The Government’s fee and rebate system that encourages people to buy certain cars and avoid others is apparently going to help save the planet by reducing our transport emissions here in New Zealand.
But as I was sitting idle, stuck in traffic on an Auckland motorway last month, it had me thinking there are so many other problems that should be a higher priority.
The roading system is so inefficient, so inadequate it leads to unnecessary wastage in time and resources and yet there’s no fix in sight.
The woeful state of our infrastructure is something the clean car scheme is never going to address, yet it has claimed so much money.
People’s poor driving leads to clogged motorways, they are distracted, inattentive and it leads to crashes and endless delays with everybody parked in traffic for hours, engines idling and wasting time.
Part of the problem is the way people drive, but a lot of it has to do with the infrastructure which hasn’t been updated to cater for growth. And helping people buy electric cars by taxing others is never going to improve this.
We’ll never be able to change people’s bad driving behaviours when the focus is on other things which soak up money that could be used to help ease these problems.
There are better ways to improve our overall system than charging me an extra $5000 when I buy a ute to help someone into an electric car which they then drive on our inadequate roads.
That’s just not something that is going to change the world. The focus is on the wrong thing at the end of the day.
So much money has been spent on incentives that they have had to increase fees further, when that money could have been better spent on some of the issues I’ve brought up previously. And this would give us better overall outcomes in my view.
We should be investing in teaching people how to be safer, more efficient drivers who are always aware so we don’t keep spending hours in gridlock as a result of accidents.
These cost the economy millions and drive up emissions as cars and trucks crawl along.
It also links back to my opinion on the licensing procedure. Making this test tougher would see only competent drivers allowed on the road, reducing the risk of under qualified drivers getting behind the wheel and causing mayhem.
And then there are those illegal drivers without any licence who are out there on the road, which we are not doing enough about either.
And what about the people who suffer damage to their vehicles due to the complete lack of road maintenance as money gets diverted to pay for EV subsidies and charging infrastructure.
People tell me on the daily about broken wheels, punctured tyres and cracked windscreens caused by the potholes and debris on roads.
Here’s yet more wastage as we spend millions on replacing parts because they can’t be bothered to do proper road maintenance, or clean up properly afterwards when they do.
The loose chip that doesn’t get swept before cars drive over it leads to endless windscreen repairs.
Tyres destroyed by potholes long before they wear out is just wasteful and yet preventable. We pay road tax on fuel and road user charges yet what do we get in return?
A broken windscreen, a punctured tyre because of a pothole. How is that right?
And yet you buy a new ute and give the Government $5000 to subsidise the purchase of an electric car, because that’s going to save us from ourselves. It doesn’t add up to me.
The Government hasn’t considered how this new increase in the tax is going to hurt all Kiwis, not just those purchasing vehicles.
For every fee-incurring commercial vehicle that is purchased to get the job done, we all end up paying for it in some form because the company simply passes the cost on.
One of the real ironies is the example of a roading contractor with Government contracts.
They buy the essential work vehicle, pay the fee, and then increase their bills to build the roads which the NZ tax payer then has to cover. As I said, it just doesn’t add up.