If you think all the current Panda-monium over a couple of Chinese residents possibly getting preferential treatment and $10mill of taxpayer money is new then you’re barking up the wrong bamboo tree!.
One of the saddest aspects of New Zealand’s current media standards is that they seem utterly unable to remember anything.
This used to be the realm of editors and sub-editors, who would spell and fact-check items before publication. With media cost cutting and profit making, these positions were outsourced, disestablished, automated, or just plain forgotten – and with it went our media’s memory.
Because, had these “Sub-eds” still been in place today, they would have gladly informed us that pandas were all the rage way back in 2010!
Former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast discussed bringing pandas to our capital’s zoo when she met with the mayor of Beijing on a visit to China in June 2010.
That same month newly minted Prime Minister John Key said he had not ruled out acquiring a giant panda for Auckland Zoo.
“Mr Key yesterday told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme he would suggest trading two pandas for two kiwi as a cost-saving measure.
“My idea was, I know people pay $10 million but we’re a special friend of China, why couldn’t we give them some kiwis. Two for two, kiwis are worth a lot.”
He later said the aim was to determine the value of the panda “versus the value of a kiwi”.
“The argument is really to say, look, this is a forming of a strong bond with China and one way is to exchange animals that are of national significance to each country.”
Mr Key said any zoo that took on the pandas would to pay costs, including building enclosures and supplying food. The animals would also require specialist staff.”
John Key, NZ Herald article, June 29 2010
Even Napier was having a go – In July that year local man Max Patmoy proposed the empty Marineland site as a potentially perfect panda playground.
Napier’s concept even made it onto TV3’s Campbell Live! (please tell me you remember that marvellous show?)
None of these bids amounted to anything, of course.
But here we are, five years later, panda-ing to yet another distraction, going through the same hoopla and rigmarole yet again.
If only someone had the cranial fortitude to remind the nation we’ve been here before.
I bet the pandas remember…