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Tizard Prepared To Sacrifice 6,400 Lives

Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers’ Association Inc. (IMVDA)

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Tizard Prepared To Sacrifice 6,400 Lives To Crazy Car Policy

Associate transport minister Judith Tizard appears willing to sacrifice the lives of 6,400 New Zealanders rather than deal seriously with New Zealand’s air pollution problem, the Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers Association (IMVDA) said today.

The association was commenting after the Ministry of Transport acknowledged on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme this morning that the government’s crazy car policy was incomplete.

IMVDA has been lobbying the government to introduce tough new emissions standards across the entire New Zealand motor vehicle fleet to reduce air pollution. The Ministry of Transport did some preliminary work on developing a programme for in-service vehicles two years ago, but this initiative has since been rejected by the government’s political advisors on the grounds it might cost the Labour Party votes in some parts of the country.

Instead, the government has confirmed again this week that it is pushing ahead with new regulations focusing only on fresh vehicles entering New Zealand, a policy which Ms Tizard told NZPA last week would lead to an increase in the average age of the fleet and which the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) says “will most likely cause an increase in the number of vehicles in the fleet that do not comply with the proposed standards”.

Ministry of Transport policy manager David Crawford stated today on Breakfast that it will take 16 to 18 years for their policy to take effect.

“This is not good enough”, said Mr Vinsen.

“The government cannot claim on the one hand that 400 New Zealanders are dying each year from air pollution but then, on the other hand, press ahead with a policy which it knows will increase air pollution at least in the short run and take at least 16 years to have any positive effect”.

“Based on her own figures, 6,400 people will die in the next 16 years if Ms Tizard does not start to take the air pollution issue seriously and crack down hard on the dirty old smoky vehicles on our roads,” Mr Vinsen said.

Mr Vinsen said that the policy would effectively stop the supply of diesel and commercial vehicles within New Zealand, which would come to a virtual standstill under the government’s policy.

“Thousands of New Zealanders rely on the use of diesel and commercial vehicles such as school buses, couriers, tradesmen and New Zealand’s large rural sector, all of whom could expect to see prices rise significantly as the supply of commercial and diesel imports are choked off by Labour’s crazy car policy.”

Mr Vinsen said IMVDA was pushing a five-point Clean Air Plan to reduce air pollution immediately, while not increasing the cost of cars to families.

The five point plan demands the government:

1. Enforce all current rules across the whole vehicle fleet at inspection (WoF and CoF), and at the roadside

2. Introduce scientific emissions testing for all vehicles in the fleet

3. Encourage the scrapping of older, unsafe, dirty vehicles with tougher enforcement and economic incentives

4. Introduce incentives to encourage people to buy cleaner vehicles, as proposed by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development

5. Do these things NOW

“Our Clean Air Plan would reduce pollution and save lives now, whereas Ms Tizard’s crazy car policy, based on her own arguments, would cost lives at least in the short run and do nothing positive for 16 years,” Mr Vinsen said.

Mr Vinsen said IMVDA members had this morning reported strong support for the association’s campaign against the crazy car policy and stage two was close to being launched. He said the campaign would continue until the government indicated it was prepared to implement the association’s Clean Air Plan.

ENDS

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