The government has revealed its choices for climate change initiatives in the transportation market.

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The Transport Ministry has proposed a ban on importing petrol and diesel cars by 2035 in order to prevent New Zealand from being a dumping ground for old vehicles.

It is part of a high-level examination of how New Zealand’s transportation infrastructure could achieve zero emissions by 2050. Today, transportation accounts for about half of our pollution.

The government has stated that it needs a “national conversation” about the reforms needed to minimise glasshouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

Minister of Transport Michael Wood has released Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi – Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050, a Ministry of Transport report outlining potential policies and pathways to a net zero emission transport sector.

“Reducing emissions across the transport sector is an enormous undertaking, but it is achievable and will help support our economic recovery,” Wood said.

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Michael Wood. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

“The transport sector currently produces 47 percent of New Zealand’s CO2 emissions and between 1990 and 2018, domestic transport emissions increased by 90 percent.

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“We’ve already taken steps to reduce emissions but Hīkina te Kohupara shows we have to go much further.

“The report’s pathways demonstrate that meeting our carbon reduction goals is realistic, but significant improvements will be needed in the coming decades. There will be some difficult decisions to make, but it is clear that we cannot proceed doing business as normal.”

However, the report’s proposals, which include alternatives such as scrapping current highway programmes and outlawing fuel-burning vehicles and vans by 2050, are not legislation.

The government desires a “national conversation” about the necessary reforms.

“We want to hear from the public over the coming weeks, and we will then consider the suggestions in Hīkina te Kohupara. Our Emissions Reduction Plan will be released by the end of the year,” Wood said.

Consultation is open for six weeks until 25 June.


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