Over recent periods National has run a very tightly focused campaign against state support for Tesla owners.
The aim is to minimise the credit that should be given to the Government’s Clean Car Discount Policy. This is a policy designed to make people choose more sustainable models when buying cars.
It has been a runaway success. For the past year to March 2023 there was an increase of 13 percent of the value of imported fuel efficient vehicles compared to the previous year. And electric vehicle imports increased by 127 percent.
The average emissions of vehicles coming into New Zealand have decreased by 14 percent over that period. This is a serious contribution to the country’s climate change goals.
National had lots of fun pointing out that Tesla owners would benefit from the discount as well as Leaf and Prius owners. The goal was to drive down transport emissions, and it appears that this has worked really well. In fact really, really well. But the intent is to use resentment and ridicule to trash the policy.
The farming lobby hate the policy. They are really upset that they have to pay back some of the tax write offs they have when they buy big gas guzzling vehicles that contribute significantly to the destruction of the very environment that their business model depends on. But yeah lets milk that chance to rail against Tesla driving townies.
Not all Teslas qualify. They need to have a sale price of less than $80,000 but never let reality get in the way of good old rabble rousing.
But it seems that there is a problem.
It has been revealed that at the very time National was ridiculing State support for the purchase of Teslas Christopher Luxon planned to have the use of not one but two Tesla’s, the second of which would be paid for by hard working ordinary kiwis.
National Party leader Christopher Luxon had a fully taxpayer-funded Tesla on order for his use at the same time as he was publicly bashing the Government’s EV policy for subsidising “wealthy Tesla drivers”. The Tesla would have been for Luxon’s use, although he would not have owned it.
The Herald understands Luxon was talked out of ordering the car by horrified staff and at least one senior MP, who believed the purchase would be a massive political risk.
The order was placed last year, shortly before Luxon lashed out at the Government for its clean car discount policy, telling Newshub’s AM Show Labour was taxing people driving utes to help “wealthy Tesla drivers by giving them subsidies”. The Government’s clean car discount, under last year’s settings, took more than $8000 off the price of a Tesla.
The incident highlights four problems for National.
Firstly how out of touch is it to want to own two Teslas, especially when one is being paid for by the taxpayer? And especially especially when day after day you rail against inappropriate and wasteful Government spending.
Secondly how hypocritical is it to publicly rail against Government support to individuals to buy Teslas to get the country’s car fleet emissions down but think that a Tesla for the National Party leader is fine.
Thirdly how bad is Luxon’s political judgment that he would even think of getting a state supplied Tesla let alone actually ordering one.
And fourthly National is clearly leaking again.
There is a pattern developing here. I cannot believe how accident prone Luxon is. And how he cannot see how hypocritical it is to rail against Tesla subsidies and inappropriate and wasteful Government spending but to then order a Government supplied Tesla when he already has one.