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Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins have announced new measures to support the uptake of electric vehicles and improve energy efficiency in New Zealand.

The Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, which passed its third reading today, implements parts of the Government’s Electric Vehicles Programme, makes changes to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) levy funding, and clarifies how electricity industry legislation applies to secondary networks.

“With 99 per cent of transport energy coming from non-renewable sources, this Bill will help reduce transport sector emissions by encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). We are already seeing an increase in EV uptake, with the highest number of EVs registered in a month in May 2017,” Mr Bridges says. 

“The law change means heavy electric vehicles can be exempted from road user charges and road controlling authorities (such as councils and the NZ Transport Agency) will be able to make bylaws to allow EVs to use special vehicle lanes.”

Ms Collins says the Bill makes a few small changes to a number of laws, but the changes will have substantial benefits.

“We are also adjusting the way EECA recovers its levy funding, so it applies across three existing levies rather than one. By adding a transport fuels levy and a natural gas levy to the existing electricity levy, EECA will now be able to spread levy funding across more activities to find the greatest gain.

“We think there are opportunities to improve New Zealand’s energy productivity and reduce emissions by focussing on the transport and industrial sectors in addition to electricity efficiency,” says Ms Collins.

The Bill also addresses secondary networks which are electricity networks indirectly connected to the national grid, such as via a local distribution network.  Secondary network providers are often providing services that are the same as those provided on a local distribution network, but may not be subject to the same obligations and requirements due to current uncertainty in the legislation.

Ms Collins says, “Our aim is to clear up any uncertainty for secondary network providers, to have consistent treatment across business who are providing a similar service to consumers. Clearing up this legislation is very important as secondary networks enable innovation in the supply of electricity. We want to be future focussed to allow New Zealanders to innovate with new electricity solutions.”

Note to editors:

In May last year, the Government set a target to double EV registrations each year to reach 64,000 by the end of 2021.  An electric vehicle, or EV, has a different engine to a petrol or diesel fuelled car – it has a motor that is powered by a battery which can be charged by plugging it into an electric power point (a bit like charging your cellphone battery).

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