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Analysis of waste consultation submissions released

05 Oct 2023

The key findings from Buller District Council’s recent waste consultation reveal concerns from residents over cost, a disproportionate impact on pensioners and minimal waste producers. 

The final results showed that 73 percent of respondents either opposed (19%) or strongly opposed (54%) the proposed changes. There were 5% neither in support or opposed, 10% who were in favour and 12% who strongly favoured the proposed changes. 

In total, 339 submissions were received - 181 in written form and 158 online. 

The data was subjected to deeper analysis by professional research company PublicVoice. In terms of key findings, the main themes involved cost and concerns about implications on low users and recycling/waste minimisation. Submitters also stated a preference to continue with a pay-as-you-go system versus a targeted rate with mandatory participation. The data was broken down into the following categories:  

Waste minimalists – 41% of respondents expressed a concern the proposed changes will financially harm minimal waste users, citing potential harmful impacts on recycling and disproportionate effects on pensioners. 

Cost – 38% of respondents expressed concerns about the higher costs of the new service. The existing system is valued for its flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Many fear increased expenses, especially low waste households. 

Flexible system - 37% of respondents support a pay-per-pickup approach, ensuring charges reflect individual waste generation particularly benefiting those producing low waste.  

Mandatory - 20% of respondents oppose the mandatory nature of the service, voicing concerns over diminished flexibility and restricted choices.  

Waste concerns - 18% fear the new system could boost waste generation. Respondents desire a flexible system aligned with individual waste patterns, which promote waste reduction. 

The themes were broken down in more detail in terms of service cost, service implementation, service preferences, environmental concerns, support and positive feedback and bins. You can read the full report here. 

Infrastructure delivery manager Eric de Boer says the level of detail extracted by the additional analysis is useful in informing the future direction of waste management in Buller. 

“We will look at putting some new options on the table as a result of this feedback and discussing that with Council. However, it is important to note that the system we presented for consultation was the one council favoured as it provided a universal solution (targeted rate) that was considered the most cost-effective in a changing environment and the most likely to reduce issues like illegal dumping and recycling bin contamination.   

“Council remains committed to looking for ways to keep costs down whilst providing a consistent, effective service for all that is supported by the community.  The submission feedback is very valuable in helping Council reach those decisions on what is the appropriate level of service for waste collection in Zone 1.” 

“The next step is public hearings on 11 October for people who wish to speak to their submissions. Councillors will consider the waste management options at a future meeting.” 


For further information please contact: 
Infrastructure Delivery Manager 
Eric de Boer  

Further information – Analysis methodology used by PublicVoice research company  

For the qualitative analysis of responses from open-ended questions and written feedback, PublicVoice employed a thematic analysis approach. 

This approach is rooted in the systematic framework introduced by Braun and Clarke in 2006, and it offers a structured method for identifying, analysing, and interpreting patterns of meaning within data. The following outlines the specific phases of this methodology: 

  1. Familiarisation with the data: Analysts immersed themselves in the data through repeated reading to understand its content deeply. 
  1. Generating initial codes: A systematic coding process was executed across the entire dataset. This foundational step organised the data into distinct segments, labelling them to reflect key insights. 
  1. Searching for themes: Initial codes were subsequently grouped into potential overarching themes and subthemes, providing broader patterns of meaning. 
  1. Reviewing themes: Themes were refined to ensure their relevance to the coded extracts and the broader dataset. Themes without substantial supporting data or which were overly diverse were reconsidered. 
  1. Defining and naming themes: Each theme was meticulously refined to encapsulate its core, with further deliberation on potential sub-themes. 
  2. Report compilation: The analysis was then articulated into a cohesive narrative supported by pertinent data extracts. This provided a descriptive overview and a deeper interpretative analysis in alignment with the research objectives. 

Additionally, to bolster the efficiency and accuracy of the thematic analysis, PublicVoice integrated tools such as MAXQDA and Caplena. Platforms like MAXQDA help streamline the coding process and ensure a comprehensive examination of themes in the data.