Kiwis should have a say on Labour’s car tax

National is calling on the Labour Government to reopen public consultation on its car tax so the people of New Zealand can have their say, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

The Ministry of Transport carried out consultation on the Government’s “feebate” policy in 2019 before it was ditched. Labour then made it clear at the election that the feebate was not its policy, only to turn around and resurrect it at the weekend.

“The way Labour has gone about forcing its car tax onto New Zealanders has been dishonest and undemocratic,” Ms Collins says.

“If Labour wants to tax people on lower-incomes to make it easier for wealthy people to buy electric cars then it should have been honest about that and campaigned on it.”

The Government has given no assurances around how much public consultation there will now be on its car tax as the legislation is worked though. Given that rebate applications open on July 1, it would appear the Prime Minister’s mind is already made up, Ms Collins says.

“The uncomfortable truth for Jacinda Ardern is that when her Government proposed its car tax back in 2019, Kiwis overwhelmingly rejected it.”

Public consultation figures supplied to National at the time by then Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter revealed 1860 of 2687 submissions were opposed to the car tax.

Treasury also warned it would unfairly punish New Zealanders for whom low-emission vehicles do not yet exist to suit their jobs or their lifestyle, Ms Collins says.

“It’s not fair to make farmers, tradies and large families pay more for their cars when they don’t have any other option, just so wealthy executives can get a discount on a Tesla.

“It’s also not fair to force a car tax on New Zealanders without letting them have a voice, particularly after Labour promised them no surprise taxes after the election.

“National believes there are better ways we can encourage the uptake of electric vehicles. At the last election we supported moves to exempt EVs from fringe benefit tax, extend road user charge exemptions, allow EV users access to bus lanes and free parking, and provide more funding for development of low-emission technologies.”