National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett has blasted proposed penalties on high-emissions vehicles, claiming they're just another tax on hard-working Kiwis.
The Government announced it's considering a "feebate" scheme, which would lower the cost of lower emission, hybrid or electric vehicles while adding a fee to bigger cars like utes and SUVs.
- The popular vehicles tipped for discounts and fees in 2021
- Electric vehicle costs: How easy is it to be green?
- Government announces proposed clean vehicle incentives
Bennett said the first part of the plan is a great idea, but she's not fond of the second.
"What I don't think you should be doing is penalising others," she told The AM Show
"Yet again it will be more of our rural communities, our farmers that don't have alternatives so why penalise those that don't have an alternative and are out there doing it a bit tough in the regions anyway at the moment."
Farmers and tradies lashed out at the proposal, saying they need the utes to run their businesses.
"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," farmer Rob Stokes told Newshub on Wednesday.
Bennett said she would be pushing to see the trades workers and farmers exempted from the policy.
"I'm a Westie you know, don't mess with my tradies and their utes man and don't mess with our farmers, they're out there doing a damn good job.
"They need those vehicles for towing for the work that they do."
- Government announces Zero Carbon Bill details for fighting climate change
- From humble beginnings to a key Government pledge: The journey of the Zero Carbon Act
- Thousands have their say on Zero Carbon Bill
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter told The AM Show on Tuesday people using their vehicles for business already get significant discounts.
"These are brand new cars that are nearly $50,000 and if you are using it for work you already get a tax write off for your vehicle, so you're probably not paying tax on the vehicle.
"You have some tax advantages for buying these, and that's part of the reason they're so popular right now.
"We want to provide the tax advantages to the vehicles that are going to reduce pollution and save Kiwis money."
People using double-cab utes for their businesses are able to write off the GST component of the purchase, and do not pay fringe benefit tax, RNZ reported in November 2018.
Who will be hit
One model of ute, the $34,000 Nissan Navara, would not attract a fee. Utes like the $59,000 Holden Colorado or $56,000 Mitsubishi Triton would cost an extra $2500.
Other vehicles would have fees between $2000 and $3000.
The $59,990 Hyundai Ioniq would be discounted by $8000, while a $36990 Kia Niro Hybrid SUV would see the price drop by $4800.
Some smaller petrol cars will become cheaper too, a $6000 Honda Fit would have an $800 discount, while an $11,000 Mazda Demio would drop by $1100.