Green Party MPs Julie Anne Genter and James Shaw have celebrated their victory over New Zealand First in implementing rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, saying their rivals "prevented" it from happening while they were in Government.
Earlier on Sunday, the Government announced its Clean Car Package which is set to drive down New Zealand's emissions. It includes a range of measures to help New Zealand meet its 2050 carbon neutral target.
As part of the package, the Government is offering new rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles starting July 1, with up to $8625 for new vehicles and $3450 for used.
A similar scheme was unveiled in the last term of Government by Genter, but it was ultimately blocked by New Zealand First early last year after lobbying from the rural sector.
Now, Genter says Sunday's announcement is a "huge win" for the party and has been "a long time coming".
"As Associate Transport Minister last term, this was one of my highest priorities. Ultimately we were prevented from getting it over the line by NZ First, but not this time," she wrote in a Facebook post.
Shaw, who is also the Climate Change Minister and co-announced the scheme on Sunday, says Genter designed the plan's structure and worked "tirelessly" to get it through before NZ First blocked it.
Transport Minister Michael Wood says the Clean Car Package is common overseas, so "it's time to get moving with it".
"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 says.
The Clean Car Discount will make it cheaper for New Zealanders to buy electric and low-emission vehicles. It's understood the initiative will prevent up to 9.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and will help with the upfront cost of switching to an EV, with Kiwis getting up to $8625 back on their purchase.
Some changes have been made to the policy proposed last term, Wood says. Only safer models and vehicles under $80,000 are eligible for rebates, which will begin from July 1.
Fees on higher-emitting vehicles to help fund the scheme won't begin until January 1, 2022. The rebates will also expand from January 1 to include low-emission vehicles, not just electric and plug-in hybrids.
"Importantly the policy only applies to new and used cars arriving in New Zealand, so the existing second-hand market of cars that lower-income families tend to purchase from will not be affected," Wood says.
Under the Clean Car Package, the Government is offering:
- new rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles starting July 1, with up to $8625 for new vehicles and $3450 for used
- chargers every 75km along most state highways to give Kiwis confidence to go electric
- nearly four times the funding for the Low Emission Transport Fund by 2023 to continue to grow the nationwide EV charging network and support other low-emission refuelling networks
- an Electric Vehicle Buyers Guide to help guide potential buyers
- the establishment of an electric vehicles sector leadership group in the coming weeks to help develop policies and increase uptake
- and the establishment of a proposed Sustainable Biofuels Mandate to prevent over a million tonnes of emissions while Kiwis switch over to electric.