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Vernon Huffs And Puffs In Vain

Transport Minister Mark Gosche was surprised by National's latest Transport spokeswoman Belinda Vernon trying to claim credit for a rule which National never carried out.

"National talked about a 10-second rule for smoky vehicles, hastily tried to implement one at the last minute but failed," he said.

"National's neediness has reached new heights. Desperate for public praise they're trying to take credit for something they never did."

Early last year Mr Gosche asked for a thorough review of the proposed regulation because the previous Government's plans had not been thought through.

"We wanted to make sure the new rule works – we were not prepared to simply focus on enforcement and in the process create large numbers of law breakers."

"We wanted officials to carefully consider issues of equity – that's why we've added a significant education component that includes a six-month stand down period where Police will educate and not prosecute."

"We are focused on making policies practically work – we've spent the time putting information together because our main concern is compliance not just enforcement."

Mr Gosche added that motorists who are fined have the option of fixing their vehicles and applying to Police to act with discretion.

Funding passenger transport was another way in which Government was working to address pollution problems.

"Ms Vernon should be asking her colleagues why they froze New Zealand's passenger transport funding for five long years," said Mr Gosche.

"She should also remember that last year we finally lifted National's funding freeze, a move that could see $27 million more spent on passenger transport. She should look around her because there are already new services operating in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch."

"This regulation is just the tip of the iceberg – we are committed to improving the quality of air in New Zealand and are working across a wide range of areas."

"Six months into Government Prime Minister Helen Clark announced our commitment to ratify the Kyoto Protocol by mid 2002. This is a huge breakthrough and goes much further than the National Government ever promised to."

In September Mr Gosche released a new report on vehicle emissions in New Zealand cities. The Ministy for the Environment is currently undertaking a review into fuel specifications, this is a public discussion document for release over the next couple of months. In December last year the Minister for the Environment released an air quality discussion document for public consultation.


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