The government’s decision to charge ute buyers more so EV buyers pay less is open for criticism for several reasons.
* It’s broken the promise of no new taxes.
* The Prime Minister’s assurance that electric utes would be available soon was quickly dismissed by the industry.
* She then made a judgement on which Ute uses are legitimate.
* She compounded that when questioned by Jamie Mackay on The Country by saying that her fiancee’s ute was ‘ a little bit different’ because it was sponsored ( at 1:50). Quite how a sponsored ute, the advertising on which is designed to encourage people to buy more, makes a difference that makes it more legitimate than others isn’t clear.
* And what she didn’t do was explain how the electricity needed to power all the extra EVs will be generated when we’re already importing coal.
* But the biggest criticism is that it is not clear how green EVs are and whether they really are better for the environment than those with internal combustion engines.
. . . No one in Government seems to have stopped to ask just how environmentally friendly EVs actually are.
In New Zealand, few have asked what we know about the supply chains of EV batteries, including the human rights implications of using child labour to mine essential elements necessary to make the large EV batteries.
The point being missed, ignored, or not properly debated, is the total cost on the environment from the manufacture, use, and disposal of EVs versus petrol or diesel cars.
There is plenty of research to suggest EVs are actually worse for the environment overall than fossil fuel cars, just as there is research they are better.
None of that research properly deals with the CO2 emissions from the disposal and recycling of batteries. The EV industry lobby groups all tell us to not to be concerned and to “hope” that technology catches up so that the production and disposal of EV batteries will at some stage have a much lower carbon footprint. Surely this is putting the cart before the horse . Why can’t they address the elephant in the room regarding disposing of millions of EV batteries in a climate friendly manner and provide hard facts to support this? They can’t and they won’t because they simply don’t know.
In future, when EV supporters in Parnell, Kelburn and Fendalton step into their Audi e-tron or Jaguar I-Pace to pick up the kids from their private schools, they will be directly benefitting from the car tax imposed on farmers, tradies and anyone else who either has no choice but to buy a petrol or diesel vehicle, cannot afford an EV, or simply doesn’t actually want to own one.
These urban liberals are the people Labour has chosen to subsidise rather than genuine hard working farmers, nurses, teachers, tradies and other middle income New Zealanders.
And what about the low income families of Otara, Porirua and Burwood who drive 15 year old people carriers because that’s all they can afford?
Some of those families – who are traditional Labour voters – can’t afford to heat their homes with electricity, or properly feed and clothe their children, let alone spend $60,000 to buy an EV.
A $6000 subsidy on a $60,000 EV is hardly relevant when all of your disposable income is paid in rent, food and heating your home. . .
All of that would be a very high price to pay if it had a positive environmental impact, but that is open to question expecially regarding the 350kg batteries that are needed to power EVs.
The manufacture of these batteries does not come without an environmental cost. Once CO2 emissions from the production of batteries are taken into account, Germany’s Institute of Economic Research argued EVs do more harm to the environment than a modern diesel engine.
Manufacturing is only the start of the problem. After an EV battery loses its ability to hold its charge, the metals and chemicals inside them contain toxic substances that are currently very difficult and expensive to dispose of cleanly. Technology hasn’t developed enough globally to come up with a way to either dispose of them safely, or recycle them in the volumes required.
If Labour wants all of New Zealand’s approximately four million vehicles to be EVs, then before they tax us even more can they please outline the plan to dispose of millions of toxic used EV batteries generally driven by the urban elite? This is not an unreasonable request. . .
Recycling the batteries is untested; exporting them for another country to deal with is unethical.
As we stand today, the only viable alternative is to bury them here in New Zealand in land fill. Huge areas of land would need to be converted to graveyards for toxic used EV batteries. Suddenly the clean, green future with EVs that Labour advocates looks extremely dirty.
Used EV batteries are prone to spontaneous combustion, emitting poisonous gases into our air. The gases from the fires would travel large distances and be a huge risk to animals and humans. . .
Compounding the environmental costs are questions over the working conditions in mines, where many workers are children, and EVs look even dirtier.
Under the Guiding Principles of Human Rights published by the United Nations, all member states and their business communities have an obligation to ensure the supply chain of goods they import are free from child labour exploitation. Clearly this is not the case for EVs.
These issues need to be addressed openly and transparently with the public, most of whom assume EVs are actually good for the environment and aren’t produced with the help of child labour in poor countries. . .
If even some of these concerns are valid EVs aren’t nearly as green as they’re painted and if it’s government policy to encourage their use we need to have honest, scientifically verifiable, answers to the question of how green EVs really are.