Councillor: Pandas 'simply not a priority'

  • 23/09/2015
(file, Reuters)
(file, Reuters)

Prime Minister John Key is prepared to throw taxpayer money behind a plan for pandas at Wellington Zoo, with the Wellington City Council also backing the bid.

But someone who does not believe the pandas will do any good for the city is Wellington City Councillor Paul Eagle, who puts the price tag much higher than the $50 million the Prime Minister is estimating it will cost.

"It's going to cost us between $50 million and $100 million because I know that the figures in 2011 said just to do the parts of the zoo was going to be $28 million, excluding all the other bits and pieces we'd have to do to make visiting those two pandas as success," Mr Eagle told the Paul Henry programme this morning.

He says it's clear Mr Key is enamoured with the animals but the city has other places where the money could be better spent.

"We've seen his love affair with pandas, what I'm saying is we don’t want the rate payers of Wellington picking up the tab for that – it's simply not a priority for us at this time."

Watch the video to see the full interview with Paul Eagle.