A New Zealand government decision to jack up fees on imported utes is being labelled a “kick in the guts for farmers and tradies”.
The Opposition slammed the government’s scheme of making ute buyers pay more in order to fund subsidies on low emission vehicles.
The criticism came after the government announced that the maximum charge on high-emission vehicles like large SUVs, vans and utes, would jump from $5175 to $6900 for new vehicles and from $2875 to $3450 for used imports.
Transport Minister Michael Wood lauded the scheme for helping to increase the number of EVs being bought.
He said the scheme was projected to reduce emissions by 3.4 million tonnes by 2035 as people moved to electric cars.
Wood said the beauty of funding clean car discounts by charging ute buyers was that it did not take money from government coffers.
But the Opposition accused the government of forcing farmers and tradies to fund wealthy people’s Teslas.
National's transport spokesperson Simeon Brown said: "Now those farmers and tradies will have to pay even more for Labour's failed policies with higher penalties on utes and light commercial vehicles.
“This is a kick in the guts for our farmers and tradies who rely on utes for their jobs and don't have alternative EV vehicles they can buy."
Acting Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni said she hoped the scheme would persuade people driving utes in Auckland "where they're not necessarily needed for practical reasons" to switch to an EV.