Mike's Minute: NZ First has saved us from mad EV feebate scheme

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 24 Feb 2020, 2:12PM

Mike's Minute: NZ First has saved us from mad EV feebate scheme

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 24 Feb 2020, 2:12PM

Ahhhh - the old 'get it out there late Friday, and hope no one notices’.

Well, not me. NZ First has killed Julie Anne Genter’s crazed dalliance into economic madness: her nutty feebate scheme for EVs.

This was the one where you were going to pay more for your car if it's driven by petrol or diesel, and that extra money would have been used to make an electric car cheaper. It depended a bit on what sized engine it had, but you could have been whacked about $8,000.

What was particularly egregious about the idea was she claimed it was fiscally neutral, when in reality she could make no such claim. The claim was based on an assumption she simply could not know.

It required people to buy a certain number of petrol cars in order to create a fund large enough to offset the savings on an EV. For example, a Nissan Leaf would be 8,000 cheaper. A Ford Ranger was potentially 3,000 more expensive, so over two and a half Rangers needed to be bought, to offset one Leaf.

What if that didn’t happen? What if everyone piled into Leafs and no one bought petrol, where was the money coming from? She couldn't tell us, because the whole thing was a wacky type of ponzi scheme that the architect didn’t understand.

It was also egregious because yet again, it involved a level of artificiality that simply doesn’t work and isn’t fair. The same as last week's scandal around tax payer money for multi-million dollar companies to get paid to put EV chargers in. Why are we paying people who have no shortage of money to do stuff they could do themselves if they wanted?

If you want to buy electric, buy it, but don’t expect me to subsidise you.

And that, I suppose, is what the New Zealand First part of this coalition was supposed to be all about. It was the moderating force in a group that would turn us dangerously left and liberal, not to mention broke. They killed the CGT on the same premise. They got the farmers a break on the ETS. They should have stood firm on gun reform and have hurt their base because they haven’t.

But the common sense that drives the killing of the Genter feebate is the sort of thing that might well give them hope for September, given right now they're on a three in all polls. Their specific plight aside, though, they have saved us from madness and dangerous people.

Genter is economically challenged and that’s putting it kindly. An idea that would have been driven through based on crazed ideology and nothing more, is now in the bin where it belongs and we can all be grateful to NZ First for that.