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Beemer watch

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, May 14th, 2011 - 61 comments
Categories: accountability, bill english, john key, national - Tags: ,

The Nats, who claim that there’s no relationship between the National Party and the Waitemata trust, now want you to believe that there is no relationship between BMW international and a BMW franchise. Yeah right.

Back in the real world, it all looks pretty sus. The government decide to renew the order for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bum warming BMW limos, and just two days later Team McMillan, a BMW franchise in Auckland, donated $50,000 to the National Party. Nice. But that isn’t the end of the link between the Nats and the franchise. What’s going to happen to the “old” limos?

Dealer who gave Nats $50k eyes Govt BMWs

A private dealer is interested in buying the Government’s ministerial BMWs when they come up for sale, but rejects the suggestion that a $50,000 donation will sweeten its chances. …

Team McMillan managing director Bob McMillan said he would be interested in the BMWs.

“Any prestige car dealer would. If they put a tender notice in the paper listing these cars … I dare say there’d be an awful lot of bees around the honey pot and we would be one of them.”

And so the circle is complete. So how many pots of honey will Team McMillan get? How many ex government limos will they be allocated? I think there’ll be quite a lot of interest in the answer to that question.

Gentle readers, let’s crowd source “Beemer Watch”. Post in Open Mike with any observations of ex limos showing up in franchises round the country. We’d be fascinated to hear how many arrive at Team McMillan of course. (And I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t a reporter or two going to OIA that one.) If you have anything particularly interesting, drop us an email.

And while we’re on the subject of Beemers, extra points to any of the Standard’s little gnomes who can snap a picture of Bill English in the Dunedin based limo on one of his rare visits down South. Because, in what must surely rank as one of the most bizarre and wasteful aspects of this whole BMW fiasco, English has promised not to use it:

English declines hot seat while travelling in South

Bill English is refusing to sit in the hot seat.

The Finance Minister and Clutha-Southland MP confirmed he did not authorise the heated seat feature for the Dunedin-based ministerial limousine, and now refuses to use the vehicle, which will arrive soon.

I think it’s a bloody stupid promise myself, but as Bill has made it, let’s all help him keep it shall we? Dunedin airport seems like a particularly likely venue. Operation Beemer Watch in 3.. 2.. 1.. lift off!

61 comments on “Beemer watch”

  1. Graeme 1

    why, do you not make mention of the fact that bob mcmillan is a long time national; supporter and donor?
    this is not the first donation he has made.
    are you accusing parliamentry services of corruption??
    are you suggesting any tender process is corrupt before it even begins?
    Rob, you write some good stuff, but it demeans you and the opposition to be focusing on trivial shit like this, especially because it is in fact a non issue.

    • r0b 1.1

      Hey Graeme – your right wing crowd hired private detectives to spy on Helen Clark, her husband, and other Labour politicians. And now you bitch and moan about a little sunlight being shone on political donations? Cry me a river.

      it demeans you and the opposition to be focusing on trivial shit

      Turns out I can live with it. The political donations process deserves the highest level of scrutiny. The political right have a record of policy for sale, so we need to know who’s paying them.

      • burt 1.1.1

        your right wing crowd hired private detectives to spy on Helen Clark, her husband, and other Labour politicians.

        So some in Wellington and some in Christchurch then ?

      • infused 1.1.2

        Like sending you douche bag president(ex) to aussie to dig dirt?

  2. Alwyn 2

    If the vehicles were being traded in to BMW you might, just might, have some reason for the accusations in this post. If the vehicles are disposed of by tender or auction as is normally the case you are simply creating a completely unjustified smear on Parliamentary Services.
    Leave the smears and fairy tales up to Trevor, Pete and the little acolyte they seem to be grooming to take their place.
    He, rather than you, seems to be suited to the role. He looks like a 12 year old and behaves like a rather slow seven year old.

    • r0b 2.1

      What accusations?

    • Maat 2.2

      MPs don’t get limos, ministers do. It is not Parliamentary Services who bought the new limos. It is Ministerial Services who bought them. Who is the Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services? One John Key.

      He attended a BMW fundraiser in his honour and then his department bought 34 new Beemers. If they hadn’t then there would be no honey pots for McMillan.

      Here’s a question. Was Mark Gilbert head of BMW NZ at the Team McMillan fundraiser?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3

      Cant you read , the vehicles are going directly back to BMW NZ as part of the package to buy the new ones.

      You have just invented this ‘sold by public tender’ argument.

      BMW then will on sell to its dealers by its normal arrangements.

      • Lanthanide 2.3.1

        From everything I have read about it, they will be auctioned off amongst the dealers. The dealer that pays the most, will get the cars. Standard practice.

      • Alwyn 2.3.2

        Can you provide any reference for your claim? I have seen nothing to justify this statement of yours. My understanding is that they will be disposed of in the same way as any other Government vehicles, that is by auction or public tender.
        You are probably right about Ministerial services rather than Parliamentary services. There are so many of these fiefdoms I can never keep them straight.

  3. PeteG 3

    From Editorial: That the best they can do?

    Labour’s Trevor Mallard replies that there is still, “at least a perception” of conflict of interest.

    That seems to be the aim, bugger the facts as long as they can create a perception of a scandal.
    Some say perception is everything. But the problem with this is, who’s perception of what.

    The result is scant damage. Worse, it makes the assailant look petty, if not desperate.

    The perception of petty desperation pervades this issue. Once again.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      That seems to be the aim, bugger the facts

      I agree with you PeteG. We need the facts.

      Key and Ministerial Services should make a matter of public record all conversations, emails and documents relating to Key, the BMW and dealership management/owners, and the purchase process followed.

      I trust that you would fully support such an initiative to get you your precious “facts”.

      The perception of petty desperation pervades this issue. Once again.

      Interesting how you think that Key and English asking all NZ’ers to tighten their belts and to go without, then buying new Beemers, carpets and drapes for Premier House, going on overseas Royal jaunts, etc. is petty.

      Of course it’s petty mate: on the part of the National Government.

      • PeteG 3.1.1

        I can assure you that I know more loyal Labour supporters than me think this petty nitpicking approach is stupid – they may not vote for anyone else but it’s turning them off voting. Personally it will keep me from considering voting for Labour again, and I’m likely to vote for an alternative, the best options at the moment are Greens or Maori – yes, Maori may pick up a dollop of pakeha party votes.

        We elect MPs to represent the voters and help run the fucking country, not to spend most of their time and effort on nonsense like this. Of course you aren’t employed by taxpayers (presumably) to post on blogs so you can continue your nonsense.

        • r0b

          We elect MPs to represent the voters and help run the fucking country, not to spend most of their time and effort on nonsense like this.

          Or nonsense like who signed a charity painting? Or nonsense like how fast ministerial limos were driven? Geeze you Tories like the game all one way don’t you. Boo hoo.

          • PeteG

            Don’t lump me in with that, I have often stated elsewhere what a nonsense the crap over paintings and speeding was, that pissed me off as much as this current campaign.

            That diversion fails, as does your attempt to perpetuate this nonsense.

            • r0b

              Well I’m pleased to hear that you’re consistent on both sides of the political spectrum, good for you.

              I have no taste for the bullshit either (though if one side uses it, the other has to too, or they get slaughtered).

              But in this case, political donations, it is a genuine matter of public interest and significance. That’s why we have laws about it. An examination of political donations to the Nats is perfectly valid.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              You have no idea how the media works. In fact it was Northcliffe around 100 years ago who made the formula very successful first.
              That is the small things that readers most identify with and they could see themselves doing that are the most popular. This is right in this territory, what TV viewer or newspaper reader wouldnt want to ride around in a BMW, or have paid for overseas trips, or a free ride in a helicopter.

              National has done a very successful spin job in making Key a ‘man of the people’ when hes no such thing. Labours ‘job one’ is reverse that, in so doing they undermine the man of the people image with the story of all the rich pricks who attend a function at a BMW dealers showroom, including the head of BMW NZ who get to meet the PM and give him loads of money.
              If they are foolish enough to be seem throwing public money around when they claim its the end of the nice to haves and top it off with the public seeing invitation only meetings and with a favourable decision a few days later then let Key sit in the hot seat explaining it all.
              After all we know the big loan to TV3 came after ‘personal’ interventions’ by the people concerned. Or is this a little matter that is crap too

              • PeteG

                Labours ‘job one’ is reverse that, in so doing they undermine

                I think it’s bloody sad that we have a democracy where nearly half of our elected representatives think their ‘job one’ is to try and undermine our government, which undermines our country, which effectively shits in our own nest.

                Sure, I’m aware it’s what is done and has been done for yonks. That doesn’t mean I have to just shut up and accept it – surely we can demand better and they can do better.

                • r0b

                  If you’re prepared to demand higher standards of both sides then I for one am with you.

                  How do we make it work?

                  (Not that I’ll see any reply until late tonight. Time to go play in the garden).

                  • PeteG

                    I’ve had a busy day too.

                    Can’t hope for much from the MSM, they have a vested interested in promoting faux scandals and pushing their own agendas, too much try hard newsmakers rather than reporters. They are as much in need of being held to account as politicians.

                    I think something web based is a starting point, something that promotes better standards, seeks pledges from politicians to act positively, and highlights legitimate transgressions.

                    I suggest seeking input and possible involvement from either targeted bloggers or open it up for discussion. There’s a lot expertise and plenty of good intent available, here, David Farrar, Whale, Danyl, Morgan Godfery, Joshua Hitchcock are a few that come to mind. Like in politics, a cross section would be needed for credibility.

                • felix

                  PeteG advocating for a one-party state. Why am I not surprised?

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    ‘Loyal opposition’ is a degenerate liberal effete elitist cosmopolitan Gramscian plot which serves only to weaken our national resolve and sap our will.

                  • PeteG

                    PG talking shit again? Why and I not surprised.

                    I have often advocated for a stronger Labour party, I support a steady presence of the Green and Maori Parties, and I would like to see Act and Mana represent their constituencies if they get sufficient support.

                    How many of the current parties do you want in parliament.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Like I said, don’t let Don down now, he’s counting on you mate.

        • Colonial Viper

          Personally it will keep me from considering voting for Labour again

          No big loss

          • PeteG

            One vote isn’t, but 10% of voters is, and that’s what Labour is facing right now, with no sign of recovering them.

            • Colonial Viper

              No, seriously, the fewer Right Wing voters we have voting for Labour, the better it is for the Labour Party. Please go away and don’t come back. Don needs you mate, don’t let him down now.

              • PeteG

                You’re not a Labour Party strategist are you?

                • Neither are you PeteG, thankfully.

                  For me everytime BMW is mentioned I think National, John Key, rich pricks cutting help to the poor while buying new BMWs with seat warmers, big donations from BMW, rich boys network.

                  I was doorknocking in West Auckland in a Housing Corporation area yesterday and the BMWs were big news, not as direct evidence of corruption but as evidence that this bunch of rich boys are sadly out of touch.

                  • PeteG

                    On your doorknocking visits how is the BMW subject brought up? Do you ask what they think of it, or do they mention it first when you ask what is concerning them?

                    • I asked them what were their important issues.  The response was generally:

                      1.  Gutting of Kiwisaver and other programmes (bad) while they were spending money on themselves on things like new BMWs.
                      2.  Cost of living
                      3.  Concern at Government direction and the fact they had been misled.  Every time I mentioned us catching up with Australian wages they laughed.

                      There was a lot of concern and from a Labour activist view the response was very heartening.

                      Any proof to the contrary?

      • Anthony 3.1.2

        Still wondering who has the service contract for the fleet, does BMW NZ have their own service centre for modifications and servicing or do they contract that out?

    • Pascal's bookie 3.2

      Well, with all due respect to the Southland Times Pete, (it’s a good enough paper that serves its enormous geographic community admirably), that editorial is just pap.

      Even dear old Granny says that labour were doing their job on this:


      so as much as I know you’d like oppositions to just sit still and agree with the government more, others think that political conflict is an intrinsic part of the system. That all this stuff serves an important purpose.

      • PeteG 3.2.1

        From that editorial:

        That seems to be that; even Labour does not appear to believe there was anything more to the meetings or the donation.

        “I’m not suggesting the Prime Minister’s office is corrupt,” said front-bencher Trevor Mallard, “but there is a perception of conflict of interest.”

        I’m suggesting this is dishonest desperation.

        • Colonial Viper

          I am suggesting that you don’t care how the Government wastes millions on new limos while telling old folk that there is no more money for home help.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          You are the one whos desperate to try and refute it.

          Remember all the houha a few weeks ago about labour MPs being ‘too keen’ to say how much the supported Goff.

          That was spin out of of the Beehive and it was all about playing to the perception.

          Of course you were outraged about that candyfloss ?? Pleeeease !

        • Pascal's bookie

          How is that dishonest?

          Fergawdsake, Mallard was crystal clear that he was only saying that the optics weren’t right, and that the government needed to be more careful about this stuff.

          Take the counterpoint. An opposition doesn’t raise any thing where the perception could be of a conflict of interest. What happens in a system like that? Are governments more prone, or less prone to enter dubious areas?

          You are arguing this from a horse race perspective. “Will this get Labour ahead in the polls?” “Is it working out there in punterland?”

          Those are not questions about politicians and the proper running of the government. They are questions about the citizenry and about electoral chances. They are the sorts of questions that campaign managers ought to be asking, but I can’t for the life of me see why they are questions citizens should give a shit about.

          I agree that they do give a shit about them, but that’s because the political discourse in most modern democracies has been degraded to ‘tweedledum tweddledee, it doesn’t matter who you vote for so tell me who has the slickest PR and I’ll vote for the winner”.

          There are many reasons for this, and many people are responsible. As citizens, we can only hope to get a better system by not perpetuating it ourselves.

          • Puddleglum

            Completely agree and well put.

            One of the points of an ‘official’ opposition is supposedly to act as a deterrent. (Why is it that deterrence is usually embraced on the right – e.g., in relation to crime, international relations – until it happens against their interests? Then, suddenly, it’s being ‘disrespectful’, ‘trivial’ and the like.)

            An opposition that always seeks to be ‘constructive’ has abandoned its deterrent function. The road to hell, as they say…

            • PeteG

              It’s a matter of degree, of course the government should be examined and kept as honest as possible. But a continuous barrage of dopy mud is ineffectual, crying wolf over and over turns most people off.

              I think 80-90% effort should be positive, supporting government, doing what’s best for the country, and save the scandal pontificating for when it’s really deserved and necessary – and will be noticed because it’s the except rather than yet another bunch of brouhaha.

              When any issue is raised by Labour (or on The Standard) at the moment my immediate reaction is usually “not again, who’s going off quarter cocked this time” and while I try to see if there’s anything worthwhile in it I’m less likely to take the time to seriously examine it because more often than not there’s no point.

              If, say once a month-ish, Labour came up with something that they said was serious and really needed critical attention then they would have much more hope of being effective and noticed. And they would be respected a lot more.

  4. Salsy 4

    Good to see the editorial in the Herald talking about BMW’s and Govt Corruption.. I dont think anybody cares if English does or doesnt use his “hot seat”, whats important is to continue the story of corruption (SCF anyone?), and the other narratives such as asset sales leading to privatisation.. People need to know, if they blindly follow the “pied piper of parnell” , they will find themselves washed up in the 3rd world

  5. PeteG 5

    Well, I’d like to see the citizenry rebel against being played like mugs. At the moment most of the citizens seem to be happily led by marketing (just look at the Double Down campaign) – so the only way they will change much is if we can find a real leader – and I don’t think Key is up to that either.

  6. chris73 6

    I don’t actually form an opinion untill I’ve read what Spud has to say 😉

  7. Maat 7

    I am not sure the PM is taking his responsibilities seriously. Had he, Trevor Mallard would have had nothing to raise.

    From John Key’s Cabinet Manual:

    2.50 To protect the integrity of the decision-making process of executive government and to maintain public trust in the Executive, Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries must conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to their office. Accordingly, the guidance in paragraphs 2.52 – 2.96: explains the standards of personal conduct expected of Ministers; assists Ministers to identify those personal interests that might be seen to influence their decision making; sets out options for managing conflicts of interest where necessary.

    2.51 The guidance on conduct, public duty, and personal interests applies to all Ministers …

    Conduct of Ministers

    2.52 A Minister of the Crown, while holding a ministerial warrant, acts in a number of different capacities: in a ministerial capacity, making decisions, and determining and promoting policy within particular portfolios; in a political capacity as a member of Parliament, representing a constituency or particular community of interest; in a personal capacity.

    2.53 In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour…

    Types of conflicts of interest

    2.60 A conflict of interest may be pecuniary (that is, arising from the Minister’s direct financial interests) or non-pecuniary (concerning, for example, a member of the Minister’s family). A conflict of interest may be direct or indirect…


    • burt 7.1


      Don’t be so bloody silly, the business of govt is whatever govt decide it to be. Parliament know more about the intent of the conflict of interest laws than anyone and if they say there was no conflict of interest then there wasn’t a conflict of interest – don’t make them use urgency to push though retrospective validations or rOb will fall in love with them.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        Yeah, just like how the government says the tax cuts are “broadly revenue neutral” and that they aren’t borrowing money for them – they’re borrowing money for Kiwisaver instead. I guess that must be true, I mean the government would be the ones who know about these things.

        • burt

          KiwiSaver – proof that people are stupid. We are taxed about an extra $1,800 a year so the govt can give us back about $1,040 and we think it’s free money !

          • Zorr

            You need to be one of those earning enough to be taxed “an extra $1800 a year”. KiwiSaver was designed with the goal of encouraging retirement savings amongst ALL sectors of society, most of which don’t have enough to put aside and expect to have enough to fall back on come retirement.

            KiwiSaver is (or at least, was) there in order to save our collective asses. We are an ageing population with a poor savings record and even worse wage renumeration. And you consider the government encouraging a solution in order to avert future disaster a misuse of taxpayer money…

            • burt

              My comment had nothing to do with the validity of superannuation schemes. It was simply that to provide $1040 in ‘tax credit’ the govt needs to extract $1040 from us plus the cost of collecting it, plus the cost of accounting for it, plus the cost of storing the record for ever that they did that.

              Voting for more tax payer funded super is like playing the pokies, a maximum of 60% of what you put in comes back out in the longer game. And superannuation is certainly the longer game.

              • Kaplan

                Thankfully New Zealand, like the vast majority of civilised countries, have a progressive tax system so despite what you are trying to say here the reality is ~70% of people in KiwiSaver will actually be getting back more than the share of tax they pay towards it. Those people are the ones that probably would not have a super scheme if it was not for KiwiSaver so the country as a whole wins through higher savings and a depth of options on retirement.

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      Yeah, I agree, it just seems bewilderingly sloppy on Key’s part to have this whole BMW saga capped off with a donation from a BMW franchise timed so coincidentally.

      If Key knew about the BMWs, then the donation should never have happened. If he didn’t know about the BMWs, he should have. Either way he’s a loser.

      I still think Labour bringing this up isn’t really doing them too many great favours, though. Bringing something up and then harassing the government over it in parliament, when they have a reasonable defence (the franchise not being directly linked with BMW NZ) doesn’t really reflect well on them. I wonder if they would have been better served by simply leaking it to the media and having them run the story – it would have initially been “Government involved in BMW corruption?!?!?!” followed up by National’s defence the next day. Instead the news at 6pm had the story and National’s response all on the same day.

      • Alwyn 7.2.1

        I think you should consider that trying to smear John Key was only part of Trevor’s plan.
        That could have been accomplished, as you suggest, by prompting the Labour party acolytes in the MSM to run the story.
        I think another, and to the Labour party probably more important aim, was to try and prevent any donors from giving money to the National party this year. For this it was important to demonstrate that if you give a large donation to National the Labour party, in the shape of Mallard, Hodgson and Wonder boy will smear you from the protection of Parliamentary privilege.
        There is really no way that you can defend yourself from statements made in the house and I note that Mallard and Hipkins are being vary careful not to repeat anything outside the chamber.
        The aim of that side of their attack required that the smear be directly from Labour party MPs.
        I suspect that such a smear will be repeated on any other big donor .

    • burt 7.3

      Oh, I think you will also find the cabinet manual is just a guide… well that’s what some previous lying self serving dictator use to say.

  8. bobo 8

    Paul Holmes on Beemers in herald.

    “Nothing Labour does seems to wound or to stick. Take that callow youth no one’s ever seen before who got up in the House and made some smear about the Bob McMillan BMW donation to the National Party just days after the Government placed its order for the new BMWs. That could seem suspicious and inappropriate but if you’ve been round Auckland for a long time you know that Bob is generous if there’s a cause he wants to help.

    I think the donation was innocent enough. It was too stupid to be dodgy, if you know what I mean.”

    Holmes pathetic brushing under carpet of Nat doggedness and maybe hes slightly over estimating their stupidity like when Key got caught out lying on tranzrail shares. And on Mr Generous Bob McMillan , anyone recall where car salesmen rate above or below politicians on liked professions rankings?

  9. Adrian 9

    Don’t hold your breath on these BMs turning up on a yard near you anytime soon. Key bought the new ones when he didn’t need to ( they were good for another couple of years) because the older ones are going to be used to ferry fisheads around during the World Cup. We’re going to be the proud owners of not 34 but 68 BMWs for quite a few months. Motorcade anyone?

  10. ak 10

    Yeah no fair enough. A link between BMW and a BMW dealer? Ridiculous. And yep, Paul Holmes has confirmed it was too stupid to be dodgy. End of story. Next circus please, or you’re back to court reporting.

    Ignore the wankers, brothers and sisters, or you’ll go mad.

    Acceptance is the key to sanity, so submit; and admit; deeply and fully; the obvious fact; and seminal truth; with irrefutable proof; that the privately-owned media; will serve the Private.

    And move on. And around. On the ground. On the net. And on the street. And know: that soon: they’ll succumb; to the truth; and to History’s march.

    Meanwhile be free. And have fun! Of your own. Here’s one:

    BUMMWER: A spokesman has confirmed that due to an injury Prime Minister John Key has been forced to cancel all engagements for the next few days: as the result of a malfunction in the seat-warmer of his BMW, the Prime Minister has lost his voice.

  11. Paul 11

    I find it interesting Bob Mcmillian (BMW dealer), Mark Gilbert (BMW NZ director) & John Key all have an address in the same street.

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    3 weeks ago
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    3 weeks ago

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  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
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    6 days ago
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  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
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    1 week ago
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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
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  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
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    1 week ago
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  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
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  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
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  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
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    1 week ago