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Lobby For Tough Emission Standards On All Vehicles

Motor Vehicle Industry Lobbying For Tough Emissions Standards On All Vehicles

The motor vehicle industry is lobbying the government to introduce tough new emissions standards on the New Zealand motor vehicle fleet to reduce air pollution.

The consultation and lobbying, which has been underway since 2004, has intensified in recent days following indications the government does not intend to act to reduce air pollution from the vehicle fleet, but only impose new standards on future imports of vehicles.

This is despite the government saying that hundreds of New Zealanders are dying each year because of air pollution. It is also despite the government having been advised by NZIER and its own economic advisors, Covec, that rules applying only to imports will have the opposite result to that intended, increasing the cost of vehicles for families, driving up the average age of the fleet and worsening air pollution in New Zealand.

The chief executive of the Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers’ Association (IMVDA), David Vinsen, said industry shared the government’s stated desire to reduce air pollution and was appalled that, for political presentation reasons, ministers were proposing to go ahead with proposals that they knew would do the opposite.

“We have urged the government over many years to develop and implement a proper strategy to manage the national vehicle fleet,” he said.

“This would involve encouraging the scrapping of older, grossly-polluting and less-safe vehicles currently in the fleet, including some of the more than 750,000 vehicles that are older than 15 years.

“We have recommended a mixture of carrots and sticks, with economic incentives to help people scrap polluting vehicles backed up by regulations banning them from our roads.

“The government has accepted such measures would be necessary to achieve its goals, including saving hundreds of lives, but we have been told by officials that its political advisors are concerned that it would cost the Labour Party votes in some parts of the country.

“Instead – simply to make it look like it is doing something, or anything, to reduce air pollution – it appears set to proceed with rules that it knows will increase the cost of vehicles for families, drive up the average age of the fleet and worsen air pollution in New Zealand.”

Mr Vinsen said the prime minister had raised the matter with him on Friday and he was now in further discussions with ministers and officials about ways to ensure the new rules would be effective.

ENDS

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