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Emissions rule: VIA’s reaction

Changes in standards “appear to land faster and stricter” for used imports than NZ-new models.
Posted on 19 October, 2023
Emissions rule: VIA’s reaction

The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) say it is “cautiously positive” about the government’s decision on changes to the exhaust-emissions rule. 

It’s taking this position despite the decision being published amid the “fog of war” created by uncertainty with the election transition.

Greig Epps, VIA’s chief executive, notes the timeframes and changes in standards “appear to land faster and stricter” for used imports than New Zealand-new models. 

He says: “I think the short timeframes between the application of higher standards to new and then used shows the government recognises the high quality of vehicles that VIA members are importing.

“The imported-vehicle sector has led the way on bringing in cleaner vehicles as shown by the huge number of used hybrids and EVs that have entered the country in the past five to 10 years.” 

Although positive about the sector’s ability to accommodate these changes, Epps, pictured, indicates that about eight to 10 per cent of current import models will no longer meet the rule’s requirements. 

He says this shouldn’t be seen as a major barrier to the supply of vehicles because there should be sufficient vehicles and models in overseas markets to aid this transition.

“The obvious impact will likely be higher prices on the lower end of imports. There are still many New Zealanders who need vehicles in that price range. We will probably see those lower-end vehicles become younger, but with other price-mitigating factors, such as higher mileage, to keep the price point consistent.”

He also notes the government has listened to several suggestions that VIA proposed to streamline the importing process, such as accommodating the possibility of border delays that might see different rules applying between the time the vehicle is sourced and when it’s finally landed here. 

Epps notes the introduction of Euro 6 has been aligned with Australian efforts, but legislation has yet to be progressed across the ditch. 

He adds if the Australians are slow to bring this standard in, then there’s the possibility that imported used vehicles could be subject to the equivalent of a Euro 6 standard before new models. 

VIA says it will observe this transition carefully to ensure a balance between the compliance burden on each sector.

What the changes are

The new regulations for vehicle exhaust-emissions rule were signed off earlier this month. Some roll-out dates for introducing more stringent measures have been pushed back by up to two years meaning New Zealand will closely follow Australia’s plans for mandating Euro 6 instead of being ahead of them.

All new light vehicles currently imported must meet Euro 5 and used models Euro 4. In the future, new light vehicles will have to comply with Euro 6d – or equivalent standards – from July 1, 2027. Existing models will move to Euro 6d from July 1, 2028.

Heavy vehicles will move to Euro VI-c for new models from November 1, 2024, and existing models 12 months later. New and used motorbikes and mopeds will have to meet Euro 4 targets from April 30, 2025, and Euro 5 from January 1, 2027.

When it comes to used light vehicles, petrol and diesel models will shift to Euro 5 or its equivalents from April 30, 2024, and then Euro 6d from July 1, 2028.

Used heavy vehicles will move to Euro V from April 30, 2024, and Euro VI from November 1, 2025. Disability vehicles are expected to meet Euro 5, or equivalent standards, from April 30, 2024, and Euro 6d from January 1, 2031.