New Zealand plans BEV subsidies & Carbon dioxide tariffs

Women's Minister Julie Anne Genter

Women's Minister Julie Anne Genter

It plans to put a fee of up to 2,010 USA dollars on the highest polluting vehicles when they're sold in New Zealand for the first time.

The Government has today opened a six-week consultation period before it introduces new legislation in Parliament later this year.

"The cars, utes and vans we use every day are also the fastest growing source of harmful climate pollution and account for almost 70 percent of our transport emissions", said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.

It would come into force in 2021.

With cars being responsible for the majority of climate pollution, most New Zealanders would want to buy a auto that was better for the environment, Ms Genter told Morning Report today.

That number would be $6800 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs) and $4800 for hybrids. "The level of fees and discounts would be reviewed over time to ensure it is effective in encouraging low-emission vehicles and that the level of discounts paid out is largely in balance with the level of fees received". "The Ministry of Transport projections suggest that only around 40 percent of vehicles entering New Zealand will be electric in 2030 without further government intervention or incentives", according to the 44-page discussion document. Cars like Hyundai's Loniq battery electric vehicle (BEV) are poised to become more common.

But a new Land Rover Sports V8 would be slapped with a $3000 high-emissions fee.

A $22,000 Toyota Hiace would cost an extra $1400 after the fee was applied.

Climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says New Zealand should implement a timeline for completely phasing out diesel and petrol vehicles, in the same way that countries including Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands have done. "Until now, New Zealand has been one of only a few developed countries without vehicle emissions standards, so we have a lot of catching up to do".

Some 74 per cent of annual vehicles sales are of vehicles already registered and these would not be affected, Genter said.

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"Shifting to electric and fuel-efficient vehicles is a smart economic decision", Meridian chief executive Neal Barclay said.

"The government intends to transition its full fleet to emissions free vehicles by 2026", he said.

"While the government believes that we are not importing the best models, the reality is that new vehicle distributors simply supply what people buy", he said.

New auto importers have welcomed government measures to reduce emissions from the transport fleet, but warn one of the initiatives - a proposed clean vehicle standard - may not be as effective as hoped.

Those discounts will gradually decrease every year after 2021, as the emission point at which cars start attracting fees also drops.

Genter said the economic evaluation shows the benefits of the clean auto standard outweigh the costs by a factor of 3 to 1. Vehicles bought under the clean auto standard could deliver average life-time fuel savings of $6,800 - or $3.4 billion nationally - officials estimate.

She said the policy is forecast to reduce emissions by 5.1 million tonnes.

Nearly half of new cars sold in Norway in the first six months of 2019 were powered by fully electric engines, as the Nordic nation leads the global ranking in electric vehicle sales.

The policies would help make electric, hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles a "realistic option" for more New Zealanders by reducing their upfront cost, she said.

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