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New exhaust rules will save lives, say Greens

New exhaust rules will save lives, say Greens

The Green Party has welcomed the new Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule, adopted today, which will require all imported vehicles to meet new emission standards.

"This is a first step in tackling a huge public health issue in New Zealand - namely the hundreds of New Zealanders who are dying each year as a result of air pollution caused by dirty vehicle emissions," Associate Transport spokesperson, Sue Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley pointed out that there are no safe levels for some vehicle emission pollutants, such as particulates from diesel engines. "Given the hazard these particulate emissions pose to our health, it is extraordinary that we have taken so little action to date to reduce our exposure to them."

Air pollution from vehicle emissions is a huge problem in New Zealand, especially in Christchurch and Auckland, and while Ms Kedgley is delighted that the government is finally tackling such a serious public health issue, she says there is much still to do.

"Obviously this rule is only a first step, and it is essential we introduce vehicle emissions standards for all vehicles on our roads as soon as possible.

Ms Kedgley said New Zealand lagged far behind most developed nations in having dirty diesel and no mandatory vehicle emissions standards. "Some of the dirtiest diesel in the world is used in New Zealand and, alongside mandatory vehicle emissions testing, we need to urgently improve the quality of diesel and petrol fuel.

"Hopefully as a result of this new rule, New Zealand will not longer be a dumping ground for vehicles which do not have proper vehicle emissions standards.

"We welcome the Government's initiatives to date in cleaning up both fuel and exhausts and look forward to working closely with them on further moves to clear the air," said Ms Kedgley.

ENDS

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