In­ver­cargill mayor’s car dear­est

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - LO­GAN SA­VORY

THE New Zealand Tax­pay­ers Union says In­ver­cargill Mayor Tim Shad­bolt drives the most ex­pen­sive ratepayer­funded may­oral ve­hi­cle in the coun­try, al­though Mr Shad­bolt has ques­tioned the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s maths.

The Tax­pay­ers’ Union asked ev­ery coun­cil for ex­penses associated with their may­oral ve­hi­cles.

From the coun­cils which re­sponded, In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil topped the chart for may­oral ve­hi­cles, hav­ing spent $72,323 on a Chrysler 300C for Mr Shad­bolt in Novem­ber 2015.

The Tax­pay­ers Union said it ex­ceeded the coun­cil’s bud­get for may­oral ve­hi­cle spend­ing, which was $55,000.

Mr Shad­bolt said the num­bers did not stack up and the In­ver­cargill ratepay­ers would end up get­ting one of the bet­ter deals.

The mayor’s previous ve­hi­cle, a Chrysler 300C, was bought in 2012 for $58,087 and sold three years later for $20,000. Mr Shad­bolt said that $20,000 went to­wards the $72,323 spend on his cur­rent car, which en­sured the bud­get was met.

He be­lieved most may­ors up­graded cars ev­ery three years but the plan was for the In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil to keep the cur­rent may­oral car for six years.

The rea­sons the In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil pro­vided the union as to why Mr Shad­bolt re­quired a Chrysler 300C in­cluded; ‘‘bet­ter road han­dling’’, the con­sid­er­able mileage un­der­taken in the South­land re­gion, and be­cause the plan was to have it be­yond next year’s elec­tion.

Tax­pay­ers’ Union re­searcher Shani Ben­nik, who com­piled the fig­ures, was not con­vinced.

‘‘The ex­cuses for us­ing ratepayer money on such a flash ve­hi­cle don’t add up. Why does Mayor Shad­bolt need to fork out $72,000 for ‘bet­ter road han­dling’? Roads in New Zealand don’t get much straighter than In­ver­cargill’s.’’

Of the other coun­cils which re­sponded to the Tax­pay­ers’ Union, the Dunedin City Coun­cil pur­chased the next most ex­pen­sive may­oral car, a 2017 Hyundai Sante Fe, at $59,756.

Tim Shad­bolt

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