National's Tama Potaka says not hypocritical to get Clean Car Discount despite opposition

Despite their strong opposition to the Government's scheme to discount clean cars, it turns out it's not just National's leader who has benefitted from it.

Backbencher MP Tama Potaka has also got an EV discounted and says there's nothing wrong with that.

Potaka's route to Parliament came by winning the Hamilton West by-election last year.

Like his party, he's been vehemently opposed to the Government's scheme to tax polluting cars to discount clean cars.

"The Clean Car Discount, it is what it is, we're not for it," he said.

And yet Potaka's claimed it.

"There are things that get processed at the point of sale. That got processed at the point of sale for one of our family cars," he said.

It's also his work car though, a National Party-branded SUV.

Potaka's cool as a cucumber about it.

Asked if he thought it was hypocritical to have a National-branded car while opposing the discount he got for the car, Potaka said: 

"No and there are plenty of things that get paid for by the Government that I'm completely opposed to, that I've had to subsidise as well. For example, about $100 million on light rail."

Luxon, whose household got a discounted Tesla, was a tad more tetchy.

"I'm so pleased Newshub's focused on the big issues," he said when Newshub asked questions about the Clean Car Discount. 

Asked if it was hypocritical for National MPs to take the discount despite their opposition, Luxon said: "What I'll say to you is we've got a policy that says we are going to scrap the ute tax and we'll have more to say about the Clean Car Discount as part of our transport policy going to the election".

As Newshub asked again, Luxon walked off to his caucus meeting.

Luxon also doesn't like two planes being sent on the Prime Minister's China trip in case the 30-year-old 757 breaks down.

He dragged the story out another day by promising to only fly commercial if gets the job he wants after the election.

"These are ancient aircraft. They shouldn't be flying. They are well past their used-by date. We are now in a recession and this will not be a priority in my Government. The reality, is whether you like it or not, we travel commercial, we charter aircraft."

Acting Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni said it would be more expensive to go commercial.

Newshub's crunched some rough numbers on the costs.

The old girl, the 757, costs about $8730 per hour to run.

The 85-strong group is flying Beijing to Shanghai on Tuesday night. It's two hours so will cost $17,460 and no domestic airports to navigate.

The cheapest flight we could find commercial, for 85 people, would cost almost $30,000.

"Not fiscally prudent and also just out of step with what leaders have done in the past. Mind you, you have to be a leader to make that choice, he may not get that opportunity," said Sepuloni.

Luxon though clearly sees air travel as an opportunity to get some airtime.