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National vows to scrap discounts on EVs and 'ute tax' in first 100 days if elected

Claire Trevett,
Publish Date
Sat, 30 Sep 2023, 1:52PM
Photo / Jason Oxenham
Photo / Jason Oxenham

National vows to scrap discounts on EVs and 'ute tax' in first 100 days if elected

Claire Trevett,
Publish Date
Sat, 30 Sep 2023, 1:52PM

National will scrap the scheme for discounts on electric vehicles and the so-called ute tax within its first 100 days if elected, leader Christopher Luxon said today.

Luxon made the announcement in Hamilton as the rural Groundswell protest group heads to Auckland for a rally tomorrow.

National’s transport spokesman Simeon Brown said the Clean Car Discount scheme - which taxes high-emission vehicles to pay to subsidise low-emission vehicles - was not fiscally sustainable and unfair.

“National does not believe New Zealanders who can afford to buy a brand-new electric car need a subsidy from hardworking taxpayers to pay for it,” Brown said.

Luxon, who will speak to media shortly, is also likely to be asked about events overshadowing the campaign, as Police investigate reports Te Pāti Māori candidate Hana Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke’s Waikato home was raided and threatening letters sent to her, and an incident in which Labour MP Angela Roberts was slapped on the face after a candidates’ meeting.

Hauraki-Waikato candidate Maipi-Clarke’s Waikato home has been invaded, vandalised and left with a threatening letter in an alleged politically-motivated attack.

Hana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke, Te Pāti Māori candidate for Hauraki-Waikato. Photo / Erica SinclairHana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke, Te Pāti Māori candidate for Hauraki-Waikato. Photo / Erica Sinclair

A Te Pāti Māori spokesperson said there had been a number of incidents at Maipi-Clark’s home, and they were politically motivated.

“When our billboards are vandalised, and when our candidates are verbally assaulted, it is not an attack on them as individuals or us as a political party.”

Last week a group of iwi leaders wrote a public letter urging political parties to stop race-baiting for political gain in the election and Labour MP Chris Hipkins has also accused parties - Act and NZ First - of race-baiting.

Luxon yesterday said that it was Hipkins who trying to make race an election issue, because he was “a desperate” man.

Both parties have campaigned against co-governance, which Winston Peters has called “a virus” and “a disease.”

Act leader David Seymour has denied he is dog whistling and said it was important people could talk about issues such as co-governance without being accused of racist.

National’s fiscal plan was released yesterday, which Luxon said would pay down debt faster and return a healthier surplus than Labour’s - as well as paying for its tax cuts promise.

The biggest saving announced on Friday was $2b cut from the amount forecast to be spent on benefits over the four-year forecast period. National is proposing indexing benefits to the CPI rather than wages, which is expected to reduce the extent to which benefit levels increase.

Labour has said that would result in a boost to child poverty.

National’s plan also carries a $9.9 billion “buffer” of unallocated operating spending to respond to cost pressures and changing circumstances, such as natural disasters.

However, Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson said there was a $537m hole in the first year of National’s fiscal plan because it was banking the gains from its proposed new taxes, such as the foreign buyer tax.

“You can’t base your fiscal plan on income no one thinks you’re going to get - it’s a sand castle,” Robertson said.

He said National’s fiscal plan leaned on its tax package, so if the tax package fell over so did the whole thing.

Willis called this “nonsense”.

National expects to sell 1700 homes a year to foreigners at an average price of $2.9m, but it hasn’t said how it came to those numbers, prompting Labour to claim they’ve been plucked from thin air.

National has said its numbers have been independently verified by consultants Castalia, though other economists have variously called its expected revenue from the foreign buyers tax plausible, optimistic, and complete rubbish.

Claire Trevett is the NZ Herald’s political editor, based at Parliament in Wellington. She started at the NZ Herald in 2003 and joined the Press Gallery team in 2007. She is a life member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. 

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