Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said retailers have six months to phase out the single-use plastic bags, or face fines of up to NZ$100,000.

“We’re phasing out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand’s clean, green reputation,” said Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister.

“Every year in New Zealand we use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags. A mountain of bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business.

More than 40 countries worldwide have now imposed bans on plastic bags.