Former KCDC Councillor Lyndy McIntyre has urged the Kapiti Council to bring back a proper council-run rubbish service.
Backed by a large group of supporters she told a hearing on the Long Term Plan the privatised system had failed completdly.
“It’s time for KCDC to restore a kerbside recycling and waste collection service that incentivises minimising waste,” she said.
“We’re here to ask you to face up to your responsibility to manage our district’s waste.
“All round the country we see council provided kerbside waste services. This is what councils do. Councils take leadership on waste, ensuring their people have incentives to reduce their waste and supporting them to do this.
But the Kapiti District is different, she said. It now had a fully privatised system with no incentives to reduce waste.
‘A bunch of private companies’
“A bunch of private companies whose profits depend on households generating as much rubbish as possible and who charge households a minimum of $150 a year to collect it, are managing our waste,” she said. “No wonder people are resorting to cramming household rubbish into council bins and dumping rubbish down banks and on our foreshore.
“How did we get into this mess?” she asked. “I was a KCDC councillor from 2007-2010. During my term KCDC staff came up with the proposal to hand over our rubbish bag and recycling service to private contractors.”
The whole rational of this proposal was that the cost of the bags would provide the incentive to reduce waste and contractors would compete to keep the bag cost down. It was always understood that a free kerbside recycling service would continue even if households succeeded in reducing waste and therefore the number of bags they put out.
A failed experiment
Ms McIntyre said the experiment has totally failed and the waste service needed fixing.
she made these points:
- The Local Government Act requires councils to have particular regard to a number of core services, one of which is waste collection and disposal.
- KCDC signed up to the Wellington Region Waste Management and Minimisation Plan which states: “Councils have a statutory role in managing waste and are required to promote effective and efficient waste management and minimisation within their districts.”
- KCDC has identified looking after the environment as of its four key challenges.
Empty talk and hypocrisy
“These commitments are empty talk, in fact hypocrisy, if our rubbish remains in the hands of private companies whose profits depend on households creating more and more waste,” she said.
‘I read in the Observer that the Mayor said: “If nobody wants to provide the service, it means it’s uneconomical and should the council go in and have it subsidised by rates?”
“Is this how we talk about libraries, town centres and all the other things our rates go towards?
“Waste collection and recycling is a core service. The purpose of rates is to pay for the services communities need, which are good for the community and reflect our goals, one of which is waste minimisation and another of which is protecting the environment.”
KCDC has lost control of waste disposal
“Lastly, because of our waste is privatised, our council exercises no control over its disposal. For years contractors have been dumping our waste at Hokio Landfill, where toxins leech into land owned by the Ngātokuwaru Marae. KCDC must intervene to end this disgraceful situation.
“You are our elected representatives. If you care about sustainability, do something. If you believe you should walk the talk about the environment do something. If you are prepared to fulfill your obligations, do something!
“Our planet is facing an environmental catastrophe. Waste is a massive part of the problem. While other councils are taking leadership on this we’re going backwards.
I”f you can’t do it on your own, recruit people from the community to put in place a plan and make it happen.
“It’s time for KCDC to restore a kerbside recycling and waste collection service that incentivises minimising waste. Waste management is a basic responsibility of local government and should be provided by our council. Let’s bring it back.”