Climate change EV feebate: Less than 2% of Government fleet electric

Newspaper Published Source
The New Zealand Herald 2021-06-15 Link

Climate Change Minister James Shaw and Transport Minister Michael Wood reveal details of a rebate scheme for buyers of new and used electric and hybrid vehicles. Video / Dean Purcell Michael Neilson is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald The Act Party is calling the Government hypocrites for trying to push the public into electric cars when its own car fleet is just 1.9 per cent electric itself. The Government says in response the main point is it is "making the transition, rather than focusing on where we are starting from". The Government feebate scheme announced on Sunday is designed to increase the number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the country, part of plans to dramatically reduce still-rising greenhouse gas emissions in line with advice from the Climate Change Commission. Under the scheme drivers who buy new cars from July 1 will be able to get taxpayer-funded rebates of almost $8700 for a new electric or plug-in hybrid car, and about $3500 for used cars. These would be funded by fees based on emissions levels applied to new petrol cars up to $5875 and up to $2875 for imported used cars. There will be no exemption for government agencies under the feebates scheme. They will also be able to claim rebates. A response to a written parliamentary question from Act showed the Government itself had a long way to go to increase its own share of electric vehicles. As of May 7 this year, there were 191 battery electric vehicles and 90 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the government fleet of just under 15,000, making up 1.9 per cent. There are about another 2000 fuel hybrid vehicles, however these are not classed as electric under the Clean Car Programme. There are about 27,000 electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the entire country , making up less than 1 per cent of the more than 4 million vehicles. Act leader David Seymour said the Government should work harder to convert its own fleet rather than charging fees to people who needed to continue to use large four-wheel-drive vehicles. "The Government is showing complete hypocrisy when it comes to electric vehicles by converting less than 2 per cent of the Government's fleet." Seymour referred to commitments in the 2017 Speech from the Throne , which outline a government's legislative intentions, in which Dame Patsy Reddy said: "This Government will act as a role model, showing leadership by requiring state-owned enterprises and other government organisations to pursue low-carbon options and technologies, including electric vehicles for all Government vehicle fleets." "This is another case of 'do as I say and not as I do' from this arrogant and contemptuous Government," Seymour said. A spokesman for Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the minister had "acknowledged where we are starting from and talked about the fact that this is a marathon effort". "It will obviously take time to transition, and so I think the main point is that we are making the transition, rather than focusing on where we are starting from." He pointed to two recent announcements: the State Sector Decarbonisation Fund committing funding for 422 electric vehicles and charging infrastructure; and the budget including $41.8 million for the leasing of low emissions vehicles across the public sector, designed to lease up to 1200 vehicles. He did not respond to questions about any timeframes the Government had set to convert the entire fleet nor any targets. There will be no exemption for government agencies under the feebates scheme. They will also be able to claim rebates. A spokesman for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said it could not provide estimates about how much fees would be paid and rebates received by government departments. Government departments and agencies that cannot yet use electric vehicles include the police, who from this year begin replacing their old patrol cars with Skodas. About 400 cars each year are expected to be replaced. The Skodas narrowly escape fees under the feebates scheme: any cars with emissions of lower than 146g of CO2 per km will get rebates – those with emissions of more than 192g per km will have to pay the "fee". The police Skodas fall between the two so no fee will apply. In choosing the Skodas, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said police had tested electric and hybrid vehicles, but they were not yet viable options partly because of power efficiency and the total cost of ownership. "While incredibly promising, electric and hybrid technology are not yet a viable option for our patrol vehicles," said Coster. Coster announced at the time police had a 10-year plan to roll out an emissions-free fleet, however an Ombudsman investigation found this did not exist . The Department of Conservation has recently invested in more electric cars, but rangers still use utes in some cases.