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Revealed: The most extravagant mayoral vehicles

Chrysler 300CInvercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt drives the most expensive ratepayer-funded mayoral vehicle in the country, the New Zealand Taxpayers Union can reveal. 

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has asked every council in the country for expenses associated with their mayoral vehicles. The full spreadsheet of expenses is available here.

Invercargill District Council topped the chart for mayoral vehicles, having spent $72,323 on a Chrysler 300C for Mayor Tim Shadbolt in November 2015. This is despite the Council’s budget for mayoral vehicle spending being $55,000.

The reasons the Council provided for overspending were:  

- The Chrysler 300C "best suited the Mayor’s needs".
- The Chrysler 300C has "better road handling".
- The considerable mileage undertaken in the Southland region.
- Intention to retain the vehicle for a longer period than usual, until after the 2019 Local Council elections.

Invercargill ratepayers might be surprised to know their humble town has the country’s most extravagant mayoral vehicle.

The excuses for using ratepayer money on such a flash vehicle don't add up. Why does Mayor Shadbolt need to fork out $72,000 for 'better road handling'? Roads in New Zealand don't get much straighter than Invercargill’s.

Mayor Shadbolt’s previous vehicle was bought in 2012, a Chrysler 300C purchased for $58,087. This was sold in November 2015 for $20,000, meaning his previous car only had a three-year lifetime, and lost two-thirds its value.

This raises concerning questions on the expected lifetime of a mayoral vehicle. Invercargill City Council implies a car lifetime of four years is a longer period than normal, which would surprise many ratepayers.

The car is admittedly very stylish. It’s up to Invercargill ratepayers to decide whether gleaming chrome is worth the price tag.


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