Anyone else starting to develop the niggling feeling that Labour is anti-motorist?
If you are, that’s a problem for Labour.
Of course, I’m asking this question off the back of the EV announcement yesterday.
The political nerds right know will be wondering how much is this new petrol car tax going to hurt Labour.
Answer, not a lot right now, because you don’t buy cars every day, so most of us probably can’t see right now how or when it’s going to get us or how much we’ll be stung.
But this is a slow burner: people are going to get annoyed over time as they get reminded over and over again how anti-motorist this government is.
Bizarrely, the government is going to remind you about your car tax. I just expected it would be buried in the price of the car you’re buying so you’d never really have to address it.
But no, when you buy your new or imported second hand vehicle, they’re going to force you to log on to register your car for the first time and you will be redirected to a website where you will find out what your tax is and you’ll have to pay it. Every person will be reminded that they’re being taxed.
So how many people will that annoy?
In 2019, there were 245,000 new registrations in the country. If that number holds, then between this car tax coming in at the start of next year and the 2023 election, about 429,000 car owners will log in to find out how many thousands they’re paying in tax.
That’s about 12-13 percent of voters. If the car is owned by a couple and both of them are annoyed at the tax, it could be up to 24-26 percent of annoyed voters now.
And I suspect it’s going to irritate more people than not. Because most of us only care about climate change until it starts costing us actual money, and then don’t care as much.
And this feeds that growing narrative that Labour is out to get you if you’re a motorist.
This announcement plus the boomer bike bridge to Birkenhead, plus the cancellation of desperately needed roading projects like Mill Road south of Auckland and SH1 from Port Mardsen to Whangārei, plus all the cycleways being built everywhere, plus the petrol levy in Auckland.
All of that is going to remind you they’re not listening to you. They are deliberately leaving you in congestion.
And then every time you pay this tax, or get told by your wife or brother or mum or friend how annoyed they are at paying this tax, it all adds up to a growing annoyance at all of us having to pay more, but going nowhere faster, and the sense that Labour doesn’t like motorists.
And that over time might well hurt them.