The New Zealand Government wants single-use plastic bags phased out within a year.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said the ban was in response to consumer demand.
They invited New Zealanders to comment on a discussion paper by Sept. 14, including options for the date the phase-out is to be completed, what bags should be included, whether any retailers should be exempted and how best to help people with the transition.
"We're listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem," Ardern said. "This year 65,000 kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban. It's also the biggest single subject school children write to me about.
"We're phasing-out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard NZ's clean, green reputation," she said.
In October, both major NZ supermarket chains announced they will phase out free, single-use high density polyethylene shopping bags by the end of 2018.
While Ardern said the phase out will be within 12 months, Sage suggested it could happen within six.
"The government will work alongside supermarkets and other retailers to help people make the change to reusable bags, and we want to hear from New Zealanders as to how we can best do this," Sage said.
Ardern added: "Every year in NZ 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 causing serious harm to all kinds of marine life. There are viable alternatives for consumers and business."
Auckland, New Zealand-based Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Camden Howitt said the ban will help remove about 750 million plastic bags annually from NZ's waste stream and environment, equivalent to 154 bags per person.
"Figures from supermarket chain Countdown already show kiwis are on board with removing single-use plastic bags from their routines, with shoppers choosing to take 16 percent fewer bags over the last year," he said.