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Caution Required Over Vehicle Emissions Report

22 March 2002

The Government should take a cautious approach to the findings of a report on the health impacts of vehicle emissions, rather than a knee-jerk reaction, says National's transport spokesperson Belinda Vernon.

"The report has identified that air pollution from vehicles is a significant cause of health effects, ranging from illness to premature death. It is important we address these issues, but we should not overreact.

"The report itself warns that monitoring and exposure data in New Zealand is relatively small, there is considerable uncertainty over many assumptions, and the report is a preliminary study. The estimate of deaths is just that - an estimate. It doesn't differentiate between other contributing factors.

"Compulsory testing of emissions at Warrant of Fitness time has significant costs. It should not be introduced unless it has been fully costed, evaluated and shown to be cost effective.

"Traffic congestion plays a major role in the level of emissions. A modern car generates more emissions sitting in a traffic jam than an older car on an open road. The Government should think twice before imposing significant costs on all of New Zealand to address what is primarily an urban issue.

"It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the emotion of the fatality statistics. We need a serious and considered approach to this important issue," said Ms Vernon.


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