The Government's considering a ban on plastic bags, after a 65,000 strong petition was handed over to Parliament.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said she was struck by how much New Zealanders cared about the harmful impacts of plastic bags.

"The message I've got is that it's time for change.

"The previous National Government ignored this problem when a similar petition by Our Seas Our Future was considered in 2014, and decided to do nothing.


"This Government cares about the environment and knows how much New Zealanders understand that single-use plastic bags are produced using oil, create waste, and can end up in the ocean, choking marine life."

Sage said that even though companies including our main supermarkets, Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs, were phasing out plastic bags, it wasn't enough.

"The question is to ban or not to ban. I have directed officials to look at the best options and report back," she said.

"Significantly reducing waste going to landfill by 2020 is a key goal of the Green Party's confidence and supply agreement with Labour and is a priority for me as Associate Environment Minister.

"While single use plastic bags represent 0.2 per cent of landfill waste, they are an unnecessary pollutant.

"More than 30 countries have legislated to regulate single use plastic bags with bans or levies.

"New Zealand has been a laggard in this space for years, but that's not going to be the case under this Government."