National MP Scott Simpson's private Member's Bill, aimed at increasing penalties for those who litter and/or dump rubbish illegally, passed its first reading in Parliament last week.

The Bill would increase the maximum instant fine a council could impose from a "measly" $400 to a "serious" $1000.

"Nothing annoys me more than seeing our beautiful natural environment ruined by the careless and thoughtless actions of lazy litter bugs," Mr Simpson said.

"It's far too common to see people brazenly throwing litter from moving cars, to say nothing of others who dump their rubbish.


"That's why I sponsored a Member's Bill to ensure we have more tools to help prevent littering and keep our communities safe and clean. This will send a clear message to those who litter that it is entirely unacceptable.

"Local councils and communities are constantly dealing with the mess left behind by those who would rather litter our countryside than dispose of their rubbish correctly. New Zealanders are rightly proud of our environment, and while the overwhelming majority do the right thing, it is spoiled by those who refuse to."

In Auckland alone, cleaning up litter cost almost $5 million a year, money that Mr Simpson said could be better spent on roads and parks.

His Bill would build on National's previous efforts to curb littering, which included the Do the Right Thing campaign and funding of more than $80 million to more than 130 projects through the Waste Minimisation Fund.

"Fines are just one part of the solution, but, combined with working with councils and changing people's attitudes, we believe we can reduce the amount of litter left behind and ensure our environment looks better, our wildlife is better protected and our clean green reputation is upheld," he said.

The Litter Increased Infringement Fee Amendment Bill had been referred to the Environment Select Committee for consideration, and was open to public submissions.