Mayor and his V8

HSV Senator An interesting local news from last week -- Randwick Mayor Ted Seng of Liberal drives a V8 Holden whereas other Green mayors are moving to push-bikes. So the question is, what sort of car should be provided to city council mayors in Sydney?

A $350 Giant? A $40,000 Toyota Prius that runs on hybrid of electricity and petrol? Or a $72,000 HSV Senator with a 6.0L LS2 V8 that pumps out 297kw to the rear wheels?

You would think that a Malaysia-born major should prefer something like a Waja or a Satria, but I am pretty sure being a Randwick councillor, ministering in the hilly part of the south-Eastern suburbs, he definitely would need that extra grunt when the throttle is pressed. Driving a Waja up and down the Barker Street a couple times a day? Nah. What about a HSV powerplant? Oh yeah.

What about that $72,000 price tag? What about the expensive PULP it sucks at as much as 22 litres per 100km (you probably would if you drive up and down in Randwick)? That is nothing, said Cr Seng. Well, he did comment nothing in SMH's report, but according to what he has responded to Southern Courier (stupid DjVu plugin required), a 70+k car and its fuel usage is nothing in comparison to council's annual budget. In 11 October 2005 issue, page 3:

"Randwick Council has a budget of $80 million, and yes, we would save some money if we were to ask the mayor to ride a rickshaw to work but that would not be appropriate for the image of the office of the mayor of Randwick City," he (Ted Seng) said.

"Do we get the Prime Minister to travel in a Hyundai, for example? I mean, where do we start? In the scheme of things, a five-grand, 10-grand saving -- is it a big difference to us?"

Is it a big difference to me? Oh well, maybe not. I am paying my rates to the Botany council. Randwick city is just cross the road, but maybe I should not care whether my tax money has been spent on running mayor's V8 performance car. I am also happy that many motorists don't think alike, as 5-grand or 10-grand saving across hundreds or thousands of vehicles still adds up to a great sum.