The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is cautiously raising concerns over the rising cost of caring for a confused baby orca whale in Wellington.
Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “Right now, New Zealanders probably have sympathy for Toa's plight, but Toa is getting bigger – and hungrier – every day. The cost of Toa’s care – conservatively estimated at $10,000 so far – will only grow. DOC needs to front up about just how much they’re willing to spend on this confused and unfortunate animal.”
“Alarm bells started ringing at the Taxpayers’ Union when the orca was given a name. At some point, if DOC is unable to find Toa’s pod, the agency will need to make a difficult decision about his future. It is difficult to euthanise an animal once you’ve named it.”
“We should not forget the lessons of Happy Feet. Happy Feet was an emperor penguin who showed up on the Kapiti Coast, ate sand, and got his stomach pumped at a cost of $30,000.”
“When Happy Feet was finally released, his tracker stopped transmitting. Experts believe he may have been eaten by an orca whale. This begs the question: is Toa – a natural born killer – really a deserving recipient of government welfare?”
"At the very least, taxpayers' concerns could be eased with a plan for Toa to pay his own way. New Zealanders might be willing to pay for the privilege of visiting Toa at his paddling pool. Such an enterprise could even see Toa become a net taxpayer – a rare species in Wellington."