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Prices To Jump Under Labour's Crazy Car Policy

Prices Of All Goods And Services To Jump Under Labour's Crazy Car Policy

Prices of everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to school bus services and tourism operations are set to increase under Labour's crazy car policy, the Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers' Association (IMVDA) said today.

The association is running the first stage of its campaign opposing the policy, which is scheduled to be discussed at Cabinet on Monday.

"The crazy car policy is also the crazy commercial vehicle policy," the chief executive of the IMVDA, David Vinsen, said today.

"The cost of trucks, buses and four wheel drives is likely to double on average as a result of the proposed rule.

"For example, a small truck delivering vegetables will go from $18,000 to $36,000 and a small tour bus with a 20 seat capacity will increase from $40,000 to $100,000.

"These costs will be passed onto supermarket shoppers, tourists and other consumers; and to the taxpayer, which pay for things like school bus services.

"At the same time, the government has admitted that the crazy car policy will increase the average age of the vehicle fleet and so will therefore worsen air pollution in New Zealand. This is ridiculous."

Mr Vinsen said it was also possible that, instead of paying higher prices for vehicles, freight and delivery companies, couriers, tradesman, school-bus and tourism operators and all those people relying on diesel and commercial vehicles would instead delay replacing their vehicles.

"We would see even worse air pollution, while our children would potentially be forced to use older, more polluting buses for longer."

Increasing the cost of commercial vehicles would put upwards pressures on prices and also put financial pressure on distribution businesses, making it more difficult to deliver pay rises to distribution workers and putting downward pressure on their wages, Mr Vinsen said.

Mr Vinsen urged ministers to abandon the crazy car policy and instead implement the IMVDA's five-point Clean Air Plan to reduce air pollution. As well as introducing emissions standards in a properly phased manner, the plan challenges the government to:

1. Enforce all current rules across the whole vehicle fleet at inspection (WoF and CoF), and at the roadside

2. Introduce scientific emissions testing for all vehicles in the fleet

3. Encourage the scrapping of older, unsafe, dirty vehicles with tougher enforcement and economic incentives

4. Introduce incentives to encourage people to buy cleaner vehicles, as proposed by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development

5. Do these things NOW

Mr Vinsen said that the failure of the government to listen and respond sensibly to the need to reduce air pollution left the association with no choice to continue its campaign.

"At this stage, all the indications are that the government plans to proceed regardless of all the advice that its crazy car policy will lead to the opposite results to those intended," he said. "We therefore have no alternative but to continue with our campaign on the issue."

He said the association agreed with Attorney-General Michael Cullen that, because its advertisements did not explicitly urge people to vote or not to vote for a particular political party or group of political parties, they would probably remain legal under the Electoral Finance
Bill.

"Our campaign addresses an important public health and public policy issue and we accept the government does not plan to silence us in 2008," he said.

END

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