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Kerre Woodham: Good riddance to the Clean Car Discount

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Fri, 15 Dec 2023, 1:22PM
Photo / File
Photo / File

Kerre Woodham: Good riddance to the Clean Car Discount

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Fri, 15 Dec 2023, 1:22PM

So, the clean car discount, aka the Ute Tax, has been repealed as Parliament continues to sit in urgency in the lead-up to the Christmas break. Some of those politicians won't know what's hit them, working past the 15th of December!  

The clean car discount you'll remember was a Labour initiative, originally introduced in July 2021. Initially, it provided rebates for consumers that purchased electric and hybrid vehicles. You know, there were substantial rebates for an EV. If it was a new car, you got back just over a tad over $7000, a used car a tad over $3,500. If it was a hybrid and a new car, you got $4000 back. And if it was a used import, you got $2000 back.   

Electric and hybrid vehicles cost more than the old-fashioned internal combustion engine vehicles, so the initiative was designed to encourage Kiwis to opt for carbon friendly vehicles to make them more affordable.  

But we're only talking about a certain class of Kiwi here. Not everybody has the dosh to spend money on a new car, a new electric car or a new hybrid car so we're talking the top few percenters. The sales data suggested it was working and why wouldn't it? If you give somebody something for nothing, they're going to take advantage of that. 2022 was the biggest year on record for EV and hybrid sales overall.  

The most popular EV in the country, the Tesla Model Y, starts at $67,500. That's your basic bog standard, Tesla. Who has got $67.5K to spend on a new car? Again, we're talking about the top few percenters. The GWM aura, was introduced into New Zealand just recently. It's $42,990, and that's currently the cheapest new EV in the market. Newsflash, $43K is not cheap, but that is the least expensive.  

So, these rebates were going to people who could afford to buy cars anyway. If you can afford to spend $67.5K on a new car, you could afford the $7000 on the end. The discount was paid for by adding additional costs of up to $7000 on higher emission vehicles like the utes. Did that put off the punters? No, not a bit.  

With just one month left in the books for 2023, the Ford Ranger is all but confirmed to be New Zealand's most popular new vehicle for the 9th year in a row. And that's with both Ford and Mitsubishi dealerships confirming that they're telling customers, look, don't bother buying a new ute this year. Hold off. If the coalition government gets in, if National gets in, clean car discount will be gone, the ute tax will be gone, and then you won't have to pay the fee-bate levy. Despite that, commercial vehicle sales actually grew slightly in November. We went stuff your fee, stuff your levy, I'm buying it anyway. And then, of course, when 2024 rolls around with the fee-bate gone, the market expects ute sales to kick off with the bang.  

Now of course, Labour sold it as being fiscally neutral. You know, we're going to tax the utes and the heavy emitters and we're going to use that money as a rebate for EV's. So, was it fiscally neutral? Thank you for asking. Of course it wasn't. There's a new form of girl maths and it's called Robertson maths, which doesn't make any sense whatsoever.  

The ute tax was supposed to cover the rebates and admin costs. More has been paid out in rebates than has ever been received in charges. That's only set to get worse with, shock me, more taxpayer money needed to keep the scheme afloat. More than $579 million has been paid out in rebates, $13.5 million spent in admin costs. How much has been collected? $290 million. So even people who got 56% in School C maths (that would be me), understands that $290 million does not equal $579 million plus $13.5 million. That's left the taxpayer facing a $302.5 million deficit. So we have to make that up.  

Oh, it's fiscally neutral. No, it's not girl maths Grant. It's really not. You're not taking in enough to cover the running of the scheme. Who's going to pay for it? Taxpayer. All those people buying the bloody utes were getting up at 5am in the morning and going to work. They're the ones who are going to pay for it. So not only are they paying for the fee-bate so some lovely human has worked very hard and who has got the dosh, who's got $70 odd thousand to spend on a brand-new car can get a rebate on it.  

How does that even begin to make sense? Even with a rich prick capitalist government, how does it make sense? And yet, here you've got Labour champions of the poor, who are demanding the poor get in their utes that they've had to pay more for, get up at 5am in the morning, go to work to subsidise the scheme that allows rich pricks to buy new Teslas.  

Good riddance to the Clean Car discount.  Long may it be gone. Fiscally neutral my Aunt Fanny.    

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