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Focus on emissions

Murray Sherwin, Chairman of Productivity Commission.

Agriculture is the largest source of emissions, primarily methane, in New Zealand. The second largest source is transport – particularly vehicles. These sources account for two-thirds of emissions, while forestry sequesters almost 30 per cent of the country’s gross emissions.

“Climate change is one of the most serious issues we face,” says Murray Sherwin, chairman of Productivity Commission. “How New Zealand responds to its international commitment to reducing GHG emissions will have major implications for our future.”

“The issues paper [on a low-emissions economy] gives us the opportunity to share what we know, and ask questions about important areas where more information and discussion is required.”

The inquiry aims to “identify options” for how New Zealand could reduce its domestic GHG emissions by moving towards a lower-emissions future. “Action to mitigate GHG emissions will require significant changes, which will have disruptive and potentially painful impacts on some businesses and households,” the issues report states.

“These changes mean the shift will be profound and widespread – transforming land use, the energy system, production methods and technology, regulatory frameworks and institutions, and business and political culture.”

Substantial and sustained reductions in global GHG emissions are required to limit rises in global temperatures and climate change.

Recently, New Zealand submitted its first nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement to reduce its emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The most long-term target, set in 2011, aims to cut them to 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The commission says there are no technical barriers to generate more electricity from renewable sources. The relative cost and efficiency of renewables, such as wind power, make them a price-competitive option.

Wind generation could meet the increased demand from the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) up to 2040.

Complementary technologies, particularly batteries, are also falling in price. New Zealand’s seasonal pattern of demand favours more use of wind than solar power.

Wind generation could meet the increased demand from the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) up to 2040, with charging of EVs when there’s lower grid demand, such as late at night.  Distributed generation and possible use of batteries to even out peak load, and of EVs as “batteries”, are likely to require more flexible pricing and network capabilities than now.

Current policies include the government targeting an increase in the proportion of renewable electricity to 90 per cent by 2025. After the metal industry, the next biggest source of industrial emissions comes from HFCs used to replace ozone-depleting substances in refrigeration and air-conditioning units.

Intervention to cut emissions in some parts of the economy can have flow-on effects for demand and opportunities to reduce emissions in other parts of the economy. For instance, converting the vehicle fleet to electricity would increase the demand for electricity generation and increase demand for new renewable sources for New Zealand to meet its mitigation targets.

Effects of EVs on the overall demand for renewable electricity, could, in turn be managed through timing the charging of EVs, and the possible use of their “batteries” to store electricity for sale back to the grid.

Lithium-ion battery costs have reduced by 73 per cent over the past seven years, making EVs cost-competitive with ICEs far earlier than most predictions.

Forests could be used to produce a renewable source of woody biomass to generate heat for industry or biofuels. Norske Skog Tasman and Z Energy recently investigated this for New Zealand. The evaluation concluded that, while technically feasible, using biomass to produce fuel was of doubtful commercial viability given “the current global economic and energy outlook”.

The viability of using biomass for energy hinges on low-value feedstocks, short transport lines and efficient digestion of biomass.

The commission will be investigate if some core policies could be used to cut emissions, such as direct regulation, market-based approaches, and support for innovation and technology. An example of a standard-based approach is 2007 Land Transport Rule on Vehicle Exhaust Emissions, which is enforced by the NZTA.

An example of regulation is France is banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. Then there are market-based approaches, such as the Irish government linking vehicle registration and annual circulation taxes to CO2 emissions. 

In New Zealand, the 2016 EVs Programme exempts light and heavy electric vehicles from RUC until they make up two per cent of their respective fleets.

As for supporting innovation, New Zealand may not need to develop many of the technologies required itself, but it needs to ensure they are able to be used effectively – for example, the country’s uptake of EVs in New Zealand illustrates this point.

Adaptive systems are also on the agenda. For example, lithium-ion battery costs have reduced by 73 per cent over the past seven years, making EVs cost-competitive with ICEs far earlier than most predictions.

Read more about the automotive industry’s views on emissions in the December 2017 issue of Autofile magazine.


One of the main weaknesses of manufacturing an EV battery is that it produces higher emissions than making an ICV.

THE PROS & CONS OF EVs – Productivity Commission

Substantially reduce emissions compared with internal combustion vehicles (ICVs).
EVs already used in New Zealand.
Similar road performance to ICVs.
Substantially cheaper to use than ICVs – equivalent to about 30c per litre.
Electricity grid already established.
Most of New Zealand’s electricity is from renewable energy.
Ability to charge EVs by plugging in at home.
Cost of EV batteries likely to drop over time.

Developing on-road charging infrastructure is expensive.
At present, smaller travel ranges than ICVs.
Manufacturing an EV battery produces higher emissions than making an ICV.
Charging EVs adds demand to the electricity grid.
It’s currently slower to recharge an EV than to refuel an ICV.
Disposal of EV batteries can cause negative environmental impacts.

Making cement from tyres

In June 2017, the government announced funding of $18.6 million to shift the heat source for making cement from coal to waste tyres. New Zealand generates about five million unwanted tyres a year, making them a viable ongoing industrial fuel source.

The substitution of rubber biofuel for coal by a major grant recipient, Golden Bay Cement – New Zealand’s fifth largest single emitter of GHGs – will cut emissions by 13,000 tonnes a year. The company will burn 3.1 million waste tyres a year – the equivalent of taking about 6,000 cars off the road.

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Very strong October for new sales

The latest new vehicle sales figures for October reveal a very strong performance for both new passenger and commercial.

“There were 15,530 new vehicle registrations for the month of October, making it the strongest month of October on record and the second strongest month of any month ever. It was only the second time the new vehicle market has past 15,000 registrations in a month, the other being in June this year. Registrations were 9.83% (11,986 units) year to date above this time in 2016 and for the month were up 5.6% (821 units) on October 2016.” Said David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association.

Comparing to October 2016, sales of passenger and SUVs were up by 6.3% (5,321 units) and commercial vehicles up by 18.0% (6,665 units).

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 29% market share (4,457 units), followed by Ford with 10% (1,530 units) and Holden with 9% market share (1,341 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 31% market share (3,410 units) followed by Holden with 9% (1,006 units) and Mazda with 8% market share (903 units).

The top selling passenger and SUV models for the month were the Toyota Corolla (1772 units of which 1589 were rentals) followed by the Toyota RAV4 (479 units of which 304 were rentals) and the Kia Sportage (354 units).

In the commercial sector, Toyota was again the market leader with 24% (1,047 units) followed by Ford with 21% (948 units) and Holden third with 8% market share (335 units). The Ford Ranger regained the top spot as the bestselling commercial model with 19% share (853 units) followed by the Toyota Hilux also with 17% share (762 units).

Year to date the Ford Ranger remains both the top commercial vehicle model and the top model overall with 7,950 registrations compared to 7,045 for the Toyota Hilux.

Vehicle segmentation for the month of October reflects the strong monthly registrations of the Toyota Corolla. The top segments were small vehicles with 20% share, followed by the SUV medium segment with 15% and Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4×4 segment with 13% market share.

“The 2017 new vehicle market is expected to easily break through the 150,000 new vehicles mark for the first time.” said Mr Crawford.

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No more cars on Auckland’s wharves

The views of the Waitemata Harbour being spoiled by rows of cars will be no longer due to a new masterplan from Ports of Auckland, (POAL).

The port company has revealed a draft 30-year masterplan for the 77ha of land it owns on the sea’s doorstep. The plans include a five-storey car park to keep car imports hidden from public view topped with a 1ha waterfront park accessible to the public.

“We’re proposing to build a five-storey car handling building which will provide more capacity, hide cars from view and free up space on Captain Cook Wharf for cruise ships.”

“On top of this building we will create a new waterfront park and next to it on Quay Street, we have earmarked space for a new hotel, or other such building for public use.”

Consent for the carpark will be lodged next year, with a plan to have it completed within five years.

The draft masterplan also involves development plans for a 13m piled concrete extension at the end of Bledisloe Wharf, which the company says is essential for a new berth and the success of other projects.

The extension is guaranteed to cause a stir with critics due to further expansion into the harbour. Last night, Auckland mayor Phil Goff said he did not support further extension of the port into the harbour.

“This is a proposal only and needs to be subject to public discussion. Ultimately it will go through a consent process where public can make submissions,” Goff said.

However, the extension is smaller than previous expansion plans and it is line with recommendations from the Auckland City Council’s Port Future Study last year.

“We’ve developed a draft 30-year masterplan that we think balances Auckland’s economic, social and environmental needs…it creates space for freight and gives Auckland Council the time it needs to make a sound decision on where, when and how to move the port,” Tony Gibson, the port’s Chief Executive, said.

Details of the draft masterplan can be found at:

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New vehicle sales on a roll

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association says, “the traditional slowdown in new vehicle registrations during an election period failed to materialise in September. Monthly registrations of 14,507 vehicles was the strongest month of September on record. Registrations were 10.4 per cent (11,165 units) year to date above this time in 2016 and for the month were up 4.5 per cent (623 units) on September 2016.”

Year to date, sales of passenger and SUVs were up by 6.8% and commercial vehicles by 18.6% compared to 2016.

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 24 per cent market share (3,473 units), followed by Ford with 11 per cent (1,548 units) and Holden with 10 per cent market share (1,386 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 2,320 units, for  market share of 24 per cent, Holden followed with 1,006 registrations and Mazda with a 9 per cent market with 875 sales.

The top selling passenger and SUV models for the month was the Toyota Corolla with 957 sales, of which 742 were rentals.

In the commercial sector, Toyota was again the market leader with 25 per cent of the market with 1,153 units, followed by Ford with 875 and Holden third with on 380 registrations.

The Toyota Hilux was again the bestselling commercial model with 17 per cent share selling 791 units, The Ranger was close behind with 781 units registered. Ford Ranger remains both the top commercial vehicle model and the top model overall for 2017 with 7,098 registrations compared to 6,285 for the Toyota Hilux.

“As the 2017 year progresses economic conditions of the last 18 months remain largely unchanged with low interest rates, strong net immigration, strong New Zealand currency and stable domestic economy. The combination of these factors underpins record sales of new vehicles.” said Crawford.


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New BMW X3 arriving November

BMW New Zealand has announced their new X3 will be available from November this year, in three variants.

The New Zealand range will consist of the X3 xDrive20d, X3 xDrive30i and X3 M40i M Performance and is priced from $92,850 excluding on road costs.

The entry level X3 xDrive20d runs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, outputting power 140 kW and torque of 400 Nm. The X3 xDrive30i has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 185 kW and torque 350 Nm. The top range BMW M40i is equipped with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line petrol engine, delivering 265 kW and torque of 500 Nm.

BMW says the new-generation TwinPower Turbo 2.0-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine delivers a markedly more agile power delivery and outstanding responsiveness even at low engine speeds, while being fuel efficient and low in emissions.

The BMW X3 M40i features all-wheel-drive and has a far more pronounced rear bias than on the other model versions.

Inside, the X3 offers a 10.25-inch central information display with driver navigation as standard.

The BMW Head Up Display (standard for xDrive30i and M40i variants) allows the most important driving-related information to be projected directly into the driver’s field of vision. The Head Up Display in the new BMW X3 is unrivalled in its segment for graphics, resolution and display options, and with a projection area now 70 per cent larger than before.

The X3 boasts enhanced smart connectivity, with destinations able to be sent from your smartphone directly to the car and “Navigate Door-to-Door”, that assists with navigation right to your final destination, even on foot.

Remote 3D view forms part of the Parking Assistant Plus system that is standard on higher model grades allowing the owner to access a view of their parked X3 remotely on their phone. Upon request, the vehicle takes images of its surroundings to generate an adjustable view on the mobile device.

Increased interior space and comfort with intends to mirror the layout of the new BMW 5 Series and 7 Series models.

The new BMW X3 is available for ordering from BMW dealerships now.

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Subaru’s 2018 performance range: first look

Subaru’s 2018 performance range has debuted with technical specs, design insights and pricing info.

The all-wheel drive turbocharged WRX, WRX STi and Levorg 2.0 GT-S displays a number of exterior design changes which include new alloy wheel designs, front grilles, front bumpers and LED headlight designs.

The MY18 Subaru WRX STi.

Subaru of New Zealand managing director Wallis Dumper says that the WRX and STi have gained a special place in their rally heritage market over the years.

“There are a huge amount of safety and specification improvements to the full range of WRX, STi and Levorg cars. These are cars that are exciting to drive and have very little competition,” Dumper says.

New breaking and wheel upgrades feature on all the new WRX STi models, to 340mm front and 326mm rear cross-drilled rotors clamped by six piston front and two piston rear yellow Brembo calipers.

Entry-level WRX STi’s gain heated door mirrors, while WRX STi Premium and WRX STi add the Front View Monitor.

All STi models have also received changes to suspension components and the driver control systems.

Every Levorg 2.0 GT-S, WRX and WRX STI has an independent five-star rating for occupant safety.

The models will come in the following variants and prices; WRX 6-speed manual at $48,990 and the WRX 8-speed SLT at $50,990. The WRX Premium 6-speed manual at $53,990 and the WRX Premium 8-speed SLT at $55,990. The WRX STi at $59,990 and the WRX STi Premium $64,990, both available with and optional rear spoiler, and the Levorg 2.0 GT at $57,990.

Subaru has not yet announced a specific date for the launch of the range.

The MY18 Subaru Levorg.


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XC60 pricing info released

Volvo’s new XC60 will be available to New Zealand customers in November, from $84,000 plus on-roads.

The XC60 will offer both petrol and diesel alternatives as well as the flagship of the range, the T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid, first seen in New Zealand in the XC90. All new XC60 models feature all-wheel drive, and three different levels of specification.

Volvo Cars’ T8 Twin Engine Range.

Pricing for the XC60 T5 Momentum with the turbocharged 2-litre engine will start at $84,900 plus on-roads, while the top line XC60 T8 R-Design is priced from $117,900 plus on-roads.

Volvo’s NZ general manager Coby Duggan says early interest in the new model has been strong with self driving technology becoming more important to premium SUV buyers.

“Kiwi consumers are increasingly aware of the safety benefits of automation in vehicles,” he said.

All XC60s will come equipped with standard equipment that includes a 360-degree camera, navigation, parking assistance, keyless entry, handsfree tailgate and Apple Carplay / Android Auto integrated into the stereo system.

The new Volvo XC60’s interior.

Optional features such as soft Nappa Leather seats with ventilation and massage, Bowers & Wilkins speakers and four-corner air suspension are available.

The first XC60s are set to arrive in NZ in November in limited numbers, and pre-sales are now underway.

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Ford announces off road Ranger variant

New Zealand’s best-selling car will be produced in an off-road performance variant for the first time.

The Ford Motor Company today announced that the Ford Ranger ute, carrying the name ‘Ford Ranger Raptor’, will arrive in New Zealand in 2018. The purpose-built, desert-racing inspired pickup truck joins the Ford Performance family.

Teaser image of the Raptor.

Ford says the Raptor is designed and engineered to deliver an adrenaline pumping experience.

“We are very excited to bring Asia Pacific’s toughest and smartest pickup truck to a whole new level,” said Trevor Worthington, vice president, product development, Ford Asia Pacific. “Ford Ranger Raptor will offer Ranger fans a fantastic opportunity to own an authentic off-road performance version of their favourite truck for the first time.”

The standard Ford ranger remains NZ’s top selling commercial, and overall.

The Ford Ranger Raptor joins F-150 Raptor as part of the Ford Performance brand, joining the on-road high performance GT, Ford Mustang Shelby, Focus RS and Focus ST.

Though the Toyota Hilux managed to knock the Ford Ranger off the top spot for the best-selling commercial model last August, it remains the top model overall in New Zealand with 6,320 registrations year to date.

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Citroën releases details of the new C4 Cactus

Citroën has released details of the new C4 Cactus. The small SUV will come with an updated gear box and a petrol engine and a range of personalisation options.

Citroën says the new petrol engine, rather than a diesel as came with the C4 Cactus previously, makes the car a better fit for the NZ market.

One of the 184 different colour and trim combinations available for the new Cactus C4.

Powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbo high engine that produces 81kW at and 205Nm of torque made while the combined fuel consumption is rated at 5.1L/100km.

The engine in the C4 Cactus having won the coveted 2015, 2016 and 2017 International Engine of the Year award in the 1.0-litre to 1.4-litre category.

The engine won the 2015, 2016 and 2017 International Engine of the Year award in the 1.0-litre to 1.4-litre category.

The C4 Cactus is on sale now.

This automatic gearbox comes with stop/start technology and hill assist as standard and features a new-generation torque-converter that the company says allows smooth gear changes and enabling better fuel economy.

The C4 Cactus has a layer of impact absorbing air capsules on the exterior, providing protection from bumps and dents.

The car has in roof airbags.

The new Citroën offers in depth personalisation options, with eight body colours, two colours of wheels and three choices of interior trim, giving some 184 different trim and colour combinations so everyone can create their own version of an urban utilitarian vehicle.

C4 Cactus is on sale now from $32,990 including GST via Citroën’s dealer network.

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Nissan debuts 2018 Leaf

Nissan has debuted the 2018 Nissan LEAF, the next model of its flagship EV.

The specifications for the model closely align with details that leaked early last month.

The 2018 Nissan Leaf.

The new Leaf offers a range of 400 km, a 33 per cent increase on the 2017 model. It will have 110 kW of power output and 320 Nm of torque a large increase in power from the current model Leaf, which has an output of 90 horse power and 254Nm of torque.

The new leaf comes with autonomous drive technology, used during single-lane driving on highways.

The car has an autonomous parking system that takes control of steering, acceleration, braking, shift changing and the parking brake to automatically guide it into a parking spot.

The Nissan Leaf was New Zealand’s most popular EV in 2016.

The car will go on sale October 2 in Japan. Though with only imported second hand Leaf EVs available for sale on the New Zealand market, it could be some time before we see the 2018 model on our roads.

The interior of the Leaf.

Despite this, the demand for the Leaf is growing. The car climbed to gain 1 per cent of total used imported cars this August.

The Leaf is also the most popular EV worldwide with 277,000 units sold since it was released seven years ago.

The new Leaf will introduce what Nissan calls e-Pedal technology that will enable the driver to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by increasing or decreasing the pressure applied to the accelerator. When the accelerator is fully released, regenerative and friction brakes are applied automatically, bringing the car to a stop.

The new leaf comes with a autonomous parking system.



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Best month for used imported cars since 2004

Registrations of used imported passenger vehicles were up 11.5 per cent compared to August last year, with 1490 more sales bringing this month’s total to 14,483. This makes it the third best month ever, only beaten by 14,709 units in July 2003 and 14,877 sales of fresh imports in March 2004.

Year to date used imported cars are also on a high, with sales totalling 108,865 for the eight months of 2017, up 10,555 units, an increase of 1319 per month compared to last year.

The Nissan Leaf saw a 205 per cent sales increase.

Toyota has retained the top spot with a market share for the month of 24.6 per cent with 3267 registrations.

The battle for top model is a lot closer with the Mazda Axela, Suzuki Swift and Nissan Tiida making up the top three. They hold 4.7, 4.2 and 4 per cent market share respectively.

The stand out for August however was the Nissan Leaf with sales of 177 units, an increase of 205 per cent on the 58 sales in August 2016.  The Leaf has now climbed to gain 1 per cent of total used imported cars.

In terms of the regions, Timaru went from 99 sales in August last year to 144 last month, an increase of 45.5 per cent. Invercargill and New Plymouth also did well compared to a year earlier showing increases of 33.1 and 31.9 per cent respectively.

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