Mike's Minute: Government's EV backdown yet another embarrassment

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Thursday, 10 October 2019, 9:37AM

COMMENT:

Yet another example of theory versus reality.

The heady days of opposition - when anything can be said, knowing full well it doesn't actually have to happen - versus the cold, hard reality of life with consequences and accountability.

The Government promised, when they arrived in office all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, to have all government cars emissions-free (eg electric) by 2025.

Sounds cool, like those other promises: light rail to the airport in Auckland down Dominion Road by 2021 (not happening); 100,000 KiwiBuild houses over 10 years (not happening). Well the EV promise is not happening either.

They've not announced it per se, why would they? Things are ugly enough in the "year of delivery" as it is, without heaping yet more misery and embarrassment on the pile.

But the promise that all cars would be EVs has been changed to all new cars that enter the fleet should be EVs by mid-2025. So in other words forget it, none of it will ever happen.

The government fleet is currently about 15,000 vehicles. Of those 78 are EVs - and to be honest I don't know if those 78 doesn't involve hybrids, which aren't electric at all, but often heaped into the same category.

The Government has been caught, as so many idealists have on the issues of the day, with vastly and elaborately grandiose promises that they simply can't and could never deliver on.

Because they failed the fundamental test: what exactly are you buying into? EVs are fraught, their batteries are major issues, we have no idea how to dispose of them or recycle them.

Julie Anne Genter, the Government's chief vehicular scientist, claims we will re-purpose them by running our fridges with them. She says this with a straight face.

They haven't addressed the mining of the elements required, often extracted in third world countries by third world labour forces.

And then, of course, the cost, which is still a major issue, even if the mad feebates scheme ever sees the light of day.

Which is, as I always say, not a reason not to buy an EV if you so choose. If you want one, like one, and think it will help your life and/or the planet in some way, go buy one. Buy eight.

But don't turn them, for shallow political purposes , into some sort of self-serving eco promise, or life-changing miracle, because they're not.

In doing what the Government has done and then undoing it, because it was hopelessly unrealistic to begin with, and they never did their homework on it, all they've done is take the good work of others and tarnish it by their lack of actual delivery.

Governments lead the way on ideas and change, governments' words carry weight and provide direction. "Saying" the so-called right thing is easy, but when it all uncoils, what are you left with? The impression that if a whole government can't do it, maybe none of us can, and why would we bother?

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