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New and used vehicles arriving in New Zealand will have to meet new tests for safe exhaust emissions in a push to meet international standards.
The standards relate to emissions that are directly harmful to human health, but do not test fuel economy or emissions of carbon dioxide.
All vehicles imported into New Zealand from November next year will need documentation from the manufacturer, or approved body.
Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said existing rules that allowed compliance with an emissions standard to be show by a simple test on arrival had been misinterpreted by many.
Wider tests would now be carried out to show they comply with the full standard.
The new rules include stricter requirements for reduced emissions from other parts of vehicles, such as evaporative emissions from fuel tanks.
"It's important for both people's health and the safety of vehicles entering the fleet that this rule is updated. In general, the newer the vehicle, the higher the standard of safety features," said Mr Bridges.
Mr Bridges said his officials would also look at how to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles already on New Zealand roads.