“Making cheap, reliable cars more expensive for tradies and farmers in a cost of living crisis for no environmental gain will go down as one of Labour’s dumbest policies,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Despite desperately spinning that he’s a new broom in touch with everyday Kiwis, Chris Hipkins is no different from Jacinda Ardern. In reality, Labour doesn’t give a stuff about the tradies, farmers and working New Zealanders who are doing it tough.

“Not content with just punishing tradies and farmers, it worsens the cost of living crisis for everyone struggling by hammering the freight industry.

“Labour wants to slap a tax on all trucks now as well. The transport company pays more, the freight costs go up, and the cost of your loaf of bread or block of butter increases in the supermarket.

“Labour’s ute/freight tax ignores the fact that vehicles are already taxed and subsidised through the Emissions Trading Scheme. Motorists pay petrol taxes, ETS charges, GST, and a regional fuel tax in Auckland. The combination of the ute tax plus ETS charges means people who use petrol get hit with a double tax and EV owners get a double subsidy.

“Worst of all, someone shifting to an EV won’t reduce total emissions. Because they won’t use carbon credits under the ETS, they free credits up for someone else. This is because the total number of credits available is capped under the ETS.

"This is a totally incoherent policy.

“This is what ACT warned about when we were the only party to vote against the Zero Carbon Act: the constant ad hoc bans, regulations, taxes, and subsidies that would flow from it. The ETS is the most cost-effective tool we have for reducing emissions – we should use it properly.

“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 wealthier people buying Teslas.

“Labour is picking winners, it is divisive and wrong. If you drive an EV you’re a good person in their eyes, if you have the temerity to drive a petrol vehicle, regardless of whether you have a choice, then you deserve to be punished.

“The ute tax will impose an extra cost on New Zealand families who have no other options right now but to buy a petrol or diesel vehicle.

“ACT would repeal the ute tax and the Zero Carbon Act which drives such bad policy.”

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