Tauranga rubbish operators face bleak future

Kleana Bins director John Cruickshank is trying to keep as many of his staff jobs open as possible. Photo: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

Tauranga’s Kleana Bins is facing an annual turnover loss of between 70 and 80 per cent, thanks to Tauranga City Council’s decision to charge residents a targeted rate for kerbside waste collections next year.

Managing director and general manager John Cruickshank says the decision has been catastrophic.

“There’s a number of other ways they could have structured the whole process that would have left some of the market open to local businesses and probably caused a lot less disruption overall without making very much difference to the final cost of the service.”

John has about 20 staff, with 11 or 12 trucks on the road every day, operating only in the Western Bay of Plenty and Tauranga council districts.

“When I bought the business in 2000, there was me and two drivers and one part time girl in the office and we've grown it from that to 20 odd people now.”

He says the council decision has been brewing for about five years.

“There’s people on the council staff who've been pushing it very hard for all of that time. They took the final vote on the scheme on August 25 but they didn't bother telling anybody what the outcome was until well through September. So that was pretty disappointing.”

The impact on his business will be significant.

“I think we will keep about 50 per cent of our Western Bay market. We’re not sure at this stage, as we may still have a few people in Tauranga that will keep using us regardless of the council service, but on the face of it, we’re unlikely to keep very much in Tauranga at all.

“We are hopeful we can establish the business elsewhere using some of the trucks and perfectly good wheelie bins that are no longer useful here, but that’s not certain. The alternative is to downsize the business to perhaps a quarter of what it is, which is not easy to do and there’s no certainty that the business will survive.”

It means reducing staff from 22 to five. John says his staff have been apprehensive about this for a long time.

"Nobody’s very happy but we all have to live with this - all I can do is try to keep as many jobs open as I can."

Kleana Bins have been involved with many community initiatives, supplying wheelie bins to the Multicultural Festival and emptying bins at the Te Puke High School sports field free of charge, and supplying bins to some rural schools at below cost. The company is well-known across the Tauranga and Western Bay communities for their support of the ‘It’s Not Ok’ family violence campaign.

“Under the present set up there are five companies in Tauranga that collect rubbish. Two of us, Bin Boys and Kleana Bin are locally owned, two are Chinese-owned and the other one is Australian-owned.

“We think most of our Western Bay full-service customers will stay with us because there's no reason not to, as Western Bay are not putting the cost of your rubbish collection on the rates. They're giving you a rubbish bin and you buy a tag from the supermarket to get it emptied. If you don't want to use it, you don't have to pay for it.

“I think some of the Tauranga councillors wanted to do a similar system for Tauranga but the majority voted against it.”


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The only winners

Posted on 29-10-2020 07:44 | By Lvdw

here are council and the Waste company. Council win from the revenue of ticket clipping along the way, as well as scoring on the state house (private) rentals who mostly wont be able to increase the rents to include the extra cost on their rates bill. Win win for them I reckon. Lets see who can refute that.


Posted on 29-10-2020 07:41 | By Lvdw

obviously those over 60’s cant afford any bin service so why would you think they will be better off having an expensive kerb service, paid for by them anyway, either in Rates or through rent increases? Honestly, just think before you speak.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 20-10-2020 13:19 | By Tom Ranger

The local business owners should all get together and sue the council for damages and insist they get their service rights back. That won’t help the councils books or the ratepayers. But It’s what they deserve. Tenby and the whole circus should simply resign now and save us all the wait. They are gone next local election anyway. I am thinking we should all start a facebook group or something where we can organize our protests for everything they do. Show up en-masse. Something they can’t just ignore.


Posted on 20-10-2020 06:53 | By Wundrin

The only thing that would make sense of this deal would be a revelation that back-handers were involved!


Posted on 19-10-2020 17:32 | By Informed

Who’s ever heard of having to source your own bin service. Finally Tauranga catch’s up with the rest of the world. It funny the number of people (over 60’s) that go and empty their rubbish in park bins and other places. Saw one couple last week that pulled into a gas station emptied their rubbish and left. Didn’t even get gas. Sad to see the usually self interest going on sun-live though.

Unethical to Steal.

Posted on 19-10-2020 17:27 | By Cynical Me

No.( of the Ten Commandments says. "Thou Shalt Not Steal." seemingly those in our Council never learned that rule. I have known it for most of my 75 years on this earth. Yet we have Council employees and councillors (including a few religious ones), who never learnt that rule. Property rights matter and in this case the ownership of the rubbish lies with the ratepayer and the ownership of the collection lies with the contracting companies as it exists currently. How then, has the council the right to remove those property rights from both the ratepayer and the contractors. Thieving those rights without compensation in any way. The normal transaction is to buy those rights. Now I’m not bothered at all by the need to separate waste but by the unilateral action of stealing another person’s rights and business. Please explain, Mr Mayor.

Re examine the votes

Posted on 19-10-2020 17:07 | By V8B



Posted on 19-10-2020 16:55 | By sambro

We, the rates payers pay the council, our employees to run this department of our community. So as employers we are responsible to make an overall decision on how our employees are performing on any issue. So on this issue, let’s make that desicion and create an injunction.


Posted on 19-10-2020 16:25 | By sambro

Many people are unhappy about this 260+ on Neighborly. Let’s fight the council for a change (they are bullies) instead of just saying we are not happy and "taking it on the chin" Let’s create an injunction. I’m sure this is not legal I’m not a lawyer but I’m really angry for my people. Are there Lawyer’s out there that are prepared help us


Posted on 19-10-2020 16:16 | By Dancer

I use 1 bag every three weeks, certainly don’t need TCC big bins. I remember when TCC used to offer this service some years back and they couldn’t wait to put it out to private contractors. Mayor Tenby, you are ruining our City of Tauranga with your stupid ideas, we are not Auckland. You are wrecking people’s livelihoods with this nonsense. We don’t want this SERVICE!!!!

Dumb Idea

Posted on 19-10-2020 16:12 | By RJP

The TCC got so much backlash regarding a rates rise they had to do something to get the extra income and what better way than to force upon the rate payers a rubbish collection service that all the TCC does is clip the ticket on the way through and does nothing for it. In my street 98% of the households do there own recycling and only have a 120 Litre general rubbish bin. What the hell was the TCC elected members thinking when they came up with this idea and not allowing the ratepayers to opt out of this stupid system as it does nothing to encourage people to be responsible in there waste disposal practices. I don’t need 3x200 litre bins so the TCC will probably be asked to take them away when they arrive, I don’t need them

Colonel Klinks council?

Posted on 19-10-2020 15:34 | By usandthem

The survey taken by the council is like all of their surveys,they are rigged to get the answers that they want.We use one rubbish bag a fortnight,food scraps go into a worm farm,everything else is taken to the recycling centre.What happens to retirement homes,there will be a sea of bins on rubbish days,most with hardly anything in them?We need to know who the councillors are that voted for this,i do know that Steve Morris tried to have it changed to the same system as Western Bay council but was out voted.

A sad outcome

Posted on 19-10-2020 14:47 | By Kancho

I am saddened this has happened. I filled out a questionnaire that was engineered to a preferred option. That aside whatever happened to user pay and free enterprise. We had that and yes some rationalisation was probably necessary. I hoped that local contractors could tender for areas so only one companys truck in particular streets thereby some sensible reduction in traffic. Otherwise homeowners should pay for the services they require as one size obviously doesn’t fit all. Sadly it seems the council has been autocratic and got it wrong. After all the study and discussion this is not the best answer. What would be good across New Zealand would be far better recycling plants to cover far more types of plastics and produce product from recycling


Posted on 19-10-2020 14:35 | By fair game

As By Equality states correctly - the contract has been awarded to a Chinese company who is owned by one of the richest men in the world - Sir Li Ka-Shing. Where is the "support local" in this decision TCC? Shame on you.

Holiday homes rates increase

Posted on 19-10-2020 13:26 | By Snup1

There are also a number of holidays houses at the Mount, Omanu & Papamoa where people are in residence during the weekend, apart from over the Christmas period, & take their rubbish home with them. They certainly won’t be using the new bins. Kleana are great in supporting the community.

unfair all round

Posted on 19-10-2020 13:02 | By hapukafin

it is not only the business sector that is going to suffer,ratepaters particularly single home owners and those who dont have gardens cannot fill a number of bins weekly yet like how the glass bin now is going to get gharged weekly on our rates when the bin is only filled a few times a year.I wonder who is making the extra profit.Time to act against this proposal before it gets any further.


Posted on 19-10-2020 12:41 | By The Sage

This whole things has been poorly managed. Nothing new for this Council who seem to have a few bullies in there. To give the contract to an offshore concern is criminal when they should be looking after their own people and businesses. I, and many of my family and friends, have been using Kleana Bins for sometime. I am totally appalled they will be put out of business and that we are given no option with our choices. Just another way for Council to cream money off the rate payers. You can get your bottom dollar that the costs will escalate after the first year and the service won’t nearly be as good.

Love to see the Survey Details

Posted on 19-10-2020 12:22 | By Johnney

We were told council engaged a company to under a survey on how much people spent on rubbish per year. Love to see the details of this because they said on average people were spending a lot more than $230 per year. Just who did they contact, how many people, and what did it cost to do this survey. They could of asked for feedback through SunLive. Would of cost nothing and would have got a more realistic result.


Posted on 19-10-2020 12:05 | By WestieMum

This is just utter bollocks! I drove down our road the last rubbish day which is over 1km long, and over half of the bins out were for local providers. I really feel for these guys, when this does not need to happen. An opt in/out option needs to be provided. "By Equality" good idea to hand them back to Council. Where/how can we make our displeasure at this known. Loudly. What’s going to happen to all the existing wheelie bins? Dumped/recycled? If we can’t get out of it, why on earth can’t we get the bins we "want/need" to start with? What a debacle!!!!!

@By Told You

Posted on 19-10-2020 12:00 | By Merlin

Very true 2 By Told You I will be taking my bin back to the councils doorstep and those that wan’t to keep supporting local busines should do the same.Give them the bins back and send them a message.A 10 year contract to a Chinese firm? does not support local businesses.SHAME ON YOU COUNCIL.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 19-10-2020 11:16 | By Tom Ranger

@equality. I’m down a 50m long steep uphill driveway. Unfortuntely...The rates increase is here to stay I’m afraid. We may as well increase garbage production to get our monies worth I guess. Way to go TCC.


Posted on 19-10-2020 10:48 | By kiwi_brat2003

we pay $156 for rubbish and everything that can be recycled is. $250 means I wont bother with recycled they will be all going same bin with everything else. looks like another council change coming

Councils never change

Posted on 19-10-2020 10:15 | By bruce.b

Back in the late 1950’s my father built a skating rink in Grey street converting an ex car rental building, then in the 1960’s the Council built a skating rink down at the Memorial Park and made it a FREE entry to all the public yep you got it right forcing my farther to shut his down losing all he had invested in it. So Councils don’t change they just keep screwing the public every way they can.


Posted on 19-10-2020 10:04 | By Bruja

What about tenants?, will we just be ’getting bins’ thrust on us for free?....oh I know....ANOTHER rent increase!!! Also, I fill a small wheelie bin a MONTH with recycling and it would take me about SIX MONTHS to fill a small wheelie bin with ’rubbish’!! Gee that’s gonna be a wee health hazard right there.....especially in summer. So I’m now going to get huge bins which I neither want nor need? Yet ANOTHER nutty decision made by TCC!!!


Posted on 19-10-2020 10:00 | By Told you

We have been betrayed by this council, Tenby came in saying he had the best interest in the ratepayers of Tauranga, and then turns round and then allows this rubbish collection on us,as far as I am concerned he can go back to Auckland where he belongs.


Posted on 19-10-2020 09:27 | By dumbkof2

does anyone know if there is a way tcc can be stopped from doing this. would be very interested in joining any group that can do this

Support Local? Yeah Right

Posted on 19-10-2020 08:53 | By Equality

The rubbish operator is not the only one totally dissatisfied and facing a bleak future! The community as a whole are very angry about the fact that the council intend foisting several huge unwanted bins on every household - and adding $230 to our rates! What about the elderly - a lot live up private ROWs, they can’t manage them - people in flats with little room can’t store them? For us, we live up a long ROW - compost our food scraps into our worm farm. We use one council rubbish bag every THREE weeks - and all other ’rubbish’ is taken to the recycling depot. THEY CAN KEEP THEIR BINS - Ours will be dumped on TCC doorstep!! To add insult to injury, the 10 year contract has been awarded to a Chinese firm!

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