Prime Minister: payment not a government concern

By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the government will not spend any money on the 40 Maserati luxury sedans which will be used to ferry the APEC world leaders next month.

Mr. O’Neill commented on the cars today in Lae, when approached by EMTV News, on the arrival of the vehicles.

The Prime Minister, and Minister responsible for APEC, Justin Tkatchenko, in a statement late yesterday have both maintained that the cost will be covered by the private sector.

There has been much said on social media in the last 72 hours, about the purchase of the 40 Maserati luxury sedans for APEC.

The first consignment of the 20 sedans was flown into Jackson’s International Airport on Sunday, and the second 20 arrived yesterday.

In a media statement yesterday afternoon, Minister Tkatchenko, said, “Having the vehicles paid for, by the private sector, is the smartest way to have the vehicles for APEC, and at no overall cost to the state”.

The Maserati vehicles will be the first to ever land on PNG soil, and in such a large quantity as well. But who the proud owners are, is still a mystery.

Mr. O’Neill says the cost is not a concern for the government.

By way of background, the idea of importing expensive vehicles for the purpose of hosting APEC Leaders’ Summits, has been practiced in host countries before.

In 2017, the Vietnamese government, through a public-private-partnership, imported Audi vehicles to use during the APEC Leaders’ Week.

In 2015, the Philippines imported 200 units of BMW sedans to ferry world leaders and delegates during the APEC Summit.

After the meetings, those vehicles were sold to the public or bought off by the private sector.

And this may be the case for the 40 Maseratis now in Port Moresby.

Theckla Gunga

graduated with an Arts Degree from the University of Papua New Guinea, with majors in Journalism and Public Relations. Her passion in news gathering lies in reporting on Crime and Court stories. She is into her third year reporting with EMTV and loves the challenge of being in a once male dominated field.

Theckla Gunga