“The Government’s Clean Car Standard (Ute Tax) is expected to increase the price of used cars by 20 to 25 per cent, making life tougher for everyday Kiwis grappling with the cost of living crisis,” says ACT’s Transport spokesperson Simon Court.

“The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) say the policy doesn’t work because of a lack of EV supply, and in particular a lack of electric options for utes and vans. Purchasers of petrol and diesel vehicles are paying more for no reason.

“It has also been reported that price rises in the electric vehicle market have already soaked up consumer rebates so those buying electric cars are no better off either. Prices have increased by between $3,000 and $11,000 per vehicle.

“The biggest impact of this policy has been a transfer of wealth from one group of New Zealanders to another, with tradies and working class Kiwis being taxed on their vehicle purchases to ensure a discount for people buying Teslas.

“ACT warned that this would be the outcome, and we were the only party to vote against the Clean Car Standard that went through Parliament last week. The policy will impose an extra cost on New Zealand businesses and families who have no other options right now but to buy a petrol or diesel vehicle for their needs.

“It doesn’t reduce global emissions either because no matter how much New Zealand taxpayers subsidise EVs, it doesn’t make any more come out of the factory in Asia or Europe. Plus the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme already puts a cap on emissions.

“In 2021 automotive manufacturers told Parliament’s Transport Committee and Minister Michael Wood that existing factories would be converted to produce almost exclusively EVs and Hydrogen vehicles between 2025 and 2028.

“Once that conversion happens, there will be an almost unlimited supply of low emission vehicles to New Zealand. Until then, the Clean Car Standard is only going to increase prices in the absence of consumers being able to choose.

“ACT would repeal the Ute Tax, and the Zero Carbon Act which drives such bad policy. The incentives to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions are the price at the pump. The cost of fuel already includes the cost of carbon emissions under the ETS, around 20 cents per liter for petrol and 23 cents per litre for diesel.

“ACT would use the revenues from the ETS to pay kiwis a Carbon Tax Dividend of around $250 per person per annum, which amounts to around $750 to $1000 per household. ACT believes Kiwis should have the right to choose whether to use the ETS revenues to put towards a low emissions vehicle, install a heat pump or just pay a household bill.

“In a just a few years time Kiwis will have more low emissions vehicles to choose from than they can possibly imagine. Labour’s interventions won’t change that, they just make New Zealanders poorer in the meantime.”

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Simon Court