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Government proposes discount for clean cars, fee for biggest polluters

The Government wants to give discounts for electric, hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles and put a fee on high emitters sold in the country for the first time, in a bid to increase New Zealand's cleaner fleet. 

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said the "cars, utes and vans we use every day are also the fastest growing source of harmful climate pollution and account for nearly 70 per cent of our transport emissions". 

"This is about making cleaner cars a realistic choice for more New Zealanders, by reducing the upfront cost of electric, hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles when sold in New Zealand for the first time," she said. 

Ms Genter said a fee has been proposed to be put on the highest polluting vehicles sold in New Zealand for the first time and also vehicle suppliers would be required to import more fuel-efficient cars. 

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"These changes would prevent more than 5 million tonnes of dangerous climate pollution going into our atmosphere and would make a major contribution to meeting New Zealand’s climate targets," she said. 

"The benefits of these policies would flow on into the second hand market as more fuel efficient hybrid and electric vehicles are sold on."

The Government is to consult on the proposals until August 20, with the changes proposed to begin in 2021. 

The discount for new low-or zero-emission light vehicles would go up to $8000, and the highest discount for used zero-emission vehicles would be $2600 when sold for the first time in New Zealand. The fee for the biggest polluting vehicles would go up to $3000 for new and $1500 for used when sold for the first time in the country. 

Ms Genter said the policy could save New Zealand $3.4 billion in fuel. 

Electric Vehicle in Park Charging station.
Electric Vehicle in Park Charging station. Source: istock.com