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Opportunity Tomorrow To Get Car Policy Right

INDEPENDENT MOTOR VEHICLE DEALERS' ASSOCIATION INC. (IMVDA)

MEDIA RELEASE Sunday 25 November 2007 For Immediate Release

Cabinet Has Opportunity Tomorrow To Get Car Policy Right

Tomorrow's cabinet meeting has a golden opportunity to promote tough new emissions testing across the entire New Zealand vehicle fleet to reduce air pollution and save lives, the Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers' Association (IMVDA) said today.

The IMVDA has been lobbying the government to support its five-point Clean Air Plan to reduce air pollution. The plan includes rigorous testing of the existing fleet as well as of fresh imports.

The association has also been critical of government plans to introduce new restrictions on fresh imports alone, which it has dubbed the "crazy car policy". Work by the government's own economic advisors, Covec, and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) advised that the crazy car policy would increase the cost of vehicles, drive up the average age of the fleet, worsen air pollution and potentially cost lives.

Associate transport minister Judith Tizard herself has told NZPA that the policy would increase the average age of the fleet while the ministry of transport has said the policy would take 16-18 years to work, in which time up to 9,000 New Zealanders would die from air pollution according to government estimates.

The government's plan would also double the cost of commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks, putting financial stress on distribution businesses, increasing the cost of goods and services across the economy and putting downward pressure on the wages of distribution workers.

"It would be crazy for the government to proceed with its proposal against all evidence and advice, but it is not too late for it to get the policy right and reduce air pollution immediately," IMVDA chief executive David Vinsen said.

"There is now a strong consensus across the motor vehicle industry and public health groups, including the Asthma Foundation, that New Zealand needs tough new emissions testing across the entire motor vehicle fleet.

"In Parliament, the National, New Zealand First, Maori and ACT parties have all publicly expressed concern that the crazy car policy may increase air pollution, and we have also had good discussions privately with United Future. We believe all five parties would be prepared to support measures that will actually work.

"The government has a golden opportunity to achieve universal industry, health-sector and parliamentary support for tough new standards across the whole fleet.

"If the prime minister is serious about her government's concern that up to 500 New Zealanders are dying each year from air pollution, she would order her ministers to grasp this opportunity tomorrow rather than going ahead with a crazy car policy that ministers know could well worsen that death toll."

The IMDVA's Clean Air Plan, detailed at www.crazycar.co.nz, calls for the government to:

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

Mr Vinsen said the plan would save lives. He emphasised that testing would apply both to the existing fleet and to all fresh imports.

"An announcement from the prime minister at her press conference tomorrow that the government will implement this plan from 1 January 2008 would be good news for motorists, good news for the environment and good news for our industry," he said.

END

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