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Battle over plan to stop junk mail

Local groups fear their message will not get through if bylaw gets the go-ahead

Local groups fear their message will not get through if bylaw gets the go-ahead
Delivery of unwanted, unaddressed mail adds to the city’s litter problem. Photo / Supplied
Junk mailers of Auckland are being warned to expect a stop to their littering with a new bylaw – but voluntary community groups fear it will prevent them handing out their material.

A council committee yesterday heard concerns from North Shore groups on a proposed littering bylaw that sought to stamp out unwanted, unaddressed mail.

It is being considered as part of the council’s task to formulate one solid waste bylaw to replace those of seven former councils. The proposal states that no one save official agencies can post unaddressed mail to letterboxes marked “no circulars”, “no junk mail” or words with similar effect.

Campbells Bay Community Association chairman Max Thomson asked the committee to broaden any new bylaw to exempt voluntary community organisation newsletters and notices.

His letterbox had a sticker reading “No advertising material – please”.

“But it’s being over-honoured … because we don’t get the stuff we should have.

“We want the ability to stop the piles of advertising junk which come in, but at the same time be able to get our local community newsletters.”

Debra Dunsford of the Milford Residents’ Association agreed, saying that residents wanted their newsletters – in five years her group had never received a complaint about delivering its notices to marked letterboxes.

The planned bylaw was also criticised by the Marketing Association.

Spokesman Keith Norris said distributing unaddressed mail employs 9000 New Zealanders and revenue exceeds $80 million a year.

“Our preference is for no bylaw and council leaving it to the national code of practice,” said Mr Norris.

“We agree that people shouldn’t have junk mail if they don’t want it.”

He said that councils with similar bylaws since 2006 had not prosecuted anyone.

“Officers tell us they cannot enforce it. So what’s changed?”

Former councils in the Auckland area have attempted to deal with junk mail.

Since 2006, North Shore and Waitakere City councils had a bylaw making it an offence to deposit unaddressed mail in three types of marked letterboxes, or to place them on parked vehicles.

The old Auckland City Council’s bylaw referred to “clearly marked” letterboxes, or parked vehicles or into full letterboxes.

Neither Manukau, Papakura, Franklin nor Rodney had junk mail bans.

A spokeswoman for Auckland council yesterday said: “Delivery of unwanted material to mailboxes adds to the community’s litter problem.”

Q&A: The plan

What is affected?

Unaddressed mail.

What type?

Advertising material, clothing donation bags, circulars, leaflets, brochures or flyers.

Where does it apply?

Any letterbox marked “no circulars”, “no junk mail”, “addressed mail only”.

What is exempt?

Subscribed newspapers, public notices and election material.

Where do I complain about junk mail?

Market Association helpline, 0800 111081. Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, 09 356 1755.

Credits

Written by By Wayne Thompson
Published by: The New Zealand Herald 20 September 2012

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Media Coverage

Penalties for refusal to obey new rubbish law

Proposed Solid Waste Bylaw

Penalties for refusal to obey new rubbish law By Wayne Thompson People who refuse to comply with Auckland’s recycling and anti-litter code will risk being denied a civic kerbside collection or being fined under changes to waste management bylaws.

A requirement to separate green waste from other household rubbish put out for collection is proposed in the regional draft bylaw, which will be open for public comment this month.

It joins provisions in some areas’ bylaws that require separation of refuse and recyclable material into containers.

People who try to save money under the user-pays’ refuse collection by using neighbours’ bins without their permission could also face fines for illegal dumping.

The bylaw will replace all existing regulations for waste in the region and is to come into force on November 1.

The three-bin system for separating organics, recyclables and refuse is three years away.

Collection operators will also be made to keep waste streams separate, or breach the terms of their licence agreements with Auckland Council, which has resolved to cut the amount of the region’s waste going to landfill by 30 per cent by 2018.

Council solid waste manager Warwick Jaine said the bylaw change was aimed at “gross behaviour”, rather than mistakes by a householder.

“If people are contaminating and causing problems down the waste processing stream we will have a series of progressive penalties that can apply with fines under the Litter Act.

“But the emphasis is on education – we are not going in with a heavy stick about paper going in the wrong bin.”

Mr Jaine said the bylaw would come with a new schedule of infringement fees, ranging from $100 to $400 for every subsequent offence within a year.

Discretion would be used in enforcing the bylaw.

The region had 165,000 individual containers collected daily, making it hard to see every offence, although more litter wardens would be about.

They would look for a continual trend of more than half a bin of contaminating material and especially people putting in full oil bottles which could to soil rubbish, streets and compacting machinery.

If a householder refused to separate the waste into three waste containers for collection from the kerbside, they would have to organise for it to be collected from their property by a private contractor.

They would not be allowed to put it out for the kerbside collection.

Mr Jaine said the council had a range of ways to identify sources of contamination.

They included having people walk ahead of collection trucks, opening up lids and leaving stickers to educate householders about what they should do.

Credits

Written by: Wayne Thompson | Email Wayne
Photo by: APN
Published by: NZ Herald August 10 2012

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Current Issues Media Coverage

Proposed Solid Waste Bylaw

Council proposes single solid waste bylaw

Auckland Council wants to know what the public thinks of proposals for a new solid waste bylaw for the region, with submissions opening on Friday

More on this issue: https://www.bra.org.nz/proposed-solid-waste-bylaw

The management of solid waste in the Auckland region is currently governed by seven different bylaws of the former councils, which all expire on 31 October 2012. Auckland Council proposed to replace these with a single bylaw to ensure one set of rules for the region.

Many of the proposals in are already included in some existing bylaws and will be extended to the rest of Auckland.

Regulatory and Bylaws Committee chair, Councillor Des Morrison, says the proposed bylaw aims to provide a mechanism to deal with the potential health and safety issues for the public and the environment when rubbish is not deposited correctly.

“As a council, we want to take a pragmatic approach to these issues and, where possible, deal with some of these problems by working alongside the waste industry and community as well as through public education.

“The bylaw gives us the tool to deal with a problem when those non-regulatory approaches have not worked, especially where the public’s health and safety are at risk.”

It will also help council achieve the aims of council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which was adopted earlier this year.

“It’s important to note that, while the bylaw has to be in place this year, many of the changes won’t happen overnight. There will be a transition period while we continue talking to the waste industry and community and to align with the implementation of the waste plan,” says Councillor Morrison.

Included in the draft solid waste bylaw is how council proposes to:

  • Deal with litter nuisance associated with unaddressed mail, abandoned shopping trolley and donation bins
  • Work with waste operators to monitor what kind and how solid waste is being collected and disposed through an extended licensing system
  • Work with event organisers to develop waste minimisation plans to manage litter generated by public events to prevent it spreading on to public land
  • Ensure waste collection standards
  • Extending across the region a programme dealing with waste management and disposal for multi-unit developments.

 
People will be able to view the Statement of Proposal, which includes the draft bylaw, and make a submission online, at www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/bylaws, from Friday, 3 August.

Documents also available from all council libraries, service centres and local board offices.

Submissions will close on Monday, 3 September, 2012.