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PNG buys Maseratis for leaders meeting

Papua New Guinea is struggling with a polio outbreak but it has found millions of dollars to buy 40 Maseratis to ferry world leaders at an upcoming meeting.

Port Moresby will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting next month, and it chartered two Boeing 747s to bring the brand new cars direct from Italy.

The cars will be used to drive world leaders around the city, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and United States Vice President Mike Pence expected to attend.

The move has angered some PNG locals, but PNG’s Minister for APEC Justin Tkatchenko says the cars will be sold onto private hands after the meeting.

“Maserati Quattroporte sedans have been secured and delivered, and are committed to being paid for by the private sector,” he said in a statement.

“Having vehicles paid for by the private sector is the smartest way to have use of the vehicles at APEC at no overall cost to the state.”

The cars cost up to $345,000 each.

China has donated nine fire engines, while Japan has provided 22 ambulances for the event.

Australia is spending at least $130 million in in-kind support to help PNG host APEC, including using Australian fighter jets to secure the airspace above Port Moresby.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday announced a $6 million donation to help PNG stop its polio outbreak.

In June 2018, the PNG government declared a national public health emergency in response to confirmed cases of polio virus.

“PNG is our closest neighbour, and a strong response is needed to protect both PNG’s and Australia’s health security,” Senator Payne said.

“Routine immunisation remains the most effective prevention for highly infectious diseases including polio.”

APEC Leaders Week will be held from November 12 to 18.

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