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Reduce Pollution Source And Save Lives And Money

05 March 2003

Media Statement for Immediate Release

Reduce Pollution Source And Save Lives And Money –
Two Actions Required To Reduce Auckland Pollution


Rockgas General Manager, Owen Poole is urging clear thinking and smart action if new rates and taxes are imposed to solve Auckland’s transport congestion and pollution problems.

Mr Poole was responding to the Auckland Regional Authority proposal to impose a new passenger transport rate, and Auckland City Mayor John Banks canvassing a central-city congestion tax of up to $20 a day.

Mr Poole said while reducing congestion was a prime concern, the emphasis of Auckland local bodies should equally be on reducing the pollution source, which would save lives, reduce health costs and keep costs down for Auckland and the traveling public.

“Auckland is a city that has crusaded for lower sulphur levels from diesel. Now we have evidence from the Auckland Regional Authority and the Waitakere City Council that exhaust emissions from Auckland’s road vehicles, including its diesel buses, kill more people a year in Auckland than road accidents do.

“We know from a Ministry of Transport study that exhaust pollution from petrol and diesel vehicles kills up to 400 people in New Zealand every year. International studies show polluted atmospheres aggravate asthma and heart disease. The source of pollution in New Zealand cities must be addressed urgently if we are to have a healthier environment,” Mr Poole said.

Mr Poole said two actions were necessary to encourage reduction of pollution and in turn, to save lives, health costs and costs to motorists.

“First, the ARA needs to change its bus fleet from diesel to LPG, which is a clean fuel. Hamilton City has made smart moves in this direction, as has Christchurch. Why can’t Auckland?

“Second, any proposed congestion tax for Auckland needs to exempt clean fuel vehicles running on LPG, as has happened in London when the congestion charge was introduced in January this year.”

Mr Poole said growing pollution problems in all New Zealand cities and particularly Auckland must be addressed by changing transport fuels from petrol and diesel to clean fuels like LPG. Cities such as Auckland could lead the way by using LPG for its bus fleet and by rewarding clean fuel use by taxis, commercial vehicles and private cars, Mr Poole said.

(ends)

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