Heather du Plessis-Allan: Why only half of e-vehicle scheme is a great idea

Heather du Plessis-Allan ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 9 July 2019, 4:39PM
One of the two main ideas is great, the other is a bit more wishy-washy, writes Heather. (Photo / File)

This scheme to get us out of environment-killing cars actually seems to be like a smart idea.

This had the potential to go horribly wrong, but I reckon the Government’s nailed it on this one.

I say mostly as there are actually a couple of proposals in this plan. One proposal is great, the other not so much

Let’s deal with the great one first, the car discount. What it means is if you buy an EV or a petrol car that runs really efficiently, you get a discount, as much as $8000 off the price.

If you buy a gas-guzzling climate killer, you’re going to get a penalty or a fine of about $3000 on the car

What I like about it is you have a choice. If you care about the environment, you’re getting a cheaper car. If you don’t care, because you want to drive a Maserati, or if you’re a farmer and you want a big old ute, you pay a bit more  but not a lot more. It’s only a few thousand dollars, and what’s an extra couple thousand dollars if you are already paying $50K on a ute?

I also like that it doesn’t punish the poor, because it doesn’t apply to cars already in the country. It’s just new and used imports.

Which means if you can’t afford to spend too much, or be pinged by this, you can stick to buying re-sales within New Zealand and you won’t get pinged.

Also, it’s bringing down the price of some of the cheaper, more popular cars. You can still buy your Suzuki swift and it’ll cost you even less now.  $8000 for a 2009 Suzuki Swift, minus your $1,100 discount, even cheaper.

The cars that we like the most, they will larger be cheaper. Seven out of the top ten cars in this country,  will end up costing less. Your Suzuki swift, your Honda Fit, your Mazda Demio.

There is a second idea in the scheme that I’m not so sure about, and that’s the Clean Car Standard. This is where cars have to meet a certain standard of low emissions or the car dealer cops a penalty for each car that’s over the standard.

And you know who ends up paying that penalty? You and I, which means that a lot of our cars will become more expensive and it will undo some of the car discount. We don’t know how much. I asked the Government what the prices are, they don’t know, so all that seems a bit wishy-washy.

As per usual the devil is in the detail. I’m going to withhold my judgement on the clean car standards until we know exactly how much that will cost. But the discount – great idea.

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