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Vehicle imports need to lift their game

Hon Judith Tizard
Associate Minister of Transport
Hon David Parker
Minister of Energy
Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues

15 October 2006

Vehicle imports need to lift their game

Associate Transport Minister Judith Tizard and Climate Change Minister David Parker today announced measures to improve the fuel economy of the country's vehicle fleet, in order to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and pollution.

“New Zealand imports all its vehicles so we have the opportunity to select the best – not the mediocre," Judith Tizard said.

"New Zealanders can choose vehicles with almost zero harmful exhaust emissions, we can choose the fuel efficiency of our cars and we can choose the type of fuel they run on. We're doing our health and our clean green environment a disservice if we don’t."

The government has directed the Ministry of Transport to work with the motor industry on a regulated sales-weighted fuel economy standard for new and second-hand vehicles. This will involve options for improving the average fuel economy of vehicles entering the country.

Officials will also look at options for restricting the age of second-hand vehicles being imported into New Zealand to help reduce vehicle emissions.

Mr Parker said making progress in this area was important for the health of communities and for meeting climate change objectives.

"The Energy Outlook to 2030 shows that if we do not change our policy settings, transport greenhouse gas emissions increase by 45 percent over the next 25 years. We cannot - and will not - let that happen," David Parker said.

“The measures we are considering make good sense for the environment, but also economically, because they mean New Zealanders will save money on fuel."

Judith Tizard also emphasised the link between import standards and the upcoming biofuels sales obligation. "As the use of biofuels increases, we’ll be sending strong signals supporting the import of biofuels compatible vehicles.”

The Ministers said the proposal complemented other government initiatives to improve vehicles emissions, including this month's introduction of a visible smoke test as part of the warrant/certificate of fitness, and the Choke the Smoke campaign, which promotes better car maintenance and encourages alternatives to car use.

Other work to be undertaken includes developing a vehicle fleet strategy to bring together the government's climate change, vehicle safety, and air quality initiatives; options for encouraging the uptake of fuel efficient cars like hybrids, and mandatory labelling of vehicles for fuel efficiency at point of sale.

For more information see: www.climatechange.govt.nz

ENDS

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