Climate Change Minister David Parker has defended the Government's purchase of BMW limos that are outside fuel efficiency standards set for 2015, saying the cars are likely to be replaced by more eco-friendly models before then.
Mr Parker's defence of Internal Affairs' decision to buy 34 of the new cars for the VIP fleet came as it was reported the Government got them at a knock-down rate of $90,000 each, including gst - well below the usual $170,000 price tag.
The diesel cars, which will be used to transport visiting dignitaries, the Speaker and deputy Speaker, Opposition leader and ministers, use 8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.
Mr Parker said though that was above the 7 litres per 100km set under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy this year, that figure was an average and did not take effect till 2015.
"Obviously, an average efficiency standard allows for vehicles that are larger as well as smaller than that standard, and a fuel-efficient larger car such as the BMW 730 Ld could help the country meet that average target," he said.
"In any case, by 2015, these cars will have been replaced, most likely with even more fuel-efficient cars."
It was "churlish" to criticise the cars' efficiency when they used two litres less per 100 kilometres than the Ford Fairlanes in the present fleet, Mr Parker said.
"It is also less than the average new import, the average used import, and the average car on the New Zealand road."
It has been reported that one of the issues that swung the Government toward buying the BMWs was that ministers felt there was more legroom than in other options, including Chryslers, which cost about $50,000.
But Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said it was possible to have roomy cars without big engines like the six-cylinder, three-litre BMWs.
"If we're going to save the planet, if we're going to arrest climate change, we can't continue to base our self-respect on the size of our motor vehicles."
- The Dominion Post
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