Scheme a tax, pure and simple

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There are many people around the Waitaki district who are justifiably peeved off about the Government’s clean-car discount scheme that’s dominated headlines recently.

I’ve been inundated with messages from people who are upset and frustrated about how they’re being dictated to, especially when they will be penalised for something they can’t do much about.

This is a tax, pure and simple.

What makes it wrong is that it’s a tax on people who have little or no option about the sort of vehicle they use.

There are some nice EVs on the market for zipping around town but there are no electric utes currently on the market and there won’t be any for some time according to the big players in the motor vehicle industry.

There will be plenty of people in the Waitaki who will be affected by this tax.

Our farmers need strong, reliable utes to handle the rigours of farm work.

Tradies need utes to transport supplies.

Large families and those in remote areas need bigger vehicles to get their children and their sports gear from A to B.

A brand new electric vehicle alternative is simply not an option for many right now.

We want people to lead healthy lifestyles and spend more time outdoors. But this tax will also penalise those who own a ute to go hunting up in the Hakataramea or those towing their boat to do some fishing on Lake Aviemore.

If we get down to brass tacks, a farmer who buys a new Hilux will be stung with a $2900 tax which is a significant amount of money. Farmers tell me that it feels like they’re being hit with more costs and regulations every day under this Government and I can empathise with them.

Residents in this part of the country have told me that this scheme is unfair and the Government has gone about it in the wrong way – I agree.

National supports incentivising people to purchase EVs, but there are other more positive ways to encourage their uptake that don’t involve punishing those who can’t make the switch.

National would like to see more positive initiatives such as exempting EVs from fringe-benefit tax, extending road-user charge exemptions and allowing EVs to use bus lanes.

Catching up with the rest of the world in the uptake of EVs is something we should strive to do but this scheme is poorly thought out and features a tax at the heart of it which feels mean-spirited to a large chunk of New Zealanders.

I’m also uncomfortable with how this tax has come about.

It was first proposed back in 2019 – close to 70% of public submissions opposed it and it was rightly ditched.

Then, during the 2020 election campaign, Labour promised no surprise taxes.

Yet here we are now with the car tax being resurrected post-election.

Labour should have campaigned on it rather than going down this dishonest and undemocratic route.

To see the Prime Minister talk about what is the “legitimate” use of these vehicles, borders on the ridiculous. The vast majority of New Zealanders are more than capable of determining for themselves what sort of vehicle they need. This is just nanny state nonsense that we have every right to reject.

People in the Waitaki and across New Zealand should be allowed to choose the best vehicle option for them without being unfairly penalised.

National will repeal Labour’s car tax – simple as that.

  • Jacqui Dean is the MP for Waitaki