Cash incentives for climate-friendly cars
30 April 2006
Six out of 10 support cash incentives for climate-friendly cars
More than six out of 10 New Zealanders back a policy proposal to provide Government cash grants to people buying fuel efficient, low emission cars.
Support among Labour voters runs as high as 71%.
The representative national poll of 750 people aged 18+, conducted by UMR for the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, shows solid support for the main elements of a proposal now before Government to make cash payments to climate friendly car buyers.
While petrol prices hit all-time highs, the policy will allow some car buyers to cut their petrol bills by up to half, while also helping the country lower emissions. The policy will also help the Government tackle its $1 billion Kyoto carbon credit deficit.
The policy includes $2000 cash penalties for those buying cars guzzling 14 litres of petrol per 100 km or more.
The aim is to spur a change in the one of the world's oldest and least efficient vehicle fleets, while also moving to protect the quality of life in New Zealand.
The Business Council – whose 51 member companies advocate business should be profitable while contributing to ecological balance and social progress – believes its policy could see 43% of the car fleet become climate friendly over the next 10 years.
The cash grants policy would launch the first major assault to lower the country's green house gas emissions.
The poll shows 61% support cash grants for people registering used climate friendly used imported cars. Only 20% oppose.
On cash grants ranging up to $3000 for new cars on first registration in New Zealand, and a $2000 penalty on new gas guzzlers, there is 55% support. Only 24% oppose the idea.
The poll shows the main political parties will find the policy popular with a majority of their supporters: the climate friendly imports policy is supported by 85% of those saying they intend voting Green; 71% of Labour voters; 53% of National voters and 45% of NZ First voters.
Support among party voters for the cash grants and penalties policy for new cars is Green 68%, Labour 60%, National 51% and New Zealand First 50%.
Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says the poll shows there is solid nationwide backing for measures which let Kiwis reap the financial, health and climate benefits of cleaning up one of the world's oldest and dirtiest car fleets.
The Business Council was doing more work on the policy's impact on cutting the country's carbon deficit under the Kyoto protocol. The net cost to Government and taxpayer would drop dramatically as a result.
"Our passenger vehicle fleet is one of the oldest in the world. The average age is 11.7 years. That compares with 10.1 years in Australia and only 6.3 years in the UK. On top of that we own more cars per head than most other countries in the world: 580 per 1000 people. Even the United States has only 481 per 1000.
"Every time we import a new gas guzzler we have the problem for the next 20 years. While higher petrol prices are crunching the prices of gas guzzlers, they still stay in use. So we need to make sure the cars we do import also have long term benefits from better fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
"Political leaders can take a great deal of comfort from our latest polling: if they implement this policy they'll have solid support from every region and main centre, the rural areas, and from voters of every political hue.
"For the Business Council it's very heartening to reaffirm that Kiwis are down to earth people who want to maintain the country's quality of life, especially for their children, and they'll back balanced commonsense policies to achieve that."
The number of vehicles qualifying under the grants scheme is steadily expanding and now includes about 29 models from nearly all major car makers (see list below).
The business leaders want the policy taken up in this year's Budget or as an outcome of the Government's coming climate change and energy policy reviews.
Editors note: Full results of the UMR poll are attached, or available at www.nzbcsd.org.nz New Zealand's total emissions each year are 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Of this, almost half (37Mt) is from agriculture (livestock and fertiliser emissions) and almost one fifth (14Mt) is from transport. The latest (2008-2012) forecast of our emissions position in the Kyoto first commitment period, when binding commitments apply, predicts that New Zealand's emission will exceed our 1990 baseline emissions by 36 million tonnes.
Examples of vehicles eligible under the Business Council's proposed grants policy:
(List derived from the Green Vehicle & Fuel Consumption Guides, Australian Greenhouse Office)
Vehicles eligible for $3,000 or $1,000 incentive (NZ new & used imports, respectively):
Audi A4 (2L) Diesel
Honda Jazz (1.5L) Petrol
Daihatsu Sirion (1.3L) Petrol
Peugeot 307 (2L) Diesel
Holden Barina (1.4L) Petrol
Toyota Prius (1.5L) Hybrid
Honda Civic (1.3L) Hybrid
Volkswagen Polo 3/5 Door (1.9L) Diesel
Mitsubishi RG Colt LS (1.5L) CVT 1 Petrol
Alfa Romeo 147 16 valve (1.9L) Diesel
Hyundai 05 Getz GL (1.6L) Petrol
Vehicles eligible for $1,500 or $500 incentive (NZ new & used imports, respectively):
Citroen C5 (2.2L) Diesel
Kia Rio (1.5L) Petrol
Daewoo Lacetti (1.8L) Petrol
Mazda 2 (1.5L) Petrol
Ford Focus (2L) Petrol
Nissan Pulsar (1.8L) Petrol
Holden Astra (1.8L) Petrol
Peugeot 407 (2L) Diesel
Hyundai Sonata (2.4L) Petrol
Toyota Corolla (1.8L) Petrol
Ford WQ Fiesta Ghia (1.6L) Petrol
Hyundai 3 Accent gl (1.6L) Petrol
Honda Civic VTi (1.8L) Petrol
Ford LS Focus Zetec (2.0L) Petrol
BMW 320i E90 (2.0L) Petrol
Holden JF Viva (1.8L) Petrol
Renault X84 Megane II (2.0L) Petrol
Vehicles with $2,000 or $1,000 penalty applied (NZ new & used imports, respectively):
Ford Falcon XR8 (5.4L) Petrol
Mazda RX8 (2.6L) Petrol
Holden Commodore Executive (3.6L) Petrol
Subaru Legacy (3L) Petrol
Honda Legend (3.5L) Petrol
Toyota Hilux (4L) Petrol
The Business Council's recommendations on price cuts for fuel efficient cars are outlined in its report "Incentivising Greener Vehicles" (available at http://www.nzbcsd.org.nz/project.asp?ProjectID=29).
The Business Council believes sustainable businesses are profitable, contribute to social progress and ecological balance – and protect New Zealand's quality of life. The Council's 51 members jointly employ 55,000 people engaged in managing resources, manufacturing, retailing and the service sector. Members contribute annual sales of $33 billion to the economy, equivalent to 28% of GDP. www.nzbcsd.org.nz