Feebate Scheme Targets more than Utes

Wednesday 21 Jul 2021

(Marc Daalder for newsroom) Feebate won’t bankrupt farmers, but climate change might - It’s difficult to escape the feeling that some – not all – of those protesting on Friday either don't see climate change as a problem or see it as an issue that they should have no role in helping to address. Many farmers have argued in the past that the focus on biogenic methane is overstated, given carbon dioxide emissions from transport and industry are cumulative while flat methane emissions have a far smaller contribution to increasing warming.

Now, some of these same farmers have turned on the Government's efforts to address those carbon dioxide emissions from transport. They feel as if they are being personally targeted and victimised. The "ute tax", some (not all) say, is just another example of the Government kicking farmers while they're down.

Let's be clear: The feebate scheme doesn't single out utes, it singles out high- emitting vehicles. In fact, of 431 vehicle models analysed by Driven.co.nz, just 21 were subject to the maximum fee. Of these, just two were utes, including a Volkswagen ute that retails at $90,000.

It is not inevitable that all utes must be high emitting. Alongside the electric utes likely to debut in the coming years, other countries have managed to import cleaner versions of the same cars than New Zealand has. The most efficient models in New Zealand, for example, have 21 percent higher emissions than their equivalents in the United Kingdom.

Take Ford Rangers, New Zealand's most popular vehicle. All models sold in New Zealand would be subject to a fee, but the cleanest model sold in the United Kingdom sits in the zero-band, subject to neither fee nor rebate. It is, in fact, the historic lack of an emissions standard and clean vehicle incentives that has driven the unnecessary dirtying of New Zealand's fleet.

We can also dispose of the fiction that the feebate scheme will lead to widespread bankruptcies among farmers and tradies. No ute bought today will be subject to a fee. Even when the fees come into effect at the start of next year, there will still be a market of fee-free used vehicles already in the country – a quick search of TradeMe shows nearly 900 Ford Rangers for sale on Monday afternoon, not to mention thousands of other models.

What's the situation like for those who might want to buy a brand-new Ranger in 2022? They'll be subject to between $1090 and $4370 in fees. But the models in that higher bracket all retail for at least $51,000 new. Sure, buyers may have to lower their expectations, but no one is being forced to purchase a car they can't afford.

Once the numbers are out in the open, it becomes clear that some (not all) of those opposed to the scheme are merely against the notion that they might have any role in preventing climate change whatsoever.

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Source: newsroom

Photo Credit: Stuff News (Ed: "At least they don't do this anymore ... or DO they?")

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