Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Litterbugs to be hit in pocket

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Serious litterbugs in Auckland are to be fined a minimum of $100 - and $400 for every subsequent offence within a year - under proposed infringement fees coming in this year.

The fees, approved by the Auckland Council regulatory and bylaws committee, are part of a move to replace a mish-mash of litter rules inherited from councils in the 2010 merger.

The new regional standard will have a $400 maximum fine but serious cases will go to court to extract a higher penalty.

However, the Auckland Council says the schedule of fees is not set to recover the cost of enforcement and cleaning up. It is to show that the council is serious about litter.

It will apply the same fines for littering on public and private land.

Dumping two supermarket bags of rubbish on the roadside will get $150 fine. Dumping the equivalent contents of a "red lid" 120-litre wheelie bin will attract a $250 fine.

The schedule - likely to start in November - proposes a $400 fine for hazardous litter such as broken glass, barbed wire, jagged metal, medicines and hazardous waste.

It is also $400 for offensive litter such as rotting food waste, animal remains and dirty nappies.

Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairwoman Leila Boyle said it wanted to reflect the amount of litter in the level of the fine for a first offence.

Ms Boyle said a $50 fine would have deterred people from stuffing bags of their household rubbish in public receptacles to avoid the cost of paying for a $2 official bag or, from 2015, to have their wheelie bin emptied.

Four local boards wanted to send a sterner warning - one infringement fee of $400 for all litter.

Consumer research showed 48 per cent thought a $400 instant fine for illegal dumping was fair and 40 per cent thought it should be more.

However, 17 local boards favoured fines based on the amount dumped.

The council gets about 17,000 litter complaints a year.

PROPOSED FINES
* $100 for less than 1 litre of litter
* $150 for 1 to 20 litres
* $250 for 20 to 120 litres
* $400 for more than 120 litres
* $400 for hazardous or offensive litter
* $400 for second and subsequent offences within a year

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Is $400 too harsh or fair enough for repeat littering? Email: newsdesk@nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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