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Business leaders support climate friendly cars

15 May 2006

Business leaders support climate friendly cars

Business leaders welcome International Energy Agency and National party support on climate friendly cars

The International Energy Agency's report on New Zealand gives the Government further encouragement to introduce incentives for people to buy fuel efficient, low emission cars.

A proposal for the Government to introduce cash grants of up to $3000 for people buying climate friendly cars has overwhelming voter backing nationwide.

The New Zealand Business Council for sustainable Development says the IEA's advice to the Government to lower transport energy use should amount to the final tick in the box for a policy which cuts emissions, lowers petrol bills by up to halve and cleans up the air at the same time.

The Business Council put the cash grants policy proposal to Government last November and the Government confirmed this month it was now being considered as part of its review of climate change policies.

The Business Council says it supports the IEA's view that "stronger policies that give incentives for substantially improved energy efficiency in the transport sector are necessary."

The IEA says: "The government should consider fiscal and tax incentives, as well as fuel economy standards for new cars."

The Business Council, whose 51 member companies' annual sales equate to 28% of the gross domestic product, says it also welcomes a weekend speech by National's Environment spokesperson, Dr Nick Smith, MP, calling on the country to be "bold enough" to clean up its car fleet.

Dr Smith called for better emission standards for vehicles and further moves to lower the sulphur content of diesel.

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says Dr Smith's comment that "economic growth and improving the environment can go hand in hand" would carry huge weight with voters, according to the Business Council's nationwide research and polling.

"It is heartening to see one of the major political parties cotton on to the huge desire New Zealanders have to make sure we grow the economy but not at the expense of the environment or future generations," Mr Neilson says.

"Our research shows most Kiwis want to preserve their quality of life. We believe parties which take that into account stand to strike a resounding note with New Zealanders. In an electorate in which the main parties are just 1.5% apart, that could make a huge difference to the outcome of the next election.

"As a country we need to get down to work on some practical initiatives, like cash grants to clean up the car fleet, which reward people for doing the right thing and let people and companies make a real difference," Mr Nielson says.


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