More on BMWs

February 16th, 2011 at 1:36 pm by David Farrar

Maggie Tait at NZPA reports:

The Internal Affairs Department is responsible for a decision to provide the Government with brand new BMWs when the old ones were only three years-old, Prime Minister John Key says.

My first response to reading this is that sure made the decision, but they must have got sign off from at least their Minister – or at least notified him. So I thought this was just trying to avoid blame.

Mr Key said a six-year deal for the cars was signed by Labour with a three-year rollover clause.

“That decision to invoke that rollover and bring new cars in was made by the Department of Internal Affairs without reference either to their minister or to me,” he told reporters.

However reading on, the PM says that the decision was made without reference to the Minister or PM at all. That indicates that not only did they not approve of it, they were not even told of it.

If this is the case, then DIA should get a bit of a bollocking for this. Departments are meant to operate a no surprises policy with Ministers, and 34 new BMWs should definitely qualify as meeting the threshold for no surprises.

Mr Key found out about the new cars when one of the drivers told him.

That is not the way the Minister for Ministerial Services should find out.

“It’s not a situation where we as the Government have decided to do that, the department just made that decision.”

The department did not think it had to check as it had authority from the former Labour Government.

The Department was wrong. They should have checked.

Earlier, Finance Minister Bill English was critical of Labour’s original contract and Green Party criticism of the in tight financial times.

“It’s a bit rich from the Greens because 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.

“I think it does show that being driven by a fad, which at the time was to have lower carbon emissions, means that you can make decisions — which were made by the previous Government — turn out more expensive than they expected.”

Mr English said when the contract came up for renewal the Government would see if there was a better deal and probably a “more mainstream model of car”.

“I don’t think a Government in the current recession would decide to pick a luxury brand car with all those extra bits…whatever the value for money.”

If no Minister was even informed of the new BMWs, then blaming them is a bit unfair. But the damage has probably already been done in terms of perceptions.

I still think DIA should be given a bollocking for not having the common sense to check with the current Government whether they wanted brand new BMWs to be turning up a few months befiore the election.

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72 Responses to “More on BMWs”

  1. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    If no Minister was even informed of the new BMWs, then blaming them is a bit unfair.

    No, not at all unfair. It is their job to be in charge of their department(s).

    Are you trying to tell us that after all their bluster about waste when the original contract was signed not ONE National MP bothered to read the contract once in government and put a reminder in Outlook to can the swap over?

    [DPF: The Minister is not in charge of the Department, the CEO is. The Minister approves policy and major spending decisions. Its insane to think any Minister personally is responsible for knowing when contracts come up - esp ones signed before he was a Minister.

    The Minister is responsible for what the Department did - so long as they informed him of it. If they do not keep him in the loop on such a major thing, then his obligation to defend them and be responsible does not exist.

    As I said, he should give the Department a huge bollocking over this.

    Note that if they had informed him of the new cars, even if they had not sought his approval, then I would agree he would be accountable.]

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  2. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    On this I have to agree with Jack, the minister should lose his job immediately.

    I refuse to accept that the government cannot go back to BMW and cancel the upgrade, for the government to try and blame this on others is something I would expect from Labour, not the Nat’s.

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  3. kowtow (7,928 comments) says:

    What we’re saying here is “if it’s election year,watch what you do”.

    Govts are spending money (taxpayers money ) like water on all and sundry, but now it’s election year we can’t have a bad look. Let’s hold officials responsible.

    So much of what this govt has done is a bad look . Smacking law, ETS, Foreshore.

    Why not question the airforce going to the Antarctic today? Is that a good look? How much is that costing?

    Govts should treat every year as election year. This smacks of a cynical attitude to us dumb plebs. Oh for goodness sake dear, don’t upset the peasants ,it’s election year.

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  4. Manolo (13,516 comments) says:

    First time in my life (and I hope last) that I agree with MNIJ. Sublime incompetence.

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  5. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    @big bruv: “I refuse to accept….” Seems unusual to me. If that’s the contract, then that’s the contract. However, since nobody’s shown us said contract, we have no way to know. I don’t see how you can refuse to accept it, but certainly you could say that nobody’s shown that to be the case.

    Overall – DIA are idiots if they really did this. But if this were a Labour govt I’d absolutely say 1) yeah right, you’re just throwing your department to the wolves to avoid the criticism, and 2) so you don’t have control of your department? Hell of a thing to admit. I reckon a govt is always better to man up and take the blame than to both show that they’re not in control and create a perception of blaming their employees for something they’re in charge of. Just a bad look.

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  6. jaba (2,095 comments) says:

    at least 1 Dept head should roll over this .. what do these pricks get paid for.

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  7. tvb (4,247 comments) says:

    It is perfectly sound to replace these cars at the end of 3 years. If you had your way David, Ministers would be driving around in clapped out pieces of junk. It simply has to be faced down, cars need to be replaced from time to time – election year or not. Ministerial houses need refurbishing including Premier House, this will happen from time to time.

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  8. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Mr Key found out about the new cars when one of the drivers told him.”

    Clueless.

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  9. jaba (2,095 comments) says:

    cars do need to be replaced BUT it would be good to do a do as I do gesture from the Govt and at least reduce the number of Limos purchased .. 34!!

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  10. SteveO (77 comments) says:

    “I think it does show that being driven by a fad, which at the time was to have lower carbon emissions . . .”

    Mr English’s words “fad” and “at the time” – implying that lower carbon emissions are no longer considered important – are worthy of a much wider audience, I would have thought. The Herald, Stuff and TVNZ don’t appear to have found space for this particular sentence although they quote all the others. To its credit, TV3 leads with this.

    When was the ETS review again?

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  11. Manolo (13,516 comments) says:

    Mr Key found out about the new cars when one of the drivers told him.

    Unreal. Almost close to attaining banana-republic status.

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  12. Bed Rater (239 comments) says:

    DPF you should have just stayed silent on this one, it looks desparate when you post these “supplementary statements of support”

    If one’s preferred party is in power, it would be the department’s fault for not keeping the minister in the loop, if one’s party is in opposition then the minister clearly doesn’t have a contrl of his or her portfolio and should resign.

    [DPF: Sigh. When it appeared a Minister allowed this to happen, I shat all over the Government this morning and said it was a huge blunder. I did not hold back because it was National.

    When the facts emerged that no Minister was even informed of this, as the contract was signed by the last Govt, and no current Minister was informed, then all but the most partisan or deranged would say that is a different kettle of fish.

    I've been 100% consistent on this.]

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  13. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Politicians are nearly as bad as shit druggies when it comes to excuses. “Oh, it was Labour’s fault” “Oh, it’s a contract” “I wasn’t advised about it” “The DIA did it without letting me know” “I was withdrawing from heroin” “WINZ wouldn’t pay for my transport”

    John Key – just admit it was a stupid mistake. Take some responsibility for it. Then either cancel the order, or stand-up and try to justify it to the public. Or better yet – get Bill English to do all of that for you.

    If you had your way David, Ministers would be driving around in clapped out pieces of junk.

    I’m no fan of BMW, but a 10 year old car isn’t junk.

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  14. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    Things like this call into question the governments weasel words about cutting back on expenditure.

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  15. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    When it comes to highly embarrassing fuck ups like this then Key could do worse than look at how Klark dealt with it.

    It does sicken me to ever credit that corrupt female but Klark would have simply said “I have stepped in and cancelled the upgrade”, she would not have cared less what minister it embarrassed.

    Time for Neville to do the same.

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  16. CHFR (219 comments) says:

    WOW you are all like Pavlov’s dogs, barking at the left’s behest.

    I for one will go with cock up over conspiracy and incompetence, the deal was signed 3 years ago and promptly forgotten by a department busy with other stuff (this does happen even in private enterprise) and it election year someone dug up this nugget as a gotcha and you all have fallen for it.

    I am sure if we had a minister who micro managed everything (remember this was one of Helen Cark’s traits) and spent all their time looking at the little stuff not doing the job their portfolio required you would be bitching about that.

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  17. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    “Oh, it’s a contract”

    Funny, I seem to recall National supporters spitting ferociously when Helen canceled the F-16 contract. Something about trust & keeping your word come to mind….

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  18. Roflcopter (446 comments) says:

    What’s the chances of a Labour Party stooge in DIA looking at the renewal contract and thinking… “I can raise the issue and see where it leads…. or I can just sign this and have some fun”.

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  19. Yvette (2,744 comments) says:

    “If no Minister was even informed of the new BMWs, then blaming them is a bit unfair.”

    The lack of responsibility Ministers apparently have for Departments would seem [thousands will correct me if I am wrong] to stem from the Douglas detachment of Ministers and ‘SOE’s, so that department seniors could always be fired before a Minister ever got bitten in the bum. So in my opinion “that no Minister was even informed” is an automatic reason for them to be blamed.

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  20. paws (197 comments) says:

    The buck stops with the minister,opps not these days silly me it was the office boys fault

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  21. BeaB (2,081 comments) says:

    No wonder we need to get rid of these public servants. What a lot of wallies! Unable even to spot a huge item of expenditure related to a controversial decision. Surely even a minion might have ventured to suggest that the minister should be warned – or perhaps even asked.
    One of their major responsibilities is to inform their ministers. This bloke should be sacked forthwith. I have no idea who he is but perhaps he’s part of that Wellington gay mafia and knows he is as safe as houses or is a Labour mole just longing for the return of the crowd who’ll pat his tummy!

    That’s the real issue to me – the competence of a so-called top public servant who gets a ridiculously high salary because of their supposed accountability and desirability on the open market! Ha.

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  22. nasska (10,897 comments) says:

    The rollover clause was presumably signed in the last part of Labour’s nine year reign when even they would have seen defeat as unavoidable. It is hard to think that they didn’t prepare a time bomb for National knowing that this would blow up in election year.

    The DIA mandarins are going to be on the back foot on this even although they should be sacked. It would be timely to remind the fools that since they are playing with government money confidentiality contracts should be off the agenda. Anyone purchasing 34 cars at 5 per $million doesn’t have to accept any conditions……they should make them.

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  23. coventry (316 comments) says:

    @roflcopter

    A Labour Party stooge working… yeah right pull the other one. Most of them are tit sucking pond fish.

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  24. rouppe (942 comments) says:

    Certainly the DIA had an opportunity to respond to the public-service-wide Ministerial call to “find savings” with a proposal to not upgrade the fleet. It is an obvious one that could have been suggested.

    Which implies that the department was lazy (i.e. not really looking for savings), or stupid (how hard can it be to look at contracts about to expire/roll over), or still full of Labour hacks who saw an opportunity for a PR hit on the government.

    In a ‘business as usual’ environment, perhaps the minister might not be consulted, but given the clear call to find savings, it is an oversight to not offer an easy opportunity to save some millions

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  25. tvb (4,247 comments) says:

    You are on the wrong path by being defensive on this yet you don’t get it. So this decision should have been made out of election year. Lose. The cars never get replaced – lose. The cars get scaled back to say something cheaper – what a Toyota Prious – lose. You cannot win this sort of argument ever. But being sneaky about it and do it next year is even worse. I find you posts on this quite mischievious.

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  26. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    I find it difficult to believe that National knew nothing about this. What exactly were they doing while in Opposition? Surely they weren’t sleepwalking to victory?

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  27. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Obviously missed that one during Bill’s line-by-line review of expenditure.

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  28. backster (2,122 comments) says:

    According to Annette KING (Hoskings this morning) The contract signed by Labour was for nine years with the fleet being returned to BMW every three years for renewal. She claimed considerable financial benefits by so doing…Playback is probably available on Newstalk zb site.

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  29. V (694 comments) says:

    Surely there is some register of future liabilities (i.e a budget) that would have these spending commitments?

    Some department heads need to roll basically, the incompetence is not defensible.

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  30. V (694 comments) says:

    When you consider the following legacy contracts:
    * Blowout purchase of 1 billion on a trainset
    * Expenditure on fancy government limos.

    Someone sure as hell better be checking what the navy is signed up to with those ships …

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  31. virtualmark (1,514 comments) says:

    Redbaiter,

    “Mr Key found out about the new cars when one of the drivers told him.”

    Clueless.

    Don’t you think the Prime Minister focuses his time on more important things than when the Crown limo fleet gets replaced? Why is it such a surprise he only heard about it from one of the drivers?

    If it did turn out that John Key injected himself into this sort of contract re-negotiation you’d be railing about how he needs to focus on the big issues.

    Clueless.

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  32. peterwn (3,211 comments) says:

    More I think of it, the more I am sure it was a Machiavellian time-bomb set by Labour. And if Labour was in power it would have defused it by persuading the gnomes of Munich (home of BMW) to delay delivery for several months. Alas, National did not know about it until the bomb exploded.

    Some years back an Internal affairs chief seemed to have got the got the heave ho (he found another job before his contract expired), so it seems time for a repeat performance.

    To put things in perspective, what DIA paid for the three year old cars would be similar to what they would go for at Turners (or what Mr Giltrap would pay before exporting them). Corporate Cabs could buy them ( I caught a taxi one day – not Corporate Cabs – and it turned out to be the CR1 that Jim Bolger had). Nevertheless the perceptions are bad.

    As for John Key hearing about it from his driver – that is pure “Yes Minister” stuff. It would not be that difficult to script a hilarious episode of “Yes Minister” around this incident.

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  33. djg (72 comments) says:

    With a garanteed buy back from the supplier the actual cost may not be too much.
    If it is as good a contract as Annette King would have us believe I wonder how much BMW would be prepared to pay to let the govt. Out of it’s obligations.

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  34. notrotsky (65 comments) says:

    Poor PR management by National and Yes I suspect a labour activist may be pottering about in DIA. Wasn’t one of the boys from The Standard off to work at DIA ?

    Anythings possible in NZ these days as demonstrated by Greg Pressland aka Mickeysavage getting editorial space in the NZ Herald.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10706474

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  35. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Someone sure as hell better be checking what the navy is signed up to with those ships …

    I can already tell you that: Civilian spec’d vessels that wouldn’t last 2 seconds in a combat zone.

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  36. Brian Harmer (686 comments) says:

    I am still seeing little but kneejerk reactions to the idea of VIPs riding in luxury cars.

    Where is the analysis that proves that the upgrades are (or are not) a good idea. If it makes sound fiscal sense are we still opposed to it just because those politicians shouldn’t have something us lesser pigs (Orwell) can’t have?

    I hasten to add that I don’t know the answer to the investment equation either, but without it, I am reluctant to join in what looks like a mass outbreak of socialist in this unlikely forum.

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  37. BeaB (2,081 comments) says:

    The best thing would be to over-ride any confidentiality and publish the deal, all the costs, who in Labour signed us up and what the costs could be if the government reneged or changed the car. BMW doesn’t need bad publicity.

    And the head of Internal Affairs needs to be on the carpet, pronto. With all his quals (I looked them up – all the usual management junkets probably at our expense) this is inexcusable. It might be timely for a public service head to roll.
    Pour encourager les autres!

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  38. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “If it did turn out that John Key injected himself into this sort of contract re-negotiation you’d be railing about how he needs to focus on the big issues.”

    This major embarrassment would have been avoided by an astute political manager. Key is a clueless dunce. National are a collection of clueless dunces without a political idea among the lot of them. They should all fuck off and join Labour. Ditch the charade that we have a two party democracy and acknowledge the fact that we’re a totalitiarian socialist basket case of a country.

    If there’s any message relating to austerity filtering down from the National Party executive, AS THERE SHOULD BE, it sure as hell hasn’t filtered down far enough. Blundering incompetent panty waisted duffers.

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  39. rightmakesright (12 comments) says:

    Errr… has anyone actually done the sums??? Its $3.8mill if they get them for the same price as the last lot… its not absurd money, granted not a good look, let alone sound fiscal management, but its not a bad deal at all and if the decision has been made probably not the end of the world. Its hardly going to bankrupt the country… its less than .30c per person per year… its a cost associated with government… every govt has staff cars, granted BMW’s aren’t the best option as far as a look goes, but they are very fuel efficient, which was the original decision behind buying them in the first place. It is also not a good look for foriegn dignatries if they are being picked up in older cars, it makes us look poor…

    To top it off its not like Cabinet have said, “oh we want new chauffer driven cars” they have been upgraded, just as any other business would in a 3 year cycle. The Ministers who get self-drive cars, get mondeos and Honda Accords etc, not BMW’s.
    Are we so backward in this country that we really need to get so up in arms about government limos??? Has anyone seen Obamas Cadillac? come on we have much bigger issues to worry about than $3.8mill being spent on cars.

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  40. Manolo (13,516 comments) says:

    If it did turn out that John Key injected himself into this sort of contract re-negotiation you’d be railing about how he needs to focus on the big issues.

    You are correct But Key could show some leadership qualities by coming out with a clear statement that this limo purchase is not going to proceed given the current economic climate, couldn’t he? Shouldn’t he?

    Perception is everything in politics.

    This is not a publicity stunt, so Key would be well advised to come out with a firm position. That requires balls, so chances might be remote.

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  41. rightmakesright (12 comments) says:

    As another aside, a quick look on tradme suggests that the going rate for a 3yr old Bimmer 7 series is about $80k… so actual cost diminshes by almost $3mill…

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  42. notrotsky (65 comments) says:

    http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/craig-doherty/14/613/529

    Procurement Manager
    Department of Internal Affairs

    Now I wonder who his staff are ?

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  43. RJL (145 comments) says:

    If this happened in the first month of National’s term, then, just maybe you could blame the department.

    However, this is coming near the end of National’s term. In Key’s own department. What a muppet he is.

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  44. rouppe (942 comments) says:

    Someone sure as hell better be checking what the navy is signed up to with those ships

    Judging by the quality control visibly lacking in
    * Pinzgauer light operational vehicles (gearbox)
    * Frigates (broke down at sea during delivery)
    * Charles Upham (not fit for open seas)
    * Steyr rifles (Can’t operate at full rates of fire in hot climates)
    * Orion upgrade (massively late and not actually working)

    One doesn’t hold out much hope

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  45. BlairM (2,305 comments) says:

    Whatever happened to that grand old Westminster tradition of Ministerial culpability? Had this happened in the UK, he’d be goneburgers.

    I do hope somebody gets fired over this, in any event. This sounds like some Labour-voting bureaucrat setting the Nats up.

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  46. djg (72 comments) says:

    Have we had any follow up on what the contract that the previous government signed stated ?
    If the renewal was part of the original contract, how much would it cost to cancel ?
    It may turnout that there is little cost to the government in replacing them every 3years as BMW may be looking to make the margin from the sale of the 2nd hand vehicles.

    There is more to run on this story, I’m picking the left are going to look really silly when all the facts are out.

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  47. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    One doesn’t hold out much hope

    You’ve forgotten:

    * LAV eating through front tires at alarming rate.
    * OPV engine failure on delivery voyage.
    * OPV overweight as delivered restricting future upgrades.
    * Resale of A4 and MB339 imminent x2. Hand me a Tui will ya mate?

    What makes you think ANY government could manage a defence purchase?

    MInd you, considering the fuck ups being reported in Aus around defence purchasing – NZ aint to bad by comparison!

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  48. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Blair is being a bit tough.

    VIP transport I think is part of Ministerial Services which is Part of the Department of Internal Affairs. The DIA has 8 responsible Ministers. One of whom is the Minister for Ministerial Services and that’s the PM.

    I am sure a UK PM would be rolled if their Govt purchased BMWs – but if Jags they would be safe.

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  49. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    What a great pity we can’t upgrade our politicians every three years. Yes I know we get to vote for them every three years but most are reconditioned models that simply sport new trim, would I be to bold to suggest some have even had their clocks tinkered with, i.e Goofy.

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  50. starboard (2,489 comments) says:

    come on we have much bigger issues to worry about than $3.8mill being spent on cars.

    ..it all adds up…3.8 mill here …850 mill there for missile defence update…ongoing billions to the brown mafia…we cant afford it..we are in the o/d big time , these clowns have been telling us to tighten our belts for years..yet they continue to piss all the dosh away.

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  51. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    Another care of one set of rules for the elite, another for the peasants.

    National has absolute zero credibility on government spending and waste issues.

    Especially when their supposed spokesman on such issues is on $250,000 a year and begged Ministerial services for an extra $20 per week for extra cleaning.

    Truly disgusting.

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  52. lastmanstanding (1,240 comments) says:

    Betcha the DIA official(s) are Opposition party supporters Just another way to get back at the Nats.

    Can anyone track down the bastards who made the decision at the DIA and name and shame them

    A little bit of public ridcule would serve them right

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  53. Bullitt (138 comments) says:

    Given they supposed got the last lot of BMWs for something around 50% off after three years they should be able to sell them for about what they paid for them. Assuming this is a similar deal isnt it likely this upgrade will cost basically nothing?

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  54. davidp (3,557 comments) says:

    manolo>But Key could show some leadership qualities by coming out with a clear statement that this limo purchase is not going to proceed given the current economic climate, couldn’t he? Shouldn’t he?

    And then BMW would say “we have a contract… we’ll see you in court”. And BMW would win. And the government would end up paying for the cars, the cost of the court case, and BMW’s legal fees.

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  55. jaba (2,095 comments) says:

    I see Phil Gaffe is blaming the Nats .. what a wanker/hypocrite.
    they should get 34 WRX’s (blue of course).

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  56. adze (1,994 comments) says:

    jaba
    With chrome spinners and airbag suspension?

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  57. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    I see Phil Gaffe is blaming the Nats .. what a wanker/hypocrite.

    Thats the end of it then, tomorrow something will come to light that makes Gaffe look like Labour saddled the incoming gov with a lemon, Gaffe will look like a tool.

    As Napoleon said: ‘never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake’. And with all and sundry reminding the public that the deal was signed under a Labour gov – he’s going to look like a toad when it blows up in his face.

    Thanks Gaffe! Thanks for ensuring another Nat lead government.

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  58. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Geez! That’s meant to be ‘Nat led government’…

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  59. Manolo (13,516 comments) says:

    “That decision to invoke that rollover and bring new cars in was made by the Department of Internal Affairs without reference either to their minister or to me,” he said.

    Mr Key found out about the new cars when one of the drivers told him last week.

    Top draw comedic stuff. At least we can expect some accountability, can’t we?

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  60. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Look I feel a bit sick even saying this but here goes.

    Actually the key thing about BMWs is that they are drivers cars. And the VIP drivers do some long hours behind the wheel and exhibit the very highest levels of professionalism. Because of our geography they need cars that are good in town and on the open and winding roads.

    If one speaks to the drivers they will tell you that the Beemers are the best from both a driving experience point of view and in terms of driver comfort (each prospective model and make is tested by actual drivers). They have tires that can be driven on while flat for 200kms at up to 120kPH (there is no spare) in order to meet tight schedules, they are amazingly fuel efficency. In terms of comfort for the passagers the only thing one notices really is the leg room in the back and the fact that they are very quiet inside. The finish is superior to the big Aussie cars too. From a mere passager point of view its no big deal really.

    It may surpise most here but Ministers rely on the total professionalism and discretion of the drivers with the busy ones often conducting business in the cars with staff and sometimes with other busy Ministers on the way to meetings at which both are attending.

    The truth is that most Ministers (except one that I know and they are now gone) don’t give a stuff about the brand of car and would not really notice if picked up by a Ford/Holden (as they sometimes are by contractors when VIP transport is stretched) or BMW after they are in the job for a while. The only impact is about the model of car but that they cannot speak as freely in the presence of non VIP transport drivers. Most regard the professionalism, dedication and discretion of the drivers highly – they rely on it daily.

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  61. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    The only impact isnt about the model of car but that they cannot speak as freely in the presence of non VIP transport drivers.

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  62. Andrew R (6 comments) says:

    Isn’t the most amazing thing about this Bill English claiming that carbon emission reduction is just a fad? Can we add climate change denier to his list of ideological beliefs?

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  63. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    “Isn’t the most amazing thing about this Bill English claiming that carbon emission reduction is just a fad? ”

    About the only thing English has got right for some time.

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  64. Johnboy (15,564 comments) says:

    Wise decision.

    You have to trade Beemers in at 90,000 km cause they start to crap out shortly thereafter and cost a bloody shitload to repair.

    Crappy cars.

    Helen should have bought good Jappers (Lexus?).

    Get you to the rugby match just as fast. :)

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  65. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    If it was up to me they’d all be getting around on roller skates.

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  66. tvb (4,247 comments) says:

    Replacing cars at the 3 year mark is about right if you want to drive good cars. All those losers who drive junk cars 10-15 years old and get shitty with those who don’t, can vote for the Labour Party. I prefer to drive newer cars and fork out the money so that I can.

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  67. Flashman (184 comments) says:

    National – Fully plugged into da Bling-Bling Banana Republic Phat Kat Thing. You dig?

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  68. Manolo (13,516 comments) says:

    “I can’t take responsibility for a contract that was entered into by the previous Labour Government, that wasn’t bought to my attention or to my ministers’ attention,” Mr Key said.

    “I am surprised, I would’ve thought they (Internal Affairs) would have referenced it to us… politically we should have known about it, we didn’t.”

    Further admission he and his ministers are not only spineless but also clueless.

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  69. kiwi in america (2,473 comments) says:

    Chris Diack
    Excellent post. Former Cabinet Ministers (and a Prime Minister) I know couldn’t give a stuff about what model the Crown car is. I remember reading when the Labour Government chose the BMWs and thought the ‘rick prick’ element of their base would go nuts due to the make of car chosen but the decision seemed to be logical and based on cost and fuel efficiency.

    I would put good money on an underling in the DIA leaking this to make mischief in an election year knowing full well how it would go down. The renewing of a vehicle fleet contract of 30+ cars would never rise to the level of a Minister. That said, the Secretary has a duty to maintain a ‘no surprises’ state of affairs and this most definitely rises to the level of a nasty surprise. The Secretary of IA (and CEO) My Boyle undoubtedly has had an uncomfortable meeting with the Hon Nathan Guy. Give that this may be deemed a Ministerial Services issue then Boyle’s Minister is none other than the PM – an even more uncomfortable meeting!

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  70. lastmanstanding (1,240 comments) says:

    As I said earlier track down the Bastard at DIA who did the deal. Betcha its a scabby Socialist

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  71. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    Trying to blame the previous government appears to be falling apart, as it usually does. It seems replacing the cars after three years wasn’t a requirememnt of the contract and there was no penalty involved.

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  72. jackp (668 comments) says:

    the herald had printed that English knew about it because he was asked what to do with the previous limos. If this is true, then how could English not know about it. It’ll be hard that Key did not know about it when his Minister of Finance knew about it. I am glad this happened. It makes Key look rediculous.

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