“Transport Minister Michael Wood has point blank refused to even consider allowing cyclone victims to avoid a significant tax when replacing their written off utes,” says ACT’s Transport Spokesperson Simon Court.

“In Parliament today, Wood said he wouldn’t allow tradies and orchardists whose utes were destroyed by Cyclone Gabrielle avoid taxes under the Clean Car Discount scheme, so they can replace their utes without being hit by thousands of dollars in new taxes.

“On what planet is it compassionate to force cyclone victims to pay that tax when they have no option of buying an electric ute?

“With up to ten thousand vehicles expected to be written off in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, the Government’s ute tax needs to go. Flood-affected families trying to rebuild their lives shouldn’t be taxed more to help pay for someone’s new Tesla.

“Wood has tried to claim that those who have lost their vehicle will just buy an EV. He knows all too well that tradies, farmers and large families don’t have that option. The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) has previously stated that there is a lack of EV supply, and in particular a lack of electric options for utes and vans.

“ACT hoped the Government would be able to display a degree of compassion and pragmatism and relax the Clean Car Standard (CCS) and Clean Car Discount (CCD) for people who need to replace vehicles lost in the floods. But Michael Wood is happy to forge ahead with policy that is adding thousands of dollars to the bills of people who have lost everything.

“Insurers and lending companies have also indicated they are uncertain about their obligations to pay the additional cost imposed by the CCD and CCS, which means some people simply won’t be able to afford to replace their vehicles like for like.

“ACT will repeal the Clean Car Discount and Clean Car Standard. They’re bad policies that impose additional costs on consumers during a cost of living crisis. Many New Zealand businesses and families have no other options right now than to buy a petrol or diesel vehicle for their needs. They shouldn’t be punished for that.

“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.

“The Minister should reflect on his Government’s alleged new-found commitment to focussing on bread and butter issues, and give Kiwis a break from bad policies like the ute tax and clean car standards.”

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Simon Court