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Call for climate friendly cars in bus lanes

13 April 2006
Media Release

Business leaders call for Government to give climate friendly cars a free run in the bus lanes

One of New Zealand's leading business organisations wants bus lanes opened up for fuel efficient, low emission cars.

The free run in bus lanes incentive is included in a comprehensive package of measures put to the Government by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The Business Council – whose 51 member companies' annual $33 billion in sales equates to 28% of the country's gross domestic product – also wants the Government to move comprehensively to help the nation quit one of the world's oldest gas guzzling and polluting vehicle fleets.

The move would deliver lower prices, lower fuel bills – and cut transport emissions, the second biggest green house gas source in the country behind agriculture.

Opening up bus lanes as an incentive to spur the sale of fuel-efficient, low emission cars is one of the ideas.

Others include:

- Cash grants of up to $3000 for buyers of new cars using 6.5 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres, and up to $1000 in cash for people buying fuel efficient, low emission imported cars

- A move by the Prime Minister to write to the CEOs of the country's top 200 companies, asking them to consider buying fuel efficient, low emission vehicles, and asking their staff to consider than when buying privately

- A new web site database giving the public independent information on the most fuel efficient, low emission cars and the safety of new and used imports based on the existing energy star standard

- Cabinet Ministers taking a lead by selecting climate friendly self-drive cars

- Promote replacement of Government and local government vehicles with climate friendly ones where suitable vehicles are available

- Amending the New Zealand Emissions Rule so new petrol vehicles must meet the world's best emission standards by 2008, and imported vehicles by 2010. New diesel vehicles would have to meet the best standards by 2010 and imports by 2011.

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says opening up bus lanes for the most climate friendly cars would provide a massive incentive for motorists, especially in the main centres.
"We see it as a way people can halve their fuel bills, cut commuting time, increase productivity – especially if the vehicle's a business one – and do the right thing to make the air cleaner and maintain our quality of life," Mr Neilson says.

"There's also a major opportunity for the Government to lead by example here and take a close look at the number of vehicles its agencies are buying and running which don't meet the best fuel efficiency and emission standards.

"We can cut the country's green house gas emission problem in very practical ways which don't involve taxing and penalizing everyone. In fact, the reverse.
I think the notion of whizzing to work along a bus lane, with a climate friendly sticker on the windscreen, will go down well with the majority of New Zealanders who want to do the right thing. The Government's challenge is to give them ways to do that."


ENDS


The Business Council's recommendations on price cuts for fuel efficient low emission cars are outlined in its report "Incentivising Greener Vehicles" (available at http://www.nzbcsd.org.nz/project.asp?ProjectID=29). The report includes economic viability tables and a list of qualifying vehicle types.

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