News | 2 February 2023
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Council approves landfill extension as Zero Waste consultation goes live

Wellington City Council has formally approved a business case today to extend the Southern Landfill by constructing a new landfill on top of an old one.

An aerial view of the Southern Landfill.
Southern Landfill

The current landfill’s resource consents are due to expire in 2026, the same time the landfill is expected to be full, so a solution for the city’s waste that can’t be recycled, re-used or composted (residual waste), is needed by then. 

The Southern Landfill Extension Piggyback Option (SLEPO) was picked as the best option to extend the landfill through Council analysis and the Annual Plan consultation process last year. It will see a new landfill constructed over one that was closed in 1996.

Public support for the SLEPO option was 50 percent, with a further 24 percent for Waste to Energy, and less than 5 percent for no landfill.   

The development of the landfill will be done in four parts, with the Council today approving funding for the first two, otherwise known as part A and B, which is expected to cost $36 million.

Council has agreed to an amendment to bring forward $16.3 million from the LTP from the 2029-2031 period into the 2022-2028 period to meet this cost.

With the SLEPO business case approved Council will now seek resource consent for the landfill from Greater Wellington Regional Council, with a decision expected in early 2024.

The new landfill is expected to be operational by mid-2026, and waste minimisation to prolong the landfill’s life is a priority.

Environment and Infrastructure Committee Chair Councillor Tamatha Paul says this decision is important as we prioritise investment in the city’s key infrastructure.

“We’re not ecstatic to be extending the landfill but we made a tough decision for the future of Pōneke. On balance, our decision today means that we retain more of the surrounding native bush, we deal with waste where it is generated as opposed to carting it out into the region, and we won’t pursue technology that relies on the generation of waste to function.

“This decision sets us up for the future. In the meantime, we are working towards radically reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill,” adds Councillor Paul.

The approval of the business case for the Southern Landfill Extension Piggyback Option coincides with the consultation of the Council’s draft Zero Waste Strategy, which is open for feedback throughout February.

The proposed strategy – A Zero Waste Future for Wellington – outlines the work the Council is undertaking to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by 50 percent by 2030.This includes a review of kerbside collections, new data and information required from waste collectors and operators (in accordance with the Solid Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw (2020), and the development of an organics processing facility.

Chief Infrastructure Officer Siobhan Procter says the strategy will provide the framework to create a much-needed change in the way Wellington deals with waste.  


“This strategy outlines the initiatives and infrastructure we’ll create to make it easier for Wellingtonians to reduce, reuse, and recycle. This is imperative if we are to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by half by 2030 and meet our goals of being a net-zero carbon capital by 2050.”


The consultation for the draft strategy opens today and will run until 5pm Tuesday 28 February 2023.  


Alongside that, site works are expected to begin on a new Sludge Minimisation Waste Facility at Moa Point this year. Currently, treated sludge is piped to the landfill and about 45 tonnes of solids are buried every day. That sludge must be mixed with general waste at a ratio of no less than 4:1 general waste to sludge.

The new facility will reduce sludge volumes by 82 percent, removing the need for general waste to mix it with, and further enabling efforts to divert waste from landfill.