ACT says Government's new scrap-and-replace scheme for EVs is a 'waste of taxpayer money'
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The ACT party says Government's new scrap-and-replace scheme for EVs is a 'waste of taxpayer money.'
Yesterday, the Government revealed its first Emissions Reduction plan, which aims to reduce emissions over the coming years as the country targets net-zero by 2050.
The plan covers transport, agriculture, energy, building, waste, and forestry. Finance Minister Grant Robertson described it as "a turning point in history".
Part of the $2.9 billion plan will allow people to trade in their polluting vehicles and receive money to upgrade to an EV or hybrid. The new scrap-and-replace scheme will cost $569 million, providing subsidies to low-income families to aid them in their purchase of an EV or hybrid car.
But ACT’s Climate Change spokesperson, Simon Court, says it's "totally unnecessary".
"It's totally unnecessary in terms of carbon emissions as the Emissions Trading Scheme already puts a cap on New Zealand's transport emissions and it's also a complete waste of taxpayer money," he says.
"For context, New Zealanders are already moving towards a cleaner vehicle fleet. Every year in New Zealand we shred around 150,000 old cars, last year we imported 200,000 brand new and late model and clean vehicles. This policy is completely unnecessary and we have a cost of living crisis."
He added that the supply of electric vehicles isn't enough to cope with the scheme.
"The vehicle manufacturers who came to the transport committee last year said they would love to sell New Zealand more EVs but they won't be making enough to sell to the world by 2028," says Court.
"So any schemes that the Government uses to force demand are a waste of taxpayers' money, they only force up the price of used vehicles on the open market, which actually makes it hard for Kiwi families who are already facing a cost of living crisis."
The Motor Trade Association (MTA) also warned that the plan is flawed, as it would still be costly, and "notoriously challenging."
Chief executive, David Crawford, says the cost of a new EV import starts at $40,000 and goes upwards of $80,000, and used models start at about $20,000.
"If it is a new EV, their prices are quite high; would [eligible people] be able to afford debt servicing the difference? The price gap for a new EV can still be big," says Crawford.
MTA advocacy manager, Greig Epps, says there are other options.
"It's also about the transition and it's what are you moving into and what we are very keen to see is people move into something cleaner," Epps says.
"So the focus on EV solely or EV's and electrified vehicles like hybrids and plug-in hybrids, that's probably not where we would go, we would just want to see people transition into a cleaner car, there are lots of options."
He adds that the MTA has been calling for a scrappage scheme for a while mainly for safety concerns.
"We have been calling for a scrappage scheme, we started calling for it based on the age of the fleet," Epps says.
"The average age of the fleet is over 14 years old and there are safety concerns around vehicles as they get past the age of 15. So we started from a safety point of the view and then we also realised that you could build in some emissions reductions by bringing down the total emissions of the fleet and getting those higher emitting cars out of the fleet."
In New Zealand, there are many unsafe and high emitting used vehicles being driven around, so the MIA says it supports moves to get these off the road.
But the Motor Trade Association (MTA) wants the Government to go even further, introducing a scrappage model for everyone.