We’ve just had an election based budget in Australia and not a mention of climate change.  Our head in the sand government hasn’t a clue or is simply bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry.  Amazing how a few brown paper bags stuffed full of “political bribes donations” can corrupt a democracy.

We all had hopes our new shiny PM, Malcolm Turnbull, having had his picture taken outside Tesla Motors would take us in a new direction.  He came up with the ‘Innovation’ catch cry but it’s simply sounding like another empty political election slogan these days.

Approval of the obscene Adani coal mine without a blush of shame, continued subsidies to the fossil fuel industry of $5 – $7 billion annually, blatant disregard of the increasing daily evidence of accelerated climate change.  Turnbull has been SUCH a disappointment that at MEC we think it’s really Tony Abbott wearing one of those Mission Impossible latex masks.

Meanwhile from our Kiwi cousins the following: “It’s clear that electric vehicles are the future. A move from petrol and diesel to low-emission transport is a natural evolution, and it is our aim to encourage that switch sooner, rather than later,” stated the New Zealand Energy and Transport Minister Simon Bridges.  He continued: “If we start to replace New Zealand’s fleet with electric vehicles, we can begin to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”  What a breath of fresh air and simple common sense.

Why didn’t we think of eliminating our addiction to foreign oil, cleaning up our toxic city air, reducing the huge impost on our health system, improving our balance of payments while reducing our greenhouse emissions. Maybe that’s too radical for our “innovative” leaders.

So the NZ government has announced:

  • A target of doubling the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand every year to reach approximately 64,000 by 2021
  • Extending the Road User Charges exemption on light electric vehicles until they make up two percent of the light vehicle fleet
  • A new Road User Charges exemption for heavy electric vehicles until they make up two percent of the heavy vehicle fleet
  • Work across Government and private sector to investigate the bulk purchase of electric vehicles
  • Government agencies coordinating activities to support the development and roll-out of public charging infrastructure including providing information and guidance
  • $1 million annually for a nation-wide electric vehicle information and promotion campaign over five years
  • A contestable fund of up to $6 million per year to encourage and support innovative low emission vehicle projects
  • Allowing electric vehicles in bus lanes and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the State Highway network and local roads
  • Review of tax depreciation rates and the method for calculating fringe benefit tax to ensure electric vehicles are not being unfairly disadvantaged
  • Establishing an electric vehicles leadership group across business, local and central government.

Oh and they will be closing their last two coal fired power stations by 2018.  It’s so embarrassing to have our tiny neighbour show us the way, state the obvious and join the rest of the developed world in encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles.  The Czech Republic has incentives for EVs, Romania has incentives for EVs, Greece (yes Greece) has incentives for EVs – virtually the whole of Europe, North America, China, India, Japan all have incentives for EVs.

It is simply a disgrace that the Australian tax payer picks up the tab for the $5 billion in annual health costs due to petrol and diesel toxic emissions in Australia while our government’s largesse is splashed sycophantically on the fossil fuel industry.  It gets curiouser and curiouser.