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Greens welcome fuel review

6 August 2001

Greens welcome fuel review

Green Party Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley today welcomed the long overdue review of the Petroleum Products Specifications Regulations.

She said she was extremely pleased the review proposed to reduce sulphur levels in diesel to 50 parts per million over time, and to reduce benzene levels in petrol from 4.2 per cent to one per cent by volume.

"I am however, unhappy about the time the Government proposes to bring our petrol and diesel quality standards in line with international standards and reduce the levels of sulphur in diesel and benzene in petrol," Ms Kedgley said.

New Zealand's present levels of sulphur in diesel and benzene in petrol are among the highest in the world -higher even than countries like the Philippines.

Ms Kedgley said given these very high levels and the public health concerns about benzene and sulphur, the Government must exert leadership in this area and insist that the new levels are phased in within two years, not five or six.

"Motor vehicles produce more air pollution than any other human activity in New Zealand. They contribute to high levels of air pollution which are directly responsible for a large number of adverse health effects. High risk groups include children, the elderly and people with asthma and other respiratory diseases.

"It is estimated that vehicle emissions are responsible for approximately twice the number of deaths than those caused by road accidents," she said.

"A 1996 Ministery of Transport Environmental Externalities report estimated that health damage from particulate vehicle emissions costs New Zealand approximately $700 million a year."

ENDS

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