National: EV scheme “takes from the poor”

Transport Minister Michael Wood and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced the scheme on Sunday. Photo: RNZ/ Katie Todd.

The government is being accused by National of acting like a "reverse Robin Hood" with its latest electric vehicle rebate scheme.

From July this year, people buying new electric vehicles could get as much as $8625 back from the government.

Transport Minister Michael Wood hopes the scheme will put the handbrake on gas guzzling vehicles making their way into the country.

"If we don't move forward with policies like the Clean Car Standard and the Clean Car Discount, New Zealand will become a dumping ground for the world's dirtiest vehicles.

"At the moment we have one of the dirtiest fleets coming into our country because of the lack of standard to date - we are resolving that," he says.

Under the Clean Car Discount, imported electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, both new and used, will be eligible for a rebate.

The cars need to be under $80,000 and have at least a three star safety rating.

The scheme will be expanded to include other low emission vehicles next year.

To pay for this, imported cars with high emissions will cost extra from January next year.

For example, a Toyota Hilux brought into the country could incur a fee of $2900.

"Importantly the policy only applies to new and used cars arriving in New Zealand, so the existing second hand market of cars that lower income families tend to purchase from will not be affected," Wood says.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the Climate Change Commission's report on how the country should move towards net zero emissions by 2050.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says transport has the fastest growing emission profile in New Zealand.

"Dealing with the energy that we use to get around within and between our cities is one of the, if not the most urgent of all our climate change challenges," he says.

The scheme is predicted to bring an additional 19,000 clean vehicles into the country's vehicle fleet in the first year of operation.

Drive Electric chair Mark Gilbert says hundreds of thousands of EVs are needed to meet the government's climate targets and the announcement is a step change.

"Most importantly, this announcement says to global car manufacturers New Zealand is serious about EVs."

He's hopeful that utes could eventually become electric.

Green MP Julie Anne Genter failed to get a similar scheme over the line last term, thanks to New Zealand First throwing a spanner in the works.

But now with just Labour at the wheel, the scheme has been able to forge ahead - albeit with changes, such as the vehicle price cap.

RNZ understands that part of the reason the scheme wasn't announced sooner was because Labour and the Greens were fighting over details of the scheme.

However, both ministers would not say if any concessions had been made.

National Party transport spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says it is a tax by stealth.

"We welcome incentives, but my concern is that so many New Zealanders, tradies, large families, people in rural and remote areas are going to be asked to pay for this, but not actually have the choice to benefit from it.

National's transport spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says the scheme is a 'reverse Robin Hood system'. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas.

"In essence it is a reverse Robin Hood system, they are taking from the poor to give to the rich and that's just not right," he says.

National supports more positive moves such as exempting EVs from fringe benefit tax, extending road user charge exemptions and allowing EV users access to bus lanes and free parking, Woodhouse says.

Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford is happy with the announcement, especially the level of rebate on offer.

However, he thinks the government could go even further.

"The rules around allowing the discount when calculating fringe benefit tax and depreciation will go some way to addressing barriers to uptake of low emission vehicles by businesses.

"However, it stops short of the 50 percent reduction for electric vehicles we have consistently called for."


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Wrong again

Posted on 17-06-2021 17:46 | By Kancho

Yes debate is good and ok but not attacking the messenger as you seem to always do. You say I claim superior knowledge that isn’t factual. Does working on a Powerboard in high voltage reticulation and Powerstation for over twenty years mean you know more, I think not? Doesn’t stop you though. You dish out stuff like "mindless criticism "uniformed" belonging to " MAD " etcetera all completely off subject to distract yet still you think throwing aspersions will win the day some how undermine intellectual debate and valid discussion, again sad even deluded. Think you need to consider why you feel so threatened, by opinion just because you don’t agree or not see a wider view. EVs will come I have had solar power for years do you?

Out of retirement for

Posted on 17-06-2021 13:35 | By R. Bell

Kancho’s "debate" So it’s ok! to claim that my intellect is at basecamp but not ok! for me to infer similar defects in you and your friends. No one has implied the issues are not complex, claiming superior knowledge as you do is typical but not based on fact. The subsidy is not punitive as you claim it is designed as both an incentive and conversely a dis incentive to both encourage the use of clean vehicles and discourage the use of dirty vehicles. That you wish to wait is your choice but the world cannot wait for procrastinators, who use undisclosed "facts" to create a "debate" for blatant political reasons. Remember even Judith Collins is in favour of the phase out of filthy vehicles. It’s just nuts and bolts that make the difference. Have a good day.

In debate

Posted on 17-06-2021 09:14 | By Kancho

Seems you ignore the debate to label people who point out that the issues are more complex than you seem to understand.. I have never been negative about EVs as I considered buying one, but I also know facts you ignore. I’m waiting for technology and supply to bring down prices which is happening and will do more . So yet again you assume you know everything when clearly you don’t you are driven by ideology and Labour party rhetoric. I would say that makes you narrow thinking. The government should stay out of punitive taxes and look at their own woeful fleet . Fund of $300 million into this is a poor priority much better into so many better. Youth mental health today’s topic so $300 million funding would be better spent . I am probably more green than you

Kancho, I'll try again

Posted on 16-06-2021 12:38 | By R. Bell

for the last time. EV technology is rapidly improving in all ways. The cost to you and I in doing nothing far outweighs the cost of introducing and improving EVs a fact that you can easily find. You complain about a "subsidy" being offered and yet it has proven a great success in home insulation. They are incentives that are far more than just the initial reason, that flow through to a reduction in health spending etc. Basing your objections on current negativity is shortsighted to say the least. The EV technology is rapidly improving across the board especially in battery capacity, all such technology improves with time, this will be no exception. I label you and the others because you are constantly negative about all things, FACT.

By the way

Posted on 16-06-2021 09:50 | By Kancho

Charging cars at night off peak is great except people can charger their cars whenever they need to day or night. Secondly off peak spills less water overnight adjusted to load and waterway flow. Increasing load will spill more water and as you can only use it once leaves less for day running. As we know dam water levels go down if insufficient rain just as we are now. Want to have cleaner cars certainly stop importing poor spec cars. 80 percent of government vehicles are petrol/ deisel start there. Imports struggling anyway. We want EVs but not by punitive tax coercion and subsidies that went out in the sixties as failures

disappointing R Bell sad

Posted on 15-06-2021 14:59 | By Kancho

its sad to label people because you don’t like the debate. Guess defending labour/greens is really why, attacking people not the ideas You make assumptions about people and their knowledge background again, sad. I do know about electrical supply having worked in the electrical. Also basecamp my mid size car EV equivalent requires a 7.4 kilowatt charger on 16 or 32 amp socket, so a rewire would be required. Multiply that on a single transformer for 50 or so homes. 1.1million tonnes plus imported coal trucked from Auckland to Huntly not insignificant. By the way those trucks will not be EV nor utes etc for years. Punitive tax them and give the money to others is wrong. Renewbles as you say not totally reliable as we still are in a TCC water restriction. Subsidies have never worked they distort supply and demand is poor policy.

From the summit,

Posted on 15-06-2021 08:48 | By R. Bell

It is clear yet again that the Mutual Admiration Department ( known as MAD ) of the Tauranga Over Sixties Society also known as ( work it out yourselves) are intent on mindless criticism of one of the most difficult issues facing the world. The current government have no choice but to kickstart the introduction of clean cars, Farmers and other businesses already get tax deductable relief for vehicles used in their everyday affairs. Stop making a mountain out of a molehill then you can join the rest of us on the summit to enjoy the fresh air.

@ Johnney + Slim Shady

Posted on 14-06-2021 21:27 | By

You both make excellent comments (not whinges). Slim Shady, I hadn’t realised the rebate was limited funds. Good point. I love your comment Johnney, to sort out base camp before you go mountain climbing. I am ex Military and that comment really hammers the consequences out. Well put. This whole ’offer’ gives money back to the wealthy only and robs the poor. It’s an absolute disgrace. No wonder the Government are going hybrid.

From basecamp.

Posted on 14-06-2021 19:19 | By R. Bell

NZ currently generates over 80% of its power generation from local renewable sources FACT. Importing coal is only for emergency purposes and less than 20% in high usage times and being replaced rapidly. Most car battery recharge will be overnight during low usage periods. Continuing the importation of second hand dirty rejects from Japan is an ecological disgrace, but don’t worry the usual team will whinge and moan until the next " issue" meanwhile boys have a shot of claytons and drown your sorrows.

the truth is rarely pure and never simple

Posted on 14-06-2021 14:56 | By Kancho

The subsidy is a punitive tax. There are a lot of vehicles that won’t be EVs for a very long time if ever. Subsidies invariably distort market forces of more supply/ demand and price will resist this. EV take up is happening at the manufacturing level and pricing improve as will supply so subsidies may bring a relatively few more vehicles in but by poor policy means. GST or fringe benefit taxes maybe more targeted less on EVs rather than punitive taxes on vehicles that are not EV. As to importing poor quality cars then limit those by import bans . Electrical supply is an issue as Meridian quotes home chargers between $1000 to $1300 and heavier wiring required. Pollution of manufacturing and disposal is a bigger issue but we export all that in reality. This policy creates as many problems as it proports to fix

Slim Shady

Posted on 14-06-2021 13:17 | By Johnney

Well pointed out. Sounds like a Claytons deal. Another ill conceived policy.


Posted on 14-06-2021 13:14 | By Johnney

R Bell. We are not whinging about cable sizes and transformers, just pointing out facts. I am sure any physicist would point out facts. Always sort out base camp before you go mountain climbing.

More electricity

Posted on 14-06-2021 12:52 | By

If petrol cars are replaced by EV cars, our power stations will have to pump out more electricity to make up with electricity. In 2017, the amount of petrol sold in NZ was 108.96 PetaJoules in energy terms = 30,266,666.67 MWh, which is a 3,455 MW power station running 24/7. Jacinda, start building now!

Legitimate concern

Posted on 14-06-2021 12:05 | By Kancho

A legitimate question as I am from an electrical background and see infrastructure way behind in every area. Importing coal to generate us a fact and hardly green . Current house charging EVs is a heavy loading and above normal circuit capabilities so installing a heavier rated plug is required. Trucking coal from the port of Auckland shows another gap in infrastructure so adding car charging to the load isn’t going to be easy. More money for infrastructure of supply and extra charging stations a huge bill. Added this to 850 billion estimate for infrastructure.

Joke rebate

Posted on 14-06-2021 11:19 | By

According to NZTA if the funds run out you don’t get the rebate. So you could enter a deal thinking you qualify for the rebate, which you do, but NZTA can turn round and say “tough, out of funds. Cheerio”. That’s a bit shonky as policies go.

Bang on Kancho

Posted on 14-06-2021 09:22 | By Johnney

A very esteemed kiwi physicist Dr Michael Kelly who teaches in the electric engineering department at University of Cambridge UK clearly states we don’t have the future infrastructure for charging EV’s. The greens won’t listen to this highly qualified expert and is labelled a conspirator against their green ideologies. He is not against EV’s and going green, just merely highlighting the truth and reality. Houses will need their power supplies upgraded, transformers in the street will need upgrading, we will need to generate a lot more electricity. The list goes on.

The do nothing

Posted on 14-06-2021 08:40 | By R. Bell

National party are a disgrace. We have a major problem with pollution and yet they politicise the issue, when will they understand there is no "perfect solution" we have to start somewhere tweeking is inevitable. Whinging about transformer and cable sizes from the uninformed is nothing but sad.


Posted on 14-06-2021 07:41 | By Kancho

Yep I agree. So many problems with this. We are currently importing coal to generate more power so electric cars need even more power from the grid. If everyone in my street has one then the transformer and cables will probably be insufficient. Also queueing up for public chargers .So we can’t cope with rubber tyres been thrown away and yet we will have masses of obsolete vehicles. Not to mention all these batteries to deal with after use which is still not happening satisfactorily. So not only a punitive tax but many other problems yet