On yer bike, Julie Anne – Minister’s conceit about coddling EV cars has collided (ouch) with Kiwi motoring predilections

It  seemed  like  a good  idea  at the  time it  was being  formulated  but  the government’s Electric  Vehicle   “feebate” scheme is  producing   the  kind  of  backlash  any ruling  political  party  going into  an election  should fear.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter  released the government’s plan for a “feebate” scheme to encourage a quicker uptake of EVs.  She  clearly   thought  it   would be  welcomed  on  all  sides, believing  – as  most Greens  do  –  it’s vital  for  NZ  to lead the world  in saving  it   from  climate  change  extinction.

But  one  of the  rules of  NZ  politics   is   “don’t  mess with the  average New Zealander’s  love affair with the  motor car”. 

Genter,  who makes   a  bit of thing   of  riding a  bike,  does  not appear to be  conscious of  how deeply Kiwis love their cars.  They  surely  hate  anyone, let alone a politician, instructing  them  on  the choice of  vehicle.

There  is a  reason   why  the uptake of EVs    has been  slow   in NZ.  Those  on the market   are not only expensive  but  don’t  suit  the  purposes  for   which  New Zealanders need  a  vehicle.  And the  prospect   is  that  even at the new subsidised  rate  a  Nissan  Leaf  will be  only  marginally more  saleable   than at present.

Did   Genter  ask   herself  why  Toyota, one of the biggest  if not the biggest  car manufacturer in the world,  doesn’t market  a pure  EV?  Instead  it  sticks  to  hybrids.

The  odd  thing  is Genter,  in  her cocoon  of  knowing  best,  has been  surprised  by the backlash.  Strangely,  too,  the  Left  is  puzzled that the National  Opposition  has  seized  on  the  Genter  policy  to  mount one of  its most  powerful onslaughts  yet  through  social  media ,  with  lines  like “$3000  is  just a  small fee”  (on a new petrol-fuelled vehicle): “that’s more than  a year of power  bills”.

That, according to  one Lefty,  is  an  “outrageously  disingenuous”  presentation  of  what   the government is trying to  achieve.

National  has  now sent  out  about  10  different  posts  focussing  on the  “car tax” . That  comes on  top  of its deployment of the  tagline “NZers can’t afford  this  government”,  which in turn  some  have  identified   with   the social  media  tactics  of  Scott  Morrison  in  winning  the Federal election in Australia for the  Liberals.

As  Claire Trevett noted in the NZ  Herald,

Morrison’s  campaign was  more like  an  Opposition  campaign.  It focussed on  attacking  his rival’s policies more than  promoting  his own.  And it worked a  treat”.

National’s social  media  posts  are  said  to have  had a  reach  of  between  700,000 and  one  million  people.     

Suddenly, the government  which  was coasting  along on the popularity  of  PM  Jacinda  Ardern  is  finding  the  Opposition  onslaught on tax, cost of living and choice   is beginning to  hit home.

Stacey  Kirk,  writing in  Stuff,  says even National has been surprised at the reach its campaign on EVs has delivered.  National’s Facebook page shows two paid ads running around EVs and tax:  one is a clip of all the times Genter referred to the “small fee” that would be attached to high-emissions vehicles, juxtaposed with the various $1000+ fees of popular  cars, and the other a chart of what the Nats are calling  “Labour’s car tax”.

The current video was understood to have reached more than 750,000 Kiwis on National’s Facebook page, through engagement (excluding posts from individual MPs):

Kiwis attune not just to the tax message, but the penalty for spending their money on something they deem necessary to their lifestyle”, Kirk  wrote.

Even   as  the  National  criticism  on the car  “feebate” scheme    was  finding  its  target, the Greens   came  under fire  from another direction.  In  the  move to bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme , the Greens are being criticised by many normally regarded as in their core constituency, including a former co-leader, for not going far enough, being too timid, and still allowing agriculture generally a near free ride when it comes to taking responsibility for its emissions.

It’s  a hard  lesson  for the  Greens, being  part  of  a coalition for the first time in  government:   even if you believe  you  are doing the right  thing,  you  still have to carry the  people with you.  





3 thoughts on “On yer bike, Julie Anne – Minister’s conceit about coddling EV cars has collided (ouch) with Kiwi motoring predilections

  1. JAG rocked up to a recent local government meeting of Mayors carrying her bike helmet which she plonked on the table as a subliminal virtue signal. Sadly she’d been spotted arriving in a Crown car (complete with prop) . She is a fake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great when a list MP from a minor party who has zero public mandate to be in office can come foist her own personal agenda on a whole population.


  2. This arrogant porcine foreign zealot will hopefully render the coalition unelectable. There is immense anger about her imposing her personal fads on New Zealander’s transport needs.


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