The Pure Tour delivers petition to ban one-use plastic

The group The Pure Tour — or Plastic Use Resistance Education — gathered in Waitangi and stopped in New Zealand towns and cities along the way to spread the word.

Hundreds of marchers arrived at New Zealand’s Parliament on Monday with a 66,000-strong petition to ban one-use plastic bags.

“It’s getting into our food systems now.

“It’s affecting our traditional subsistence systems. And all these are issues that hit particularly our Maori and Pacific Island communities really hard,” Tina Ngata of The Pure Tour told 1 NEWS on Parliament’s forecourt. The petition also had support from former Prime Minister Helen Clark and actor Sam Neill.

“There are country-sized islands of single-use plastic out there in the Pacific,” Mr Neill said in a promotional video for the cause.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage accepted the petition and was now looking at the options for single-use plastic bags.

“They’re a convenience, and I guess the issue is whether to ban them or not or whether to use a levy. So those are probably the key options,” Ms Sage said.

She says she hoped it would be a similar process as the action taken to ban microbeads by the previous government.

The national tour also saw a trip along the east coast on board a voyaging waka, with a team of researches to collect data.

And what they found wasn’t pretty.

“I cried.

“My mate cried as well, my mate who has surveyed many beaches around the place,” Ms Ngata said.

Ms Sage had asked officials to bring back options within a few months in the hopes of quick action against an issue for generations to come.

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