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Reducing Vehicle Emissions

18 September 2001 Media Statement

Reducing Vehicle Emissions

Most imported vehicles will now be required to meet international vehicle emission standards, Transport Minister Mark Gosche announced today.

Under the proposal, out for public consultation today, imported vehicles made since 1990 could be registered here only if manufactured in compliance with the emissions standards of either Japan, the United States, the European Union or Australia.

“Vehicle emissions are a major source of health problems including asthma, heart disease and bronchitis” Mr Gosche said.

"This new rule is part of the answer to those problems. While many imports currently coming into New Zealand already meet these standards, others are made to much lower standards and some have no emissions standards applied at all during manufacture. This proposal will ensure that New Zealand doesn't become the dumping ground for vehicles that are not up to scratch environmentally."

The new rule will apply to all imports - new and used - including trucks. It will build on the New Zealand motor vehicle industry’s voluntary agreement that requires only new cars to comply with the relevant emissions standards.

Submissions close on 30 November and the rule is expected to come into force on May 1 next year. Vehicles already registered then will not be affected.

"This will be the first time that standards for vehicle emissions have been set in regulation. It is effectively putting a line in the sand by saying that nothing less than these standards will be acceptable. That gives us a strong foundation to build on in future."

"The rule isn't the whole answer though. The problems associated with vehicle emissions need an integrated package of solutions to fix them."

Other measures currently underway to address the effects of emissions include:

- the "10 second rule" for smoky vehicles which from earlier this month can result in fines for vehicles belching smoke;

- the introduction of more stringent border checks and improved safety standards to improve the quality of second hand vehicles imported into New Zealand. The government has consulted the public on these proposals recently and they are likely to come into effect by mid-2002.

- The Ministry of Transport is now working with air quality and health experts from around the country to study the New Zealand implications of international information on the health implications of vehicle emissions. The results of this work will feed directly into the current government review of the vehicle fuel specifications, and into future transport policy.

“We will also be looking again at other ways to address vehicle emissions that until now have not been considered cost-effective. These may extend from simply finding ways of identifying the worst offenders to an emissions level check in an expanded WoF/CoF check, and could include requiring regular in-service maintenance.”

ENDS


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