<figure> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.10/article/5bc0be97dda4c8c74c8b4615.jpg"> <figcaption>The luxury vehicles were transported from Milan © AirBridgeCargo Airlines / <span class="copyright">Free</span></figcaption> </figure> <strong>Papua New Guinea’s government has faced an intense backlash for importing a fleet of 40 Maserati luxury sedans to drive international delegates around at the upcoming two-day APEC conference.</strong> The high-end cars cost roughly AUS$200,000 to AUS$350,000 each (more than US$142,000 to US$249,000) and can reach speeds of 240 km/h (149 mph).
However, speeds are limited to 80 km/h (50 mph) on the country’s roads which have fallen into disrepair in recent years. In the more mountainous regions, off-road vehicles are required, making the luxury sedans an impractical choice for world leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Vice-President Mike Pence.
The Minister for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Justin Tkatchenko, claims the government only paid a deposit of 40 million Kina (AUS$16.75m), which will be reimbursed once the cars are sold off to interested buyers after the summit.
“Maserati Quattroporte sedans have been secured and delivered, and are being committed to be paid for by the private sector,” Tkatchenko said. “Having vehicles paid for by the private sector is the smartest way to have use of the vehicles for APEC at no overall cost to the State.”
READ MORE: 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea – USGS
Papua New Guinea is beset by health, poverty and economic crises – including a polio outbreak and child malnourishment – and is still reeling from a devastating earthquake in February, so the public backlash over the Maseratis has been virulent, especially given that the vehicles were flown in from Milan on board two Boeing 747-8F charter planes for use during a two-day event.
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