PNG buys 40 Maser­atis for APEC meet­ing

Manila Bulletin - - Business -

WELLING­TON (AFP) – Pa­pua New Guinea has bought 40 Maserati sports cars to chauf­feur world lead­ers around next month’s Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion sum­mit, trig­ger­ing an out­cry from crit­ics who say the poverty-stricken coun­try has bet­ter things to spend its money on. The cars -- which re­tail for about US$150,000 each -- ar­rive at a time when dis­eases such as po­lio and TB have re-emerged in PNG. Two char­ter flights from Italy -- home of the lux­ury au­tomaker -- ar­rived this week and pic­tures of the ve­hi­cles be­ing un­loaded in Port Moresby were soon do­ing the rounds on so­cial me­dia. North­ern Prov­ince gov­er­nor Gary Joffa, a fre­quent critic of the govern­ment, said money spent on the cars would have been bet­ter used to al­le­vi­ate PNG’s chronic so­cial ills. “Pa­pua New Guinea is fac­ing so many prob­lems in­so­far as health, ed­u­ca­tion, law and or­der,” he told Aus­tralia’s ABC. “I just think it’s a slap in the face of the peo­ple in Pa­pua New Guinea who are suf­fer­ing.” PNG, the least devel­oped of APEC’s 41 mem­ber na­tions, is host­ing the an­nual sum­mit of world lead­ers on Novem­ber 17-18.

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