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Labour slackens noise control on cars

Hon Nick Smith National Party Environment Spokesman

28 February 2005

Labour slackens noise control on cars

New regulations taking effect today will only make the problem of noisy cars and boyracers worse, says National's Environment spokesman, Nick Smith.

"Labour is ignoring the pleas of neighbourhoods in New Zealand who are regularly disrupted by boyracers and noisy traffic," says Dr Smith.

"Minister for Transport Safety Harry Duynhoven is putting his interests as a self-confessed petrol-head ahead of his responsibilities to minimise noise from cars for the general public."

New Land Transport rules for vehicles clause 2.7 (3), which takes effect today, requires that an exhaust system 'must not be noticeably or significantly louder than it would have been when the motor vehicle was manufactured'.

The old traffic regulation from 1976 (No 81) required that every motor vehicle had 'a silencer which is effective and in good working order'.

"Advice from lawyers is that the new regulation is less stringent," says Dr Smith.

"The words 'significantly louder' are so vague you could drive a 100 decibel V8 through them. This is an invitation for those who get their kicks from loud rumbling cars to push the boundaries.

"The existing regulations are weak and these changes make them worse. The tragedy is that the technology to minimise car noise has never been so good.

"New Zealand has the weakest exhaust noise rules in the western world. We need to introduce clearly measurable exhaust noise limits like those in Australia and ensure they are checked alongside exhaust emissions at each warrant of fitness check," says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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