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Four weeks of consultation on changes to zone one waste services underway

07 Aug 2023

Proposed changes to the household collection services for recycling and waste management zone one will be open for feedback from today - Monday, 7 August.

At the 31 July Council meeting, Buller District councillors voted to proceed with consultation on proposed changes to the household collection services for recycling and waste management zone one.

The changes involve switching from rubbish bags to bins and changing how residents pay for their rubbish collection. As this is a significant change, council needs to consult with the community under the Local Government Act 2002. 

Ms Ruiz says: “A key driver for the proposed new waste management system is to improve how we manage waste in Buller. The current way is not sustainable with further increases of the waste levy signalled (from 1 July 2024), increasing transport costs and the direction waste management is taking in New Zealand.”

For the large majority of properties in zone one, the changes would mean:  

  • A shift from using 60 litre rubbish bags to having a 120 litre wheelie bin provided by Council.  
  • Mandatory rubbish and recycling collection.  
  • Changing from weekly to fortnightly collection of rubbish.  
  • Paying for rubbish and recycling collection through rates (rather than buying rubbish bags).

Ms Ruiz says: “We appreciate there is a lot there for people to absorb and we made sure there is a good range of ways to access information on what is involved, and we will take on board the feedback that we receive over the coming weeks.”

What are the cost implications?

Zone one households that are currently receiving the fortnightly kerbside recycling collection service are charged via a targeted rate of $178 annually. 

Currently, rubbish bags, which can be purchased for $9.10 each, are collected weekly. For a household that uses one bag per week, this adds up to $473 per year. Once the recycling fee of $178 is added in, this totals more than $600 per year. For households that use one bag fortnightly ($236) for example, once the existing recycling fee ($178) is included, the cost is more than $400 per annum.

Under the proposed changes, households serviced by the kerbside rubbish and recycling service would face an estimated combined total cost of between $375 and $450* per annum via rates.   

*The final cost would be determined via the tender agreement to provide the service. 

Coordinator Waste Management Juliana Ruiz says: “Residents will be invited to let us know if they like the idea of the proposed changes and there will be space on the paper and online forms to discuss their thoughts on the various elements of the proposed new waste management system.”

Council has also resolved to workshop the Joint Committee of Council Terms of Reference in order to understand more about what is involved.   

The Joint Committee is a crucial element in developing a single, regional waste management contract with the Grey and Westland District Councils. This is part of the planned wider changes to how waste services - kerbside collection, transfer stations, recycling centres and landfills – are managed in Buller, bringing the district more in line with the rest of the country and the other West Coast district councils.

The proposal is to collaborate in a new joint, solid waste contract servicing the whole West Coast.

Manager Infrastructure delivery Eric de Boer says: “This is an opportunity for Buller to enact future-focused, comprehensive change and establish a system that is sustained in the future. A joint approach with the other two district councils is key to reducing operational costs, maximising economies of scale, raising Council incomes from transfer stations and possible revenues from recyclables, and combatting illegal dumping.”

“However, ideally to create these benefits we need all the elements of the plan to be adopted – the coast-wide joint contract for the management of waste, the changes to how refuse and recycling is collected and paid for in zone one, mandatory kerbside collection of recycling and rubbish in zone one, as well as how the local landfills and recycling centres are managed.”

How to have your say

There are a number of ways residents can find out more about the proposed changes, get a copy of the consultation document, or make a submission:

  • Visit Council’s website
  • Make a submission online
  • Consultation documents and submission forms will be at Council’s offices and libraries in Westport and Reefton, i-Sites, and resource centres across the district.
  • Email with the subject Waste Management System 2025 if you have any questions.
  • The submission form and more information will be included in this month's Connect newsletter, which goes to all households in Buller.

Key consultation dates

  • Community feedback opens                       7 August 2023
  • Community feedback closes                       4 September 2023
  • Hearings dates (to be confirmed)              September/October 2023
  • Decision made                                                October 2023


For further information please contact:
Coordinator Waste Management
Juliana Ruiz

Further information

Zone one covers urban Westport and Reefton, the areas from Westport to the Mōkihinui Bridge, Westport to Punakaiki, Westport to Reefton including Blacks Point, and Reefton to Ikamatua.

Mandatory zone one kerbside collection services would only be for properties located on roads on the kerbside collection vehicle route:

  • Westport, Carters Beach and Reefton urban areas.
  • SH67 from Westport to Sedonville area.
  • SH67A from Buller Bridge to Cape Foulwind.
  • SH6 Buller Gorge Road and Coast Road.
  • SH69 from Inangahua to Black Points.
  • SH7 from Reefton to Ikamatua.

Properties located outside of the set collection routes can still choose to be included in the collection network. They will need to take their bins to the nearest main road where the collection service operates.