Last updated on
7/05/2013 12:15 p.m.
The government has progressively introduced measures to reduce the health and environmental impacts of vehicle emissions in New Zealand. The main measure for this is the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2007 (the Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule) which is the primary control on vehicle emissions in New Zealand. This Rule sets emissions standards for vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet and for those operating on New Zealand roads.
This page provides general information about vehicle emissions in New Zealand and information about key government policies in this area.
More detailed information about the changes to the Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule since 2003 is available here.
Recent changes to the Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule
In 2012, following public consultation the Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule was amended. The amendments were primarily to update standards for new vehicles to align New Zealand with Australia and to continue current emissions standards for used vehicles until a review scheduled for 2014.
The Amendment Rule was signed in November 2012 by the Associate Minister of Transport, Hon Simon Bridges. The changes come into effect progressively from 1 January 2013.
View Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee's media release from April 2012 announcing that the emissions Rule was to be amended.
View Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges' media release when the amendment Rule was signed.
Follow this link for more information on the 2012 changes to the Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule.
Health impacts of air pollution
There are relatively few studies of the impacts of air pollution from vehicles in New Zealand. The Ministry has actively contributed to several studies in the past ten years. These include the 2007 Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand (HAPINZ) study. An independent review carried out in 2010 found that the 2007 study contained a number of errors although these largely cancelled each other out. An updated HAPINZ study has been released.
The first report on the effects of vehicle emissions was the Health Effects of Vehicle Emissions (January 2002). This is provided for background information only.
Studies of vehicle emissions
In 2005 two large studies of the emissions from New Zealand vehicles were carried out. The results of these studies were published in the Pilot Project reports completed in 2006.
In 2006, Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Company (JEVIC) carried out simple emissions tests of several thousand Japanese used vehicles before they entered the New Zealand fleet. View the October 2006 report: Results of testing emissions of Japanese used vehicles.
The National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) in partnership with various other organisations (including the former Auckland Regional Council, the Auckland Council, the NZ Transport Agency and the Ministry of Transport), has been carrying out regular studies of the changes in rates of emissions from vehicles in the Auckland region since 2003. These studies measure emissions of large numbers of vehicles using remote sensing devices. They show the changes in vehicle emissions over time and are evidence of the effectiveness of the Government’s policies to reduce vehicles emissions. View the results of the 2009 trial on the NZ Transport Agency's website. The results of the 2011 trial are available on the Auckland Council's website (PDF, 1mb).
The Ministry’s quarterly vehicle fleet statistics also contains data about the changing patterns of emissions standards of vehicles entering the fleet. See tables 4b–4f in the Quarterly fleet statistics.
The New Zealand Transport Agency carries out an assessment of vehicle emissions from the state highway network. This assessment uses data gathered from selected sites using passive samplers to measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as a surrogate. Find out more on the NZ Transport Agency website.
Vehicle scrappage trial
Read about the Ministry's 2007 and 2009 vehicle scrappage trials.
Aging of New Zealand's light vehicle fleet
Vehicle age is a useful proxy for a number of important variables about the vehicle fleet, including vehicle safety and the level of harmful emissions. In 2011 the Ministry of Transport undertook a piece of analytical work to investigate the causes and possible effects of the aging of the vehicle fleet. Read more about the Aging of New Zealand's light vehicle fleet.
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