Thursday, 4 May 2023

Remuera-dwelling Tesla drivers - Where are the clean car rebates going?

This is the title of an article in the NZ Herald published 3-5-2023- unfortunately pay walled (link below).

Prior to reading the Herald article I had written the following in a forthcoming NZ Sociology article on the climate change policies of the Green Party:
"The so-called Clean Car fees are substantial and can add up to $2875 to the cost of an imported used vehicle. Since low-income and lower-middle income earners are unlikely to be able to afford an EV, this funding model is regressive. If one adopts an intersectional perspective, in effect members of the blue collar working-class and/or Māori and/or Pasifika, are subsidising the purchase of EVs by relatively affluent Pākehā and tauiwi." 
The Herald article confirms the highly socio-economically regressive effects of this neoliberal funding model. 
For example, "Tesla owners have been the big winners of the Government’s clean car discount to date, with the buyers of 9730 Teslas getting a combined total of $83m in rebates from the scheme since it began in July 2021 - averaging about $8500 a car."
"Nine buyers of Alfa Romeos collected $12,257 in subsidies, three Jaguar buyers claimed $10,350, and a single Porsche buyer got $2300 for their Cayenne."
The main suburbs where buyers of EVS are located are either suburbs where the rich live, or suburbs where big companies domicile their vehicle fleets. 
And which politician put in the official info request that the article is based on? Someone from the Greens? No. Simeon Brown from National supposedly concerned about the ute taxes being paid by farmers and tradies. Fair enough - but National will probably exempt them, while the predominately female, Māori, and Pasifika working class will continue to subsidize the purchase of flash cars by National and ACT supporters. The Greens support for the 'clean car levy' - in the absence of prior progressive tax reform and progressiveness in the configuration of the levies - is appalling. 
Finally, no one in either Labour or the Greens seems prepared to acknowledge that the life-long carbon footprint of an EV is around 55-60% of an equivalent petrol powered vehicle. Once the maintenance of the roading network is factored then moving the entire national light vehicle fleet to EVs will only reduce overall emissions by around 30% - at best.
So what are some progressive changes that could make a real difference to reducing emissions? Use regulations - not socio-economically regressive levies - to discourage use of high emitting vehicles and the number of vehicles that can be owned per household. Among other things, there needs to be much more government investment in public and active transportation, clean green renewable energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, tidal, wave, and so forth), eco-housing, native afforestation to create long-term carbon sinks, and better waste management infrastructure.

No comments:

Post a Comment