Group pushing to retain waste contract

Save Southland disAbility Enterprises campaigners (from left) Tony Stewart, Lynda Mooij and Rae Burt will be spreading posters throughout Southland today as part of a campaign to keep a regional waste contract. Photo: Jono Edwards
Save Southland disAbility Enterprises campaigners (from left) Tony Stewart, Lynda Mooij and Rae Burt will be spreading posters throughout Southland today as part of a campaign to keep a regional waste contract. Photo: Jono Edwards
A waste company employing workers with disabilities refuses to be dumped.

Today family members and supporters of Southland disAbility Enterprises (SDE) will drop posters across the region pushing for WasteNet to renew its contract with the business.

They will also stand outside an Invercargill City Council meeting tomorrow afternoon to put pressure on councillors.

Earlier this month, the company chose to break confidentiality and inform staff and stakeholders its contract with WasteNet would most likely not be renewed.

This would result in 82 people with disabilities losing employment.

Since then, a movement has gained traction to push for the contract's renewal.

At a meeting with family members of the employees yesterday, organiser Rochelle Stewart said the action would let councillors know the group was ''not going to give up lightly''.

A petition to save the contract had gained 20,242 signatures, she said.

Southland Mayor and WasteNet spokesman Gary Tong was unable to comment by deadline yesterday, but in the past he expressed disappointment in SDE breaking confidentiality and said the tender was still ''alive''.

The current contract, which has been with SDE since 2011, is due to end on June 30.

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