EV and plug-in hybrid RUC legislation passes through Parliament

The legislation requiring light electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids to pay road user charges has passed its third reading in Parliament ahead of the scheme starting on Monday.

The charges for plug-in hybrids will be cheaper than initially planned after the government decided to accept an amendment proposed by the opposition.

The changes mean EV owners will pay $76 per 1000km driven – the same as diesel vehicles – and plug-in hybrid owners $38 – down from the $42 that had been proposed – on a pre-pay basis.

An admin fee of $13.71 – or $12.44 if bought online – also applies to those buying RUC licences.

Making EV and plug-in hybrid owners contribute to the RUCs – which contribute to the funding of roads through the National Land Transport Fund – is a move multiple governments have committed to, having set the target of EVs accounting for 2 percent of light vehicles on the roads.

They had been exempt from the scheme since 2009. Diesel vehicle owners also pay RUC charges, while petrol vehicle owners pay towards the NLTF through petrol excise taxes.

National’s Transport Minister Simeon Brown has spoken before about making all vehicle owners pay road user charges instead of petrol tax, and such a move was committed to in the National-ACT coalition agreement.

The previous Labour government began consultation on the change in 2022 and supported the move, while warning the change came alongside the removal of incentives for people to buy EVs.

But Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter said the “practical consequence of this bill is more emissions, more pollution contributing to greenhouse gases”.

Some submitters to the select committee had been frustrated by the cost of the new charges for EVs, saying it was unfair and a “penalty on a plug”.

The difference in tax paid between some similar-model petrol and electric cars was about $500 a year, with EV users paying about four times as much as the carbon price paid by the petrol car’s driver, for carbon pollution, they said.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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