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Source: New Zealand Labour Party

Today, we’re taking action in line with the advice of the Climate Change Commission to reduce our carbon footprint, so future generations have a fair go.

Our Clean Car package, announced this morning, delivers on our promise to cut transport emissions. It will make it easier to make the switch to low emissions vehicles, helping us hit our carbon neutral target of 2050 while securing our sustainable recovery from COVID.

If emissions remain high, our warming climate will have a catastrophic impact on Aotearoa. Acting now is not a choice. It’s an imperative. But it is also an opportunity.

The transport sector makes up our second highest amount of emissions after agriculture – and it’s our fastest growing source of emissions. Decarbonising transport will be crucial to combat climate change and leave a better world for our kids. But it also makes economic sense.

Our Clean Car Discount will make it cheaper for Kiwi families to buy electric and low emission cars. New Zealanders choosing to purchase an electric or plug-in hybrid car from July 1 will be able to get back up to $8,625 on a new vehicle and $3,450 on a second-hand one. In January 2022, low emissions cars will also become eligible for a rebate.

As technology develops, the cost of low emissions vehicles will come down. At the moment, though, they’re still too expensive for many families and we’re lagging behind the rest of the world on EV uptake. This discount will help to address that, and it will ensure more families can enjoy the benefits of low emission vehicles – including their lower maintenance and running costs.

By making cleaner cars more accessible to more Kiwis, we’ll prevent up to 9.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, from 2022 to 2050.

From early next year, a sliding scale of fees on high emission vehicles will apply – up to $5,175 for new vehicles and $2,875 for used ones to fund the Discount scheme. These one-time fees will help people to understand the environmental costs of their vehicles. And they’ll make it easier for people to make environmentally and socially responsible choices.

The policy only applies to new and used cars arriving in New Zealand, so the second-hand market of cars already in the country, which lower income families tend to purchase from, will not be affected. By making low emissions vehicles cheaper (and with our Clean Car Import Standard in place), we’ll also boost the second-hand market in low carbon options – making cleaner cars accessible to even more Kiwis in the years to come.

These steps – a discount on cleaner cars subsidised by a fee on high emissions vehicles – are the best way to increase uptake of low emissions cars, and they’ll help us to play catch-up with the rest of the world. They’re also just one part of a package of policies that will help clean up our fleet.

To help prospective buyers figure out which vehicle could suit their lifestyle, we’ve created an EV buyers guide, accessible here. And we’re planning to establish an EV sector leadership group to help boost uptake, develop policies around this, and ensure vehicles are available.

We’ve also been doing the work to ensure Kiwis have the confidence to go electric, with EV chargers now available every 75km along most state highways. The Low Emission Transport Fund has co-funded over 1,100 electric vehicle chargers nationwide. Budget 2021 is quadrupling funding for that programme, to help it expand our network of EV charging ports and support other low emission refuelling stations.

Every refuel will soon entail lower emissions, thanks to our proposed Sustainable Biofuels Mandate. Once finalised, this will require the use of a lower-emitting biofuel blend across the transport sector, to make petrol and diesel vehicles cleaner as more electric and low emissions options become available. This is predicted to reduce emissions from cars, trucks, ships, and planes by 1.3 million tonnes over the next four years. With the development of a local industry, a shift to biofuels will also help to create local jobs and secure our economic recovery.

Consultation on our proposed biofuels mandate is open until July 26. Have your say here.

Since 2017, we’ve been working to build a smarter, greener, more resilient New Zealand. In the transport sector alone, we’re bringing in vehicle emissions standards for new imports for the first time in Aotearoa’s history. We’ve started to decarbonise the public bus fleet and replace the entire Government fleet with zero-emission vehicles. We’ve also invested billions of dollars in buses, trains, and cycling and walking infrastructure across the country.

Climate change is an existential challenge, and we’re taking it seriously. Today’s announcement builds on work we’ve done that cuts across sectors – like passing the landmark Zero Carbon Act, declaring a climate emergency, banning new offshore oil and gas exploration, establishing the Climate Change Commission, investing in green jobs to support our COVID recovery, and requiring all Government agencies to be carbon neutral by 2025. 

We can’t afford to wait until it’s too late to do our bit. By acting now, we safeguard the planet for future generations and we future-proof our recovery from COVID-19. There’s plenty more to do, but making our cars cleaner is a big step forward.

You can see all of our work on climate change here and read the details of the Clean Car Discount here. Stay in the loop with the latest announcements by signing up to our mailing list and following us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.