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Speech: Katene - Govt Vehicle Procurement Bill

Climate Change (Government Vehicle Procurement) Bill
Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga
Wednesday 18 November 2009; 8pm

The Maori Party has supported all previous legislation that seeks to address the dual crises of peak oil and climate change.

Within this, the Māori Party is committed to ensuring tangible outcomes, in the national interest, in respect of four areas.

First and foremost, we want to relieve the burdens placed on whānau and assisting whānau to adapt to climate change.

Secondly we seek to enhance environmental outcomes consistent with the kaitiakitanga our people are responsible for discharging over their whenua.

Thirdly we want to give effect to the Treaty relationship between the Crown and iwi/hapū; and

Fourth, we want to take actions which support the Māori economy.

We apply these four principles to any interventions which seek to make changes which more broadly contribute to positive responses to climate change.

And so we come to this Bill, recognising its very specific focus in targeting state sector organisations to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that, when purchasing or leasing cars, that they meet the efficiency standard set out in the NZ Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy 2007.

It is a very specific, technical requirement which will demand that Government vehicles emit no more than 170g/km of carbon dioxide, and that they are among the top 10% in fuel efficiency in their size class.

Mr Speaker, the Maori Party has consistently argued the case for a host of fuel efficiency measures.

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We have made the commitment that we will investigate the case for reducing the speed limit to maximise fuel efficiency, for fuel rationing systems, and for the bulk purchasing of fuel-efficient vehicles to lease or sell to low income earners at prices they can afford.

These policy goals of the Maori Party are a specific and targeted approach to reduce the overall energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from New Zealand’s transport system.

This Bill makes good sense.

How many of us have had the misfortune of driving behind an old, inefficient, clapped out vehicle as it emits huge clouds of paru into the environment?

Older vehicles tend to have higher exhaust emissions of harmful pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and the oxides of nitrogen.

This is partly due to deterioration in the engine’s efficiency, but also due to the older technology used in earlier engine designs.

As an example, an air quality study which sampled the emissions of 40,000 vehicles in the Auckland region found that carbon monoxide and nitric oxide emissions from a 2003 vehicle were approximately five times lower than those from a similar vehicle eight years older.

That’s pretty good proof to us, that if we can do something about vehicle emissions, then we should.

Older vehicles may also have poorer fuel efficiency, and therefore create more greenhouse gas emissions for each kilometre travelled than similar newer vehicles.

Mr Speaker, the justification for this Bill is clear.

Although the Maori Party firmly believes that collective responsibility for environmental and social outcomes is the only way to respond to climate change, we say that legislation is a big part of that.

Sure we need to have education programmes in place, and we need to encourage private enterprise to lower its greenhouse gas emissions profile, but we also need to set the example by the State sector. The State sector is governed by legislation.

We have heard Ministers say time after time in this House that they cannot do this because it is an operational matter. They cannot interfere in it. To get State Sector vehicles that have better fuel efficiency they need to have legislation, because Ministers cannot tell their departments to go for the more fuel-efficient vehicles.

No one piece of legislation can ever be the whole answer to New Zealand’s response to climate change, the real answers can only come from people as whanau, communities and enterprises, deciding to change how we live and interact with the environment.

This Bill is only a small part of the change that is needed – but if we are really committed to focusing on the real challenge of addressing our collective responsibilities for carbon emissions, then what better place to start, than with the state sector?

If we are wanting to set ourselves standards to live by, expectations to aspire towards, then Government – through the means of the state sector example- is the most appropriate place to start.

The Maori Party supports this Bill.

ENDS

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