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Greens propose package to tackle vehicle pollution

10 September 2000
Greens propose package to tackle vehicle pollution

The Green Party called today for nationwide vehicle emissions standards and mandatory emissions tests incorporated into warrant of fitness tests as part of a package of measures designed to improve air quality in urban areas.

Green Party Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said under their proposed scheme all imported cars would have to meet strict emission standards, and older cars would have to meet vehicle emission standards appropriate to their age.

"At present there is no real control over vehicle emissions in New Zealand," Ms Kedgley said. "C ars and trucks belching black, smoky emissions can pollute our cities and local government is powerless to do anything about it," she said. "The Auckland Regional Council has no legal teeth to require smoky vehicles dobbed in by other Aucklanders to properly maintain their cars. All it can do is write a letter to the offending motorist.

"This is an absurd situation, especially when every other OECD country, except New Zealand, has some form of emission standards in force. The response to the Auckland 'dob-in a smoky driver' campaign clearly shows overwhelming support for tackling vehicle pollution now."

Ms Kedgley said it was equally absurd that bus operators have no incentive to clean up dirty diesel buses. The Green Party believed subsidies should be designed to give low or zero emission buses, such as trolley buses, greater funding. "If we are to get serious about improving air quality in our cities we need a nation-wide, multi-pronged strategy to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality in our cities."

Ms Kedgley has written to the Minister of Transport Mark Gosche proposing a package of measures to tackle air pollution from vehicles. Green proposals include:

* Strict emissions standards as part of a warrant of fitness check for cars and trucks;

* Making annual vehicle licencing fees proportional to emissions and fuel use so clean and efficient cars and trucks are cheaper to keep licenced;

* Cleaning up diesel buses by giving incentives for low and zero-emission vehicles (eg trolley buses, CNG/LPG buses) in the public transport funding system;

* Support for motorists to convert to cleaner and cheaper alternative fuels such as LPG and CNG;

* Government leadership in converting its own fleet to low and zero emission vehicles;

* Support for substantial increases in public transport services;

* A national cycling strategy to make cycling safer and more attractive;

* Tackling the root cause of vehicle pollution by getting local authorities to set targets and take measures to reduce traffic and promote healthier alternatives;

"With carbon monoxide in cities like Auckland higher than in cities like
London, this government must take a decisive and immediate lead in reducing vehicle air pollution," she said.

Green MPs Keith Locke and Rod Donald will hold demonstrations on Monday morning in Auckland and Christchurch to draw attention to this issue. See attached media advisory and breakdown of what is in vehicle emissions.


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