News & Media

This year, Damien O'Connor is the April fool

Bryce, Laurie, Mel, and the Team at Groundswell NZ

It’s no joke, the Government is taking us for fools. The Ute Tax comes into force today and you will have to pay a tax on any useable vehicle to subsidise urban electric vehicles, when there are no real alternatives for anyone in the agricultural sector.

The Government delayed the tax, saying it was due to the Delta outbreak, but then moved it to start on April Fool’s Day, which must have been some kind of recognition that a tax like this is a fool’s game.

Whatever may or may not make sense for most urban drivers with options in their choice of car, many New Zealanders don't have any viable electric vehicle options – including farmers, growers, rural communities, and tradespeople.

Instead, all we’ve seen is the LDV EV T60, with a limited range towing rate of one tonne, rear wheel drive only, and barely any ground clearance due to the EV powertrain and battery.

But in a letter to Groundswell NZ back in February, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor claimed to “understand your concern that there is a limited range of low emissions vehicles suitable for some purposes, such as off-road driving and towing large loads”, and that he and the Government “expect the market to respond and technology to develop quickly.”

It’s this sort of out-of-touch comment that has led Groundswell NZ to declare Damien O’Connor our 2022 April Fool, from among a crowded field of his colleagues.

Competition was tough, but Mr O’Connor has clinched the award with the sheer stupidity of the Ute Tax.

This lack of serious consideration of the needs of the sector is exactly what we’ve come to expect from this Minister of Agriculture.

This is why we started Groundswell NZ, to fight unworkable regulations forced on farmers, growers, and rural communities.

Your support has meant Groundswell NZ is now New Zealand’s largest organisation in terms of subscribed grassroots farmers, growers, and supporters, putting your concerns and views on the national media stage and holding the Government to account.

Thank you for your support.

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