Farmers, tradies and ute lovers from across the rohe will come together for a “Howl of a Protest” in the Bay of Plenty next Friday.
The protest, organised by Groundswell New Zealand, is against the Government’s Clean Car Discount Scheme which will levy penalties on high-emission utes from January.
Protests will be held in more than 40 locations nationwide, including Katikati and Whakatane.
Whakatane protest organiser Kasey Maree says the penalties on new and used imported utes place an unfair burden on people like tradies and farmers who need the vehicles to do their jobs.
Kasey is a welder and says she, and most of her friends and family, would be affected by the penalties.
“We’re all farmers, growers, horticulturists and tradies and having these new rules that are going to stop us from being able to do our jobs properly; that has really got under my bonnet,” she says.
Kasey drives a petrol ute to cart her tools, hay and silage but says if she needs to upgrade, the penalty will make it difficult for her to replace the essential vehicle.
Despite only signing up to co-ordinate the protest this week, Kasey has already had a lot of interest from individuals and companies who rely on utes to do their work.
“We are making a stand to show the Government that diesel utes, tractors, and vans are an essential part of our lives being farmers, tradies and food growers,” she says.
“We’re going to say this is us, and we’re not going to lie down.”
Anyone with a tractor, van or a ute is encouraged to join in the protest.
The Whakatane protest will begin at 12pm at The Hub before driving in convey along The Strand.
The Katikati protest will begin around the same time, with people to meet at the north or south of town
at 50km signs.
Under the scheme, the highest penalty for a new diesel ute will be $5175 and $2875 for a used import.
The scheme is designed to incentivise people to buy lower-emission vehicles.
Someone buying a light electric vehicle worth less than $80,000 will receive a rebate of $8625 and a rebate of $5750 on a plug-in hybrid of the same value.
The Government said the scheme should be cost neutral as the penalties on utes would be used to fund the rebates on hybrid and electric vehicles.
The rebates and fees do not apply to second-hand cars already registered in New Zealand.
A petition organised by the Taxpayers’ Union called “Stop Labour’s Car Tax” has collected nearly 30,000 signatures.
The petition states that the “car tax” “unfairly hits low and middle-income New Zealanders in favour of wealthy inner-city urban elites who want to buy Teslas”.
It is anticipated that it will be some years before electric utes are introduced to the market.
Kasey says anyone wanting to take part in Whakatane’s protest can simply show up on Friday, July 16 at The Hub or if they want more information, they can call her on 021 026 38 575.
More information is available here.