Samoa cabinet ministers say no to new SUVs

The newly installed FAST Party Government in Samoa is moving to curb spending, starting with cutting back on spending for new cars for MPs.

It aims to save about $US950,000 dollars by ending a long running practice of cabinet ministers getting new luxury SUVs on taking office.

The Samoa Observer said the Human Rights Protection Party government, which was voted out in April, had a policy of purchasing new four wheel drive vehicles for MPs at the start of each five year parliamentary term.

A fleet of 13 new vehicles would cost the country nearly $US one million dollars.

Veteran MP and new Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Olo Fiti Vaai, said FAST had made the decision before taking office.

"The Prime Minister raised it and the need to save public funds and we all agreed to it," said Olo.

The party had wanted the new Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa to get a new vehicle, but she did not agree and was happy to use the old one.

Olo said if cabinet members needed to use four wheel drive trucks, they could use trucks from the ministries.