Key keeps digging on BMW fleet purchase

Is John Key really expecting anyone to believe that his Government’s shambolic handling of the BMW fleet purchase was caused by Private Kirifi Mila’s death in Afghanistan and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s visit?

“What I can say is it wasn’t helped by the death (of Private Kirifi Mila). Also the (Australian PM Julia) Gillard visit meant that quite frankly we were focused on what we thought was pretty important and that didn’t help.

And if so, what sort of a Government is it that can’t focus on three issues at the same time?

Update: Oh dear, it just keeps on getting worse:

Email correspondence has revealed one of the Prime Minister’s key advisers was aware of the controversial BMW purchase seven months ago.

John Key has previously said he never knew about the agreement until he was informed by his limo driver a week before the revelations were made.

However, correspondence released today shows Key’s chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, was in discussions with Ministerial Services about the BMW contract in July last year.

“My chief of staff has no recollection of that meeting and there was no follow-up… He has apologised for not drawing the matter to my attention at the time,” Key said today.

Metiria Turei is calling the “excuse” a “new low” for Mr Key.

39 thoughts on “Key keeps digging on BMW fleet purchase

  1. Gosh, poor PM. He must have so damn busy with three things that he forgot to engage his brain when he suggested people on benefits use food banks because they make ‘poor choices’.

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  2. maybe he should hire a few staff to help him deal with his heavy workload. we could call them “staffers”. he could possibly delegate some responsibilities to other people in his party as well, that might help spread the load…

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  3. Why are we still banging on about this? I’m beginning to wonder whether we’re getting too caught up in scoring points on the Nats and getting distracted from the Great Green Conversation? For example, where’s the thread on milk prices? Surely there’s more core Green stuff in that? Re: BMWs, points scored, move on. I sometimes log on here and wonder whether I’ve inadvertantly got The Standard. Like David Suzuki said Green politics isn’t the sole preserve of the left or right. It is ‘everybody’ politics. So please can’t we focus on core Green stuff and leave the gamesmanship to Labour?

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  4. Dobbie-I agree with you up to a point, however I think we need to keep a record of the double standards being shown by Key and his government (and not let the public forget) because Key uses his relaxed manner to brush these controversies aside and they quickly become forgotten. The popularity of Key and the National Government is largely about the dirt continuously sliding of them and it does seem to take a bit of effort to make it stick as it should.

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  5. Dobbie, one of the key things for the Greens is honest politics.

    The BMW saga is exemplary of the complete opposite – it has been an exercise in obfuscation from start to finish (if it has in fact finished).

    I think the Greens are right to make a big issue of it, just as they have with MPs expenses.

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  6. Hi,

    I think it’s entirely right and appropriate to hold the Govt to account. I’m not questioning the wisdom of raising the issue and following it through. I am questioning two things:

    1. Whether continuing to bang on it about now is a good thing if it is to the exclusion to issues that are probably closer to the core of our Charter and values e.g. milk prices. Frog, I take your point that the milk prices thing has gotten traction in the mainstream media. Great but how is multiple posts on this same topic helping particularly when as you point out “As a small party it’s difficult to cover every issue in every medium at the same time”? So I am questioning whether this forum is supporting Green priorities and focus.

    2. My second point re: gamesmanship. I thought the Green Party was a positive institution respectful of others. How is this persistent sniping consistent with that? I’m expressing a wider frustration here with the anti-Nat sentiment that infects our ranks. My view is that we have to be in a position to work with whoever is in power whether its Red or Blue. THerefore I can’t see how being anti-anybody helps?? This seems pretty consistent with our Values i.e. avoiding personal attacks. For an example of this ‘sniping’ reference the first post in this blog “Gosh, poor PM. He must have so damn busy with three things that he forgot to engage his brain when he suggested people on benefits use food banks because they make ‘poor choices’. This from a candidate who is probably going to rank highly in the list. Denise – could you have made your very valid point in a more constructive manner?

    As you can probably tell I’m pretty hacked off with what I perceive as a trait inherent in 50%ish of our Members that, to my mind, is destructive and inconsistent with the way we want to portray ourselves. I’m working my bum off to increase the number of Green MPs in Parliament because I want a positive change. I don’t want more of the same old bullshit. I want positive people working constructively for a better world. Idealistic maybe but not impossible.

    Alternatively maybe we need to revisit our values? Particularly the bits about respect and avoiding personal attacks?

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  7. Dobbie

    Politics is a dirty game. The media requires a response to personal attacks, you cannot avoid them. Your point is valid but I disagree that the Greens do not conduct themselves amicably. In fact between all of the current political bodies, they’re pretty much angelic. If you want some real sniping, go over to Nationals propaganda machine… Kiwiblog.

    Bombers got a few words to say:

    http://tumeke.blogspot.com/2011/02/john-key-signs-documents-he-doesnt-read.html

    Prime Minister John Key signed four documents that referred to a deal to buy a fleet of luxury cars – and at least three other ministers were briefed, documents reveal.

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  8. Dobbie, I don’t see criticising someone for what they have done or not done (as long as it is described accurately) as a personal attack.

    For example, John Key has obviously obfuscated, if not lied, over the BMWs, and I think Frog was right to call him on that. Similarly, I think Denise Roche was correct in teh comments thread in suggesting John Key didn’t think things through before making his “poor choices” comments re foodbank users.

    Those both relate to descritions of actual behaviour, and are different from personal attacks (for example, if I called John Key a “liar” or a “thicko”).

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  9. I would contend that “Liar” and “Thicko” are very appropriate descriptions for Shonkey the Honkey considering the current circumstances.

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  10. And Metiria thinks we should have kept the old ones, whioh would have cost us $2 million more – duh

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  11. toad says I don’t see criticising someone for what they have done or not done (as long as it is described accurately) as a personal attack.”

    So if someone says we should keep the old cars which will waste $2 million, it would be fine to call them stupid?

    (assumming of course that stupid is – to use your rule – an accurate description of deliberately wasting $2m of taxpayers money for no benefit)

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  12. @Todd 11:32 AM

    I think the distinction is like saying what someone has said is racist (not a personal attack) and saying someone is a racist (definitely a personal attack).

    @photonz1 12:25 AM

    I am not saying they should definitely have kept the old cars. I haven’t seen the contract, and I don’t know what the options were. What I am saying is that the whole exercise is one of the Government looking as though it has something to hide, releasing contradictory statements, and the story changing day by day. Not a good look from where I’m sitting.

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  13. toad says “Not a good look from where I’m sitting.”

    I agree. Key has stuffed up badly, politically. It sounds like the BMW deal was stunningly good for the tax payer – cheaper for the taxpayer than running ten your old Toyota carollas. Good fuel efficiency, and BMW even pays for maintenance, tires etc as part of the cost.

    Even Rod Oram said the BMW deal was spectacularly good for taxpayers.

    But instead of selling the deal, Key has appologised for it.

    Perhaps advisors thought many Kiwis didn’t have the financial literacy to understand that the deal was so good than it was $2m cheaper to replace with new than keep the old ones – Metiria certainly didn’t.

    It’s unbeleivable that she thinks we should keep the old cars and waste $2 million of tax payers money for zero gain.

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  14. The Aussies seem to find it acceptable for their ministers.
    to drive around in Holdens.

    How come our pack of grasping politicians think that they’re better than that????.

    Also John Key has more prime ministers office staff than Helen Clarke did.

    Why are they so useless???

    And did John Key really sign four times on something he did not read?.

    Or is he being a liar again ?.

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  15. p.s this country could go broke with all the money fools like photonz1 think we are saving by buying things like bmw’s

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  16. nznative says “p.s this country could go broke with all the money fools like photonz1 think we are saving by buying things like bmw’s”

    So you want to do what Metiria says and keep them, which will cost the tax payer $2m MORE, and we’ll have older cars – duh!

    As well as that taxpayers will be up for an additional fortune in limo fees for the rugby world cup (the period where we there is an overlap when we will own both the first and second BMW fleets).

    You want us to pay $2m more for older cars – that’s really stupid.

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  17. I understood Auntie Helen purchased these things, with Green support, in the first place because
    a)they were enviro friendly
    b)the deal made commercial sense because of BMW subsidising the things to death to get the publicity
    d)the cost for three years was cheaper thasn the alternative
    If this is now wrong, show me the numbers.
    Otherwise, do something sensible like focus on the environment – that is what I want a Green Party to do

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  18. Not with Green support. I remember Jeanette spoke out at the time because even these limos didn’t meet govt fuel efficiency standards. She questioned why limos were needed by Ministers at all.

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  19. Some people seem to have basic reading problems ………….

    To quote myself

    “The Aussies seem to find it acceptable for their ministers.
    to drive around in Holdens.

    How come our pack of grasping politicians think that they’re better than that????.”

    I wouldn’t have our mp’s with their overbloated senses of entitlement driving around in bmw’s .

    John Key and the Nats have shown once more that they are talking about everyone else when they talk about belt tightening .

    Greedy self important pooh bahs

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  20. p.s stuff the rugby world piss up.

    Like a decent chunk of NZers I’m over that crap already .

    Rugby ……………. didn’t little ol New Zealand manage to stuff up an olympic games ( through countrys boycotting because we were there ) because of that stupid game.

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  21. So nzznative would choose Holden Caprices, like the Aussies use, at around $100,000 each.

    Instead of $170,000 BMWs, bought for LESS at $90,000 each.

    Then nznative would have to pay 300% more for fuel for the Holdens.

    And pay for maintenance, and tires.

    And then sell the holdens after 3 years for $40,000, losing $50,000 per car.

    While the BMWs maintenance cost is….zero, tyre cost is….zero, fuel cost is one third, and resale price is close to what they were bought for.

    nznative would buy highly INEFFICIENT cars, that cost MORE to buy, MORE to run, and cost tens of thousands MORE in depreciation.

    Wow – that’s trashing the Green stand on climate change, peak oil, government wastage, and efficiency with taxpayer funds, all in one go.

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  22. nznative – if
    – buying a brand new car for half price,
    – having all the maintenance paid for free of charge, including the tires, for three years,
    – and then being able to sell the car for a similar price second hand to to what you have paid new,

    is all the really bad deal you make if out to be……

    then please tell us all where we can find a better deal.

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  23. Photonz1 your a real clown for making shit up that other people have not said ……..

    If it were up to me they would be in Holden Barinas.

    Maybe the Pm might get a top of the line Holden, but not the rest ……

    What did Lange drive ??????. A little Fiat or Alpha from memory .

    And are you seriously suggesting that Holden, or Toyota, or whoever would not have offered a decent deal for a fleet buy?.

    In your usual dishonest troll style I think you might be quoting the standard retail price.

    But dont worry we all know your totally one-eyed and dishonest ……..

    Your facts are fast and loose ………

    And the politicians who claim they didn’t know what they were signing are not fit to lead the country.

    Bad choices Bro

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  24. “Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons called the BMWs unnecessarily big “gas guzzlers”. She could work just as hard as other MPS while driving a 1300cc car which used less than five litres of fuel for every 100km travelled.

    Ms Fitzsimons said the BMW’s eight litres of fuel for 100km broke the Government’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Strategy, which called for diesel vehicles to use only 6.5 litres.”

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  25. P.s where is the proof of $90,000 paid for these cars.

    At the moment that seems to be nothing more than rumor.

    Stump up with the facts please photoNZ1 .

    Everything I’ve come across so far says the price is confidential.

    So I’m starting to smell natianal party bullshit with this $90,000 figure that the trolls are pumping out

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  26. nznative asks “where is the proof of $90,000 paid for these cars.”

    First, the Herald reported back in 2007 that the Labour govt paid less than $90,000 each for the cars.

    Second. Internal Affairs said they could sell them after three years use for a similar price to what they cost new.

    Third. The price Internal Affairs gave for the total cost of the deal for two batches of cars means they have to be under $90,000 each.

    Where is your evidence they cost more than $90,000?

    You’d rather have Holdens, which would cost MORE to buy, use MORE fuel, emmit MORE carbon, cost MORE to run, and cost tens of thousands MORE (each) in depreciation.

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  27. @photonz1 9:25 PM

    Actually, I think you (and the Government) might have a good economic case here, on the basis of what I have read. The problem I have is the obfuscation from Key and English with their continually changing stories. That is the sort of stuff that in a jury trial convinces the jury, regardless of the other evidence, that the defendant is guilty.

    And I think we probably only need half a dozen cars like that for instances of high level diplomatic contacts where people overseas feel the need to be impressed or when their are more than three people traveling in the vehicle.

    Ministers could make do with a Honda Jazz in most circumstances.

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  28. as I suspected PhotoNZ1 has no proof whatsoever for the $90,000 dollar claim …………. waiting waiting waiting .

    every report I can find sais the purchase price is CONFIDENTIAL so again I ask SHOW ME where these $200,000 cars which do not meet the Governments own emmision targets cost $90,0000 ?????.

    Where is this PhotoNZ1 herald article and what was their source????.

    Was the Herald privy to the deal or are you just quoting some Fran O’sullivan right wing garbage???.

    Front up troll…………..

    And your being a dishonest again putting words in my mouth.

    Read my posts troll ……….

    you realy are a natioanl party sycophant ……….. It might as well be written on your forehead.

    And I’ll say again a prime minister who signs documents four time and then claims to know nothing about it is either a liar or not fit to lead the country. I’m surprised anyone would think thats acceptable.

    But thats Greedy John for you……..

    And he has his little troll suporters ……..

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  29. nznative – anybody who is aware of what google is can find the info I’ve quoted.

    Personally I don’t give a toss about your immature rantings. If you have no interest in finding anything because it might contradict your evidence-free opinion, then debating with your is completely pointless.

    toad – I also originally thought the BMW deal was a rediculous waste of money. But the Labour Govt negotiated such a good deal that – as you say – it makes good economic sense.

    The cars are cheaper to buy, cheaper for fuel(and less emmisions) cheaper to run, and cost substantially less in depreciation.

    However you hit the nail on the head. Do we really need 34 of them?

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  30. toad – and I agree about the way it has been handled. They should have simple spelled out the economic case.

    The whole saga was mismanaged badly. As Rod Oram said, they nshould have been crowing about the deal – not appologising for it (but then it was a deal done under Labour – so perhaps they coudln’t bring themselcves to do that)

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  31. Evidence free ??????

    Listen up tosser, I’ve googled and keep coming up with CONFIDENTIAL .

    I’d like to see your evidence but I suspect you dont have any .

    And your very silent about a prime minister who sticks his signature on contracts that he claims to know nothing about …………..

    [frog: Calling other commenters by derogatory terms doesn't add to the strength of your argument.]

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  32. The $90,000 figure makes sense if you visit BMW NZ website and use the leasing calculator then look at the tradein value of a high mileage 3 year old 7 series. But in the longer term this deal only looks good because of the discount rate and that is a classic case of short term gain – long term pain. After 12 or 15 years it turns out to have been cheaper to find the cash to buy $100,000 cars instead of leasing $200,000 cars.

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  33. Kevyn

    What leasing of cars, plant and equipment does is free up cashflow for other investments.

    Sure the long term costs are not better (after all the leasing company is got to make money to employ people).

    The big benefit is that the leasing cost is fixed (eg car or ute around $600 per month for a 3 year period) in a budget. No hdden costs or unexpected liabilities for repairs, damage, replacement parts etc.

    Major is not having to budget for replacement cars.

    We always found that, because the lower milage, that executive cars were better leased while reps cars doing the high milages were better bought.

    Most New Zealand industry no longer owns buildings and land, it is mainly leased to free up capitol and to move away from having to budget for new roofs, fixing toilets, etc.

    Again a monthly fixed costs rather then a yearly guestimate of what needs fixing and how much will it cost to place in an operating budget.

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  34. nznative is getting owned in this thread :) good on ya photonz1, LOL he gets called out big time on the Holdens so suggests ministers should drive Barina’s, then gets shirty when hes clearly losing the argument, so funny.

    Heres my take lets go a step further

    < 2 kms – walk
    50 kms – holden barina

    Think how much they would save, and how much weight the fatties would lose.

    [frog: I think you mean pwned, nzmr2guy! Do try to keep up. And what is wrong with Ministers having cars with greater energy efficiency?]

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  35. Frog says “And what is wrong with Ministers having cars with greater energy efficiency?”

    Wrong – Holden Barinas use MORE fuel than BMW 7 series deisel. Holden Barrias – efficiency 7.6 litres / 100km vs BMW 7 series deisel 6.9 litres / 100km.

    The Barina is 10% LESS efficient.

    So a Barina will use MORE fuel, and cost MORE in depreciation, cost MORE in running costs, and would be really impractical in many situations (like trying to get Gerry Browlie up steep Wellington streets).

    Just shows what a great deal was negotiated on the BMWs (under the previous Labour Govt).

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  36. While it is tempting to directly compare the fuel usage of petrol and diesel vehicles, it isn’t accurate as the calorific value of diesel fuel is higher than petrol. If I find the time, I might try a Google search for the values.

    Trevor.

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