Kate Shuttleworth looks at the smoke-belching problems on our roads

New rules on vehicle emissions could see the price of imported cars rise up to 1 per cent, according to the New Zealand Transport Authority.

But car dealers say buyers won't see any difference in showroom prices.

The Government clarified rules around exhaust emissions which would require new and used imports to be tested on arrival and arrive with documentation to prove they meet emission standards.

It will bring New Zealand up to international standards for new vehicles adopted by Australia.


The Transport Agency said the price of new vehicles could rise by up to 1 per cent as a result.

But Perry Kerr, chief executive of the Motor Industry Association which represents new-vehicle importers, said new imports would cost no more. They were already meeting international emissions standards and had been for several years, meaning cars arriving here were already equipped with the required technology.

"A model cycle is about four years, so over a four-year period you're getting the complete change in terms of the vehicles that are entering the fleet - it's been progressive," he said.

"Basically if they know the standard is going to change in two years, they'll build that in when the model is released so they don't have to make a technology change."

Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association chief executive David Vinsen said consumers would not notice an increase in prices to used imports either.

"There is no increased cost, there's no change in process, there's no disruption whatsoever, in

What do you think? Are we taking the clever approach with these standards, or kidding ourselves? Find this article on nzherald.co.nz/driven and let us know. fact this change will be implemented unnoticed by the trade or the public."

Mr Vinsen said Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges was clarifying the rules for the industry.


Vehicles must go through a compliance process requiring documentary proof they meet exhaust emission standards. That proof would come from the manufacturer or from other sources.

The vehicle has to meet a physical tail pipe exhaust emission test in addition to this.

"It's not an either-or situation, it's a both - it's always been the case but there's been some confusion about it. All this amendment does is remove all doubt," Mr Vinsen said.

Beshar Qastom, manager of the Infinity Cars dealership on the North Shore, said he was not aware used cars were required to have documentation saying they met exhaust emission standards.

Pay more for your car?
The New Zealand Transport Agency expects the cost of imported new and used cars to rise by up to 1 per cent, as New Zealand follows Australia's lead on exhaust emission rules.

It said it was not cost effective to manufacture new vehicles specifically for the New Zealand market so it was likely that vehicles with newer emissions technologies would be available here about the same time as they were introduced to Australia.


Motor Trade Association communications general manager Ian Mr Stronach said there had already been a slight increase in the cost of imported vehicles.

"It will be minimal, because it's up to what the New Zealand consumers can afford."

He said the rule requiring vehicles to be tested at the wharf and be accompanied by documentation proving standards were met during assembly wasn't entirely new.

The Government had effectively extended a rule that applied to used vehicles arriving into New Zealand to new imported vehicles.

"Industry won't be surprised by it and it makes good sense because it provides some continuity instead of constant yearly changes," he said.

Carbon dioxide compliance - how it works


New and used vehicles arriving in New Zealand will have to meet new tests for safe exhaust emissions in a push to meet international standards.

The standards relate to emissions that are directly harmful to human health, but do
not test fuel economy or emissions of carbon dioxide.

All vehicles imported into New Zealand from November next year will need documentation from the manufacturer, or approved body.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said existing rules that allowed compliance with an emissions standard to be shown by a simple test on arrival had been misinterpreted by many.

Wider tests would now be carried out to show they complied with the full standard.

The new rules include stricter requirements for reduced emissions from other parts of
vehicles, such as evaporative emissions from fuel tanks.


''It's important for both people's health and the safety of vehicles entering the fleet that
this rule is updated,'' said Mr Bridges. ''In general, the newer the vehicle, the higher the
standard of safety features.''

He said his officials would also look at how to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles
already on New Zealand roads.

Why we need emissions standards
*The Motor Trade Association found air pollution from road-going motor vehicles is responsible for about 255 premature deaths a year, costing about $940 million.

*The Motor Industry Association says New Zealand is the only country with an emission standard but no emission testing regime.

*The new rules will not address up to 2.4 million vehicles already on our roads.

*Used cars imported into New Zealand have to meet the international Euro4 standard.


*New cars imported into New Zealand have to meet the international Euro5 standard.

*The Euro6 standard is in place overseas but New Zealand will not follow that standard until Australia does.

*The most harmful particles for human health tested under the standards are fine-particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen. The particles attach to the lungs and
cannot be removed.

*NZTA says the allowable levels of pollution have come down by up to 99 per cent since 2000.

*NZTA says the standards are the lowest that can technically be achieved to date, but Euro6 will go a bit further.