It sure is a significant decision - significantly pointless, significantly silly, and significantly misguided. You see, this is about banning all plastic bags that normal people use (not just this made up newspeak term, “single-use bags”). Plastic bags from the supermarket can be used as trash bags at home or in the car, as water protection for electronics, and other little DIY projects.
This isn’t about saving the environment, it’s about the nanny state telling you what you can and can’t do with the things you own.
Ah the other plastic menace; straws of Satan, as they call them over in California, who are leading the charge against snake-like-straw-things.
See? It’s not just one thing they’ll ban - it’s everything that makes your life easier and more convenient, and they’ll do it in the name of helping you.
So that’s what this is all about. New Zealanders are world-renowned for our passionate hatred of the environment.
Let’s be serious for a second here. Protecting the environment is a wonderful thing, and reducing pollution is the number one most effective way to do that, because everyone can get involved. But let's re-read that last line from the Herald, and see if you catch the trick.
It’s a sneaky bait and switch - suddenly we’re talking about all the oceans in the world, not just New Zealand’s shopping habits. Are we Kiwis the ones polluting the oceans and destroying ecosystems? No, it’s India that causes most of the plastic pollution.
Wait, sorry, wrong polluter - I meant China.
Notice how New Zealand isn’t on that list? Notice how the top three Asian polluters put out more plastic than the rest of the planet combined? We’re not the problem here, and neither are our bags.
But what causes this? You might suspect it's just how big countries with big economies work. China is the second...no wait, third largest economy in the world, so of course they pollute a lot.
But the second largest economy - Japan - isn’t on the chart at all, and where is the largest economy in the world, the United States? It’s right at the bottom of this chart; less plastic than North Korea. I didn’t even know the Norks had plastic.
The real cause of pollution is not shopping bags, and it’s not the economy. It’s a contempt and disgust for nature and beauty. By every measure, China is the most polluting country on Earth - and it shows.