The plastic bag ban is virtue signalling garbage


The plastic bag ban is virtue signalling garbage.

The cheerleading this vacant gesture by banning singles use plastic bags has generated by many of my dear comrades on the Left feels like the same misplaced jubilation at the signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Did you know that the terrorist organisation, Al-Qaeda, bloody well banned plastic bags before NZ did? Finally getting past the Supermarket duopoly’s dominance of this debate has only occurred because they know the status quo is untenable and that by making a tiny gesture they can escape true and meaningful regulation.

The ban is purely cosmetic, it’s focused on the lowest hanging fruit without doing a damned thing to the far wider issue of plastics pollution, but banning single use plastic bags is actually more damaging than that because it creates a complacency that we’ve done something and solved the problem.

The low, low, low, low threshold of ‘transformative’ that so many on the Left are prepared to accept is why change is glacial.‬

‪The time for ‘it’s a step in the right direction’ was in 1980. Leaps are required now. ‬


  1. While I agree this government is developing a name for doing as little as possible it’s only a waste of time if they stop there. If they have plans to move on the next thing to ban then I’m all for it.

    A couple of years ago my town banned single use plastic bags and it took a lot of effort to find supply lines for alternatives for the local shops – a lot of people went to a lot of work to make it happen. Since then we have been moving on other types of disposable plastic.

    So my comment on this issue is; Congratulations on a good start – What are you doing next?

    If the answer is nothing, then I get critical

  2. Wishful thinking Bradbury! I feel similarly. But Realpolitik prevails. It took an effort to get the mass of votes for Labour to win. Another dose of the soporific National kumbaya to the comfort-living c-offs in NZ who are mostly the insubstantial substance of National support, would possibly have led us over the cliff with little hope of recovery, or for anything. Hope doesn’t spring eternal. We know that from our suicide rates for young people and their mad outbursts of domestic violence. National responds to that with a tut-tut ‘That’s not nice, decent behaviour’ and pass by with a deriding glance. The statistics of the measures that are important to the financially myopic are all they look for and see. They will keep voting National until they enter modern fairy-tale land where the story has changed and the handsome prince who kissed them lightly, also stole their fairy gold from under their mattress. The complacent conservatives take time to realise this fact, believing in magic and political theatre as a fine art.

    NZ has been curbed, actually robbed, from having a free market for our enterprise and production, by crushing it with cheaper, mass or sweat-shop produced foreign goods, and foreign immigrants who recognise a crop of suckers, and know how to harvest us effectively. So full time, secure jobs have been lost, and a sneering, hypnotised and hypocritical bunch of ‘hard workers’ have formed a crust over the wounded low and no income precariat.

    So Labour have been elected and are doing as well as might be expected, as a partially recovered body from the lingering malaise of the neo-lib-economic-free-market millstone that has been placed on the broad mass of the country. Know anyone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – I do, and it tends to hit the bright, the most persevering and active people, and limit their energy levels so that they have to ration their activity to prevent collapse. In the same way, the Labour Coalition has to set goals, and then divide them into doable sections. They could never right the mistakes and neglect in three years. What do you think about a four-year term? I think that would be most practical and its time has come, and perhaps we should have a referendum on this next election in 2020.

    • Some good ideas there, … and on a trivial note in response to Bradbury ,… a few weeks ago myself and an immigrant taxi cab driver were chuckling over ‘ why the hell don’t we bring back brown paper bags for crying out loud?”…

      They could be double skinned and double layered handled… leading to the most superb carrying containers that are totally biodegradable.

      Brown bag it !

      There’s your climate change preventative actions right there for you !

      • Hear hear. I suggested going to paper bags to a supermarket worker the other day, no brainer. Not sure why glass isn’t used more for packaging, plastic probably easier to manufacture and cheaper to ship. Taking your own container to store to transfer deli and meats is a good start; doing the same to buy preferred brands from bulk bins would be the ideal but I can’t see manufacturers doing that anytime soon. The entire supermarket supply and retail chain is probably bound for change.

        • Plastic free food shops are being set up in various places around the country.
          If we patronise them they will get stronger and then maybe one of the supermarket chains will see the commercial benefit of going plastic free.
          I won’t hold my breath waiting, but here’s hoping.
          PS: If plastic is so wonderfully great, then why do lunch bars still use paper bags for our sammies and pies?

    • That would be the third referendum in how many years. Of the state can afford some sort of industrialized plastics programme with out destabilizing everything then why not go ahead with it. Y’know, with out the extra costs.

  3. And yet you don’t see the Wage Slave Party as equally part of the problem as the Transnational Capital Party… i.e. right-wing neo-liberal traitors… ? *crickets chirping*

  4. That’s right Bomber a very minuscule step by just banning plastic bags when we are drowning in tons of plastic waste.

    I think the whole strategy was delivering a feel good moment , be seen to be doing something.

    As for attacking poverty in a way that makes real difference it is not going to happen.

    Chris Trotter made an interesting point at the alternative budget a few weeks ago that the middle class thinks its doing fine and while that carries on and they don’t feel any direct pain there will be no change to the status quo.

    The poor on their own have no representation in parliament in the form of a party that can make 5% and be in a position to demand real change during coalition discussions.

    There is no Sanders or Corbyn just the same old mindset every three years.

    Back to plastic this from Greenpeace on Raw news feed July 2nd.

  5. “The plastic bag ban is virtue signalling garbage.”

    Sooooo do nothing instead?? We’re drowning in plastic shit and your complaining when a govt does at least one little thing??

  6. Yeah but/Nah but..?
    What’s it going to take, I wonder, to break the wicked spell that our AO/NZ/U$A clone politicians have cast over us? I thought, by now, that everyone would’ve realised that all our politicians are liars. All of them. Except perhaps Chloe Swarbrick.
    They.Are.ALL.Liars. They lie to you and me. They lie. They lie hourly. By the minute.
    Labour party politicians are liars. They say they can’t do enough more quickly but by their inaction? They prove to be lying.
    “ Right! A capital gains tax!? Now!? Today!?” Was a lie. Promising to lay into child poverty and ending homelessness? A lie. Ridding the labour party of the scourge of neoliberalism? A lie. Lie after lie after lie. But why? Lie? Primarily, because it’s a diversionary tactic to keep us poor bastards on the hop lest we go “ Hang on a minute!? Just…? Wait…? WTF!? AO/NZ is BIGGER than the UK by 25K sq km!? Yet UK carries 60+ million !? We have 4.7 million and we do best at growing things to eat, drink and wear? And we have no money for the homeless and the children of the poor!? WAIT JUST THE FUCK UP!? OI ! POLITICIAN!? COME FUCKIN’ HERE!?
    Is something we’re yet to say which is why they continue to lie. They lie because they have to cover up for the previous lies of others. Multi-generations of liars. You, dear reader won’t believe me but you should. I get things wrong, from time to time and I like to tell a good story but I’m no liar. I have no need to. Lying is like a virus. You get it? Then, you must live with it. Until you die with it. It’s far better to die with the bitter/sweet taste of the truth on your lips than with the deathly distempers of a lie to haunt you for your eternity. ( One of mine. What you reckon? )
    Labour, like the Natzo’s etc, etc… Are liars. It’s about time we invented a better course of action than acquiescing to the hollow power of liars.
    Plastic? I read a piece in a National Geographic some years ago where, after no small amount of research was done into ‘Fresh Kills’ ( I know… Crazy name for a rubbish dump. ) for NYC. The findings were surprising. Half eaten hamburgers looked fresh as daisies. No aerobic bacteria to rot them down. Paper, by contrast dissolved into methane in the absence of oxygen so anaerobic bacterium’s did the work then behold! Gas? Meet Green house.
    Thus? The best way to get rid of plastics, it would seem from the study, is to bury it in stable land fill sites. NOT to recycle it to then re introduce it back into the environment.
    Now? Lets all go to The Warehouse! Yaaaaaay! Where we’ll all get a bargain! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay ! Sir Steven Tindall ! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay !!! Named New Zealander of the Year 2015 ! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! By jonky and kiwi bank Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay !!!!!!
    First Dog on The Moon.
    Cartoon. Fabulous.

  7. A family I work with managed the transition away from one-use plastic bags with aplomb.
    They now buy half a dozen multiple use plastic bags at the checkout, use them to carry that on one load of shopping to their vehicle, and then from their vehicle into the house, where the bags are emptied of their contents and chucked into the garbage bin.

  8. All non-biodegradable packaging should be banned where fully biodegradable alternatives are available

  9. Local production and short ways of transport

    Yes, plastic waste, plastic packaging and all sorts of plastic wrappings and bags as a serious waste management problem could have been addressed 40 years ago.

    Now, plastic packaging and bags are fully integrated into a system of concentrating production and retail as a part of cost-reduction strategies that eliminate working places along the farm/factory/market chain, as well as demand increased ‘do-it-yourself’ practices by the customer in the distribution and shopping process.

    Just targeting the plastic bag as one ingredient to this system will have a very low level of transformative quality.

    There is even a risk that a ban may fail if it is implemented as a legalistic, stand-alone intervention only.

    The unnecessary use of plastic has to be in targeted through alternative, appropriate means of local production and short ways in the distribution of goods.

    This will be genuinely transformative.

    System change. Now.

  10. The banning of plastic bags for so-called ‘convenience’ shopping is a major achievement and should be given the highest praise and support. Meaningful change to our untenable, throwaway, polluting society can obviously only happen in baby steps, but this is one pretty big step in my opinion. The focus must remain on this loathsome and dangerous material and irresponsible corporations whose plastic rubbish we see everyday in our gutters, on the streets, in the parks and on the beaches. McDonalds milkshake containers, straws, lollipop sticks, shattered ballpoint pens, biscuit packets, chocolate wrappers, bottle tops, takeaway food containers…it all needs to be banned, and fast. Then we need concerted global action to clean up the oceans and waterways of this horrible stuff. But most importantly, we need to target the producers of plastic, as Greenpeace are attempting to do. Stop it at the source. We’re all eating the stuff now. No point complaining about addressing poverty and inequality when our essential natural ecosystems are toxic to our wellbeing. The invention of plastic was a miscalculation, on the same scale of absurd irresponsibility as burning fossil fuels.

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