Consultations begin on proposals to penalise some vehicle owners and to rewrite matters of public record

Various consultations were triggered in weekend announcements from the Beehive, among them a consultation on government proposals to hasten the public’s purchase of low-emission vehicles to help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target (and – of course – “to create jobs to support the economic recovery”).

Among the proposals are rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, to start on July 1 with up to $8,625 for new vehicles and $3,450 for used.

Sounds good – and that’s no doubt what the spin doctors intended.

To pay for this, imported cars with high emissions will cost extra from January next year.

Ah – and there’s the catch. 

The Automobile Association reckons Kiwis will pay roughly a $3000 penalty for their favourite utes from 2022 under the new rules.

The penalty under the Clean Car Discount package will apply to the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger – two of the top selling cars – and will come into effect in January 2022.

Another set of consultations has started on a Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will support the long-term direction of New Zealand’s housing and urban development system.

The Government’s climate change policies and aspirations come into play here, too.

And so does the government’s acquiescing to the yearning among some Maori for their own programmes, shaped and administered by Maori for Maori, helping to create an “us” and “them” society.

“While we tackle the housing crisis we inherited with multiple streams of work and funding to fix the underlying barriers to enabling new housing, we also need to consider future challenges like climate change and population growth,” Megan Woods said.

“New Zealand’s population is projected to grow more than a fifth by 2050, by which time we’re committed to reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero.”

The press statement says Cabinet has also approved the development of a draft Māori Housing Strategy, to replace the existing Māori Housing Strategy, He Whare Āhuru He Oranga Tāngata, released in 2014.

“The development of a new Māori Housing Strategy will address long-term system requirements and enable more immediate responses, necessary to address the current housing crisis and enable us to align its strategic direction with the GPS-HUD and MAIHI,” says Associate Minister (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare.

Then there’s the consultation on the Government’s plan to make it easier for birth certificates to be altered.

Or to make something that is a matter of record no longer a matter of record.

The Government is taking the next step to support transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, by progressing the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill.

The idea is to enable us to change the information as we change our minds about what we want to be, gender-wise.

“This Government understands that self-identification is a significant issue for transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, and is committed to making it easier for people to formally acknowledge their identified gender,” Jan Tinetti said.

Latest from the Beehive

Housing

Feedback sought on future of housing and urban development

Consultation has started on a Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will support the long-term direction of New Zealand’s housing and urban development system.

The aim is to remove barriers to new housing while considering the challenges of climate change and population growth.

New Zealand’s population is projected to grow more than a fifth by 2050, by which time the Govenment is committed to reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero,  Housing Minister Megan Woods said.

Cabinet has also approved the development of a draft Māori Housing Strategy, to replace the existing Māori Housing Strategy, He Whare Āhuru He Oranga Tāngata, released in 2014.

The new Māori Housing Strategy will be developed in parallel with the GPS-HUD. They will be strongly connected through Te Maihi o te Whare Māori – the Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation (MAIHI) Framework for Action and further accelerate its momentum to achieve significant and enduring housing outcomes by Māori, for Māori. 

The GPS-HUD must be published by 1 October, 2021. Find out more and have your say before 30 July by visiting Home | Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (hud.govt.nz)

 Vehicle emissions

Clean car package to drive down emissions

The Government is taking Climate Change Commission advice with measures to increase the uptake of low-emission vehicles to help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target and create jobs to support the economic recovery.

Key points are:

  • New rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles start July 1 with up to $8,625 for new vehicles and $3,450 for used.
  • Electric vehicle chargers now available every 75km along most state highways to give Kiwis confidence.
  • Low Emission Transport Fund will have nearly four times the funding by 2023 to continue to grow the nationwide EV charging network and support other low emission refuelling networks.
  • Electric Vehicle Buyers Guide available to help guide potential buyers. 
  • Govt intends to set up EV sector leadership group to help increase uptake.
  • Proposed Sustainable Biofuels Mandate to prevent over a million tonnes of emissions while Kiwis switch over to electric.                                           

Transport is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand, Transport Minister Michael Wood said.

Our monthly registrations of EVs are around half the global average and sales are well below the 50 per cent of monthly sales seen in some European countries.

The Government is already committed to policies such as the Clean Car Import Standard, decarbonising the public transport bus fleet and revitalising rail, “but we have to do more,” Wood said.

A discount on electric, hybrid and low-emission vehicles funded from a fee on higher emitting ones is a common policy overseas, was recommended by both the Climate Commission and the Productivity Commission and is supported by the Motor Industry Association.

The Clean Car Discount will make it cheaper for New Zealanders to buy electric and low-emission cars. It will prevent up to 9.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and will help with the upfront cost of switching over with Kiwis getting up to $8,625 back, Wood said.

Cars under $80,000 and safer models will be eligible for rebates, which will begin from July 1, while “fees” on higher-emitting vehicles to help fund the scheme won’t begin until 1 January 2022.

The rebates will expand from 1 January to include low-emission vehicles as well as electric and plug-in hybrids.

The policy only applies to new and used cars arriving in New Zealand,

“ … so the existing second-hand market of cars that lower-income families tend to purchase from will not be affected.”

Electric vehicle chargers are now available on average every 75km along most state highways. The Government has been investing directly into charging facilities through the Low Emission Transport Fund (formally the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund).

The Low Emission Transport Fund has already co-funded over 1,100 electric vehicle chargers nationwide, and Budget 2021 is increasing the state’s investment so total funding for the programme will reach up to $25 million a year by 2023/24. Other projects using low-emission fuels like biofuels and hydrogen, will also be eligible for funding.

Wood said he will set up an electric vehicles sector leadership group “in the coming weeks”.

“Our proposed Sustainable Biofuels Mandate will help us reduce emissions from cars, trucks, ships and planes by 1.3 million tonnes until 2025 while zero emissions options are developed. 

“It’ll also help us create jobs to support our economic recovery through encouraging a local industry,” Michael Wood said.

Consultation on the Sustainable Biofuels Mandate is open until 5pm, 26 July 2021 and submissions can be made here.

Public records

Progress towards simpler process for changing sex on birth certificates

The Government will invite public submissions on self-identification  provisions in the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill after it is given its second reading in August.

The Bill has been deferred since 2019, after the select committee reported back.

Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti proposes allowing people to change their registered sex multiple times, but they will have to meet requirements to ensure their application is genuine.

 These requirements will be established in regulations.

Tinetti said gender terminology evolves rapidly – what was appropriate five years ago may not be what is used today

She is proposing a range of sex markers to be set in regulations rather than in legislation.

This will mean they can be more easily reviewed and updated to ensure they meet the needs of transgender, non-binary and intersex people.

The Bill will simplify the confusing, intimidating and time-consuming process for those who wish to self-identify their sex on their birth certificate – so it’s similar to the current process for driver’s licenses and passports.

“This change will lessen the likelihood that transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders will experience discrimination in their day-to-day lives, particularly when using a birth certificate to access services like setting up a bank account or enrolling a child in school.”

Maori-Crown relationship

Crown speeds up engagement with takutai moana applicants

The Crown is taking a new approach to takutai moana applications to give all applicants an opportunity to engage with the Crown and better support the Māori-Crown relationship, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says. 

We suppose this has something to do with the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, a significant piece of legislation intended to

  • establish a durable scheme to ensure the protection of the legitimate interests of all New Zealanders in the marine and coastal area of New Zealand; 
  • recognise the mana tuku iho exercised in the marine and coastal area by iwi, hapū, and whānau as tangata whenua;
  • provide for the exercise of customary interests in the common marine and coastal area;
  • acknowledge the Treaty of Waitangi .

The Takutai Moana Crown Engagement Strategy is a result of listening to applicant feedback that one-by-one engagement is too slow for the volume and complexity of applications that need to be decided. Under the new strategy the Crown will engage with all iwi, hapū, and whānau groups across 20 coastal areas to timeframes informed by applicants.”

The new strategy aims to achieve fair, transparent, and timely determination of applications for recognition of customary marine title and protected customary rights or activities under the takutai moana legislation.

Where the continued existence of customary interests is established by the evidence, they can be recognised by the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations or the High Court and given legal effect.

“Engagement will be collaborative and focus on building an understanding of the relevant tikanga, preparing the historical research and evidence needed to meet the legal tests for recognition, and on working through shared or overlapping interests” Andrew Little said.

“A number of applicants have applied through both pathways, but the choice of pathway should not advantage or disadvantage any group. The two pathways need to align better in terms of support for applicants and the work that needs to be done. The Crown needs to work with applicants in good faith, in a way that builds strong relationships.”

Crown engagement will start over the coming months.

Justice system

Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court opens

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi and Courts Minister Aupito William Sio have welcomed the opening of a new Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court in Hamilton.

The AODT Court deals with cases where substance abuse and offending are intertwined.

AODT Courts established in Central Auckland and Waitākere, West Auckland, have proven successful in reducing alcohol and drug use, reoffending and imprisonment.

In 2019, an AODT Court evaluation found that within two years after graduating from the Court, participants were less likely to offend, less likely to be in prison, and less likely to be involved with the Police.

Where subsequent offending happened, it was likely to be less serious.

The AODT Court provides a pathway which includes intensive monitoring, case management, drug testing, and mentoring.

Sentencing is deferred while participants work through the programme, including regular court appearances, to check their progress.

“This vision promotes incorporating Māori values and a more multi-cultural approach across the justice sector – which better reflects our nation,” said Aupito William Sio. 

 

 

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