The 2014 review of the effectiveness of the waste disposal levy was completed on 1 July 2014.
It focused on whether the levy is being applied fairly and correctly, and how to ensure a level playing field for those paying the levy.
Another priority was to assess the impact that levy funding is having. At the rate of $10 per tonne (plus GST) the levy generated about $30 million each year. Half of this money was distributed to territorial authorities for waste minimisation initiatives. The rest (minus administration costs) was allocated to projects through the Waste Minimisation Fund.
The review found:
- more and better data was needed to measure the impact the levy was having on waste minimisation
- data that was available indicated that the levy was currently only applied to an estimated 30 per cent of total waste disposed of to land
- changes should be investigated to ensure the levy was applied to a greater proportion of waste being disposed of to land and to ensure that issues of interpretation were clarified. Such changes would ensure a level playing field for those paying the levy
- the processes around collecting and distributing levy revenue appeared to be effective
- levy funding had supported a broad range of waste minimisation initiatives. More could be done to ensure funding was directed towards strategic priorities and that funding outcomes were being effectively measured and monitored.
The review made recommendations to:
- improve the quality and quantity of waste data
- ensure the levy was applied consistently by disposal facility operators
- improve the coverage of the levy
- better measure and evaluate the outcomes of levy funding
- ensure funding was available for New Zealand’s strategic waste priorities
- improve our understanding of the incentives for waste minimisation
- promote user-pays pricing systems for waste disposal.