Govt. stumbles over Thursday deadline for EV rebates scheme

Like so many other Kiwis I had high hopes for Jacinda Ardern and her new-look Labour government.  Freed, at the last election (by voters like you and I, should you need reminding), of the twin policy hand brakes of both the tyrannical NZ First and doctrinaire Green Parties, the Robin Hood-esque figure of Ardern and her bunch of ‘merry men;’ finally had both the mandate and the means to govern…and govern well.

So…. when, where and perhaps most importantly, how (come) some ‘things’ have turned pear-shaped so quickly.

Case in point, the Clean Car Standard and Clean Car Discount programmes which both come into force this Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Clean Car Standard and the Clean Car Discount will, according to the New Zealand Transport Agency, form……and I quote, “the central pillars of a range of government initiatives to tackle transport sector CO2 emission levels. It is proposed that the Clean Car Discount will focus on influencing vehicle demand and the Clean Car Standard on influencing vehicle supply.”

As I suspect only some of you know, “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 decarbonizing transport. 

“The proposed 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 will encourage buyer demand by providing rebates for zero and low-emission light vehicles registered in New Zealand for the first time.

This is where it gets interesting, and – arguably – explains why owners of Utes were in the news last week when PM Jacinda Ardern wrongly asserted that Toyota was building an EV Hilux.

“The Clean Car Discount comes into effect on 1 July 2021 and until 31 December 2021 will provide rebates for eligible new and used light electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) after they are registered in New Zealand for the first time.

“From 1 January 2022, however, the Clean Car Discount will be based on the CO2 emissions of vehicles. Those with zero or low emissions would qualify for a rebate and those with high emissions will incur a fee.

The proposed Clean Car Standard and Clean Car Discount schemes are part of a suite of measures Cabinet has approved to help address climate change.

Like the recent debate that flared up around the Ardern Government’s ham-fisted attempt to demonize the modern, all-things-to-all-people 4,5 or 6-cylinder Turbo Diesel-engined, double cab (TD DC) Utes in favour of small, expensive EVs (Electric Vehicles) or PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) which are next to useless for anything more arduous than a short daily commute you really do have to watch what you wish for when it comes to convincing punters to give up what they know, like, and are comfortable with and ‘go electric.’”

For instance, an $8K rebate might be enough to see you trade your older model petrol SUV for a new compact Hyundai, Kia or MG one, but if you-re a farmer and it’s a day like today (as I write this, it’s the last week in June so it is bitterly cold and has been raining on and off for most of the day) no EV SUV will be able to do what your 10-yr-old Toyota Hilux SR5 can do.

Which EV will continue to offer a tradie the flexibility of a Ute?

Or for that matter is any currently (sorry!) available EV or PHEV a spot on a Ford Ranger Wildtrak 4×4 if……………… you’re a tradie in town and – after another red letter year ‘on the tools’ – you’ve just treated yourself to a brand new Stabicraft 1850 or Surtees 7 or 850 Game Fisher ‘tinnie,’ which you are still going to have to tow for at least two-and-a-half hours each way to get to and from your favourite boat ramp.

This seemingly effortless ability to tow any (braked) load up to 3500kgs is just one of the reasons Ford’s Ranger continues not only to be New Zealand’s top-selling new Light Commercial vehicle for something like the sixth year in a row, the multi-model Ranger, er, range has also in those six short years become New Zealand’s biggest selling individual model period!

See also: It’s about the production and not the delivery

Ross MacKay is an award-winning journalist, author and publicist with first-hand experience of motorsport from a lifetime competing on two and four wheels. He currently combines contract media work with weekend Mountain Bike missions and trips to grassroots drift days.

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