Strategy overview

Te rautaki para | Waste strategy

Te rautaki para | Waste strategy: A snapshot 

The waste strategy is our roadmap for the next three decades for a low-emissions, low-waste society built upon a circular economy.

It recognises the need to balance:

  • our strong ambition with the reality of where we are now
  • the complexity of the task ahead
  • the amount of work we need to do.

Our vision for 2050

By 2050, Aotearoa New Zealand is a low-emissions, low-waste society built upon a circular economy.

We cherish our inseparable connection with the natural environment and look after the planet’s finite resources with care and responsibility.

The strategy has the following phases

By 2030, our enabling systems are working well and behaviour is changing 

  • The building blocks are in place to enable change.
  • More activity is circular and we produce less waste.
  • Emissions and other environmental indicators are improving. 

By 2040, circular management of materials is normal, expected and well supported 

  • Circular activity is widespread.
  • Residual waste is minimal.
  • Emissions and other environmental indicators keep improving. 

By 2050, New Zealand has a low-emission low-waste circular economy and is helping other countries make the change

  •  Domestic systems are as circular as possible.
  • Aotearoa is contributing to regional and global circular networks 
  • Our management of materials does not harm the environment.

What happens next

The strategy provides high-level direction. We already have an extensive waste reduction work programme in place that will help us achieve its goals.

The next step is for Government to work with local authorities, the waste management sector and others to develop the first waste action and investment plan.

The action and investment plan will focus on what is needed to deliver on the waste strategy including:

  • the immediate priorities for the next five years in different geographical areas, communities, material streams and risk areas 
  • the mix of regulatory, investment, infrastructure, systems and behavioural change and other actions planned to address the immediate priorities 
  • the sequence of the actions and how they fit together. 

The strategy and the action and investment plan will then guide planning and activity across central and local government. They will also enable organisations in the waste management sector to plan their own activities. The Ministry will assess and publicly report on progress against the strategy and action and investment plan. 

Public consultation held on the waste strategy and legislation proposals in 2021

Public consultation was held in 2021 to seek ideas and feedback on the content for the new waste strategy and legislation. There were nearly 2500 submissions from individuals, the waste sector, businesses and local government. 

There was a high level of support for transforming the way we manage waste and the move towards a circular economy. A greater focus on reducing waste generation was broadly supported and for waste to be designed-out of the system. 

See the consultation document: Taking responsibility for our waste consultation

See the summary of submissions