Story offers no electrifying surprises

Wednesday’s story by BusinessDesk that the Government has no hope of reaching its vehicle emissions 2025 carbon free target, is no surprise to National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Barbara Kuriger.


“Since 2018, its agencies have had the lofty goal of reducing their fleet carbon emissions to zero by 2025, but the numbers in this story show the Government isn’t going to make it by a long way,” she says.

“It confirms what was always going to happen. Instead, agencies are going to have to pay to offset their emissions.”


Kuriger says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has her work cut out for her to come anywhere near what was desired. While the story shows some progress with hybrids slowly replacing petrol vehicles, there’s been little progress replacing diesel fleets or the purchase of pure electric vehicles.


The story’s revelations should be no surprise to Woods and her fellow ministers either she says.


“They were warned this would happen in a briefing paper and, following the announcement of the Carbon Neutral Government Programme in December, a Cabinet paper discussed how agencies would be required to measure and report emissions yearly. If they don’t, they will need to pay to offset those emissions from 2025.”


Kuriger says: “It is another case of what’s ideal versus what’s real. The idea such a goal could ever be reached in the seven-year timeframe was always a stretch.


“This Government needs to be more than the party of grand announcements. Its own agency officials face the same problems as the public with EVs — they’re expensive and they’re concerned about their range limitations.”


Kuriger says there is no doubt the benefits of EVs are extensive and critical in decarbonising the transport sector and National has several options to help businesses and the nationwide uptake.


“They include exempting EVs from fringe benefit tax and road user charges for a decent period, allow their use in bus and high occupancy lanes in urban areas and setting realistic targets for the Government’s light vehicle fleet and as well as the nation’s.


“Transformation takes time, and we need to have the wherewithal across the board, for it to happen.”