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Government Lifting Vehicle Emission Standards

Government Lifting Vehicle Emission Standards

Associate Transport Minister Judith Tizard says New Zealand is finally catching up with the rest of the OECD on moves to reduce pollution from vehicle emissions.

Speaking at a transport emissions conference in Wellington, Judith Tizard told business leaders from the energy and transport sectors that the government was committed to bringing New Zealand's vehicle emissions standards into line with other OECD countries by 2006.

"Vehicle emissions are a significant contributor to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. We also know they are detrimental to the health of New Zealanders. It is estimated that around 400 people die prematurely each year across New Zealand as a result of motor vehicle emissions, with many more people suffering or requiring hospitalisation from emissions-related asthma and bronchitis.

"To reduce pollution from emissions, this government is requiring higher fuel quality, introducing standards for new and imported vehicles and encouraging all drivers to maintain their vehicles better.

"The new Land Transport Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule, introduced last year requires all vehicles entering New Zealand to be manufactured to a recognised international emissions standard. This is already improving the quality of our vehicles. The next step is tests for vehicles already on the road.

"The vehicle emissions problem was ignored by previous governments throughout the 1990s, despite moves by every other OECD country to introduce vehicle emissions standards," said Judith Tizard.

The government plans to introduce mandatory emissions screening from 2006, covering the 2.8 million vehicles already operating in New Zealand, as well as the estimated 170,000 used imported vehicles that enter New Zealand each year.

A preliminary survey shows that up to 25 percent of New Zealand vehicles tested would currently fail the UK standard for vehicle emissions. However, Judith Tizard says New Zealanders can take immediate action to improve this standard by ensuring their vehicles, diesel and petrol, are well maintained and have regular tune-ups.

ENDS


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