Ridding New Zealand of single-use plastic items is a "personal priority" says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who this morning revealed the Government's next steps in its fight against plastics.

"There is more to do," Ardern said.

Her comments came after she announced a ban on more single-use plastic items, including meat trays, cups and takeaway food containers.

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This comes six months after the official plastic bag-ban came into force.

This morning Ardern's Chief Science Adviser, Professor Juliet Gerrard, released a report called: Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand.

It made a number of recommendations but its overall message to the Government was more needs to be done to get rid of single-use plastic items.

"Our goal must be to make Aotearoa and economy where plastic rarely becomes waste or pollution," Ardern said.

She revealed that through the Provincial Growth Fund, the Government was looking into funding "optical scanners to improve plastic recycling".

She said the Government was also eyeing out new projects which would support the conversation of plastic waste into other products.

"People want to get plastics out of our environment and live up to our image as tidy Kiwis – we just need a plan to get there."

Ardern said she gets a lot of letters from people, mainly children, concerned about the amount of plastic in the ocean.

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She said she reads every letter from a child that is sent to her.
One letter contained a checklist of how to save turtles – step one, stop throwing plastic in the ocean.

"Good tip," Ardern said.

Looking ahead, Ardern said any future moves on plastics would require co-ordination not just from the Government, but from business, communities and individuals.

Ardern this morning talked up the Government's plastic bag-ban, saying it has already made a significant difference in New Zealand.

However, she said New Zealand still had "enormous long-term" challenges when it comes to plastic waste.

Act Leader David Seymour called on the Government to explain how strong the evidence supporting these bans actually is. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Act Leader David Seymour called on the Government to explain how strong the evidence supporting these bans actually is. Photo / Mark Mitchell

But critics say the Government needs to front up with more evidence that this new ban is actually needed in New Zealand.

Act Leader David Seymour called on the Government to explain how strong the evidence supporting these bans actually is.

"The Government is making the lives of New Zealanders slightly more difficult when there appears to be no real evidence of the scale of the problem."

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said there was no silver bullet when it comes to reducing plastic pollution, but admitted New Zealand needed a "system change".

She said she aimed to have a full Government response to the report within six months.