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Govt. needs to stand up to used car importers

7 November 2007

Govt. needs to stand up to used car importers on emissions

The call from the Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers’ Association for its members to fund a $300,000+ advertising and Public Relations campaign opposing the Government’s proposals to clean up exhaust emissions is blatant irresponsibility, according to the Motor Industry Association.

January 1 was to have marked the first step in a programme which would see imported used vehicles having to meet age-related exhaust emission standards applying in the Japanese market, but it’s understood that Ministers have buckled under pressure from the used importers and implementation of the draft plan’s original timetable has been compromised, with petrol cars to be given a twelve month stay of execution. “We just hope that Ministers will not now give in and continue to allow the import of dirty old diesel vehicles,” said MIA CEO Perry Kerr.

“Predictably, the used importers are not pleased at having to play their part in reducing the emissions from our national vehicle fleet,” said Mr. Kerr, “and they propose to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at a campaign to convince the public and the Government that they need to keep importing old, high-emission vehicles. They’ve already been given a reprieve in the case of petrol-powered vehicles, and the thought of any further concessions is extremely worrying. The Government needs to grasp this issue firmly and cement the announced rules in place. This is about the environment, it’s not about protecting the selfish interests of a particular industry group.”

For the last ten years the used importers have flooded our roads with older and older vehicles, and now it’s time for them to face reality,” said Mr. Kerr”. It is a fact that the car market is no longer as dependent on used imports as it was, because thanks to much higher sales of new cars during the last six years there is now a considerably larger pool of NZ-new cars available in the popular price brackets. There are also plenty of existing ten to twelve year old cars available in the lower price range without the importers arguing that they should add to our pollution problem by importing even more of them.”

The Motor Industry Association believes that there is an obligation on all parties (including vehicle owners) to play a part in reducing air pollution, and that the IMVDA is unlikely to gain public sympathy for its stance. “There is still plenty of business to be had within the scope of the new rules, just as there proved to be when the importers claimed that the 2002 frontal impact rule would force them out of business,” Mr. Kerr said.

“The IMVDA’s campaign against the Government’s well thought out plan to progressively reduce the emissions of our vehicle fleet needs to be seen for what it is – naked self-interest at the expense of the health of New Zealanders,” concluded Mr. Kerr.


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