While minister for emissions reduction Angus Taylor readies to tax Australians to stockpile fossil fuels to reduce fuel security risks, rather than set out a clear plan to transition to zero emissions transport, it would seem that at least in New Zealand common sense is prevailing across the political divide.
New Zealand’s 2020 federal election is a little over a month away, and while Australia remains mired in stagnating pro-coal and pro-oil politics that have delayed a federal electric vehicle strategy by more than 18 months, in New Zealand it is not only the Labour party that has a plan to increase electric vehicle adoption, but also the NZ Nationals.
The National’s electric vehicle plan, released late last week, includes increasing the number of electric vehicles on NZ roads four-fold within the next two years.
Its plan would see 60,000 more electric vehicles sold in the country by 2023, and includes increasing the government light vehicle fleet to one-third electric vehicles within that time.
If elected, the Nationals want to encourage electric vehicle uptake by exempting electric vehicle owners from road user charges – the opposite of a plan put forward by Australia’s state NSW government – as well as fringe benefit tax.
The Nationals plan, which would also see EVs allowed to use car pool and bus lanes, is estimated to cost $NZ93 million ($A85.3 million) over the next four years, including the fringe benefits tax exemption and $NZ38 million ($A34.9 million) to electrify the government fleet.
“We’re committed to addressing the issue of our transport emissions in a practical and effective way. This ambitious plan will make EVs cheaper and easier to own without unfairly taxing Kiwis,” Nationals leader Judith Collins was quoted as saying by NZ’s Newshub.
The NZ Labour party headed by Jacinda Adern has also rolled out its Clean Energy Plan, which includes a plan to introduce vehicle emissions standards first proposed in July 2019 alongside a “feebate” scheme known as the Clean Car Discount.
While the latter was blocked by the New Zealand First party because it would reward small petrol car owners according to Newshub, the Clean Car Standard plan would see NZ adopt a phase-in approach similar to that of the EU to achieve 105gCO2/km per new vehicle sold by 2025.
It estimates that by introducing vehicle efficiency standards, savings for NZ families would be in the vicinity of $6,810 per vehicle for a total $NZ3.5 billion for the entire population, but cost just $NZ31.5 million ($A28.9 million) in funding over four years to establish.
Labour also wants to increase funding for its Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund (LEVCF) to the tune of $25m per year, to go towards installing more EV charging stations more charging stations and supporting more EV uptake including the decarbonisation of bus fleets.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.