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Transport Minister shuts door on reducing carbon

30 August 2009

Transport Minister shuts the door on reducing emissions

The Government has rejected one of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing New Zealand's carbon emissions, the Green Party said today.

Stephen Joyce's announcement that work will stop on fuel economy standards for vehicles coming into New Zealand condemns motorists to high fuel costs and rising emissions," Jeanette Fitzsimons, Spokesperson on climate change and transport, said.

“New Zealand's vehicles are among the most inefficient in the world. The Minister is proud that new vehicles coming into the country now average 203.8 grams of carbon per km travelled, down from 220.6 g/km a year ago.

“In contrast, the EU fleet is already at 170g and has set standards of 130g by 2015 and 95g by 2020.

“This means that by 2020, New Zealand motorists will be buying twice as much fuel as EU motorists to travel the same distance" said Ms Fitzsimons. "Then we will all pay again to purchase carbon credits from overseas because we have not reduced emissions at home."

Getting There, the Green Party’s plan for reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels, showed that a standard that was raised a little every two years would almost catch up with the EU in vehicle efficiency by 2020 and save 3 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Work began on vehicle fuel economy standards last year under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, where the Greens were working with Labour. The Strategy proposes a standard of 170g/km for vehicles entering the country by 2015. That has now been scrapped by this government.

“The reason the Minister gives for this reactionary policy is bizarre - he claims it could cost those purchasing a large car up to $1500 more to buy it,” Ms Fitzsimons said.

“This ignores the reason for the standard - to encourage people to buy more efficient cars, which would not cost more, and to encourage more of them into the NZ market.

“When petrol goes back over $2/litre, and then to $3/litre, as it will under peak oil, motorists will easily save $1500 every year by having a much more efficient car.

“Improving the fuel efficiency of the cars coming into New Zealand, both new and second-hand, is one of the easiest and most cost-effective things we could do to reduce climate change emissions, prepare for the savage increases in fuel costs that are coming, save households money and reduce our escalating current account deficit," Ms Fitzsimons said.

Getting There; the Green’s plan for meeting a 40% emissions reduction target:

Steven Joyce’s announcement:


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