$100 fine to the litter of the law

01:43, Jan 31 2009
IT'S RUBBISH: Clare Ross and her husband Tony pride themselves on being tidy Kiwis, so were stunned to receive a $100 fine for littering - in a council rubbish bin.

Clare and Tony Ross pride themselves on being tidy Kiwis, so they were stunned to receive a $100 fine for littering - in a council rubbish bin.

The Ross family were fined after son James, 26, cleaned out his car and put the rubbish in a Wellington City Council bin in Shelly Bay Rd.

The rubbish included a paper with his family's details - and council sleuths traced their Tawa address and posted a $100 fine notice.

"I was so angry that I was ready to go driving around the bays and throw rubbish out the window," Mrs Ross said. Incensed that her son had been penalised for doing the right thing, she considered legal action against the council.

"I said to my husband that I would go to court. I would have gone to America to see [President] George Bush. I was going to go all the way, too damned right."

The council claimed the car rubbish was domestic garbage and was not allowed to be dumped in council litter bins.


Mrs Ross wrote to the council to say that the trash dumped in early July had been drink bottles and old bits of paper from her son's car which he had placed in a bin.

The council has now cancelled the fine and apologised in a letter which said: "Unfortunately, with the introduction of user-pays by way of WCC official refuse bags, inappropriate use of council litter bins has become a common problem. Occasionally innocent persons get caught up in our efforts to discourage the practice."

Council spokesman Richard MacLean conceded that the city's stylish new silver litter bins did not have a warning notice.

"But most people would realise that domestic rubbish should not be stuffed into our litter bins."

About 40 per cent of rubbish in council litter bins was household waste.


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