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Greens drive home vehicle emission message

Greens drive home vehicle emission message

Government plans to tackle a silent killer on New Zealand roads have been warmly endorsed by the Green Party.

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons welcomed the announcement from Associate Transport Minister Judith Tizard, outlining programmes to address social, environmental and economic effects of vehicle emissions.

"We welcome the Government's first steps to reducing the invisible road toll caused by vehicle emissions in New Zealand," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"NIWA studies indicate vehicle emissions are responsible for as many deaths as our road toll each year, and over the many years I've been pushing for action I've had many letters from the public calling for action too.

"The New Zealand public has demanded an end to drunk driving and the road toll, I call on everyone to play their part in reducing the deadly smog toll.

"New Zealanders should certainly be concerned about the fact that nearly 40 per cent of our vehicles, as a recent Auckland study indicated, exceed American emission standards."

The Green Party will be working closely with the Government in developing short-term and long-term strategies to reduce vehicle emissions, which already include increased funding to healthy transport alternatives such as public transport, cycleways and walking.

The Land Transport Management Bill currently before the select committee will ensure that the protection and promotion of public health is an explicit consideration in transport policy and planning decisions.

"New Zealanders have suffered long enough from vehicle emissions. It is essential that every transport decision takes into account the wider health implications and the significant burden that cars and trucks place on our health and environment."

Green Party proposals to clean up vehicle emissions include: * Strict emission standards, related to the age of the vehicle, for Warrant of Fitness checks. * Vehicle licensing fees to be proportional to vehicle emissions - cleaner cars are cheaper to license. * Incentives for low and zero-emission vehicles in public transport funding. * Support for motorists to convert to cleaner and cheaper alternative fuels. * Government to convert its own fleet to low and zero emission vehicles.

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