Tuesday, July 9: Greenpeace says the Government’s proposal to make clean cars more affordable in New Zealand is a good first step, but needs more drive to tackle the climate emergency.
Climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says New Zealand should implement a timeline for completely phasing out diesel and petrol vehicles, in the same way that countries including Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands have done.
"The proposal to make electric and hybrid vehicles more affordable is a good move, especially alongside the Government’s commitment to boost rail and public transport," she says.
"Setting emissions standards for new vehicles entering the fleet is also good news. Until now, New Zealand has been one of only a few developed countries without vehicle emissions standards, so we have a lot of catching up to do."
However, Larsson questions whether the fees for high-emitting vehicles are significant enough to be a disincentive for buying polluting cars.
"It’s disappointing to see the maximum fee for highly polluting vehicles capped at $3,000. Would this make someone buying a more than $100,000 gas guzzler reconsider?"
"In France, for example, the top penalty is more than three times greater than what the New Zealand Government is proposing.
"We’re living through a climate emergency and it’s going to take more than these modest policies to tackle it. This proposal has some grunt, but it needs more drive.
"Our transport emissions have risen more than any other source since 1990, and are the main reason household emissions keep going up."
The Labour-led Coalition has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Larsson says that for the bulk of our cars to be electric by 2050 to meet these obligations, nearly all vehicles entering the fleet would need to be EVs by the early 2030s.
"We need to follow in the footsteps of many of our European counterparts by putting a time limit on petrol and diesel vehicles, and committing to phasing out imports by 2030," she says.