SIVANZ submitted the commentary below about Special Interest Vehicle Manufacturers and Suppliers (SIVMAS) to NZ Hot Rod magazine who reproduced it as the editorial in the April issue. This is for SIVMAS owners.
“Sign me up….. I’ve had a gutsful…….. They’re out to get us!”
I answered the phone call and those were the opening words of the conversation. No “hello” or “how are you…” The caller is a world famous (literally) hot rod builder. He had not long read the SIVANZ letter published in the March issue of NZV8* about the number of business advisory groups talking to government about climate change initiatives (pushing EV’s) and the potential that special interest vehicle (SIV) owners may be denied, or have restricted, access to fossil fuels in the future. He then read another article in the March issue of Classic Car magazine about the growing number of people (operating in political circles) ramping up discussions on the “unsafe” aged fleet and how the author was trying to get accident statistics from NZTA** to counter the argument. Then, a perfect storm. On the TV3 news on Monday 25 Feb, an electricity reseller was being interviewed and was lamenting the slow uptake of EV’s and that to achieve the governments target of 64,000 EV’s *** on the road by 2021 they needed bold initiatives. His view was that we could get 100,000 EV’s on the road by 2021. To achieve that we should be taxing big petrol engines and diesels’ more. (the words used were to “subsidise” the uptake of EV’s)
No wonder the caller had had a guts full! The number of self-serving business groups promoting their products and services at the expense of fossil fuel(s) based industries and economy is growing, fast.
The discussion with the business owner reinforced the passion men and women in the SIV business world have for their businesses and the industry as a whole. It also reinforced that unless we have a strong industry group, each individual business owner is left to manage direct change alone, and, they also have to foresee and mitigate changes that affect SIV owners (their customers) to determine how their business may be affected. As changes affect SIV owners, so too will they affect SIVMAS businesses.
SIVMAS is the industry forum for those businesses manufacturing or supplying components and services to the SIV fraternity. These businesses are specific to us; they are unique. It has been said that SIV businesses could be making a $3-4Bn contribution to the NZ economy each year. How do we know that for sure? If we had to, how would we prove that and demonstrate the significance of the industry to the NZ economy? How many men and women does the industry employ? How many are in any sort of formal industry training? Are ITO’s matching training needs to our skills requirements? What innovations are developed out of SIV businesses?
Currently very little data is available on the SIV industry; therefore we can’t promote and celebrate all the good work that is being done and the contributions being made to the NZ economy in any public forum. Nor do we understand what the common problems are that we may be able tackle together to keep the industry healthy and vibrant.
The governments Productivity Commission report last year on a Low Emission Economy, described businesses in and around the fossil fuel industry as “dirty businesses”. That term should spark a reaction in every SIV based business owner. If that is how your SIV business was described in 2018, can you imagine what term might be used in 2020 as we head towards our first general election where climate change will be at its heart.
There are currently 6 government departments working on initiatives around climate change and or a low emissions economy. The government has just announced another $11m of tax payer funds as a boost to the EV industry. There are some surprising uses for the funds. Business owners in the EV industry can apply for funds to offset start-up costs to sell and promote EV related products and services. One business has received $350,000 to buy 2 EV trucks to hire back to the freight transport industry and several have received substantial funding to set up EV charging stations. How many SIV businesses get government funding to offset new equipment purchases to improve or expand their businesses or to start a new one?
Interestingly, a recent survey of drivers indicated that 34% of them were thinking about purchasing an EV. 49% indicated that they had no intention of purchasing one. The remaining 17% are silent.
The results seem at odds in consideration of the millions of tax payer dollars being invested into EV businesses and EV promotion for such a small proportion of the driving population owning, or leaning towards owning, an EV. In our view the needs of nearly half of the driving population are being ignored. The rub is that this majority group will continue to subsidise the EV uptake and required industry infrastructure through taxation.
SIVMAS is not decrying the EV industry or any initiative that improves the economy and wellbeing of New Zealanders. EV’s are an important and valid component for getting to a cleaner and emissions appropriate balance. What we are concerned about is the inequitable treatment of business categories (govt. funding for EV businesses vs nothing for SIV businesses) and the language that politicians and newly formed advisory groups are using to promote their political agendas and businesses. The repeated inference that the aged fleet is unsafe and businesses that support the aged fleet are “dirty” in some way is not acceptable.
The issue for SIV businesses and SIV owners is that this negative persuasion is not being countered by anyone and our fear is that it will be a term that sticks. The politicians and business groups are getting significant air time on TV and radio and various publications extolling the virtues of EV’s. Expect this rhetoric to get to fever pitch over the next 18 months. Where is the SIVMAS story?
SIVMAS is to embark on a membership drive campaign over the next few months. We appreciate that SIVMAS is not going to fit everyone.
The objective of the campaign is to promote membership growth in SIVMAS and start gathering industry information to confirm the actual size and contribution SIV businesses make to the NZ economy.
Not all businesses we reach out to will see the value in SIVMAS, but we hope that they still contribute to the survey questions and help develop a meaningful industry profile.
SIVMAS has almost completed high level planning for its first annual conference. We’re targeting early-mid 2020. The date is deliberate given it is a general election year and this election, in our view, will set the (climate/ low emissions) scene in NZ; full stop.
Most SIV business owners will be familiar with the SEMA organisation in the USA. While we don’t think copying that model exactly is appropriate right now, we will be using the construct as a start point for the first conference. Then we can develop SIVMAS in partnership with members and make it pertinent for us.
*See the full SIVANZ letter in NZV8 here; www.sivanz.co.nz;
**SIVANZ has already obtained accident statistics from NZTA from the last 20-year period. We are reviewing them to determine what the accident make up is by vehicle year.
*** 64,000 EV target on the road by 2021 was set by the previous National government. There are currently 12,000 EV’s on NZ roads