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No pollution relief until serious car reduction

14 August 2000


No relief from air pollution until serious car reduction

The Green Party today said it strongly supported initiatives from the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) to reduce exhaust pollution but said the volume of car use was the root of the problem.

Air pollution in Auckland exceeded World Health Standards again today. ARC Air Quality Manager Kevin Mahon launched a campaign targeting smoky motor vehicles but acknowledged that car use in Auckland is growing at five per cent per annum.

Green MP Nandor Tanczos said while the 'dob in a smoky vehicle' scheme was a well intentioned move towards reducing chronically high levels of air pollution, little progress would be made until the numbers of cars on the roads were reduced.

"The danger of this approach is that it targets low income people without providing affordable and realistic alternatives," he said.

"Poor people are locked into using high pollution vehicles because they can't afford new cars and the public transport system doesn't work for many of them.

"What our pollution levels are saying to us is that our use of the motor vehicle is clearly unsustainable," he said. "Now more than ever the value of a user friendly public transport system, with all the right incentives, can be clearly seen."

Mr Tanczos said clear and decisive action was required by both Government and local bodies to cut car use.

"The Greens continue to promote our policy of a five year moratorium on new urban roading developments while strategies are designed and implemented to reduce the need for them," he said.

"We have to stop the growth in car use, or the kind of air pollution we have seen today - and the health problems associated with it - is going to be an everyday thing.

"Carbon monoxide levels in Auckland are higher than they are in London and living in a city like Auckland cuts about a year off the average life expectancy," said Mr Tanczos.

Currently there are 620,000 vehicles in the Auckland region and 459,000 of them carry people to and from work each day. The majority of these vehicles carry only one passenger.

Nandor Tanczos MP: 04 470 6716; 025 246 5235


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