The Papua New Guinea government purchased almost $6 million worth of new Maserati Quattroportes for an event thinking it could sell them after it was over. Little did they realize that this “mistake” would cause them to sell over 38 of them in a firesale three years later. How and why a government agency would even purchase Maseratis under the circumstances was borderline crazy.
Why did the Papua New Guinea government purchase 40 Maserati Quattroportes?
This happened back in 2018. Papua New Guinea was hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation summit in Port Moresby. The government heads decided that rather than use some Suburbans or even Mercedes SUVs, what they needed was a fleet of Quattroportes. This, in spite of the poor road conditions that normally require a 4×4 of some sort.
Papua New Guinea is a mostly undeveloped, poor farming region. It is also Australia’s largest aid donor, with the majority of the country seeing vast poverty. So with that quick economic backdrop, it makes the Quattroporte purchase seem even more egregious. As you can imagine, the decision was met with much criticism.
Because Quattroportes are in demand the government thought it could sell them
The PNG government countered that after the summit the cars would be sold, and at a premium because they were in high demand. “They’ll sell like hotcakes,” APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko told the press. Unfortunately, there is virtually no demand for vehicles that can’t be serviced, and PNG has no Maserati franchise in the entire country. Owning one would prove to be quite a pleasurable experience until service or maintenance was needed.
Nonetheless, a fleet of jumbo chartered planes brought the newly purchased Quattroportes into the country. After the summit, as promised, all of them were put up for sale. Since 2018, only two have been sold. The rest have been sitting in storage waiting for buyers that have never come.
“We made a terrible mistake”
“If we had any foresight, the Maseratis would not have been purchased in the first place,” finance minister John Pundari told The Guardian. “We made a terrible mistake. If you have got no dealers of Maseratis in PNG, there was no reason to buy Maseratis.” Of course, the obvious question is why didn’t you think of that before spending $6 million for 40 Quattroportes?
One of the Quattroportes was purchased by one PNG official for $142,000. Now it too will be for sale at $114,000, along with the others. But the good news is that all of the cars are accounted for. Back in 2019 the PNG finance minister James Marape even took reporters to the site the cars were being stored just to prove they still existed. That hasn’t always been the case with big PNG government vehicle purchases.
This wasn’t the only strange vehicle purchase by the government
It seems that there have been other questionable purchases, like three Bentley Flying Spurs. They are now all missing. And the government has purchased loads of Toyota Land Cruisers, Ford, Mazdas, and Mitsubishi Pajeros. They’ve all mysteriously vanished.
Funny, how this keeps happening. It’s a transparent squandering of public funds for a small developing country that doesn’t seem to be able to harness its own government.