“Chris Hipkins’ claim that the Ute Tax was one of Labour’s most successful initiatives either shows how little Labour has achieved, or how little they care about everyday Kiwis who are unable to drive an EV,” says ACT’s Transport spokesperson Simon Court.

“Speaking to reporters today, Hipkins said that the Clean Car Discount was one of the most successful initiatives of the Labour government.

“If the objective was to punish farmers, tradies, large families and many other consumers with higher used vehicle costs as the country faces a cost-of-living crisis, then mission accomplished.

“The reality is that the Clean Car Discount has always been virtue signalling nonsense from a government that hates petrol-powered cars and is out of touch with the practicalities of many Kiwis’ day to day lives. It is bad public policy and predictably is making life harder for Kiwis.

“Transport policy needs to be focussed on transportation. The government can enact a sensible climate policy that runs concurrently but doesn’t dictate everything New Zealand does.

“Instead of taxing tradies to subsidise Teslas, ACT would give every household a carbon tax refund from the Emissions Trading Scheme to use as they see fit. We say Kiwis should get a refund and choose whether to spend the money on a heat pump, an EV or putting gas in the car.

“If the government wants to take climate change seriously, all it needs to do is announce that emissions under the ETS would be capped at the same level as our trading partners. That would meet our climate commitments and allow consumers to choose how they limit their emissions. If you emit less, you keep more of your own money.

“After all, the climate doesn’t care which country emissions come from, just the overall quantity.

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

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