Controversial low-emission vehicle subsidy scheme blocked by NZ First

A controversial policy to lower the cost of low-emission vehicles by increasing the cost of gas guzzlers is being blocked by New Zealand First.

The Government believes the scheme would save billions in fuel, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

It was a Green Party policy that the leader of New Zealand First seemed to back in principal.

"The reality is we cannot go forward with the guzzlers we've got now," Winston Peters said in July 2019.

But now his party's blocking the policy after lobbying from the rural sector. That's despite Peters originally saying this:

"It won't affect 70 percent of the vehicles in this country for a start and most certainly not the 400,000-plus tat are out servicing rural New Zealand."

That's because the policy only affects imports under it. Low-emission vehicles like electric ones would be discounted by up to $8000.

Efficient petrol cars would also come down in cost, with a popular model like the Suzuki Swift dropping by $1100 and the Toyota Corolla falling by $800.

Meanwhile, the heaviest-polluters would cost up to $3000 more. A Toyota Hilux would cost $2000 extra and New Zealand's most popular new import, the Ford Ranger, would cost a further $2250.

The proposed policy is supported by the Motor Industry Association (MIA).

"Unless people begin to buy low emissions vehicles then transport will continue to be one of the problem sectors in terms of CO2 emissions," MIA CEO David Crawford.

The Opposition rubbished it from day one though. National ran attack ads online including some that were ruled to be misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority.

To meet our national climate targets the Productivity Commission says 80 percent of car imports need to be electric.

Currently, electric cars make up only about 2.5 percent of new car registrations.