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The Legal Framework for Energy Efficiency in Road Transport: A Critique of Legislation, Regulation, and Policy in New Zealand

Energy efficiency provides a feasible way by which transport emissions can be reduced, air quality can be improved, and security of supply can be increased. In light of energy security and climate change, improving efficiency should be relatively high on the Government’s agenda, also because it can contribute to economic efficiency. This thesis compares the legal framework in New Zealand with the regulatory approach of the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Australia. The discussion shows that the legislative framework in New Zealand gives a disjointed and complicated approach to strategic planning which has resulted in a lack of cohesion which requires future reform. However, the proposed amendments to the primary legislation that affects planning in transport will not be helpful in improving energy efficiency, and research shows the overall focus of central government is not consistent with international thinking. Further, the targets for energy efficiency in transport are weak and require nothing more than business as usual. Even though policies to promote energy efficiency exist, the isolated instruments chosen have limited results. Overall, the regulatory and policy approach by central government gives a piecemeal and unsatisfactory outcome. The approach by some local governments however, shows a commitment to improve energy conservation. To show internationally that New Zealand is committed to reducing our GHG emissions, reform is needed. New Zealand needs regulation to reduce the average age of the vehicle fleet and to encourage more efficient vehicles. This should consist of vehicle standards, a charge on vehicle CO₂ emissions, and improved information measures. These above measures need to be integrated. Further policy instruments are needed to encourage the use of alternative fuels, electric vehicles, and eco-driving. Perhaps most importantly, what is needed is a philosophical shift by Government, who needs to lead by example and to view energy efficiency as a priority rather than a desired outcome.
Type of thesis
Jordan, K. J. (2012). The Legal Framework for Energy Efficiency in Road Transport: A Critique of Legislation, Regulation, and Policy in New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Laws (LLM)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7563
University of Waikato
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