New Zealand First's decision to block the introduction of the low-emissions vehicle 'feebate' policy is a "slap in the face" to consumers and businesses who have already decided to buy them, the head of an electric vehicle lobby group says.
The scheme would have lowered the cost of new electric vehicles, hybrids and low-emission vehicles, while adding fees onto the cost of high-emissions vehicles like utes and SUVs. It would also have put pressure on car importers to ship more eco-friendly vehicles using clean energy.
It was a Green Party policy New Zealand First appeared to back last year, but is now holding up after lobbying from the rural sector.
Drive Electric chairman Mark Gilbert says the hold-up is a "leap back into the industrial age".
"While the majority of developed countries are embracing electric vehicles, New Zealand is choosing to continue to 'poison' its environment with the cast-off fossil fueled vehicles from other nations."
He said New Zealand First is blocking the feebate scheme in "defiance" of the Government's international commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
"As the vehicles we add to the New Zealand fleet will remain registered for an estimated 19 years, every high-emitting vehicle we reduce from this number will have a large and lasting impact."
Gilbert said the proposed initiatives may not have been perfect, but industry was working well with the Ministry of Transport to overcome the issues.
The Greens said they'll take the policy into the next election.
"Kicking the can down the road, is incomprehensible, but will be interesting to see how the political parties position themselves as doing nothing isn't an option if we are serious about carbon targets and agreed targets," said Gilbert.
Newshub has contacted NZ First for a response.