Additional road-user charges for EVs — fairness and equity?

 A man waits while his electric vehicle charges. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
A man waits while his electric vehicle charges. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Glenn Turner asks if proposed changes to road-user charges are a punishment for motorists.

Are our leaders seriously planning to punish the rich and the poor motorists for supporting government stated policy towards emission reduction targets or is it an April Fool’s joke posted in advance of the first of April?

The penance to be paid is an added tax on road-user charges for electric vehicles (EVs) over and above what is already being paid through a registration fee. This means on average about a further $1000 annually.

The so-called rich (and middle classes) who buy new electric vehicles are already paying around double the average cost for a mid-range light vehicle, according to Motor Trade Association advocacy and strategy manager Greig Epps.

Don’t forget people at the other end of the financial scale are willing to buy second and third-hand low-kilometre range EVs.

Are they also to be punished for wanting to do the right thing by being environmentally conscious and socially responsible?

Fairness is being bandied around, so is it fair for them to be faced with crippling additional road-user charges?

Will there become a shortage of second-hand EVs for them to buy, forcing them down the track of old, polluting combustion engine bangers?

To reach the stated emissions reduction targets, NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) has calculated that by the end of this decade we need more than 50% of monthly vehicle sales in New Zealand to be electric — that means sales will need to climb to 150,000 EVs per year.

At present, it is estimated that the number of EV plug-ins in the light vehicle fleet in New Zealand represents a mere 2.12%.

Compare those with the 2022 figures of Norway with 27%, England with 16% and much further down the list China at 4.9%.

NZTA has also made it clear it would need to employ more bureaucrats to service the road-user charges.

Why not save that money and add a few dollars to the existing registration fee for all vehicles?

The government is already getting much more GST from each EV sale because they are more expensive than their equivalent twin.

We are told we are being managed down a path of "fairness and equity"?

Really, where is the essential health and wellbeing of our communities in all of this?

Surely this policy is not only contradictory, outdated and shameful on the world stage, but about as green as the Sahara.

For those who think we need more time to confront the ravages of fossil fuel emissions, think again.

It has been 26 years since the Kyoto Protocol and the climate gods are fuming.

— Glenn Turner is a former international cricketer.