Larger households will face bigger challenges if Auckland’s rubbish collection drops from weekly to fortnightly, but the move will encourage people to change their behaviour, a Manukau ward councillor says.

Auckland Council took submissions for its draft waste management and minimisation plan (WMMP) in March, but incoming deputy chair for the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board was concerned the public consultation may not have reached the whole community.

At a local board meeting for Ōtara-Papatoetoe, deputy chair Vi Hausia asked Manukau ward councillor Lotu Fuli about the potential move from weekly to fortnightly rubbish collection planned for 2026.

“We have a responsibility to reduce local waste, but do you feel confident that we have put enough time into outreach for our communities on the impact?”

Fuli backed the move but said she shared the concerns of the community.

“It is a behavioural issue,” she said.

“I hope not to see illegal dumping. Hopefully, we can put in education between now and 2026. I hope that it does change.”

Fuli said plans for fortnightly rubbish collection is backed up by research from a pilot programme with larger Pacific and multi-generational families in Manukau as well as advice from Auckland Council staff.

“They found it worked,” she said.

“The overall impact is to reduce waste. Putting less waste in landfills will have positive effect. We’re all trying to do better.”

Fuli said 40% of all waste is food. If the council’s food waste collection works properly, household waste should reduce by 40%.

Auckland Council took public feedback for the WMMP and the long-term plan (LTP) proposal at the same time, which Hausia said might have impacted waste management feedback.

Fuli said it was “frustrating” that the draft waste management plan went for public consultation at the same time as LTP feedback, budget proposals and other council decisions.

“The numbers will show we haven’t reached a great number [of people],” Fuli told the board.

“We can always do more to reach our communities. I feel our team did their best to reach as many people as they could,” she said.

She said community members often voice their concerns to her about the proposed reduction to rubbish collection.

“People talk to me on the streets all the time and express concerns about moving to fortnightly pickup and I share their concerns.”

She acknowledged that other Governing Body councillors share the concern that the move “will disadvantage bigger families, but staff advice is consistent”.

What is the draft WMMP?

Auckland Council’s draft WMMP 2024 outlines proposals to:

  • Increase options to re-use, repair or repurpose items and advocate for rethinking how products are designed and extend their life span
  • Target construction and demolition waste, organic, plastics, packaging, textiles and biosolids
  • Move from weekly to fortnightly kerbside rubbish collections
  • Address litter and illegal dumping to protect public health and the environment
  • Speed up efforts to minimise operational waste generated by Auckland Council

What happens now?

Fuli told the local board that Auckland Council is putting together last month’s public feedback and will make a decision when it has been evaluated.

She urged the board and community members to continue voicing their concerns.

“The change comes in on 2026, so there is quite a lot of time and still an election between then and now.”

“You can still lobby and talk to local boards,” she advised.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.