6 Sep 2023

Watch: National Party will deliver 10,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030, leader says

1:25 pm on 6 September 2023

National Party leader Christopher Luxon has promised 10,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030 if elected.

It comes as Luxon and other party members visit Christchurch.

Speaking to media, Luxon repeated his concern for the economy and said that New Zealand is the only country in the Asia-Pacific region that is in a recession.

He was shocked, he said, by Labour leader Chris Hipkins' claim that the economic fundamentals are in great shape.

Christopher Luxon during an electric vehicle charger announcement in Christchurch on 6 September.

Christopher Luxon during an electric vehicle charger announcement in Christchurch on 6 September. Photo: RNZ / Nathan McKinnon

"Kiwis up and down this country are doing it incredibly tough. They are experiencing a cost-of-living crisis that is going on and on ..."

He said National has the economic plan to get the economy moving again.

As part of rebuilding the economy, infrastructure needs to be improved, Luxon said.

More investment in the transport sector will be accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, including the supporting infrastructure.

New Zealand is the worst in the OECD in the area, with Luxon saying at present, the country only has one public charger per 95 EVs, where in the UK, there is one public charger for 20 EVs.

"That's where we need to be heading to."

Motorists were concerned over being able to get to where they wanted to be in an EV - and it was a barrier to people buying them.

Luxon referred to it as "range anxiety for electric vehicles".

To combat that, National wanted to invest in a network and deliver 10,000 chargers that will be in place by 2030.

Luxon said $257 million will be spent on the chargers. The ultra-fast broadband model will be revived so the government would work with business to deliver it.

National would do away with the need for resource consent because the installation of electric chargers will be a permitted activity, and it would abolish the ute tax and Clean Car Discount by December.

Luxon said in line with a policy previously announced on renewable energy, National was committed to doubling the amount of renewable electricity produced to make it "abundant, cheap and freely available".

Consents for the likes of solar and wind farms will be approved within one year.

National Party transport spokeman Simeon Brown said the new policy will be given to the new national infrastructure agency to handle, red tape will be cut, the rollout of the chargers will be nationwide, and "will make a huge difference to New Zealand's future".

National would 'put climate action in ... reverse gear' - Greens

However, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said National's plan to install EV chargers while at the same time making it harder for people to buy an EV was bizarre and ridiculous.

"There is no point building new charging infrastructure if people can't afford to buy an EV when they need a new car," she said.

"The Clean Car Discount has been one of the most successful climate policies Aotearoa has had.

"In June 2023, one in two cars sold was an EV. Scrapping this policy makes no sense and will likely reduce the ability of New Zealanders to access EVs, and increase emissions.

She said the government already had a plan to put charging hubs every 150-200km on highways.

"Over the last week, the National Party has committed to cancelling one of the most successful climate policies NZ has and pledged to cut $2b from the climate budget, which is currently paying for EV chargers.

"That says all you need to know about how little National cares about climate change.

"Aotearoa has the potential to be the first country in the world to completely transition away from petrol and diesel vehicles. To do that we need effective incentives, as well as charging infrastructure.

"National would put climate action in Aotearoa into reverse gear," she said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Luxon told Morning Report he was confident proper processes had been followed in National's decision to base a third medical school at Waikato University.

The assurance followed RNZ's revelations that the head of Waikato University referred to the setting up of the medical school as "a present" to a future National government.

He also hit back at claims National was being hypocritical over its angry response to attack ads on him by the Council of Trade Unions.

Luxon said the attack ads were a choice by Labour and the CTU "to go personal and negative on the scale that they have" and he was focusing on the real issues such as rising housing costs and better health and education outcomes.

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