David Seymour, Judith Collins condemn Jacinda Ardern after Toyota shuts down PM's EV utes claims

David Seymour and Judith Collins are both condemning Jacinda Ardern after Toyota shut down the Prime Minister's claim the company is "talking about bringing in EV utes" to New Zealand.

Toyota New Zealand says it's "disappointed in misinformation" after Ardern suggested it's in discussions to bring an electric version of its famous utes here.

"Within the next - we're hoping the next 12 to 24 months - the likes of Toyota are talking about bringing in EV utes. My hope is then people might delay their purchase in order to start building the market," she told The AM Show on Monday.

But Toyota New Zealand put out a statement saying it isn't true.

"I'd like to reiterate that we do not have any plans for a battery electric Hilux in our line-up in the next 18-24 months," says Toyota New Zealand's CEO Neeraj Lala.

"It is irresponsible to suggest that customers stop buying non-electric vehicles immediately until there is an electric option available. The range and volumes of EV's needed to meet demand is simply not available."

ACT leader Seymour and National leader Collins are both hitting out at the Prime Minister in the aftermath.

"This is a classic example of Jacinda Ardern's growing distance from the real world," Seymour told Newshub.

"Really... PM Ardern should just own it. She has no thought for tradies and farmers. You can't trust Labour on tax," Collins said on Twitter.

"The PM needs to stop misleading New Zealanders. Her car tax will hit hardworking Kiwis who need a ute for work," she added on Facebook.

Starting July 1, New Zealanders who purchase a new EV - priced under $80,000 - will receive a rebate of up to $8625, while those who opt for a used model will be rewarded with a refund of up to $3450. 

To fund the rebates, the Government will impose a fee on newly imported, higher-emitting vehicles in January 2022.

But farmers say they don't have a viable alternative to the vehicles the Government plans on targeting with its Clean Car Package.

"Utes aren't a status symbol for us," says Andrew Hoggard, president of Federated Farmers. 

"They're what we need to actually do our jobs."

Seymour says the Government's plan is evidence Labour is "breaking its promise" to not introduce new taxes.

"Let's be clear - this is a new tax. A tradie or a farmer purchasing a Toyota Hilux will be slapped with a new tax of $2900," he says in a statement.

"The combination of feebate plus ETS charges means a double tax for Kiwis who need larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles. Feebate ignores the fact that we already tax and subsidise cars based on their fuel efficiency.

"The Government needs to drop its ad hoc bans, regulation, taxes and subsidies in tackling climate change. The ETS is the most cost-effective tool we have for reducing emissions."

And Collins has vowed to "reverse" the incentive scheme policy because she believes it unfairly targets farmers who need vehicles like utes for work. 

"National would reverse this ridiculous situation that the Government has put a lot of Kiwis into where people who have to have a ute for their work or want to have one for their work are now being told that they will get to pay for people who get choices around whether or not they have an EV," she told Magic Talk earlier on Monday.

"It is a tax, just like Labour said they wouldn't do - they're now doing it again, revoking all those promises they made and just going and doing exactly what they want to do."

But announcing the policy on Sunday, Transport Minister Michael Wood said we "have to do more" to tackle transport emissions.

"A discount on electric, hybrid and low-emission vehicles, funded from a fee on higher-emitting ones, is the best policy to increase low-emissions vehicle uptake in New Zealand," he continued.

"It's a common policy overseas, a recommendation of both the Climate Commission and the Productivity Commission, and is supported by the likes of the Motor Industry Association - it's time to get moving with it."