A rates-funded refuse collection service instead of the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) orange bags would not be better for Rodney residents, according to Councillor Greg Sayers.
Auckland Council is currently reviewing how it charges for kerbside refuse collection as part of a plan to provide a consistent waste service across the region.
At present, just over half of Auckland’s rubbish collection is funded by rates and provided by Council, and just under half is PAYT, provided by Council or private business such as local operator Northland Waste.
Although Council has long championed PAYT as the preferred method of reducing the amount of rubbish going to landfill, it now has new research finding “no clear evidence” that this is actually the case, as well as a consultancy report saying that a rates-funded service would be more cost-effective for Council.
However, Cr Sayers said he disagreed with the report’s logic and a rates-based service would be a cost-plus model.
“It may conclude charging an extra rate for rubbish collection is more cost-effective for Council, but it isn’t more cost-effective for ratepayers,” he said.
“Any additional collection costs would simply get passed onto the ratepayer to foot the bill. Regardless of the amount of rubbish you produce or, more importantly, do not produce, you still pay the same. I fail to see how that gives any incentive for households to reduce waste.”
Cr Sayers said the current user-pays system suited the diverse needs of the region.
“Rodney’s rural and beachside communities have very different needs from the urban centres,” he said. “And bach owners really like bags because they only need to pay for them on a user-pays basis, they are convenient and they don’t have to worry about organising a bin to be put away when they have returned to home in town.”
He said he was pushing for people to be given the chance to give feedback on all available modern rubbish collection methods before any decision was taken.
Council staff were due to make a recommendation to Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee on October 14. However, Council’s Waste Solutions general manager, Parul Sood, said the Kerbside Refuse Review was now going to be considered by the Finance and Performance Committee in December.
“This is to allow further time for options to be worked through,” she said. “If the committee decided there should be a change to our current policy, this would then be considered through the Annual Plan consultation process next year.
“We want to be sure that we provide the most thorough and robust information possible for elected members and ratepayers to base their decisions on.”