During yesterday’s Parliamentary session Napa said: “Driving through town I have seen so many government vehicles and I estimate they cost about $60,000 each.”
She acknowledged that there are ministries like Infrastructure Cook Islands that require these land cruisers, because it “goes with the job”.
However, there are certain ministries that need to justify having a land cruiser or a Pajero, she said.
“Land cruisers are not energy efficient, and are not aligned with our environment sustainability goals,” she added.
Napa asked Finance Minister Mark Brown why government ministries drove in vehicles that consume a lot of gas, and why they don’t drive in small electrical vehicles - especially those departments who don’t have jobs like Infrastructure.
Brown reminded Napa to ask important questions.
“Don’t ask one worth three pennies, don’t waste time,” Brown said.
Ministry heads have been granted the authority to decide on what vehicles they need that are suitable, he said.
Brown said he drove an electric vehicle and was surprised by Napa’s enquiry.
“When these electric vehicles first arrived, the Opposition complained; and now they are supporting these electric vehicles,” said Brown.
He said that Cabinet have asked for a review of vehicles for the departments.
“And maybe, for the office of the Opposition, we could look at the purchase of electric bicycles,” said Brown.
“So if they would like to change their vehicles, they could easily put in a request for bicycles, this will be easy to accommodate and bicycles doesn’t use gasoline to run.”
Napa was not amused by Brown’s suggestions that her queries were not significant.
“If the Minister thinks that these are not important enough questions, they are. As government vehicles are seen being used after working hours,” she said.
Brown was also asked to provide a list of the number of government vehicles.
He replied that Ministry of Finance can provide a list of the vehicles owned by government and from each ministry.
Brown told the Parliament in the past, the first thing the ministry would look for was the price of the vehicle; but it was found that the cheaper ones didn’t last very long.
“It is better to buy quality vehicles that last longer. Today we see that the vehicles of high quality are also of high price. They are expensive vehicles, but they will last long,” Brown said.