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Committee backs clean cars bill

Industry body expects legislation will now be rubber-stamped after MPs reject most of the concerns raised by submitters.
Posted on 23 December, 2021
Committee backs clean cars bill

The select committee that considered the Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill has recommended the proposals be passed with only a few minor tweaks.

It follows a consultation period with industry and the public over the proposed legislation, which will allow the government to introduce the clean car discount feebate scheme and clean car standard.

The decision means a number of changes called for by the automotive industry, such as reconsidering the emissions goals for the clean car standard, rethinking weight-adjusted targets and shifting the classification of MC class vehicles have all been snubbed.

However, the committee recommends adding a new section to the bill which will require the Minister of Transport to review the suitability of the standards 2024/27 targets by mid-2024, and also compel the minister to consult on those goals.

It says: “The review would need to take into account the expected effect of the targets on vehicle emissions, safety, affordability, and availability. 

“It would also need to consider levels of ambition of other jurisdictions, in terms of their existing and proposed carbon dioxide emissions targets.”

Other recommendations include that credits will not be able to be traded between new and used importers, and that the bill be amended so a vehicle is considered “‘imported” at the point it goes through the entry inspection and certification process under the Land Transport Act.

The MPs that make up the transport and infrastructure committee issued their final report to parliament on December 22 and recommended by majority that the bill be passed. 

While Labour and Green politicians voted in favour of the plans, National and Act MPs on the committee opposed the bill.

The report is now set to go for a second reading in parliament in the new year.

Industry reaction

David Vinsen, chief executive of the Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA), says the select committee report is an opportunity for politicians to make the clean car policies clearer to members of the public and the industry.

“I imagine the second reading will simply see the bill get rubber-stamped but I hope relevant questions get discussed so people understand what will happen under the bill, which is taxing the public and forcing behaviour,” he explains. 

“I also hope this report will be an opportunity for education and information for the public and the industry that this whole programme is about influencing behaviour through two distinct and separate schemes, with one targeting demand and one aimed at supply.”

He says changing the bill’s definition of “imported” is logical and VIA also supports the requirement to review emissions targets by 2024.

However, he notes VIA remains disappointed at the recent discovery that most new and used imported vehicles will cop the same penalties under the standard – although this matter was not one put before the select committee.

“It was always in the discussions with officials about the scheme to have half the penalties of new vehicles and also half of the credits, but not the same penalties but still only half the credits,” adds Vinsen.

“It was either one absolute cock-up during the consultation process with the Ministry of Transport or consultation in bad faith.

“If they’re going to do that they may as well put new and used imports all together in the bill and make credits interchangeable.”

To read the select committee’s report, click here.