Dawn chorus: Feebate blowback
Ute buyers complain they have no electric alternatives; South Auckland councillors protest Mill Rd cutback move; Possible nuclear accident in China; UK keeps lockdown for another month
TLDR & TLDL: The blowback has begun in earnest against the Government’s moves to increase the cost of utes and stop building motorways in South Auckland and Tauranga. The Opposition jumped on to criticism by Toyota overnight of the PM’s comments yesterday that an electric Hilux would be available within a year to two years. (Newshub)
Toyota NZ CEO Neraj Lala said there were no plans for such an electric ute in the next 18 months to two years.
“It is irresponsible to suggest that customers stop buying non-electric vehicles immediately until there is an electric option available. The range and volumes of EV’s needed to meet demand is simply not available, and many customers still need a vehicle to transport their family or operate their business.” Neraj Lala
Meanwhile, criticism is growing of the Government’s decision last week to cancel big new motorways to open up suburban housing developments. South Auckland councillors used Auckland Council’s inhouse news website to hammer the decision as using carbon reduction as an excuse for not spending money to develop the region.
“We understand the need to reduce carbon emissions and that we can’t just keep on building roads, but thousands of our people are caught every day in gridlock. More trains, walkways and cycleways are welcome, but there are a lot of areas with poor public transport. It’s not the city, where a bus goes by every 10 or 15 minutes.” Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole
Elsewhere in our political economy
The Productivity Commission announced it had been asked to prepare the Terms of Reference for a new inquiry aimed at finding ways to break the cycle of long-term disadvantage. I spoke to Commission Chair Ganesh Nana in more depth about the inquiry, which is the first that has opened up its terms of reference to the public. The full interview at the end of the Dawn Chorus audio above. He indicated it was unlikely to try to repeat the work of the tax and welfare settings work done by the Cullen-led Tax Working Group and the Welfare Experts Advisory Group. I read that to mean it was unlikely to recommend income and wealth redistribution, or a new shakeup of the welfare settings.
Elsewhere overnight, Boris Johnson announced another one month delay to the lifting of Britain’s lockdown because of the spread of the Delta or Indian variant, which is proving twice as likely to hospitalise as earlier variants. (BBC) But there was some good vaccine news. Trial results showed the Novavax vaccine 90% effective. (NBC) Also, there may have been a nuclear accident at a power plant in China. (Reuters)
Signs o’ the times news
Longer reads and listens
Some fun things