Clean Car Programme for Importing Vehicles into New Zealand

5-minute read

The Clean Car Standard (CCS) and the Clean Car Discount (CCD) form the central pillars of a range of government initiatives to tackle transport sector CO2 emission levels and help address climate change.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 requires CO2 emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2050. As transport is responsible for 47 percent of the domestic CO2 in New Zealand, this target cannot be achieved without decarbonising transport.

CCD and CCS operate in tandem

The Clean Car Standard and the Clean Car Discount operate together.

The Clean Car Discount focuses on influencing vehicle demand, and the Clean Car Standard on influencing vehicle supply.

The Clean Car Standard is a government target that regulates importers to reduce CO2 emissions of vehicles entering New Zealand to specific standards and targets.

The Clean Car Discount encourages buyer demand for low-emission vehicles by providing rebates for zero and low-emission light vehicles and requiring a fee be paid for high-emission vehicles registered in New Zealand for the first time.

The Clean Car Discount is based on CO2 emissions. Vehicles first registered after 1 April 2022 with zero or low emissions may be eligible for a rebate, and those with high emissions incur a fee.

From 1 December 2022, if you’re importing light vehicles for sale or personal use, you must hold a CO2 account, where the CCS CO2 emission value of your vehicles will be recorded.

You’ll also need to enter the account number against every vehicle. Without this information, vehicles will not be able to complete entry to New Zealand and be registered.

From 1 January 2023, for Pay as You Go, the CCS CO2 emission value will determine either a charge to be paid or credit that is earned for the vehicle.

For Fleet Average, importers receive credit or incur a charge based on total emissions over the year. Credits can be used to offset charges to be paid for vehicles or transferred to other importers but can’t be redeemed for cash.

The legislation for the CCS was passed in February 2022, and implementation settings of the Clean Car Standard are currently being finalised.

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Implementation stages

The Clean Car Standard system will be available in early November, and vehicle importers will be able to register for a CO2 account. From 1 December, light vehicle importers must have a CO2 account, and vehicles will be required to be assigned to that account.

7 November 2022

• Importers will be able to register for a CCS CO2 account, view their account details plus add other account users to manage the account

• All accounts are initially registered as Pay as You Go

• Importers can apply to be on Fleet Average through the online application process

1 December 2022

• Imported light vehicles will be visible in the CCS system, with a CO2 account showing CCS CO2 emissions value

• An account number needs to be entered against every vehicle

• Vehicles will be automatically accepted in the system so importers can test the process for viewing vehicles as they are certified. This will also allow importers to monitor vehicles not certified before 1 January

• Excluded vehicles will show a null CO2 emission value

1 January 2023

• For Pay as You Go, once a vehicle is accepted, the charge for vehicles with a CO2 emission value above the weight-adjusted target will be calculated. Vehicles below the weight-adjusted target will have their credit added to the importer’s CO2 balance.

• Importers will have the option to use any available CO2 credits to offset charges

• For importers on Fleet Average, once a vehicle is accepted, you can track overall performance against the target during the year

• There will be processes in place to reject vehicles, correct values and locate vehicles in the system that are not showing in an account. The Waka Kotahi CCS team supporting the system will manage issues or make corrections as needed.

CO2 accounts

What’s a CO2 account?

• Your CO2 account will allow you to view and manage your imported vehicles

• An importer can have one new vehicle and one used vehicle CO2 account

• You can choose to add additional users to help manage the CO2 account

• There are two categories of importers, Fleet Average and Pay as You Go

• You’ll automatically be registered as Pay as You Go when you set up your CO2 account

• Pay as You Go allows you to pay charges and receive credits on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis as each vehicle is imported.

• Fleet Average allows you to manage your vehicles on an annual basis. You’ll be assessed on the average emissions of the vehicles you import each year against your Fleet Average target

• Once you have registered for a CO2 account, you can apply for Fleet Average

• Anyone can register a CO2 account

What you’ll need to register for a CO2 account

• You’ll need a RealMe login, which can be created during the registration process

• If you’re importing new or used vehicles

• Your details and contact information

• If you are setting up an account as a business, your NZBN

• You’ll need to read and agree to any Clean Car Standard terms and conditions and privacy statement, if applicable

• No approval is needed

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About Fleet Average

Fleet Average benefits businesses importing large volumes of vehicles that would like to manage their vehicles on an annual basis. Please note the rates per CO2 grams for Fleet Average are higher than for Pay as You Go.

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Source: Waka Kotahi

Who can apply for a Fleet Average account?

• Businesses with a CO2 account can apply

• You must be a New Zealand business with a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) that has been trading for five years or more

Information to assess your eligibility

The following information is an indication of what information is needed to meet the eligibility criteria:

• Your motor vehicle trader number

• Financial information, including financial accounts, trading history and a current credit rating, if you have it

• Details of how you plan to comply with the CO2 targets

• Direct debit authority form filled out with proof of the bank account (eg bank statements) to be used for payments

• A declaration about criminal offences or bankruptcy from the applicant or related person(s)

Templates will be available to download from the Waka Kotahi website to help you provide this information.

Note: the Fleet Average application criteria is subject to regulations.

The above information is intended as a guide only and is based on what is provided in the legislation. Regulations can change without notice, and more information can be found on the Waka Kotahi website here.

Source: WAKA Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Jacanna Customs and Freight

P.S. Easy Freight Ltd helps New Zealand importers & exporters to save money on international freight and reduce mistakes by guiding how to comply with Customs and biosecurity rules. 

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