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New car industry welcomes new emissions rules

Media Release
21 November 2007

New car industry welcomes new emissions rules

Confirmation that the Government is to go ahead with at least part of the plan to ensure that imported used vehicles meet stricter standards for exhaust emissions has come as welcome news to the Motor Industry Association, but there is disappointment that the measures go only half way.

“For far too long the used importers have been exploiting loophole after loophole to bring older and dirtier used vehicles into the country, and it’s good news for the environment that the Government has finally cried ‘enough’, at least in the case of diesel vehicles,” said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association.

“The older a vehicle is when it arrives in the country, the more worn out it is, the greater the chance that whatever emission control technology it has is no longer functioning properly, and the shorter its useful life before it needs to be replaced with another vehicle of equally dubious credentials,” Mr Kerr said. “This however, is the start of a new era in which most vehicles will start their life in the New Zealand fleet as new vehicles or relatively young used imports, and we will all be the better for that, eventually.”

The biggest immediate change will be the inability for importers to bring in older diesel vehicles, but there will be no real restriction on older petrol cars until 2012. “Despite the protestations of the used importers, the fact remains that they can still import 10 year old vehicles next year, 9 year old vehicles in 2009, 10 year old vehicles in 2010 and 11 year old vehicles in 2011,” said Mr. Kerr. “It won’t be until 2012 that petrol cars are effectively limited to 7 years in age, whereas the new car industry is compelled to comply with 2005 Japanese emission rules for new models from January.”

“As far as older diesels are concerned, throughout the whole debate the Government has always acknowledged these as the worst polluters,” Mr. Kerr said. “The effects of these on the environment have been there for all to see, and the Government is to be commended for bringing this era to an end. The fact that 15 to 20 year old used diesel buses will no longer be coming across our wharves is great news for anyone who enjoys inhaling clean air.”

Used importers have argued that the tighter restrictions will bump up used car prices. “This is utter nonsense,” said Mr. Kerr. “There are over 800,000 vehicles changing hands in New Zealand each year, of which only 120,000 or so are newly-registered used imports, so how can they be influencing the price of the other 680,000? There are many more 8, 9 and 10 ten year old cars in the country already than will come across the wharves in the next 12 months, and there is no reason whatsoever why the price of these cars will change under the new rules.”

We know from experience that over time the Government and people of New Zealand will see that the effects of these changes on car pricing are minimal and will start focusing on encouraging alternate transport or simple tune ups of cars rather than buying other nations scrap.

“One day we will have a future in which our vehicle emission standards mirror those of Europe and Japan, rather than Central Africa or Bangladesh, but the progress is going to be slow,” Mr. Kerr concluded.


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