Green MP Julie Anne Genter slams National after Christopher Luxon promises to make electric vehicle drivers pay road user charges

  • 28/06/2023

Green MP Julie Anne Genter has hit out at National after the party's leader promised to make electric vehicle drivers pay road user charges if elected in October.

Christopher Luxon made the promise during an interview with AM earlier on Wednesday.

The program that waives road user charges for EV owners was extended by the Labour Government in 2021, until 2024. It was originally started under National in 2009 to encourage the use of EVs.  

But, in the interview on Wednesday, Luxon said the programme wasn't sustainable.

Luxon said, eventually, the Government won't be able to collect enough money to fund the roads as the fleet of EVs increased.

He said National would, if elected, likely base the EV road user charges on kilometres travelled.

"You ultimately have to get to that place, don't you?

"Ultimately, for New Zealand to solve its problems… we are going to need to revisit those settings and, actually, get the logic straight and get it fair so that, actually, electric vehicles are paying their fair share - given they're contributing and consuming the roads, essentially, through their daily travel."

But National was facing criticism from Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

Genter. Photo credit: Newshub.

"We're making great progress in converting our fleet to low-emission vehicles, which is making a huge difference to reaching our climate targets and it's clear that National has no interest in continuing that," Genter said in a statement.

"A National Government would send our progress on climate change back decades."

While the stance proved contentious with the Greens, others backed the National Party's plan.

"If you use a road, you must pay a share of the costs," one Twitter user said.

Another called the plan "commonsense".

"Excellent about time," said another. "Everyone driving on the roads should pay their fair share of taxes."

Earlier this term, the Government adopted the Clean Car Package - which included the extension of the road user charge exemption and a discount scheme for EVs. The scheme was recalibrated earlier this year.  

Although National criticised the scheme, stating the Government was taxing people with utes and subsidising wealthy Tesla drivers, National MP Tama Potaka and Luxon's family have both claimed the Clean Car Discount.   

Currently, EVs comprise about 1.8 percent of New Zealand's total fleet.