Freight trucks need to be added to Govt‘s clean car package

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 18, 2021

The Government should add all electric freight trucks and trains to the Clean Car Discount scheme, according to the Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre. 

Announced by transport minister Michael Wood and climate change minister James Shaw last week, the scheme, a a rejig of the controversial “feebates” scheme from last year, means drivers who buy new cars from 1 July will be able to get taxpayer-funded rebates of almost $8700 for a new electric or plug-in hybrid car, and about $3,500 for used cars.

CEAC spokesperson Ken Crispin says New Zealand is “rapidly falling behind” in legislation to clean up the environment with many European nations stopping the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030 – less than ten years in the future.

“As we are instructed by the Climate Change Commission‘s report, we need to move quickly to “decarbonise our transport‘ – then we need to get rid of the ICE truck fleets that we have trebled in the last 21 years, now we need to reduce the road freight and move the rest of road freight to EV truck fleets,” he says.  

“The rest of our freight task needs to be moved on a newly electrified rail system that has no toxic tyre dust micro-plastic particle emissions as rail only emits a fraction of metal from only steel wheels.”

On announcing the scheme, transport minister Michael Wood said a discount on electric, hybrid and low emission vehicles funded from a fee on higher emitting ones was the best policy to increase low emissions vehicle uptake in New Zealand.

“It‘s a common policy overseas, a recommendation of both the Climate Commission and the Productivity Commission, and is supported by the likes of the Motor Industry Association – it‘s time to get moving with it,” he says.

Crispin says CEAC “totally agrees” with Wood on the matter.

“Finally we also hope that the newly set-up All Electric Vehicles Advisory Group to advise the minister of how to transform the decarbonising of our entire freight transport system of trucks and rail will take our heed of our advice here,” he adds.

“CEAC will follow closely as the Government makes these crucial changes to how we will move freight all around our country in future to lower our climate emissions, and leave our future generations‘ future far more secure with cleaner, safer lives for their families.”