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Carterton narrowly votes in favour of a new EV

Carterton District Council [CDC] voted to buy a new EV by a majority of just one vote at a recent council meeting.

CDC considered a request to buy an electric vehicle for the Events Centre to replace the current [non-EV] one, which was becoming increasingly unreliable.

The report recommended buying an EV for an estimated $82,000. The amount was unbudgeted and not included in the recently passed annual plan. The alternative would be a slightly cheaper but less environmentally friendly diesel van. The diesel option was expected to take longer to be delivered.

Several councillors raised questions about why the unbudgeted expense was necessary so close to finalising the planning process.

By a margin of five to four, the vote to approve just over $82,000 of unbudgeted capital expenditure from general reserves to buy the van was passed.

Councillors Cherry-Campbell, Laurence, Newman, Cretney, and Gallon voted in favour. Mayor Ron Mark, deputy-mayor Williams, and councillors Deller and Ayling were against the motion.

The close vote followed a spirited debate about buying the vehicle.

The meeting was told the expense was unbudgeted because the current van had “died” after budgets had been set for the annual plan.

There was good support for using an electronic vehicle over a diesel vehicle from an environmental point of view, with those opposed mainly concerned about cost and timing.

Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae representative Marama Fox was supportive of the purchase.

“Anything we can do that is helping to reduce our carbon footprint is where the marae is going to be voting. But we don’t vote; that’s just our whakaaro,” she said.

Mark commented on the process adopted.

For his part, Mayor Mark admitted to being “a bit challenged by this whole process, really”.

“The issue for governance is to decide whether or not to approve unbudgeted spending. The way this process has been, it’s taken us down rabbit holes to discuss the type of vehicle, the colour – that’s not my role,” he said.

“if this had gone through the normal process, it would have been an item put forward in the budget for our annual plan, where we, as elected members, can see it in context, not in isolation.

“Given that we’ve just gone through the annual plan and just gone through a whole lot of really lengthy discussions around value for money, to have an unbudgeted amount put on the table so early is frustrating. Particularly when it’s a 20-year-old van that’s already exceeded its lifespan. It should have been in the budget, in my opinion.”

Mark said he would have preferred the item be put into the budget for next year, so CDC could go through the process properly. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. Please do not use the excuse of being more environmentally friendly in your decision to replace the current vehicle with an electric option.
    These vehicles do not arrive on the wings of butterflies having caused no pollution to produce. As well documented it will take on average 7 years to break even on the environmental damage compared to a standard fossil fueled vehicle.
    So if the council have not worked out the annual running costs of a diesel vehicle over the added expense of buying such an expensive ev, then they do not have the ratepayers best interests in mind, and are just pandering to the latest trends.

  2. Robbery of rate payers district council out of control. Have another vote for amalgamation of councils and save rate payers millions.

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