The government’s Clean Car Standard was slammed, rejected by the New Zealand auto industry
A damning press release from New Zealand’s Motor Industry Association has confirmed that the group, which represents the country’s local dealerships, has withdrawn support for the government’s Clean Car Standard.
The announcement follows the discovery of what the MIA calls some “nasty surprises” in the introduction of the Land Transport Amendment Act in Parliament. The nasty surprises are the adjusted targets that the government has formulated for 2026 and 2027, which represent a seemingly insurmountable reduction in emissions compared to the current figures.
The MIA adds that it supports “well thought out and constructive measures that lead to an increased rate of reduction in CO2 emissions from the car fleet,” but opposes the recent changes.
According to MIA, these changes could cause vehicle prices to rise 15 to 20 percent as dealers use consumers to offset penalties that are difficult to avoid.
“With the introduction of the Land Transport Modification (Clean Vehicles) Act, the government has shown a terrible lack of understanding of how to effectively reduce vehicle fleet emissions and is instead placing unwarranted and substantial costs on consumers. They have ignored well thought out advice from the industry, ”it says.
“The bill introduced in parliament deviates from standards that are implemented in other countries and is poorly designed. The reduction rate (emission targets) is so high that there are no power distributors other than those that only supply battery-electric vehicles [pure-electric cars], can reach them in the time required by the draft law.
“The targets for 2026/27 are a nasty surprise. According to the goals of the bill, a 40 percent reduction in emissions is required by the end of 2025 and then a 43 percent reduction in the next two years by the end of 2027.
“No jurisdiction anywhere in the world requires this rate of reduction, and with which we will be ahead of what Europe requires for the same period of time. There is no obvious reason and it seems that it is a job for New Zealand to generate revenue when there are stricter goals than other jurisdictions like Europe.
“The parent companies of New Zealand’s new vehicle importers are already drawing up their production plan through 2030 and this will be based on what Europe, Asia and Australia need, not what our government wants.”
The MIA statement also touches on the cabinet decision that all vehicles manufactured from January 2022 must be tested according to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), and states that the WLTP only applies to Euro6 emissions regulations that are not on either side the Tasman was adopted. The cabinet paper says New Zealand’s core automotive supplier regions, Europe and Japan, already require WLTP testing.
“This was based on incorrect advice from officials who, at the time it was written, did not understand that New Zealand’s main source of vehicles for Australia are vehicles that meet their standards that do not currently require a WLTP,” explains the MIA.
“As it is worded, the bill will impose crippling penalties on the vast majority of current new car dealers operating in New Zealand and ultimately consumers.”
The acceptance of the Clean Car Standard by the local automotive industry has always been rocky. The initial uptake of the program by Toyota New Zealand and European Motor Distributors (Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, and more) was mixed, with numerous groups saying there needed to be more government support to make the early goals viable.