Government opts for big cars while cutting health spending

Why does the National Government continue to put the squeeze on essential Government spending in health and education while refusing to save money by ensuring that govt vehicles are fuel efficient?

Yesterday, National and Act voted down my Government Vehicle Procurement Bill in Parliament — a Bill which sought to introduce minimum fuel efficiency standards for the Government’s fleet of 21,000 vehicles.

My Bill was a reasonable, practical, rather modest way for our Government to show climate change leadership by driving an efficient fleet of vehicles. The Current Government Fleet and Procurement Practice Report (2006) found that, “except for the district health boards, there is significant potential to reduce vehicle size across the fleet”. The current average emissions performance is 210g/km of CO2 (9.2 l/100km).

Earlier this year, Transport Minister Steven Joyce ruled out any kind of across-the-board vehicle fuel efficiency standards, judging them to be heavy-handed and expensive. However, visiting International Energy Agency (IEA), Dr Nigel Jollands, disagrees.

On Morning Report (7.19 mins into the clip) today, Dr Jollands cited New Zealand for lagging behind the rest of the OECD with vehicle fuel efficiency. He said, “There is definitely a role for the government to mandate and regulate fuel efficiency standards of vehicles coming in.”

Why is the world going the way of energy efficiency standards? Because energy efficiency is the most affordable way to confront the challenges of economic development, climate change, and energy security at the same time. Additional up-front costs of applying the standards are more than recouped later with fuel and carbon savings over the working life of the vehicle.

Energy efficiency standards are the low-hanging fruit for longer-term cost savings and energy security. We’ve set out our plan for vehicle fuel efficiency standards in Getting There. We’d set average fuel economy standards for light vehicles coming into NZ and progressively raise them from 2013 to 2019. Importers would be free to meet the average with any mix of vehicles they choose and could trade unders and overs among themselves. Vehicles imported in 2020 would use half the fuel per 100 km compared with current imports. That would save the country 3 Mt of CO2 emissions.

22 thoughts on “Government opts for big cars while cutting health spending

  1. Practical and efficient seem to be two words that are missing from the current Government’s agenda.

    Although Russel, would you really expect a climate related (energy efficiency) bill to gain National party support after the recent policy approach relating to amending the current ETS?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  2. Russel,
    Good on you for giving it a try, However I am concerned that by focussing just on fuel efficiency we may by conned by manufacturers into buying vehicles that have low durability and hence the dust to dust energy use can be higher than a less fuel efficient vehicle. The Toyota Prius is an example of a high fuel efficient vehicle which comes out poorly when dust to dust is taken into account.
    When I was in UK, around 3000 new fuel efficient cars had to have their fuel tanks and systems flushed plus expensive sensors replaced because traces of silicon got into the fuel supply. Added complexity is not necessarily the best answer.
    Eli

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  3. hands up all those who wanted the greens to go with national..

    (c’mon now..!..don’t ne bashful..!..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  4. Nor I…

    I have made the point before.

    Talking with them would have given us credibility for flexibility to talk

    -AND-

    Would have offered us an opportunity to highlight the reasons we decided not to go into government ( assuming that they didn’t offer to make Jeanette the Minister for the Environment ).

    Good public relations… and free.

    respectfully
    BJ

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  5. If you are going to get stomped on by anyone bigger than yourself, make like a thorn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  6. I was suprised, it’s a good bill… The wiritng is on the wall carbon wise and easy to see whats coming, lower pollution etc, just makes sense all round…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  7. Not too mention that by having lower standards than others we become a target for the offloading of guzzlers from other countries meaning we’ll lag further and further behind…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  8. If the state is as beneficent as you’d have us believe, why would it be necessary to pass a special act of parliament to force it to consider getting good value for all the taxpayers’ money it spends?

    And why should we assume that it’s just on vehicle spending where it is so careless with our earnings?

    I think you rather let the cat out of the bag there.

    – ““There is definitely a role for the government to mandate and regulate fuel efficiency standards of vehicles coming in.””

    Why? Assuming externalities are included in the price of petrol there is absolutely no reason for the state to introduce restrictions.

    – “Why is the world going the way of energy efficiency standards? Because energy efficiency is the most affordable way to confront the challenges of economic development, climate change, and energy security at the same time.”

    No, it’s because there are lots and lots of politicians who love controlling and banning things.

    – “Importers would be free to meet the average with any mix of vehicles they choose and could trade unders and overs among themselves.”

    That’s just plain dumb. You’re just introducing an extra layer of inefficiency into the delivery and purchasing chain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  9. Could you post a link that shows how the various MPs voted? Hopefully that will still be available in 2 years time when the rest of us get to vote.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  10. Why does the National Government continue to put the squeeze on essential Government spending in health and education while refusing to save money by ensuring that govt vehicles are fuel efficient?

    The fact that you even have to ask the question gives me an inkling as to why you decided to align the Green Party with National Ltd®.

    Let me spell it out for you – National Ltd® doesn’t give one single flying fling about the environment and, further, is working full time to undermine the public sector for its privatisation agenda. Geddit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  11. Forced vehicle efficency standards is yet another green policy that could easily backfire.

    Clearly cars that meet the standard will be much newer cars i.e. more expensive.

    Instead of updating to a used import that is a little bit newer and a little bit more efficient, buyers won’t have that option – they’ll only have the option of something much more expensive, so most won’t upgrade at all.

    It’s already happened once recently. Only newer imports were allowed in because of safety standards. They were more expensive, so more people didn’t bother upgrading and ended up keeping old cars. It had the reverse effect of what was intended.

    (and that doesn’t even cover the problem of producing masses of carbon earning the thousands extra, so we can upgrade to cars that cost twice as much, just to save 10% in fuel).

    (nor the point about buying old cars is effectively recycling perfectly good cars that were close to going on the scrap heap in Japan – effectively we’re recycling, getting full use out of them, and saving manufacturers emitting all that carbon on extra cars that we don’t need).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  12. photoNZ1 – this is focussed on government procurement – Govt’s don’t buy 2nd hand Jappers. We might at least save some money if they did tho – I bought a slightly dinged corolla for $1000 4 years ago and it is still going strong.

    When petrol gets too expensive I can walk away from it, or pehaps I can re-use the windows to make a solar water heater.

    Maybe I can put in an electric motor http://www.myspace.com/crazygav1

    Maybe I put some pedals in? Give it to Gerry Brownlee? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSwig1tgUtY

    Or maybe just make a muscle power crank car? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Xp-923G8i4&feature=related

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  13. The fact that you even have to ask the question gives me an inkling as to why you decided to align the Green Party with National Ltd®.

    Cut the crap BLiP. In no way are the Greens aligned with the Nats and you know it. We are in fact their most consistent opposition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  14. Mctap – you’re mixing things up. Yes, there are govt vehicle procurement (where they could have done something) but the story above also talks of the vehicle emission standards bill, which they rightly put a stop to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  15. Wat’s comment about including externalities in the price of petrol is correct.

    However, one of the reasons that we need government intervention is that, with few exceptions, full externalities are not being priced into anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  16. Cut the crap BLiP. In no way are the Greens aligned with the Nats and you know it. We are in fact their most consistent opposition.

    Nice to see the Green MP’s giving the tories a bit of stick in the House during question time yesterday, I must say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  17. How much tax would be charged on petrol to cover the supposed carbon externality?

    Wikipedia says of a European effort that “the new carbon tax is 17 euros (25 US dollars) per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2), which will raise the cost of a litre of unleaded fuel by about four cents.”

    Since petrol taxes in just about every country are already a large multiple of that figure, there is no case to be made that there is some uncosted impact. We’re already paying for any and all effects; and vastly more besides.

    If there is no externality then there is no justification for these draconian state measures.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  18. I would like to see a number of government vehicles converted to run on CNG. CNG has lower CO2 emissions than petrol and is produced locally rather than imported. The conversion is often not economical for older vehicles, but ideal for new fleet vehicles which are not driven long distances at a time.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  19. Wat, to answer your question. First there is no tax that covers all the externalities of the carbon cost of petrol. And secondly, even if there was, why would the big bosses in government care. After all it is not their money they are spending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  20. Wat. The taxes on fuel are there to fund roads and other infrastructure required so that we can use the fuel!! It is not intended to cover the externalities associated with its use.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>