2 May 2023

MTA responds to Clean Car Discount changes

Changes to the Clean Car Discount (CCD) have done little to address the ‘reverse Robin Hood’ effect that gives to the rich, and continue to penalise hard-working Kiwis, the Motor Trade Association says.

Motor Trade Association (MTA) Chief Executive Lee Marshall says changes announced this morning should have gone a lot further.

“First of all, credit where it’s due to the Government. The CCD has influenced the higher number of EVs we all see on our roads,” Lee says.

“The MTA strongly supports the decarbonisation of our fleet and industry. We know that harmful emissions have a significant impact on population health. But we want to move to a future where the CCD is phased out.

“That’s because as long as we have the scheme in its current form, hard-working people who rely on larger vehicles and light commercial vehicles are being penalised, while people who can afford an EV are getting a little sweetener they don’t need.  Let’s be honest; if you were going to buy a Tesla for $60,000, you were also going to buy it for $65,000. But only a select few are wealthy enough to even consider that kind of decision.”

The effective removal or reduction of the rebate for many hybrids and low-emitting petrol vehicles is also disappointing, MTA believes.

“Both were much more in reach of most people than EVs and had an important part to play in emissions reduction,” Lee says.

“For example, a Suzuki Swift, which meets recognised emissions testing standards, used to qualify for around $2500 rebate – now, nothing.”

MTA also argues the Clean Car Standard (CCS) sister scheme is the best option to do the heavy lifting in this area.

While the CCD targets consumers, the CCS focuses on importers. As the CCD and CCS work in tandem towards the same goal, the MTA view is that with the correct target settings in place, the CCS serves as the better tool to achieve a significant shift in our fleet.

Lee says the UK plug-in grant scheme enjoyed similar early success before being discontinued last year, with attention switching to investment in infrastructure and wheelchair accessible vehicles, taxis and trucks.

“That’s where our thinking should be – give the CCD a pat on the back for what its achieved, but now EVs are coming in, let’s make sure we have the systems in place to support them.

“It would also solve the problem for the Government that the CCD has missed being self-funding by a mile.  To continue the dream of ‘self-funding’ when the scheme is currently sat in a $200m hole, while simultaneously topping up the fund available is confusing. And let’s not forget that fund is paid for by the taxes of all Kiwis. 

“It’s interesting to note that there will now be special rebates for disability vehicles – is this a hint that the Government is going to be following the UK playbook?”

The Motor Trade Association will have more to say about the Clean Car Discount on May 9, when it launches its call to action for the new Government.

Entitled Driving New Zealand Forward: Future Proofing the Automotive Industry, the document outlines the challenges the automotive industry faces, and the steps the new Government must take to ensure a strong, fair automotive industry that benefits all New Zealanders.

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