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N.Z. politics: Beemergate

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Feb. 18th, 2011 | 09:14 pm

So, the big local politics story is that the government is buying a whole bunch of luxury cars — 34 of them, at $200,000 each.

Well, actually, we don't know that they're $200,000 each. Someone looked that price up on the web, and it stuck. The government isn't telling us how much they cost. But I think it's fair to assume the government got a discount. If I were buying 34 new cars, and promised to buy another 34 in three years, I'm pretty sure I could negotiate a good price.

Plus, of course, the existing cars aren't just going to be parked on the lawn at Premiere House and left to rust. They'll be sold. What's the going rate for a 3-year-old BMW 730Ld?

Finally, over on Stuff, Dave Moore opines that the BMW has unusually high fuel efficiency for its size, and clean exhaust emissions. Which is good, right?

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm politically predisposed to dislike National, so I should be finding it great fun that they're in an awkward position. But if I'm going to be outraged by something, I'd like to be outraged accurately, with context.

Here's my list of questions I will ask the undetectably-small proportion of the universe that reads this journal:
  1. What's the estimated cost of ownership, per year, over the lifetime of these cars? (i.e. purchase price, minus sale price, plus running costs, divided by three years)
  2. What's the estimated cost if we hang on to them for six years?
  3. What about the same calculation done for comparable cars made by other manufacturers?
  4. How much usage do the 34 cars get? Could we make do with, say, 20?
  5. If we do reduce numbers, the running costs will increase, and the resale price will decrease, so how does that affect calculations above?


Finally, here's a Dilbert cartoon that's older than the world wide web: http://dilbert.com/fast/1993-02-07/

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Comments {1}

Angry Monkey

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from: jwm
date: Feb. 19th, 2011 04:03 am (UTC)
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Couldn't we OIA that sort of thing? I know that National are a bit prone to ignoring the advice of civil servants, but this sort of purchase arrangement sounds like something that may well have existed before National came to power, so surely some policy wonk has a spreadsheet full of these calculations somewhere.

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