“A Wasted Opportunity – Using the waste disposal levy to create economic and environmental advantage for Aotearoa New Zealand” was written by Eunomia Research & Consulting and funded by the New Zealand Waste Levy Action Group.

The report which can be downloaded above looked at what effect changes to the waste disposal levy could have. It concluded that there would be sizable benefits for employment and in terms of recycling if key changes were made. Dr Dominic Hogg, Founder and Chairman of the UK-headquartered Eunomia Research & Consulting,said

“Whilst other countries ask how they make progress towards a circular economy, the low rate of the levy in New Zealand entrenches a ‘take-make-dispose’ model of production. New Zealand’s levy rate, set at $10 per tonne of waste, is among the lowest of any country with a landfill levy in place. Overseas experience suggests that there are significant benefits to having a higher rate of levy, and to applying the levy more widely.”

“Landfill levies can have a positive effect on the economy, inducing more efficient use of resources, and supporting employment generation. The argument for expanding and increasing the levy, and for a significantly higher rate than its current default rate of $10 per tonne, is compelling” says Dr Hogg.

Important changes that together would realise these benefits include:

  • Extending the levy to all landfill types
  • Different rates for active and inert waste
  • A substantial increase in the levy for active waste
  • Escalating the levy rates over time to allow industry time to plan and adapt
  • Developing a comprehensive monitoring and enforcement approach
  • Targeted investment of levy income

The New Zealand Waste Levy Action Group contends that the Waste Disposal Levy is currently a wasted opportunity and calls on the Government to adopt the recommendations made in the report, in particular, to make broadening levy coverage and increasing its rate over time a key environmental priority.