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The Detail – a podcast from RNZ/ Newsroom: Coping with the plastic bag ban ( a podcast on behalf of the pro lobby?)


A Podcast from RNZ and Newsroom

This podcast was summarised on the RNZ website thus:

New Zealand has now joined dozens of other countries in banning single-use plastic bags.

Supermarkets have told The Detail they’re selling more plastic bags and bin liners as a result – and compostable bags are flying out their doors.

And the Ministry for the Environment is investigating 130 complaints over businesses breaking the law, even though the country has had months to get used to the idea.MORE AT LINK

Naturally there was a determinedly upbeat thrust to much of this podcast and the website article. Yet far too much of this issue has seemed to me about activists creating a sense of eco-guilt in the community at large

Yet, towards the end we got this

Trevor Thornton, a hazardous materials lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, is concerned that a ban might make things worse.

He says more targeted research is needed to make sure a ban is the best solution.

“Overall, I think it’s a bit of an overreaction in terms of what are the issues we should be looking at.”

Thornton points to research looking at plastic bag bans in California, which showed the sale of single-use plastics – like bin liners – jumping following bans.

These products, he says, can be more harmful than the banned plastic bags, because they are thicker and often dyed.

“If we’re looking at resources, then we’re going the opposite way.”

Thornton says he would have held off on a widespread ban.

This raised a concern I had as well, whilst plastic is an issue, I suspect compliance is more a resigned  one, not an enthusiastic one.

To me, far too much of this podcast was too ‘ra,ra’ rather than journalism. It seemed focused on pushing an agenda than reporting and assessing matters objectively.

It seemed in a number of ways to corroborate the arguments advanced by UK journalist/commentator Douglas Murray at UnHerd recently.

According to Newsroom,

Newsroom has been commissioned by the RNZ/NZ On Air Innovation Fund to produce a new daily news podcast designed to explain the stories behind the headlines. 

Called ‘The Detail’, it aims to help listeners dive deeper into the big stories to help give an understanding of what’s really going on. We will pick out the news that matters and explain it in detail and in context.

The Detail will be fronted by journalists Sharon Brettkelly and Alex Ashton, and produced by Alexia Russell. We will be drawing on not only Newsroom’s award-winning journalists, but the best reporters from throughout the country; along with experts in their fields.


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