The Trough Monitor: Megan Woods finds more than $11m for dispensing energy favours

Whether congratulations are in order is a moot point, but today a Minister of the Crown triggered the Point of Order  Trough Monitor for the first time this year.

The Minister was Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods, who not only has tapped into several million dollars of taxpayers’ money – she has also brayed about it:

Low emission transport will receive a record boost totalling more than $11 million, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods announced today.

Woods proceeded to announce the largest round of new funding – so far – from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.  We get the impression she will want to do better next time.

Foodstuffs New Zealand is at the top of the list of today’s recipients – $154,240 in partnership with ChargeNet to install four 50kW public fast-chargers at Pak’NSave and New World supermarkets in the South Island, helping to expand coverage of the EV charging network to some key smaller centres in the South Island.

The intended locations are Bluff, Kaiapoi, Tapanui, and Dunedin. The project aims to help ‘plug the gaps’ in the fast charging network by providing free public access to charging in more locations around New Zealand.

Foodstuffs New Zealand is in second place on the list, too.  Funding of $416,000 has been provided for a project in partnership with ChargeNet, installing seven 50kW and five 25kW public fast chargers at Pak’NSave and New World supermarkets in the North Island, helping to further expand coverage of the EV charging network to key centres in the North Island.

The intended locations are Napier, Hamilton, Tauriko (Bay of Plenty), Eastridge and Mt Roskill (Auckland), Manukau, Kilbirnie, Churton Park, Karori, Mana, Island Bay, and Silverstream (Wellington). The project aims to help ‘plug the gaps’ in the fast charging network by providing free public access to charging in more locations around New Zealand.

Next, we learn that Meridian Energy has secured $62,399 (a curiously odd number) for  its partnership with other businesses to install public charging stations, helping to expand coverage of the electric vehicle charging network to five South Island locations including some of the most popular tourist destinations.

The intended locations in this case are Franz Josef Glacier, Aoraki Mount Cook Village, Te Anau, and Christchurch. This is part of a project that aims to help encourage further investment by other businesses into New Zealand’s electric vehicle charging network by proving the case for investment.

Other beneficiaries and their projects are listed here.

The Minister declared:

“Thirty one exciting new low emissions transport projects will share over $11 million of funding to help more Kiwis make use of new transport technology.

“This funding is made up of $4.3 million of government co-funding and $7.3 million of funds from the private sector. That’s a smart investment that means the maximum benefit for the taxpayers spend.

 “This round of funding focuses on innovative projects that expand the use and possibilities of electric vehicles and other low emissions technology in the transport space. It’s about making new technology available to help Kiwis get around, lower our carbon emissions and contribute to our economy.

“From 100% electric campervans for tourists to hydrogen fuel cell powered buses at the Ports of Auckland to solar panel charged electric vehicles and trial of smart chargers in people’s homes, we’re backing new technologies that will make a difference.

“We’re also funding a further 34 new public charging spaces for electric vehicles right around New Zealand, including several at South Island tourism hot-spots. This is about creating a truly national infrastructure of EV charging so that all major trips around our country are available to EV users.

Woods proceeded to reiterate that this is “by far” the biggest round of new projects delivered by the fund.

Each previous round has favoured between 14 and 18 projects.

In total, the fund has committed $17.2 million in government funding to 93 projects, matched by over $45 million applicant funding.

Transport is responsible for about 18% of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions, so one of the most effective ways for us to help tackle climate change is to transition our fossil-fuelled transport fleet to run on clean, renewable energy sources, Woods said.

“By helping to roll out that technology to more people than ever, today’s announcement helps more Kiwis cut their transport emissions.”

Taxpayers who want to see how their money is being spent – and oinkers who fancy getting their snouts into some of it – can find more information about the fund at  www.eeca.govt.nz/funding-and-support/low-emission-vehicles-contestable-fund/

For general information about EVs, see www.electricvehicles.govt.nz

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