Kiwis will pay roughly a $3000 penalty for their favourite utes from 2022 under new government rules, the Automobile Association (AA) says.
The penalty under the Clean Car Discount package will apply to the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger two of the top selling cars and will come into effect in January 2022.
AA national policy manager Simon Douglas said the penalty would occur at the point vehicles were first registered in New Zealand, whether they were second-hand cars that had been imported or new cars.
The new penalty was questioned by Motor Trade Association (MTA) strategy manager Greig Epps, who said we could end up with country folk who need larger vehicles paying penalties that fund discounts for city folk to use on a low emission run-about.
READ MORE:* Clean Car Standard should help lower EV prices from 2023 * Expect car prices to go up with new standards, Motor Industry Association says* Government urged to introduce feebate scheme for EVs
The Toyota Hilux is often used by light commercial operators as an all-purpose vehicle.
The measures are part of a new government policy designed to encourage the uptake of electric and lower emission vehicles. People buying new electric vehicles (EVs) will be eligible for a discount of up to $8625 from July.
The amount paid for utes may increase further with the expansion of the governments Clean Car Standard expected to come in during January 2023, Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said.
Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford said hybrid utes were expected by the middle of the decade
The Clean Car Standards will put a requirement on sellers of vehicles to achieve certain carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre across all cars sold.
If the average emissions of vehicles sold were above this requirement, a penalty would apply, possibly pushing up penalties on high emitters like utes, Crawford said.
Sellers may however choose to spread this penalty across the range rather than target it at the offending vehicles, he said.
Those buying and registering a Ford Ranger on New Zealand roads are expected to pay up to $3000 in penalties under new government rules
No viable alternatives
Crawford said electric utes were expected this side of 2030, but were not yet on the market. Hybrid versions were expected to hit the market by the middle of the decade.
Utes, he said, were not as widely used worldwide as cars, SUVs and vans, and only popular in the likes of New Zealand, Australia, America, South Africa, and parts of Asia.
This put them last in line for research and development at large car makes, Crawford said.
There may be one or two models in the next couple of years, but I don’t think they will be in widespread use by 2025.
Mixed opinions on fairness
There were mixed feeling about the fairness of the penalty on utes while there was a lack of alternative options, Crawford said.
He said many would consider the extra penalty fair when it came to farmers, because their industry was exempt from the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Those buying and registering a Toyota Hilux are expected to pay up to $3000 in penalties under new government rules
It would be light commercial operators like bricklayers and tradies who some would consider most badly done-by, he said.
Many ute drivers may decide to run their old and more polluting vehicles for longer as a result of the penalty, Crawford said.
Good mix of carrot and stick
Despite the AA flagging the increased penalty for utes, the organisations spokesman Simon Douglas said the new clean car package had a good mix of carrot and stick and that it was a well-balanced and positive package.
The measures will introduce rebates of thousands of dollars for those purchasing new or used electric or hybrid vehicles from July 1, add a levy to higher-emitting vehicles like utes when they are imported and advances plans for New Zealand to use more biofuels to reduce emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles, he said.
Charlotte Curd/Fairfax NZ/Stuff
The AA have said the new government rules are a good mix of carrot and stick
Douglas said there was still a good range of available vehicles that wouldnt be hit with the penalty, providing alternatives to utes.
The MTA also supported the package, and said it could go further.
This can be done by making the rebate process easier for consumers, increasing the size of the rebate and focussing on carbon reduction rather than just electrification, Epps said.
Epps said the proposed rebate process would still require vehicle purchasers to have enough cash or take a loan to purchase a vehicle first and only then apply for the rebate.
This could still be a hurdle for the average Kiwi family, he said.
While dealers will be happy to help with making applications, perhaps the Government could look at allowing the buyer to access the funds at the time of purchase.
EV retailer not convinced
David Boot, owner of Christchurch’s EV City, said the rebate would not be the best thing for the EV industry in New Zealand long term.
The money would just end up in Japan or other countries where EVs were imported from.
People selling the cars in the offshore markets would know the New Zealand Government was paying a rebate and that combined with a big increase in demand caused by the rebate would push the price up, Boot said.
Importers were going to be put under pressure to buy as many EVs as possible and they would all be competing against each other.
It will not be me making the extra money. It will be the Japanese.
Boot said he would have preferred the Government put a more gentle set of incentives across a wider area.
He wanted EV users to be exempt from paying road user charges. The existing exemption runs until the end of 2021.
Boot also wanted EVs to get free parking and to be able to use the transit lanes on motorways usually restricted to vehicles with two or more people in them. Owners should also get a $300 credit on their annual power bill too, he said.
These measures would make EVs more attractive to own and the money would stay in New Zealand, Boot said.
He said people would have about two months before new orders would have to be placed, which was when the demand and prices were likely to increase.
The announcement led to a flurry of buying on Sunday. Boot said he sold seven cars on Sunday, up from an average of three.

You may also like