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Vehicle emissions policy announced in Waitakere

New vehicle emissions policy announced in Waitakere

A new government policy to tackle growing air pollution from vehicle emissions was introduced by the Associate Transport Minister and Minister for Auckland Issues, the Hon. Judith Tizard, at the Waitakere City Vehicle Testing Station today.

As part of the policy launch, Ms Tizard put her own car to the test with an exhaust emissions screening at the testing station.

Waitakere City Council’s Vehicle Testing Station, in Henderson, was chosen for the announcement because it has been offering free emissions testing for years.

The launch was also attended by Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of Waitakere City Council’s Environmental Management Committee; Jeanette Fitzsimons, co-leader of the Greens; and Gwen Bull, chair of the Auckland Regional Council.

The Government, with the support of the Greens, is introducing a range of initiatives under the new policy, including:

Emissions screening of pre-used imported vehicles at the New Zealand border as part of pre-registration;

Emissions screening as part of warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness inspections; and

Education on the need for, and benefits of, regular vehicle maintenance and repair.

It is expected that emissions screening of in-service vehicles will come into force in mid-to-late 2006.

Land Transport rules will now need to be developed to give effect to the new policy. Further consultation will now be undertaken as part of the rule development process.

“There is an abundance of scientific evidence that air pollution from motor vehicles contributes to serious health problems, including asthma, heart disease and bronchitis,” says Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the Environmental Management Committee.

“A vehicle emissions test provides an indication of your engine’s performance, as well as a breakdown of the level of harmful components in the exhaust emission. But a sick engine is not only polluting our environment, it’s costing you money too.”

Judith Tizard agrees, saying: “It is vital that all vehicle owners and operators take responsibility to fix and regularly tune their vehicles and that they have the necessary information to do so. The benefits of regular maintenance include savings in the long-term on fuel and maintenance costs, and knowing that they and their neighbours will breathe easier.

“We are committed to tackling the environmental and health impacts associated with vehicle emissions in New Zealand. The health of New Zealanders and our clean, green and sustainable environment, depend upon it,” Ms Tizard says.

The Government says its new initiatives build on earlier initiatives introduced to tackle vehicle pollution. They include:

Changing fuel standards to reduce the sulphur content of diesel and petrol fuels, which are being phased in over the next three years and will help reduce vehicle emissions Introducing a new Land Transport Rule, effective from 1 January 2004, that will ensure that vehicles entering New Zealand have been built to a recognised emissions standard Increasing transport funding to tackle severe traffic congestion in key areas including key roading developments, public transport initiatives and walking and cycling promotion Undertaking further research on the health impacts of vehicle emissions.

“Reducing air pollution from vehicle emissions is a complex issue, which requires an integrated package of solutions to fix it. The initiatives announced today will form a fundamental component of this package,” Judith Tizard says.

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