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Halve size of ministerial cars for Earth Day

28 April 2000

Halve size of ministerial cars for Earth Day

To mark Earth Day (Saturday 29) the Green Party is urging the government to at least halve the engine size of all ministerial cars and to speed their conversion from petrol to CNG or LPG.

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald said Prime Minister Helen Clark should lead from the front by reducing greenhouse emissions and energy consumption. He also suggested the government invest in some ministerial bicycles which would save the taxpayer a fortune and could result in healthier, happier and better performing ministers.

Mr Donald said climate change and rising sea levels were serious threats and it was up to governments everywhere to set an examples to the community and the business sector.

"The government currently has a number of chauffeur driven and self-drive cars which are powered by four litre, six cylinder, petrol engines," said Mr Donald. "These huge cars were status symbols for the previous National Government and I urge this government to take a greener approach by replacing these cars with four cylinder vehicles up to 2.0 litres, running on CNG or LPG.

"There is no need whatsoever for the engine size of vehicles currently used by the government, especially when they are used mostly around town. At a time when it is critical that we reduce our greenhouse emissions, these cars and their fuel consumption and emissions are quite simply excessive," he said.

Mr Donald said ministers could still travel safely and in comfort in cars with much smaller engines and that doing so would be a commonsense and easy way of demonstrating government commitment to energy efficiency and global sustainability.

"The Greens share the government's vision for the State Sector to have cars running on cleaner fuels and support their immediate introduction," he said. "LPG or CNG are much better for the environment than petrol and diesel and it is also locally sourced which means we do not have to import it."

A report issued on Thursday from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) shows transport has become the largest and fastest growing consumer of energy in New Zealand. New Zealand's consumption of oil products is growing rapidly at 3.5 per cent per year.

"It would be a great symbol for Earth Day if the government agreed to show genuine leadership on the inter-related issues of transport, energy efficiency and climate change," said Mr Donald.

Ends

Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133


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