Farmers argue Clean Car Package unfair as EVs not a practical alternative for them

Kiwis wanting to drive a new Hilux off the lot will soon be slapped with a $3000 fee on top of the purchase price under the Clean Cars Package.

Farmers say they're again being unfairly hit with climate change regulations because they need big utes to do their work.

Electrician Andy Dynan recently traded in the Hilux high life for a fully electric van.

He ditched his previous gas guzzler a month ago and reckons the change has already saved him about $700 in petrol.

"It's game-changing, it's fantastic," he told Newshub. 

"Going into an electric vehicle is unreal."

But the new rules are bad news for Kiwis eyeing up brand new Hiluxes. Next year they're about to get almost $3000 more expensive.

And farmers say they don't have a viable alternative to the vehicles.

"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."

The Clean Car scheme works like a carrot and stick to incentivise electric vehicles and stop Kiwis from rolling off the car lot with heavy polluters.

At the top end are Ford Rangers and Toyota Hiluxes which emit between 234g and 236g of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

That's nearly double the emissions of a Suzuki Swift.

So heavy utes will be slapped with fees from January 1 of $2780 and $2900.

Meanwhile a Swift will get a $2340 rebate.

But it only applies to new imports - Transport Minister Michael Wood has ruled out taxing anyone's current vehicle. 

"This scheme applies only at the point where vehicles are imported - new or used - into New Zealand," Wood says.

Instead of coming from their back pocket, farmers want the scheme funded by the Emissions Trading Scheme - or be exempt altogether.

"That part of it I don't really like because the whole idea of the scheme is to promote or encourage people to change behaviour, but in this case we have nothing to change our behaviour to," says Hoggard.

Meanwhile, the Government is paying itself for what it's already mandated to do - its agencies can get the EVs bonus when they electrify their fleets

"We want to make sure we get the benefit of this out to as many organisations as possible," says Wood.

The Transport Minister says it's extremely unlikely the scheme is so successful it runs out of money because everyone stops buying gas guzzlers.

But on the off-chance that does happen, he'll be chalking it up as a win because it'll mean the policy is a success.