Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Key the great helmsman, didn't know about the new government fleet of cars...

John Key, leader of the New Zealand National PartyImage via Wikipedia The great helmsman, John Key...
Public outrage' at government's new fleet of flash cars. Key the great helmsman didn't know about the fleet of new cars? yeah right!


The Prime Minister says he knew nothing about his department buying 34 new BMWs.

John Key says it was the department who signed off on the multi-million dollar deal and he only found out about it last week from a crown car driver.

A spokesman for Internal Affairs has said there was no requirement to inform the government about its decision to choose the option of buying new vehicles.

"It's our contract, we administer it. Our assessment was it was the best value for money to replace the vehicles now and we got a good deal in the first place and we got a good deal now," the spokesperson said.

Key says it's too late to send them back at any rate.

"Those cars are going to turn up in New Zealand," he said, adding that to stop that now would incur high costs.

Internal Affairs, however, has confirmed to ONE News that replacing the fleet was actually "optional", with no penalty for ending the contract.

The cars - the BMW 7 series - sell commercially for about $200,000 each but the government gets a discount for bulk buying, and the actual cost hasn't been revealed for commercial reasons.

The government says the price it will get for selling the 'old' ones is very close to the purchase price of the new cars.

Public condemnation

Despite that, there has been widespread condemnation of the decision to upgrade the fleet.

tvnz.co.nz readers expressed their outrage on a messageboard about the purchase.

'lazza25784' said the move was fiscally irresponsible.

"[It] goes against everything they have been telling us about what we should do with our money! They didn't need replacing, they are only 3 years old for goodness sake!"

The condemnation was echoed on the ONE News Facebook page.

Rebecca Walden said: "Is buying new cars gonna bring NZ out of debt, supply jobs and stop child abuse? I don't think so."

But some people laid the blame on Labour.

'dancingqueen' said on tvnz.co.nz's messageboard: "Look at who took out the contract for this fleet of cars in the first place. Yes, your beloved Labour Party, who seem hell bent on spending to the cows come home. The National Party are simply honouring the contract that Labour bestowed on us."

Greens say no

The spending has also been slammed by the Green Party.

"Everyone else is having to tighten their belts and John Key is cutting staff, and creating unemployment in order to apparently tighten the belt of government," Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said.

But English told Radio New Zealand that argument is a "bit rich".
"One of the reasons the Labour government bought the BMWs was because they were meant to reduce carbon emissions. They were meant to be the most fuel-efficient cars even though their capital cost might have been higher than other options," he told Radio New Zealand.

English said when the contract next came up for renewal the government would see if there was a better deal and probably a "more mainstream model of car".

Before 2008, ministers, the leader of the opposition and guests of government were driven around in Ford Fairlanes.

Turei said the contract should be cancelled or evidence provided that it was value for money.

English said the electorate "always thinks that politicians are pampered, overpaid, and far too well looked after and I don't think that's going to change".

The fleet change is expected to happen within the next few months.

Acknowledgements:  NZPA

http://tvnz.co.nz


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