Electric car advocates praise National’s pro-EV policy

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Words: Matthew Hansen
14 Sep 2020

The big news late last week was the National Party’s unveiling of a plan to encourage New Zealanders to consider adopting electric cars. The opposition’s plan included removing fringe benefit tax (FBT) from EVs until 2025, extending road user charges exemption to at least 2023, and allowing EV owners to use bus lanes.

Perhaps most paramount in National’s proposal was the choice to name numbers directly. The party hopes to get 80,000 EVs on Kiwi roads by 2023 — a 400 per cent increase on the number of EVs currently on our roads.

The policy has been largely welcomed, with some naming it as a better alternative to the proposed ‘Feebate’ scheme detailed by the Labour Government and the Greens. Among the policy’s fans is EV advocacy group Drive Electric.

“We congratulate the National party for their policy announcement [...], including specifying a target of 80,000 EVs on the roads by 2023. Hitting these numbers would mean progress. The proposal on FBT, in particular, is a real step forward,” says Drive Electric chairman, Mark Gilbert.

Gilbert acknowledged that the plan did not go far enough, stating that he hoped the next New Zealand Government would aim for a quarter of a million EVs by 2025 — more than three times National’s 2023 target.

He also noted that, without a more “consistent policy roadmap”, New Zealand is likely to “lock in the importation of second hand fossil fuel powered cars from markets like Japan and the UK as they decarbonise.” The chair also noted the importance of focusing on fleet buyers.

“NZTA data for 2019 shows that almost sixty-percent of new passenger cars were bought by companies. Incentivising the corporate fleet to transition, through initiatives like this and access to bus lanes and high occupancy lanes, is a vital way to introduce EVs into the country,” he said.

“We would like the next Government to go a step further and work with the industry to detail how New Zealand will then get to 250,000 EVs by 2025, and then move to decarbonise the entire fleet.”

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