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Electric car moves disappoint Greens

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/05/2016

Transport Minister Simon Bridges delivers a speech in Japan. © Bloomberg Transport Minister Simon Bridges delivers a speech in Japan. The Greens are disappointed with the government's moves to encourage the uptake of electric cars.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced a package of measures on Thursday, saying electric cars were the way of the future.

The measures include road user charge exemptions and a nationwide information campaign, but the Greens say there's nothing there that makes it easier for households to afford them.

"It's very disappointing, there are no new tax breaks, there are no real incentives," said the Greens' Julie Anne Genter.

"If you want to make it easier for people to purchase electric vehicles, a tax break at point of purchase would be the way to do it."

Ms Genter says 80 per cent of new cars coming into the country are company cars, and they should be exempt from fringe benefit tax for seven years.

"That would cut at least $8000 off a $40,000 electric vehicle, and we would also require that 20 per cent of new government cars be electric within seven years," she said.

Those cars would then be sold, creating a second hand market for households.

The package includes:

* Extending the Road User Charges exemption on light electric vehicles until they make up two per cent of the light vehicle fleet

* A new Road User Charges exemption for heavy electric vehicles until they make up two per cent of the heavy vehicle fleet

* Work across Government and private sector to investigate the bulk purchase of electric vehicles

* Government agencies co-ordinating activities to support the development and roll-out of public charging infrastructure including providing information and guidance

* $1 million annually for a nation-wide electric vehicle information and promotion campaign over five years

* A contestable fund of up to $6 million per year to encourage and support innovative low emission vehicle projects

* Allowing electric vehicles in bus lanes and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the State Highway network and local roads

* A review of tax depreciation rates and the method for calculating fringe benefit tax to ensure electric vehicles are not being unfairly disadvantaged

* Establishing an electric vehicles leadership group across business, local and central government.

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