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Workshops on 'clean cars' continue

Representatives from four industry associations continue to have talks with the government on its clean car proposals.
Posted on 08 October, 2019
Workshops on 'clean cars' continue

The Motor Industry Association (MIA) is hoping that talks with the government will “lead to sensible and workable changes” to the clear car policies proposed by Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister for Transport.

The MIA – along with representatives of VIA (the Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association, AA, and Motor Trade Association (MTA) – have been taking part in “workshops” with government officials on the way forward with the clean-car standard (also known as the fuel-economy standard) and the clean car discount, essentially a feebate scheme.

However, as detailed in the October 2019 of Autofile magazine, the proposals to penalise cars imported into this country based on their fuel efficiency could cost the new-vehicle industry upwards of $1.3 billion, according to the MIA.

David Crawford, chief executive officer, says “The MIA – along with representatives from the AA, MTA and VIA – have met with the minister and discussed next steps in the development of the clean car policies. In-line with our submission, the MIA has reiterated the need for work to be done on how to implement the proposed feebate scheme.

“And we have continued our advocacy [strong criticism] of the proposed fuel-economy standard stating that if the government wishes to gain the MIA’s support for such a policy it would need to consider a fundamentally different approach on how a standard should be applied in the New Zealand context. 

“We remain cautiously optimistic that further discussions between industry and the government will lead to sensible and workable changes to the proposed policies, but have indicated we would withdraw from the workshops if it becomes evident that not enough progress is being made on good policy design. 

“The MIA remains committed to liaising with the government on sensible policy design that is focused on reducing greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions.”

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As reported in the October 2019 of Autofile magazine, the MIA is among industry organisations critical of the supply-side mechanism, and its concerns centre on the modelling and costs.

The proposed fuel-economy standard is so bad, the association states in its submission on the discussion document, that it should be canned in its current form while the government develops one in consultation with the industry, along the lines of a system used in Europe – if one is needed at all.

Crawford warns Genter’s proposals will create “massive market distortions leading to drops in sales”. He adds distributors may even withdraw certain models, while one marque may have to pull out altogether. He believes the policies as stated in the discussion document would amount to a tax on vehicles without achieving anywhere near the reduction in GHG emissions being aimed for.

The MIA, VIA, MTA and AA met with Genter and Ministry of Transport officials in Wellington on September 19 after lodging formal submissions as part of the consultation process. They also made their views known before the meeting in a joint letter, which called for an industry working group to be set up to work with the government on proposals that will succeed in New Zealand.

Workshops have since been taking place to provide clarity, to discuss and refine proposed policy points on the clean car standard and clean car discount.

Read in-depth coverage in the October 2019 issue of Autofile.