Friday, March 15, 2024

National's clean car tax advances

The Transport and Infrastructure Committee has reported back on the Road User Charges (Light Electric RUC Vehicles) Amendment Bill, basicly rubberstamping it. While there was widespread support among submitters for the principle that EV and PHEV drivers should pay their fair share for the roads, they also overwhelmingly disagreed with the government over what that rate should be, preferring something equivalent to a modern petrol vehicle and proportional tot he damage that light vehicles actually cause. The National majority dismissed this, because, and I quote "very efficient petrol vehicles pay less than their fair share." Very efficient petrol vehicles are usually very efficient because they are light, and therefore cause less damage to the roads than a hulking Ford Ranger. But I don't think we can expect the ute-brained MPs of the National party to understand that.

So, EV and PHEV drivers are going to be taxed at a far higher rate than they would pay in an equivalent modern petrol vehicle, in what is transparently both an attempt to punish those doing the right thing and decarbonising, and a desperate revenue grab to help pay for National's landlord tax cuts. That stinks, but its going to get worse, because National have announced that they want to move all cars onto the RUC system. We currently have a simple and efficient system of petrol taxes which is completely invisible to drivers and which is pay-as-you-go, and National wants to replace that with a complex system which requires people to pay large sums in advance, and at a higher rate than they do now, requiring actual enforcement by police rather than the money being invisibly extracted at the pump. Which sounds like both an enforcement nightmare, and an election-losing policy. So good luck with that.