Countdown has welcomed the Government’s announcement that single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out in New Zealand over the next year.

Countdown was the first supermarket in New Zealand to commit to phasing out single-use plastic bags by the end of 2018 and has previously made submissions supporting a nationwide phase-out. From Monday, a third of all Countdown supermarkets will have already made the change to reusable bags.

Speaking at the Government’s announcement today, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Kiri Hannifin, said phasing out these bags will have considerable flow-on benefits for the environment and future generations of New Zealanders.

“We are absolutely thrilled the Government has begun consultation on a mandatory phase-out of single-use plastic carrier bags in New Zealand. We’ll certainly be confirming our support for a phase-out during this process.

“The devastating effect plastic pollution has on our marine wildlife and environment is widely understood, and there is a growing sense of urgency that more needs to be done to address it. A nationwide phase-out will go a long way towards stemming the flow of plastic ending up in our waterways, reduce pressure on recycling systems and provide a stronger basis for New Zealanders to change our attitudes and behaviours towards plastic use and plastic waste,” Kiri Hannifin says.

“When Countdown announced we’d be phasing out single-use plastic carrier bags, we did it without any Government intervention but in the knowledge, we were doing the right thing for our customers who had been asking our business to make the move, and of course for our environment.

“A decision to phase out these bags can be a much harder call for smaller retailers who could be fearful about losing customers to their competitors. Today’s announcement from the Government will level the playing field for all retailers - both big and small - and best of all, make reusing bags the norm for customers throughout the country.

“As we phase out single-use carrier bags from our stores, we’ll continue to share what we learn about how to make the change easy for customers. This is an initiative we hope New Zealand will embrace and we’re keen to help make that happen.

“Phasing out single-use carrier bags is only the start of our journey to remove and reduce unnecessary plastic from across our business. We look forward to working with the Government as they firm up their plans,” said Hannifin.

Countdown will be phasing out single-use plastic carrier bags from 42 stores from Monday, 13 August; 10 stores made the change earlier in the year.  All Countdown stores will have phased out single-use plastic carrier bags from their checkouts and online shopping service by the end of 2018.

The next 42 Countdown supermarkets removing single-use plastic carrier bags on 13 August are listed below:


Warkworth Cable Car Lane, Wellington
Orewa Crofton Downs, Wellington
Silverdale Kilbirnie, Wellington
Birkenhead, Auckland Motueka
Ponsonby, Auckland Nelson (St Vincent Street)
Grey Lynn Central, Auckland Trafalgar Park, Nelson
Pt Chevalier, Auckland Stoke, Nelson
Mt Roskill, Auckland Blenheim
Beachlands, Auckland Springlands, Blenheim
Highland Park, Auckland Christchurch Airport
Airport Auckland, Auckland Rolleston
Claudelands, Hamilton Ōamaru
Dinsdale, Hamilton Queenstown
Tauranga (Cameron Road) Dunedin Central
Bethlehem, Tauranga Mailer Street, Dunedin
Central Mall, Rotorua Dunedin South
Fairy Springs, Rotorua Andersons Bay, Dunedin
Taupō Mosgiel
Masterton Gore
Kelvin Grove, Palmerston North Invercargill
Aotea, Wellington Waikiwi, Invercargill