Farmers, tradies angered by Government's proposed fees for high-emissions vehicles

The Government's proposal to slap gas-guzzling cars with an import fee in a bid to get more people to buy clean, green vehicles is being slammed by farmers and tradies.

For plumbers like Glen Burr, the work ute is an essential tool of the trade.

"It's just practicality, yeah… just for the share amount of the tools we have to take with us," Burr, the NZ Plumbers, Drainlayers and Gasfitters president, says

The Government's new proposal to hike the price on high emission vehicles like his Holden Colorado has him screaming tax.

"On top of a vehicle tax or petrol tax, that's already there."

Burr says it's a tax he will be passing on to his customers.

"We charge by the hour, so I don't know what the excuse would be for going to a job and saying I'm afraid I have to charge my car."

The Government accepts electric vehicles won't work for everyone, but with light vehicles accounting for almost two-thirds of transport emissions, they want to give Kiwis an incentive to buy clean.

"You can still get that double cab ute you need, you can still get that range rover if you really want it. You just pay a little bit extra to make sure the other cars on the road are reducing their pollution," says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.

Under the scheme, low emission new imports, such as electric vehicles, would be discounted by up to $8000. It would also reduce the price tag of more efficient cars, like popular models such as Suzuki Swifts and Toyota Corollas.

But the heaviest polluters could cost up to $3000 more.

Greenpeace questions if even that is enough.

"I would question whether or not $3000 is enough to disincentivise someone from buying a gas guzzler that costs more than a hundred thousand dollars," said Amanda Larsson from Greenpeace.

But it has farmers revved up.

"We're just getting hit again, we're going through environmental plans, we're dealing with that at this stage, and now this is being dumped on us as well," said farmer Rob Stokes.

He says more efficient vehicles simply wouldn't cope with difficult farm conditions.

"For day to day farming, it's mission impossible really."

Consultation on the scheme will run from July 9 to August 20, with Toyota New Zealand, the New Zealand Association of Plumbers and Federated Farmers having expressed interest in being involved in the consultation.