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Is a $400 litter penalty too harsh or fair enough?

Littering in a public place will soon risk a $400 spot fine in Manukau and Waitakere City.

Waitakere councillors have voted to lift the maximum penalty from $100 - effective from today. Manukau City Council has given 14 days' notice that it will do the same.

Is a $400 litter penalty too harsh or fair enough? Here is the latest selection of Your Views:

It's great. Whoever is saying no, are they people who are littering? It doesn't worry the good people who are doing the right thing.

About time, so much for our clean green image it's a farce. Drive any road or street in New Zealand and see the mess. We shouldn't have to put up with it. Put the blame where it's due, so called lawmakers in Wellington and in effective local body politicians. They are certainly not worthy of the fats incomes we tax payers and rate payers pay them. My view is maximise the fines and stop making excuses for these lazy grubby misfits who litter our beautiful countryside.

Mike (Christchurch)
How about nailing those dirty smokers who like to throw cigarette butts out their car window and on to my bonnet? And more pressure on our youths to stop throwing takeaway bags and soft drink containers at traffic intersections. Sick!

Normal Citizen
It's great idea. But as all those rules and laws and guidelines, the point is how to execute it? See all those thieves and rubbers and criminals in the day light street in Auckland. Those human rubbish don't care of that, because they are going to be caught. And also see those millions $ investment in the Queen Street in Auckland how many rubbish bin installed newly. There is no rubbish bins in the right place. It's just hopeless spending millions taxpayer's money. I think my kid do better than current politicians in this country.

Seems strange no one I have heard of has been fined. Are there any figures available?

Does anyone know that there is fine of $100 for littering which has been in force for 29 years? I have never heard of that. Who enforces this? So what difference will a $400 fine make? Until we get serious about this, it will be another 29 years before anyone realises there is a $400 fine. I agree this should apply to discarding any form of rubbish in a public place. But who is going to police it. Maybe it would be a start if the public could be encouraged to dob the offenders in, in the same way as dangerous driving. Maybe a bit more action than talk. My bet is that in a couple of days this will fall off the radar and never to be raised again, for at least another 29 years.

Tracey (Papakura)
The fine is great  but will the litter bugs really get caught? I feel like I am part of a dying breed  the Tidy Kiwi of the 70s and 80s.

A $400 fine is fair enough for a small amount of littering. Then perhaps on a larger scale, the fine should increase from $1000 upwards depending on the size and amount of litter disposed in public areas. Also I do think it's up to the councils to provide plenty of rubbish receptacles in public places for the purpose of litter disposal, and advertise on these receptacles in big lettering which can't be missed, what they are and also the fines imposed for indiscriminate litter disposal on the ground. Dog owners are rightfully expected to remove their animals droppings from public places, so why not have similar rules in place for litter disposal?

Hen (Auckland)
After 8 years in Auckland I had no idea that throwing away rubbish can result in a fine  obviously, while the law has been in place for some time, it does not discourage offenders. I fully support a scaled system, but suggest that offences that involve bags full of rubbish or more should be fined $1000, at least! Have a look at Singapore and ask yourself, Auckland, don't you think peoples' attitude towards the environment in this city is a disgrace?

Tim (Europe)
I'm a born and bread 28-year-old kiwi, I have been travelling for two years around the world. I can't wait to come home to my clean country  It had better still be! I support harsh punishment ($400 fines etc) to anyone who is to lazy to find a rubbish bin (or rather a recycling bin).

Mama Mia (Auckland)
Think fair enough. About time pigs are taught it's unacceptable to force the rest of us to live in a pigsty. It's the only way you can teach them how to behave civilised  hit their purse hard, lest they forget.

Excellent move, well overdue.

Good luck charging me $400 for throwing a smoke out the window. Why cant we just get all the useless people out there who sit on the dole to pick up the rubbish. I'm sick of paying tax for these people. They should be shipped back to there country if they not going to work!

Warren (Hamilton)
Who are they going to employ to monitor public places against throwing a cigarette butt on the ground? I can understand that dropping an empty drink can, or Burger King bag on the ground is disgusting but if I happen to throw a cigarette butt out the window of my car, I won't be accepting an infringement notice for it. Littering has its limits, but don't forget that if everyone stopped littering, cleaners would lose their jobs.

Mark (Auckland)
It's a great idea. It is quite obvious that smokers think that smoking is dirty as they all flick their butts out of their car while driving. Also, someone should tell these people who spit or clear their nose on the footpath or where ever is disgusting. Lots of Asians do this. Don't try to hide it, we all know that you do this. Even if there are bins I don't think people know how to use them as they will tip their rubbish on the road etc. Perhaps a sign on rubbish bins on how to use them? And what about the rubbish men who seem to think that only some of the rubbish should be thrown in the truck? Often I see these guys just throw the bags in the truck and most of it lands on the road. These idiots should be fined and clean dirty toilets.

Luke M.
I support the high fines. I live next to Jellicoe Park in Onehunga and there is always a group loitering around the front eating their KFC and dumping it only metres away from the rubbish bin. This uneducated lot need a wake up call and I'm sure hitting the pocket is an effective way to do so. However, how are the council going to police it? I find it hard to believe that they'll have a task force to initiate this strategy? I fear that the motive is all hot air especially now that it's election time.

I support any action that would actually reduce littering, especially of chewing gum and cigarette butts, but I think the most powerful would be public shame. If you see somebody littering, call them out on it, loudly. An "Excuse me, you dropped this" is always fun to execute. Or ask them to pick it up. And when they do so, reward them with a beautiful smile and thanks for being a tidy kiwi. It's not up to litter officers to enforce community standards, it's up to everyone in the community.

Dan (California, USA)
The answer to littering to have the offenders do public service. The best public service would be spending a day along the road side picking up litter as well as paying the $400 fine. It will not take long for the message to get out before the litter issue came to a halt.

Cameron Brewer  Newmarket Business Association
I support fines but only if local authorities and business districts have first provided enough outside rubbish and cigarette butt receptacles. Late last year the Newmarket Business Association installed 50 outdoor ashtrays in Newmarket which are now collecting a minimum of 55,000 butts a month  that's 660,000 butts a year that are not getting into the stormwater and Waitemata Harbour. Our successful project with local company Smokin' Station shows just how the provision of such public receptacles dramatically improves the litter situation. The public often drop the likes of cigarette butts because they simply don't have any other option. We would encourage other business associations and local authorities to make sure they first provide the facilities before they start serving the fines.

For almost 20 years my mother picked up the litter around the New Lynn area. She was recognised for her efforts by Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Keep Waitakere Beautiful and Radio I. In 1990 she received the QSM for her community service. Since then however poor health has rendered her unable to continue this voluntary work. I am all for the instant fining but I am also concerned as to how well it will be policed. How can we be sure that some more unpleasant people do not put their rubbish bags outside our places and hence we are fined for their rubbish? I doubt full priority would be placed by council staff on deliberate littering. And besides if you fine those who cannot or refuse to pay their fines how does that educate them? I would like to relate an incident that once happened on Margan Ave in New Lynn sometime ago. A friend was walking with her son and noticed an Asian man sitting in his car throwing rubbish/litter from within his car and out onto the street. She immediately threw the rubbish/litter back into his car. He suddenly had selective amnesia of NZ laws and English when she told him he was not supposed to do that sort of thing i.e littering. So how do you educate those like the aforementioned man who may not even give a stuff about the environment?

This is an excellent idea. There are far too many lazy, dirty people around throwing their rubbish and cigarette butts anywhere they please. I wish something like this could have been brought in earlier. Good Job.

I don't litter, if there is no bin I wrap it up and take it with me. However, I think someone should point out it has been many, many times I have gone to a rubbish bin and it is overflowing or there are not enough bins? There should be a fine, but not that steep and anyway who do we pay to monitor it?

William Warwick (Titirangi)
Yet another way for council to tax more money from the residence. From today onwards if you drop a cigarette but there's a $400 fine. What is the penalty for someone who sprays graffiti on the fences of half a dozen houses in the street or factory and shop walls and doors?
I think you could find more people who would want to see the graffiti situation dealt to than something minor like this. I mean this can't be that much of a problem if only 20 something fines have been handed out over the last 18 Months. Let's stamp out graffiti first!

Jon (Auckland)
Another pointless exercise in stupidity. If the current laws are not enforced, what is the point of raising the fine?

It all seems very good in theory but there are a few concerns that need to be raised and I'm sure will never be addressed:
1. Is this a last ditch attempt for Labour to regain a stronghold on there lack of popularity?
2. Will it actually be enforced? Or is it a feeble attempt to brush the issue under the rug?
3. Who will collect the fines? The amount in outstanding fines already from other court related offences is out of control.
So why fine (or threaten) people who do not care about there country or others, these are the types who are hardly going to pay for there actions. I just hope it works though, as I'm fed up cleaning up the front of my land every weekend by the lazy, uneducated idiots that populate and pollute our country.

Maori dog Mike
Execution would be too lenient.


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