John Tamihere – a vote to burn up and pollute Auckland

“John Tamihere’s support for incinerating Auckland’s rubbish is a recipe for polluting the city, causing major health problems, job loss, resource loss and increased climate emissions. His ‘burn rubbish’ approach is out-of-date and dangerous,” said Zero Waste Network spokesperson Marty Hoffart.

“Tamihere’s policy would destroy the structures we have built for actual community use and repurposing of materials in favour of ad hoc individuals picking up someone else’s throwaways and burning the rest. It is not a coherent waste policy – it is a cowboy approach to a complex civic issue.” 

“The Zero Waste Network runs the Auckland Inorganic Reuse Project that connects reusable goods with groups who can use them. In 2018, we diverted 45.6 tonnes of Auckland’s inorganic material from the landfill, and we have 141 community groups signed up to the project.”

“This project along with hundreds of other community initiatives being supported by Auckland Council is how we are going to get to zero waste, not by burning rubbish.”

“Auckland is world-leading in terms of its position on zero waste. The goal of becoming a zero waste city by 2040 isn’t built in a day but rather requires a coherent strategy including contract management of waste services, development of community recycling centres, support for a circular economy and behavioural change.”

“Tamihere’s idea of a public-private partnership for a waste incinerator will cost the city and its ratepayers dearly.  Waste incinerators don’t magic away waste – they turn it into toxic waste that still has to be buried in a specialised facility.”

“At the same time, burning rubbish is not climate neutral. Aside from the fact that waste would still have to be hauled to any new facility, gasification projects release carbon into the atmosphere, and are not used for municipal waste in part because the power they produce is usually less than the power they consume.”

“It is interesting that John Tamihere is the latest mayoral contender to champion incinerators. It is almost as if the incinerator industry is on a public relations tour seeking to find new markets for their dodgy technologies.”

“Business, government and communities are recognising that the future for Auckland and for all of New Zealand is to build a zero waste circular economy – that means designing the waste out of what we create and use, not fooling ourselves into thinking we can burn or bury our way out of dealing with waste. People seeking public office like John Tamihere need to connect with the innovative solutions emerging all around Auckland instead of revisiting tired, obsolete ideas.”