've got a problem with cheaper rubbish because I think we need to modify behaviour, and to get there to have more consideration about dumping waste. Imposing a charge is good.

Sheryl Mai:

"The financial side is, if a station is open from a Health and Safety point of view it has to be manned.

"There will be more rubbish going to the landfill and if you're not recovering those costs, somebody has to pay. There is no such thing as free rubbish.

"It might be free at the gate but not in your rates bill. If it was top of the list for people, then what's going to give?"

- Northern Advocate

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