Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is trumpeting a crackdown on illegal dumping in the same week he called the unruly travellers who dumped rubbish on Takapuna Beach "trash".
In an explosive interview with bFM's Mikey Havoc, the mayor labelled the controversial tourists who have been running amok across the country "a...holes" and "trash".
"I just saw what they did on Takapuna Beach ... We know who they are. I've asked the council to follow up because I want to see them loaded with an infringement fine for trashing our country," Goff said.
I hate to see our countryside and environment desecrated by people littering and dumping rubbish
The mayor said he was working hard with council officers and police to serve a fine on the travellers but acknowledged practical difficulties and the "near impossibility" of the Litter Act in terms of evidential standards required to get a conviction.
Goff has been on a personal crusade to crack down on illegal dumping since February last year. Since then, the number of fines issued have increased to 186 from 90 in the previous 12 months.
In one high-profile case, two people admitted charges last year over dumping oil drums on roadsides in Manukau and above a reservoir that feeds into Auckland's water supply in the Waitakere Ranges.
Goff said in the last two months there have been three successful prosecutions resulting in fines running into thousands of dollars.
He said the worst cases of dumping are not people who are too poor to dispose of their rubbish properly, but companies who take away rubbish for a fee and dump it.
"The companies that are doing this have absolutely no excuse. It is total self interest and greed. For a lot of people they are just too lazy and too irresponsible to care," he said.
Between July 2017 and June 2018, 1500 tonnes of rubbish was illegally dumped in Auckland. In that period, 17,103 people reported cases of illegal dumping to council.
This summer from December 15 to January 16, there were 1500 reported cases of illegal dumping, a drop from 1879 for the same period last summer.
Since last July, council issued 140 litter fines of up to $400 each.
Goff said the best solution to "nip this in the bud" was education, saying a campaign through the Manurewa Local Board and a local pride group in Clendon had reduced dumping to near zero in the neighbourhood.
"I have a personal thing about illegal dumping. I hate to see our countryside and environment desecrated by people littering and dumping rubbish. We have to change the culture of that and school-based campaigns are really effective," Goff said.
He said the council was lobbying Government to change the Litter Act to make it easier to impose fines, saying it is too tough at the moment.
To report illegal dumping call: 0800 663 867
Top 10 dumped items
• Rubbish Bags - 33 per cent
• Furniture - 26 per cent
• Mattresses - 15 per cent
• Other materials, including supermarket trolleys, cardboard, car parts - 12 per cent
• Other household items - 11 per cent
• Building/demolition material - 10 per cent
• Garden waste - 9 per cent
• Household appliances - 6 per cent
• Tyres - 5 per cent
• Vehicles - 5 per cent
Source: Auckland Council