Thing is, the cost of a cheap, barely running car (especially if you just don't get a warrant and rego) is a lot less than the cost of living somewhere you don't need a car. Until we can get a viable way for Solo Mum and her 2 kids to work and school respectively in rural towns, it's a non-starter.
It's not like there's a ton of NZ New cars trickling down into our vehicles, it's importers bringing in 10+ year old cars because those are the ones that sell on the lot, and give them a decent profit. Go to your guy in Japan, buy a car that's almost 20 years old and bring it here to sell for a decent profit, that's the business. I'm on a decent wage for where I live, and I'm driving a 2004 Nissan Bluebird Slyphy because I can't justify throwing down $15,000+ just to pick up something slightly more modern, so I can completely understand how people with families making less aren't doing the same.
We need to put significant tax cuts in for EVs and hybrids, and try and encourage the USED IMPORT market to bring in and sell THOSE for their profits, rather than trying to ditch the ICE, and we need to be careful how we do it, because our power grid is going to get wolloped if we aren't.
With that said, someone buy me a Tesla Model 3, so I can lead by example. And a garage to keep it in. Cheers.