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Biting The Hand

“Be careful.”

That’s the response by National’s Rural Communities spokesperson Barbara Kuriger to Sunday’s unveiling of the Government’s electric vehicle rebate scheme.

Under the new Clean Car package scheme, rebates of $8625 will be given to buyers of imported new electric and plug-in hybrids from July 1. Used EV buyers will receive $3450. The discounts only apply to vehicles costing $80,000 or less, with a minimum 3-star safety rating.

Meanwhile buyers of higher emission vehicles like utes will be taxed from January.

“To round out a week of news headlines dominated by climate change, this tax joins the growing line of initiatives failing to take in account the effects on rural New Zealanders,” she says.

“From the reaction I’m seeing and receiving to it, it might just be that step too far, and I am expecting the backlash to be even greater, by the time I get to National Agricultural Fieldays tomorrow.”

Mrs Kuriger says the strong communities built around food production across the country will only tolerate so much.

“Protests and petitions are already being called for.

“The Government needs to treat its rural communities with respect and be careful not to bite the hands that feed us all. Or our usual resilience, this country relies on, may turn to resistance.

“Farmers have brought their protests to the steps of Parliament before,” she says.

“Should that happen again, they’ll be in the good company of other ute users like growers, tradies, forestry, transport and civil construction sectors, to name just some of the many industries and livelihoods affected.

Mrs Kuriger says once again the Government is putting the cart before the horse with the aspirational but not yet achievable goals.

“Last night Toyota made a public statement that it won’t be bringing in electric utes in the foreseeable future, in reply to the wishful thinking of the Prime Minister. A statement backed up by the Motor Industry Association.

“Farmer groups also had to defend themselves yesterday saying utes are not status symbols but necessary for the work they do. So I’ll repeat myself — what world is the Government living in?”

She says National will repeal the scheme.

“This is simply another move to tax hard working Kiwis which I, for the life of me, cannot understand.

“We have far better ways to incentivise the use of EVs without penalising hard working Kiwis in the process.”

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