Soon they may be more interested in the worm on the telly – the one that tells how their leader’s faring in political debates – but this week Labour hopefuls Penny Gaylor and Nanaia Mahuta were focusing for a photo opportunity on the worm farm up at Xtreme Zero Waste.
The recycle centre – now sporting a new sign at the gate after Saturday’s community party to mark its change of name to incorporate the word ‘zero’ – was the candidates’ first port of call on Tuesday in a whistlestop tour which included visits to Whaingaroa Harbour Care, Raglan Community House and the area school.
When the Chronicle caught up with the pair – Penny is chasing the Taranaki-King Country seat and Nanaia is seeking re-election as Hauraki Waikato MP in this year’s general election – they were expecting to be joined soon by Gisborne-based list MP Moana Mackey, the party’s environment spokesperson, after her early morning flight was delayed.
Meantime the two electorate candidates, with their campaign teams in tow, talked of how impressed they were as “Labour people” at the way the Raglan community had embraced recycling the past 14 years.
“It’s a really important institution locally and others look to Xtreme Waste (as a role model),” said Nanaia. Both families and communities needed to be “mindful” of reusing and recycling and of sustainable living, she added.
Penny praised Xtreme Waste as a good local example of how recycling happened, from “on paper” ideas right through to the practical application. “It’s a multi-layered process with people putting the practices into their daily life.”
Xtreme Zero Waste as it’s now called – emphasising its final push from 75 to 100 percent diversion of waste from landfill – was looking next at “product stewardship”, Xtreme co-manager Rick Thorpe pointed out before the politicians’ once-over of the Te Hutewai Road facility.
This was a way of getting the Government on side, he said, to ensure importers and manufacturers took responsibility – as they did in most other countries – for the eventual disposal of their products within an environment-friendly system.