This page provides information about the changes to the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions (the emissions Rule) and information that has shaped emissions policy since the first emissions Rule in 2003 to now.


In 2012 the Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule was amended to update the emissions standards for new vehicles and to continue the standards for used vehicles, pending a review planned for 2014.  In addition several minor technical amendments were made at this time.

A number of documents were produced during the process of signing the Rule:


Advice on the effects of the 2007 emissions Rule

In 2011 the Minister of Transport received a request under the Official Information Act (the OIA) for copies of advice he had received on the effects of the emissions Rule. View the advice provided to Minister about the emissions Rule and released under the Official Information Act.

Minor amendments to the 2007 Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule in 2009, 2010 and 2011

Minor changes were made to the 2007 Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule through the Omnibus Rule Process in 2009, 2010 and 2011.  This process is used to make minor technical amendments.

The following are available on the NZ Transport Agency website:


Diesel fuel used in non-road vehicles

The emissions Rule only applies to vehicles that are registered for use on public roads. It therefore does not include any requirements for vehicles that are not registered for use on the road to meet recognised emissions standards. Such non-road vehicles can include those used in mining, construction or on farms, as well as two-stroke engines used on outboard motors and similar applications. In 2009, the government commissioned a consultant to work with the Contractors Federation to provide an estimate of the amount of diesel used by non-road vehicles. View the December 2008 report Use of diesel by non-road vehicles in the construction sector (PDF, 476kb).


Documents considered by the Minister before the 2007 emissions Rule was signed

Building on the work carried out in 2006, during 2007 the Ministry and the former Land Transport New Zealand (now the New Zealand Transport Agency) carried out widespread public consultation on the draft Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule. In November 2007 the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2007 was signed. View the package of materials released.

2006 -2007

Visible smoke check

In 2006, the emissions Rule was amended to introduce requirements for a visible smoke test as part of the Warrant of Fitness (WoF) and Certificate of Fitness (CoF) requirements for all vehicles. The test was intended to tackle the very worst emitting vehicles in the New Zealand fleet. View advice about the visible smoke check on the NZ Transport Agency website(external link)

Consultation on amendments to the 2003 emissions Rule

In addition to agreeing to implement the visible smoke check, in 2006 Cabinet agreed that the original 2003 Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule would be amended to include minimum exhaust emissions standards for all vehicles entering the fleet. The Ministry began consultation on this in 2006 and as part of this the Ministry engaged consultants to prepare a range of reports which are listed here.

View the November 2006 Cabinet Paper: Reducing Harmful Emissions from Vehicles Entering the New Zealand Fleet that sets out the policies that were to be consulted on that lead to the 2007 Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule.

View the November 2006 Socio-Economic Impacts of Emissions Standards on Used Imported Vehicles Final Report (PDF, 618kb) produced by the consultant firm Covec.

As part of the consultation on amending the emissions Rule, the Ministry contracted the border inspection firm JEVIC to carry out emissions tests on several thousand Japanese used vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet. View the October 2006 report: Results of testing emissions of Japanese used vehicles.

View the Cabinet Paper Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2006 (PDF, 85kb) that agreed to consultation commencing.

2004 - 2005

Consultation on in-service emissions testing of vehicles

In 2004 and early 2005, the Ministry carried out public consultation on proposals for in-service emissions testing of all vehicles on New Zealand roads. The following are links to the resource documents produced during consultation on the emissions testing proposal at that time. They are provided for background information:

Decision not to proceed with in-service emissions testing of vehicles

In June 2005 Cabinet decided not to proceed with in-service emissions tests following advice that it would be more expensive and less effective than originally anticipated.

Among the key documents that influenced the 2005 decision not to proceed with in-service testing were the draft results from a pilot programme of testing of petrol and diesel vehicles. The final versions of the petrol vehicle and diesel vehicle reports were formally published in March 2006 and December 2006 respectively. View the reports on the Vehicle Emissions Pilot Project.

In December 2005 Cabinet agreed to a series of actions that the Ministry was to investigate to reduce emissions from vehicles instead of in-service emissions testing. View the 2005 Cabinet Paper: Report back on vehicle emission standards (PDF v7.0, 98Kb) that set out those actions.


The first emissions Rule

The Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2003 was the first Rule to set emissions standards for vehicles entering New Zealand. It set minimum standards for new vehicles, and required older vehicles to have been built to an approved standard applicable at the time of the vehicle’s manufacture. Therefore older, used imported vehicles only had to meet older and less stringent emissions standards when entering the New Zealand fleet.

View the Vehicle Emissions Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) and Business Compliance Cost Statement (BCCS) for the 2003 Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule.