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Clean Car Standard

The Government announced its proposed Clean Car Standard in January 2021.

The Standard forms one pillar of a range of initiatives intended to tackle transport sector CO2 emission levels.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 requires CO2 to be reduced to net zero by 2050. As transport is responsible for 47 percent of domestic CO2 in New Zealand, this target cannot be achieved without largely decarbonising transport.

Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019(external link)

Two-thirds of our transport emissions come from light vehicles – cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), vans, utes and light trucks, all under 3.5 tonnes. Therefore low-emission light vehicles offer a substantial, achievable and cost-effective opportunity to decarbonise.

The Clean Car Standard, which will require legislative changes, will focus on the supply of vehicles coming into New Zealand. It is proposed that vehicles with a high CO2 emission rating would incur a fee, the higher the CO2 rating the greater the fee. For vehicles that are below a set standard, the importer would receive a credit that could be used to offset fees. In this way importers would be encouraged to bring cleaner cars into New Zealand.