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NZBCSD: Back new vehicle emission controls

Back new vehicle emission controls with incentives to scrap middle aged cars

A selective surrender and rebate scheme is needed to pay owners of the country's worst polluting vehicles to drive them to scrap yards up to a decade early.

The scheme is needed to help the owners buy more fuel efficient, low emission vehicles and to complement proposed new emissions controls on vehicle imports, which the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development strongly supports.

The Business Council - whose 61 members' annual sales equate to about 34% of gross domestic product says the country needs to stop importing and running high-emission vehicles banned from Tokyo and other Japanese main centres. The imports' health toll (said to aggravate health conditions so much that more than 400 people die prematurely each year) is now higher than the road toll.

"We support the higher standards.

"But we should acknowledge some New Zealanders can't afford to scrap their older vehicles. We should pay the extra needed to help them buy more fuel efficient, low emission ones," the Business Council's Chief Executive, Peter Neilson says.

Carefully targeted incentives should be paid to get the worst polluting and least fuel efficient models of cars and light diesels off the roads and bring an earlier end to their fleet lives, which can be up to 20 years.

A huge number of dirty light diesel and other vehicles which Japanese owners quit en masse after higher emissions standards were introduced in Tokyo and other centres from 2003 were exported into New Zealand.

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There are now almost no diesel light-power vehicles in Tokyo (numbers are down from 6% in 2000 to less than 1%).

"These dirty diesels can stay in our fleet for up to another decade, despite the welcome new standards being imposed at the border for new and used imports. Unless there is an incentive, many owners of the dirty vehicles won't be able to afford to trade up. We need to recognise that and give them an incentive to take their vehicles on a final trip to the scrap yard up to 10 years' early. Concentrating on getting rid of the dirtiest 'middle aged' part of the fleet first might produce the best benefits. The highest mileage cars are going to die in any case and paying to remove them is probably not cost effective," Mr Neilson says.

"We should be mailing the owners of the most-polluting middle-aged vehicles offering the close the price gap. This would have a potentially major impact on air and life quality in our major cities.

"If we are about to pay New Zealanders to retire their energy-inefficient beer fridges, why don't we do it for cars which use more energy and pollute more?"

ENDS

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