Minister says the phasing in of the clean car standard regulations is in response to industry pleas for a delay.

charges deferred until june 2023

Following discussions with importers, the government has confirmed the clean car standard will be phased in from December 1, 2022.

It will significantly reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of light vehicles in New Zealand, according to Michael Wood, Minister of Transport.

Wood, pictured, says: “Emissions from our light-vehicle fleet are the single largest source of transport emissions thanks in part to us having some of the most fuel-inefficient and emissions-intensive vehicles in the OECD.

“This costs Kiwis at the pump, and it’s damaging our health and the environment. We need to increase the supply of fuel-efficient vehicles and give New Zealanders more choices in the variety of low and zero-emissions vehicles while also doing our bit for global climate change. The standard will help us do this.

“From January 1, imported vehicles incur a credit or charge based on their CO2 emissions. The phase-in will see the payment of charges deferred until June 2023 to ensure a smooth implementation for the industry.”

Wood adds the system will encourage importers to bring in sufficient volumes of low and zero-emissions vehicles that attract credits to offset charges imposed on higher emitters.

“We’ve heard the request from the industry for a delay and have worked together to confirm a timeframe that balances a successful implementation with the need for action,” says Wood. “This short extension gets that balance right.”

The CCS requires importers to progressively reduce the CO2 emissions of light vehicles, both new and used, they bring into New Zealand. This is achieved by setting CO2 targets that get more ambitious year by year.

“The CCS will encourage importers to bring in vehicles with lower emissions, that burn less fuel and will stop New Zealand being the dumping ground for the dirtiest vehicles in the world,” adds Wood.

“This is a scheme aimed at importers, not the general public who will continue to benefit from the clean car discount scheme, which is seeing record numbers of electric vehicles and hybrids being imported and bought by New Zealanders.

“I regularly hear from importers about how the upcoming introduction of the CCS is helping them to access cleaner vehicles for the New Zealand market. The standard will complement this work with greater choices for consumers.

“The CCS is one of a number of initiatives in the emissions reduction plan to reduce emissions, improving our health, our environment and our well-being.”

Legislation to enable the phased implementation of the CCS will be passed this week.

The way forward

December 1, 2022: All vehicle importers must hold a CO2 account where the emissions ratings of their vehicles will be recorded. Without this information, imports will not be able to complete entry to New Zealand and not be registered.

January 1, 2023: The CO2 ratings of vehicles start to count towards achieving CO2 targets. For importers complying on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, each vehicle will incur a charge or credit based on its emissions. Credits can be used to offset charges or be transferred to other importers.

June 1, 2023: Charges to be paid and credits can be transferred from this date.

How the standard works

The CCS operates by providing credits to importers for low or no-emissions vehicles and imposing charges depending on their CO2 ratings.

High-emissions vehicles will still be able to be imported, but their emissions must be offset by the import of lower-emissions ones. If importers do not import sufficient volumes of low-emissions vehicles to offset their high-emission vehicles, charges will apply.

Legislation for the CCS was passed in February 2022. The regulations that set formulae for the weight adjustment of targets, specify the types of vehicles excluded and other details related to CO2 accounts, can be found online here:

The CCS covers most light vehicles being imported except for mopeds or motorcycles, which have been excluded. More details on the standard can be found here:

Keyword: Charges deferred until June 2023


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