Genter wanted to ban petrol cars

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Photos Mark Mitchell via NZ Herald
23 Aug 2019

Some newly unearthed documents have revealed that Associate Minister of Transport, Julie Anne Genter, planned to push ministers to ban importing all petrol cars to New Zealand by 2035.

The documents, which include an excerpt from an April 2018 draft cabinet paper, show that Genter asked officials to work on the policy. This would have meant “an end-date of 2035 to the import of light vehicles that are unable to be driven without fossil-fuels". It was ultimately scrapped.

The officials presented a report in October last year that looked into the pros and cons of such a ban. However, due to the "lack of information, time and resources", the analysis was not able to take some key issues into consideration, such as how the ban would affect EVs, electricity prices and how road safety would be impacted after such a drastic change.

As a result, the proposal wasn’t taken to Cabinet at all.

National said the fact the plan was even considered was "irresponsible".

According to Genter, the idea was first proposed by the independent Productivity Commission. "It's normal for officials to investigate and recommend a wide range of options to ministers," she told the Herald in a statement.

"The Government is prioritising making it easier and more affordable to choose electric and hybrid cars, while ensuring Kiwis can also choose from a wide range of efficient petrol and diesel options," she said.

National’s transport spokesperson Chris Bishop was critical of Genter’s work. But, interestingly, he commented that it would be “irresponsible to make petrol cars illegal so soon without a solid plan to help people into electric vehicles,” which sounds like National wouldn’t be entirely opposed to an eventual ban on petrol cars.

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