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Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2007

This rule applies to motor vehicles that are required to be certified for entry into, or operation in, service. It is aimed at achieving improvements in air quality by reducing the levels of harmful emissions from motor vehicles. 

Rule versions

  • The ‘Current rule’ will give you the most up-to-date version of the Rule and any amendments made to it. We recommend this as your reference point if you want to read the most current information.
  • The ‘Original rule and amendments’ will give you the very first version of the rule (as it was when it was first created) as well as links to all amendments made to it over time. We recommend this page as your reference page if you want to research the history of the rule.

Note: Both of these pages will also provide links to the consultation material – such as summary of submissions and FAQs (questions and answers) – for each version and amendment.

Questions and answers

Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment when they are signed. These and other consultation documents on this page have not been updated to take into account any later rule amendments and are retained for historic interest only.

Questions and answers

October 2012

1. What does the Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Rule require?

The primary purpose of Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2007 (the Emissions Rule) is to set out the minimum exhaust emissions standards that all vehicles entering the fleet must meet before they can operate on New Zealand roads. These standards relate to emissions that are directly harmful to human health.

These standards do not relate to fuel economy or emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) (which is a greenhouse gas).

2. Why has the Emissions Rule been amended?

The purpose of the amendment Rule is to make changes to the requirements relating to exhaust emissions standards for new and imported used vehicles operating on New Zealand roads. The amendment Rule will also set implementation dates for the US 2007 and Japan 2009 exhaust emissions standards. In addition, other, minor changes are being made to the Rule.

3. How do the changes affect new vehicles entering the fleet?

The Emissions Rule has been amended to adopt the same standards that will be in place in Australia for new vehicles. This is our government’s existing policy for putting in place exhaust emissions standards for new vehicles in New Zealand.

In mid-2011 the Australian Government announced dates for the introduction of new exhaust emissions standards for all light vehicles (eg, cars, vans, 4WDs, utes and light trucks). These standards are European (Euro) emissions standards with different implementation dates from those in force in Europe. They are known as Australian Design Rules (ADRs). These are being incorporated into the New Zealand Emissions Rule through this amendment Rule. About 98 percent of all new vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet are certified to meet European or Australian standards.

Euro standard for light vehiclesAustralian Design Rules (ADR)Date of introduction in Australia
Euro 5 (New models)¹ ADR 79/03 1 November 2013
Euro 5 (All models) ADR 79/04 1 November 2016

¹ New vehicle standards have two introductory dates, one for new models, and one for existing models, which are those that are already being produced. The different dates are intended to allow companies to sell older stocks already in the country at the time of any rule change.

4. Have any changes been made to Euro and ADR exhaust emissions standards requirements for heavy vehicles?

No. Heavy vehicles (ie buses and trucks) are already required to meet Euro V², which is the equivalent to the new standard being introduced for light vehicles. At present, the Australian government has only provided an indicative date to introduce Euro 6 for light vehicles and a date has not been set for the introduction of Euro VI for heavy vehicles. For this reason, the amendment Rule does not include implementation dates for Euro VI or the ADR equivalent. A separate amendment Rule will be required to incorporate dates for Euro 6 and VI at a later date once the Australian government has finalised its policy.

The Euro 6/VI standards are scheduled to be introduced in Europe from January 2013.

All implementation dates in the Emissions Rule for new vehicles relate to the date of the vehicle’s manufacture, rather than the date of entry into the New Zealand fleet. For this reason, no delay is needed from the date of introduction of these standards in Australia before they become minimum standards in New Zealand.

² Euro standards use Roman numerals to identify heavy vehicle standards and conventional Arabic numerals for light vehicle standards.

5. Have changes been made to other exhaust emissions standards to which new vehicles in New Zealand can be certified?

Yes. In addition to updating the Rule’s requirements to align with the Australian standards, the amendment introduces more recent standards from the United States of America and Japan as alternative standards that importers could choose to meet instead of the above Euro standards. Less than two percent of new vehicles are certified each year to meet standards from the United States or Japan.

Date of introduction in New Zealand (petrol and diesel)Light vehiclesHeavy vehicles
Japan 09 (New models) 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
Japan 09 (Existing models) 1 January 2015 1 January 2015
US 2007 (New models) 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
US 2007 (Existing models) 1 January 2015 1 July 2014

The date for the introduction of US2007 as a minimum standard for existing model heavy vehicles certified to US standards was the only area of the proposed amendment that received adverse comment during consultation. The ability for new vehicle importers to certify vehicles to a standard older than that required for used vehicles (Japan 05) was an anomaly. The consultation material had therefore proposed that the date be brought forward from 1 January 2015, as set out in the current Rule, to 1 January 2014. As a result of the consultation process, it was agreed to delay the introduction of this standard until 1 July 2014.

6. Will these new requirements for new-vehicle emissions standards increase the costs of new vehicles?

Most manufacturers treat New Zealand as a part of the Australian market. It is not cost effective to manufacture new vehicles specifically for the New Zealand market, so it is likely that vehicles with these recent emissions technologies would be available to the New Zealand market around the same time as they are introduced into Australia, regardless of the requirements of the Emissions Rule.

It is likely that there will be some change in price for vehicles incorporating new emissions technologies. International literature suggests the new standards may increase the price of a new vehicle by between half and one percent of the value of the vehicle. However, because manufacturers usually upgrade more than one feature on a new model vehicle, any change in price of an individual vehicle is likely to reflect a range of other design changes, including additional safety or comfort features.

7. What are the changes for used vehicles entering the fleet?

The current minimum emissions standards for used vehicles entering the fleet have been continued beyond 2012. For used vehicles built to Japanese standards, these minimum standards remain at Japan 05, which can be considered equivalent to the Euro 4 standard.

A review of the need for any further (more recent) exhaust emissions standards for used vehicles is to be undertaken in 2014.

8. Why were changes to used vehicle emissions standards needed if they were not being raised in this amendment?

The 2007 Emissions Rule did not set any standards for used vehicles beyond 2012.

Unless the standards were continued beyond the end of this year, it would have been possible to bring vehicles into the New Zealand fleet that did not meet any exhaust emissions standard. This would have taken New Zealand back to the situation that existed prior to 2007. As well as having implications for air quality, it would also adversely affect safety. Vehicles that are manufactured to comply with the current emissions requirements often have safety features beyond those mandated by New Zealand transport legislation.

Absence of future standards would also have created considerable uncertainty for those wishing to import vehicles as they could not know if or when further standards might have been applied.

When the 2007 Rule was signed, it was intended that there should have been a review in, or before, 2012. This was to consider implementation of the next emission standard, known as Japan 09 (refer to Question 10), as a minimum standard for all used vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet. The table of approved standards was deliberately left blank to signal that the standards might change. However, the change in the economic environment in both New Zealand and Japan since 2007 has meant it is not practical to prepare the necessary cost/benefit analysis to determine the appropriate date to introduce Japan 09 as a minimum standard. In particular, there has not been sufficient time to determine the effects of previous changes, including the introduction of the Japan 05 standard for light petrol vehicles at the start of 2012.

The Minister of Transport has announced ( link)) that the question of when to implement the Japan 09 emissions standard as the minimum requirement for used vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet will be considered in a review that will take place in 2014.

9. Didn’t the government change the standards for used vehicles at the start of 2012?

The 2007 Emissions Rule set out tables of standards for different types of vehicle and the dates from which these different standards would become the minimum standards. The tables in the 2007 Rule included the requirement that used light petrol vehicles meet the Japan 05 standard from 1 January 2012. The Rule set out these tables in advance to give industry certainty so that they could plan to meet these standards.

10. What are the Japan 05 and Japan 09 emissions standards?

The term "Japan 05" refers to the standard that was legally implemented as the minimum standard for new-model vehicles in Japan from September 2005. Vehicle models already in production (existing models) had until September 2007 to fully comply. Similarly, "Japan 09" began to be implemented in Japan from September 2009.

Unlike European emissions standards, which have a simple naming system, (Euro 1, Euro 2 and so on) Japanese exhaust emissions standards have relatively long and, at times, inconsistent names when translated into English. For convenience these standards are, therefore, referred to by their year (or years³) of introduction. Appendix 1 shows a table of the full names of Japanese emissions standards.

These standards have reduced allowable levels of emissions to near trace levels compared with the standards in place in the early 1990s (see graph attached as Appendix 2).

³ Where more than one date is specified, standards apply to different sizes or types of vehicles on the different dates. In general the later dates will apply to more specialised and less common vehicles.

11. Will the changes in the amendment Rule affect the number of used vehicles being imported?

The proposal to continue the minimum emissions standards at Japan 05 after the end of 2012 is not expected to affect the import of used vehicles significantly, as it will simply continue the status quo. It is likely that broader economic conditions will continue to have a greater influence on the volume of imports of used vehicles than government policy.

12. Why was it necessary to include newer (more stringent) standards in the Emissions Rule?

There is a large body of international literature that shows that air pollution from motor vehicles is a major health issue. Huge technological gains have been made in the past 20 years to reduce these harmful emissions. However, international research shows that although these gains have led to reduced levels of overall emissions, they have not yet been sufficient to reduce levels of pollution from vehicle fleets in all areas to levels considered safe for human health.

The lack of reduction to acceptable levels of emissions is partly because it takes a long time for new technologies to become common in the fleet. In addition, the total number of vehicles on our roads continued to increase after minimum emissions standards were introduced.

In addition to improving air quality, newer vehicles are generally safer and more fuel efficient (for a given engine size) than equivalent older vehicles. Requiring emissions standards is a way of ensuring that newer vehicles are imported.

13. What other changes were made to the Rule?

Other changes made to the Rule, and the reasons for the changes, included:

  • Removing the requirement for diesel vehicles certified to comply with ADR 80/03 and ADR 79/03 to also comply with ADR 30/01 standard.

ADR 30/01 prescribes a simple test for visible smoke and a diesel vehicle that is built to ADR 80/03 or ADR 79/03 or a higher standard should not produce any visible smoke under the specified test conditions. The requirement for diesel vehicles to meet the ADR 30/01 standard had therefore become redundant. It was also inconsistent to only require vehicles certified to ADR standards to comply with this test, while not placing the obligation on vehicles certified to the identical Euro standards or those from other jurisdictions.

The change does not alter any existing requirements prohibiting vehicles operating on New Zealand roads from emitting visible smoke. Nor does it alter the requirements set out in section 4 of the Rule for a visible smoke check as part of the Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness inspection.

  • Clarifying the means by which a vehicle may be assessed as complying with an approved exhaust emissions standard.

Despite the intention of those drafting the Rule, the existing entry requirement for vehicles to demonstrate compliance with minimum exhaust emissions standards has been subjected to varying misinterpretations. These include that compliance with an emissions standard can be demonstrated by a simple emissions test of the kind that is used to ensure a vehicle’s emissions control equipment is working correctly.

The intention of the Rule has always been that vehicles being registered for use in New Zealand, including those that are modified, must demonstrate compliance with the full standard to which they are being certified. As well as reducing the allowable levels of tail pipe emissions, new emissions standards have also set increasingly stringent requirements for reduced emissions from other parts of vehicles, such as evaporative emissions from fuel tanks. The new standards have also increased the requirements for the longevity of components and the complexity of components for electronic engine monitoring systems requirements (known as On Board Diagnostics (OBD)). Compliance with the full standard therefore cannot be demonstrated by using part of a testing regime (for example, the tail pipe emissions) or by using test procedures other than those set out in the emissions standard to which compliance is being claimed.

The Rule is now explicit that compliance with a minimum exhaust emissions standard can only be shown by documentation that confirms compliance with all requirements of the standard and not just the tail pipe emissions. The amendment also clarifies that this documentation can only be provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle or a body approved under that standard as being able to test vehicles to the full requirements of the standard.

In particular, the revision is intended to clarify that compliance with the Rule cannot be achieved by the fitting of aftermarket filters or catalysts, even where these are approved by an authority, such as for use in the London low emissions zone.

  • Revising the exception from compliance for older vehicles.

The Emissions Rule excludes vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1990 from compliance with an approved exhaust emissions standard. Other vehicle-related Rules use a 20-year vehicle age limit. This has resulted in special interest and collectable vehicles being allowed to be certified for use on New Zealand roads under those Rules but not under the Emissions Rule. Having a common age cut-off point will rectify that situation and ensure consistency in applying the Rules.

Between 2009 and 2011, approximately 1,100-1,200 vehicles manufactured before 1990 have been imported and registered each year. The vast majority of these are prestige and collectible light petrol vehicles built well before 1990. In turn, the majority of those are models produced by manufacturers from the United States of America (approximately 700 a year). These previous patterns, along with the fact that the average age of scrapping light vehicles in New Zealand is less than 20 years, indicate that the proposed amendment is unlikely to create an opportunity for more general import of older vehicles.

14. Were any other issues raised during consultation?

Yes. Several submissions made comments concerning tampering with emissions controls which were out of scope of the amendment Rule. The submissions raised valid concerns but because it was necessary to have the amendment Rule in place by 1 January 2013, it was not possible to delay the Rule to consider these matters further. These will be considered as part of the review of the need for further emissions standards in 2014.


15. What is the legal basis for the amendment Rule?

Section 152 of the Land Transport Act 1998 sets out the Minister’s general power to make Land Transport Rules.

Section 155(a) and (b) provides for the Minister of Transport to make Land Transport Rules that:

  • set out standards and requirements concerning vehicles, including their construction, mass and dimensions, emissions, environmental requirements, loading requirements, identification, repair, maintenance, modification, inspection, and fuel systems;
  • set out standards and requirements concerning systems, components, devices, fittings, or equipment to be incorporated in the construction of, fitted to, or carried in or on motor vehicles, or to be used by the driver or any other person.

16. How can I obtain a copy of the amendment Rule?

A copy of the final amendment Rule will be available for purchase from selected bookshops that sell legislation or from Wickliffe Solutions, telephone (06) 354 6337. Final rules are available on our website.

Rules may also be inspected, free of charge, at the National Office and regional offices of the NZ Transport Agency.

17. Where can I get more information?

Further information about the Rule amendment is available from the NZTA Contact Centre, freephone 0800 699 000. Where required, the NZ Transport Agency will update Factsheets and other information about New Zealand’s vehicle exhaust emissions requirements.

Appendix 1: Japanese vehicle exhaust emissions standards

Diesel vehicle standards – Japanese namesYear or years introduced in Japan for different vehicle typesName referred to in New Zealand emissions Rule
Long-term regulations 1997, 1998, 1999 Japan 97/99
New short-term regulations 2002, 2003, 2004 Japan 02/04
New long-term regulations 2005 Japan 05
Post-new long-term regulations 2009, 2010 Japan 09
Future regulations 2016, 2017, 2018 Not yet considered

Petrol vehicle standards – Japanese namesYear or years introduced in Japan for different vehicle typesName referred to in New Zealand emissions Rule
Idling operation for carbon monoxide of gasoline- or Liquefied Petroleum Gas - fuelled motor vehicles 1998 Japan 98
New short-term regulations 2000, 2002 Japan 00/02
New long-term regulations 2005 Japan 05
Post-new long-term regulations 2009 Japan 09

Appendix 2

Extract from Future Policy for Motor Vehicle Emission Reduction (Eighth Report), April 8, 2005 Japan Central Environment Council.

Levels of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) permitted as a percentage of 1974 standard [JPG, 53 KB]

Click for larger version [JPG, 53 KB] (JPG, 54 KB)

Levels of fine particulate matter (PM) permitted as a percentage of 1994 standard [JPG, 43 KB]

Click for larger version [JPG, 43 KB] (JPG, 43 KB)

Page created: 22 November 2012