Judith Collins talks about her classic car collection during climate change debate

Source: 1News

The leaders of the Labour and National parties last night gave Kiwis a glimpse into their driving habits in the leaders' debate in Christchurch.

Judith Collins says she owns several classic cars with husband David Wong-Tung while Jacinda Ardern says she drives an electric vehicle.

The topic came up at last night's Press Leader's Debate as part of a discussion on electric vehicles and emissions, and Ms Collins seemed proud to say she drove a petrol car - or cars - but she also said she's investigating buying an EV.

Private vehicles currently make up almost 70 per cent of New Zealand's household emissions, debate moderator Luke Malpass said, asking both leaders what proportion of the New Zealand's car fleet they'd like to see go electric, and what they're doing to make that happen.

"They have to be low emissions vehicles, not just EVs," Ardern said. 

"One of the things I know about EVs is that the price point for them right now is out of reach for most New Zealanders - I want them to have low emissions choices," adding that those include public transport and safe cycling routes.

"A $60,000-plus EV is not the only answer right now."

Ardern clarified that while vehicles make up 70 per cent of New Zealand's household emissions, they make up 21 per cent of the country's emissions.

Collins said her party would encourage business owners, especially those with large car fleets, to purchase EVs by removing fringe benefit tax from those purchases, while also allowing EVs and hybrid vehicles to use bus lanes.

Ardern said New Zealand should also focus on making sure electricity generation is as sustainable as possible, because driving an EV powered by coal energy was not ideal, and mentioned that New Zealand's first hydrogen production facility near Taupo would come online "in a matter of months".


Both politicians have access to a chauffeur-driven BMW limo as part of their roles - a BMW 730Ld - but also have personal vehicles, and Ardern said hers is a white Hyundai Ioniq fully-electric car.

Ardern recently showed off her Hyundai in a segment on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, personally picking him up from Auckland airport in it when he arrived in New Zealand for a visit.

Collins said "at the moment I'm getting driven around a bit more than I'm driving, but I can tell you that I do actually drive a car with petrol," and said it was a BMW, but didn't say what model.

After the debate, Collins also said she and husband David Wong-Tung had a large collection of cars, including a 1974 MGB roadster in burnt orange, as well as an E-type Jaguar - similar to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding car.

"We have a lot of cars - we do collect because we're classic car nuts," Collins said, asking "is that OK?"

She went on to say she is considering getting an electric vehicle herself, and that "I have already taken steps to get the plug put in my car port.

"Not the Tesla just at the moment - I was looking at the Hyundai [Kona] because I've been talking to [Coromandel MP] Scott Simpson about one because he's got one.

"So maybe the Tesla but I think maybe the Hyundai because it's a bit more user friendly."