Questions persist on PNG govt's plans for luxury fleet

4:17 pm on 23 November 2018

Questions persist about the Papua New Guinea government's plan to onsell luxury vehicles bought for APEC.

Papua New Guinea MP for Oro Regional, Gary Juffa

Papua New Guinea MP for Oro Regional, Gary Juffa Photo: Loop PNG

The government controversially purchased 40 new Maseratis and fleets of other luxury vehicles for the APEC summit this month, although a number of world leaders opted not to use them.

Responding to an outcry over the Maseratis, the government said the state would not bear the overall cost as the cars would be onsold after APEC in a public tender.

The governor of PNG's Oro province Gary Juffa said the plan appeared dubious given the government earlier claimed that payment for the vehicles had already been provided by the private sector.

"I'm not exactly sure who in the public has the money to buy these vehicles, certainly not Papua New Guineans.

"And who would want to buy these vehicles now with all the stigma that's attached to them. How about the fuel, services and parts? You can't get any of these in this country."

Meanwhile, Mr Juffa said the government's 2019 budget was cruel in the way it diverted significant funds away from provinces and into the hands of politicians.

PNG Treasurer, Charles Abel

PNG Treasurer, Charles Abel Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koroi Hawkins

The budget, released by Treasurer Charles Abel last week, was described as aiming to build a resilient economy that can withstand volatility.

"We keep our eyes always on that broader based economy, which is what this budget is all about, and creating those longer term quality jobs, building a middle class," Mr Abel said.

"You can see how employment is trending. It's not growing as fast as we would like, but the trend is positive."

However the budget saw cuts to functional grants and development funds that provinces recieved.

Mr Juffa said these funds had instead been parked in select ninistries headed by leading politicians.

He said that in that way the budget supported pork-barrelling under the guise of short-sighted development projects.

"It's a dark budget. It's a sad budget for PNG, because it gives politicians more money to do too much that I doubt will benefit this country in any way, shape or form.

"It's re-election, empire building stuff. Horrible, horrible, cruel, evil budget."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs