A New Zealand government announcement it was replacing its fleet of Australian-made Ford and Holden official and VIP cars with "cleaner, more energy-efficient" German-made BMWs has sparked a row with the country's Green Party.

According to Australia's AAP news agency, the NZ department of internal affairs said it had signed a contract for 34 government-model BMW 730 Lds to be delivered over the next three years to replace the existing chauffeur-driven VIP transport fleet.

New Zealand's Labour-led coalition government has repeatedly stressed its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and increasing the country's energy efficiency, the report said, and had issued a statement saying it was the first time that "sustainability principles" had been applied to the process for replacing the fleet.

But the Greens said the BMW cars chosen breached the administration's own energy-efficiency standards for diesel vehicles, according to German news agency dpa.

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said that the BMWs contravened the government's own energy efficiency and conservation strategy, issued in October, which set a maximum consumption of 6.5 litres of diesel fuel per 100 kilometres travelled.

The BMW 730Ld uses 8.01 litres per 100 km, and Fitzsimons reportedly said that meant the fleet would be putting out nearly 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year more than the strategy's standard.

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