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Greens Achieve Action On Silent Smog Killer

November 22 2004

Greens achieve action on silent smog killer

Government plans to tackle a silent killer on New Zealand roads are a victory for Green-Government co-operation on transport issues, the party's Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

Ms Kedgley welcomed the release this afternoon by Associate Transport Minister Judith Tizard of a discussion document on a vehicle emissions screening programme.

"We should have had emissions standards a decade ago," Ms Kedgley said. "I am glad the Government and the Greens have been able to work together to finally make progress on this issue. Along with significant improvements in public transport funding, the first ever dedicated funding for walking and cycling and the buy-back of the rail track, this announcement shows the Green's cooperation with the Government on transport is delivering results.

"New Zealand is currently alone among OECD countries in having no emissions standards whatsoever," Ms Kedgley said. "Cars and trucks in New Zealand are able to belch black smoke and pollute our cities, with local government powerless to do anything about it. This victory for people and the environment will ensure that New Zealand's worst polluting vehicles are no longer able to roam the streets polluting our air and contributing to this country's horrific smog toll."

The emissions screening programme, due to be implemented in 2006, will see all vehicles tested against emissions standards as part of the normal Warrant of Fitness process. Vehicles which do not reach the standards will have to be repaired and then retested.

"Studies indicate that emissions are responsible for as many deaths as the road toll. Four hundred Kiwis die every year because of asthma, heart disease, and other health problems attributable to exposure to vehicle emissions. Thanks to the Government and the Greens working together, the end of this silent killer is in sight."

Ms Kedgley said vehicle owners would be wise to take action immediately to decrease their emissions.

"Vehicle owners will be given plenty of warning before they have to modify their vehicles as part of this new emissions testing programme. However, I urge all vehicle owners to take this problem seriously and do all they can immediately to ensure their vehicles emit as little as necessary."

ENDS

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