Greens question Govt over Auckland air election promise

Auckland Green MP Keith Locke today said the onus was on the Government to deliver on its election promise and take immediate and decisive action to tackle Auckland’s air pollution problems.

During question time in Parliament this afternoon Mr Locke will question the Environment Minister Marian Hobbs on what the Government is doing to tackle chronic levels of air pollution in Auckland and other New Zealand cities.

Yesterday the Auckland Regional Council launched a ‘dob in a smoky vehicle campaign’ to combat air pollution levels, but Mr Locke said Government involvement is now also required.

“During the election campaign Labour promised to ‘develop air quality guidelines, and implement emission standards for excessively smoky vehicles’ and to investigate a range of other measures to reduce emissions on busy roads,” said Mr Locke.

“So far we have seen little Government action on this increasingly serious health problem.”

In Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch air pollution levels regularly exceed levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. The Auckland Regional Council states Auckland’s carbon monoxide pollution is higher than London’s and that living in Auckland cuts around one year off the average life expectancy.

Mr Locke said currently there are 620,000 vehicles in the Auckland region and 459,000 of them carry people to and from work each day. The majority of these vehicles carry only one passenger. Car use in Auckland is increasing by five per cent per annum.

“The Government should adopt the twin strategy of tough vehicle emission standards and major progress in public transport to reduce car use,” said Mr Locke.

Keith Locke will be asking Oral Question Number Four in Parliament this afternoon on this issue.