Making farmers and builders pay extra for petrol vehicles is "ridiculous" at a time when they have no low-emissions alternative, builder Jamie O'Leary says.
On Sunday Transport Minister Michael Wood and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced new measures designed to increase the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand, and decrease carbon emissions from transport.
The Government is to put the extra money people pay for new petrol vehicles into a fund that will subsidise people buying eligible electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, starting from July 1.
Someone buying a new Nissan Leaf might have as much as $8700 reimbursed. Someone buying a second-hand imported electric vehicle might be reimbursed $3500.
O'Leary drives a Toyota Hilux utility.
If he wants a new one after January next year it will cost him an extra $2900. The money will put into a fund to reduce the price of new and newly imported electric vehicles.
The new utility O'Leary would buy would be low-emission and compliant, and he doesn't know of an electric alternative that would do the same job.
"We are just getting penalised for buying a new vehicle that isn't electric. Why would we be paying a premium for that? We are the nuts and bolts of the economy. We keep the whole thing going," he said.
He is happy people buying electric vehicles will be subsidised - but not at the cost of others with no alternative.
But Whanganui district councillor and electric car owner Hadleigh Reid said people needed to take a longer view.
"A lot of people say it's taxing people with average cars. I think it's really ignorant and short-sighted.
The scheme is about changing New Zealand's vehicle fleet, he said.
"We have got to get [electric vehicles] into the country at some point. Those people bringing them in and paying a premium for it, will sell the car further down the line, and it will add to that fleet."
However, Taihape sheep and beef farmer Danny Mickleson said the scheme was "just absolute nonsense".
"It's just the biggest load of rubbish out. They're going to subsidise rich people to buy electric vehicles. Farmers and truckies are going to be charged more.
"They're targeting the very people they're supposed to be helping, the lower socio-economic people."
He's not sure its fair to tax people where they have no electric alternative that will do the job, however.
Whanganui man Rombout van Riemsdijk has been using an electric van in his EDEN Eco Products business for about four years.
He said people need to adapt to a new lifestyle with electric driving. He stops three times to charge his Hyundai Ioniq on a trip to Auckland.
Electric vans and trucks are available, van Riemsdijk said. He saw them at an electric vehicle show in Auckland recently.
"There's not an oversupply, but if you need one and you are prepared to pay a little bit more, they are there."