“I’ve raised it with Xi Jinping. It was a while ago. The issue about Wellington wanting to take them is not new and they have raised that with us before…it is a long slow process.
“Personally, I think New Zealand will get there …but there are costs. Eventually I think a couple of pandas will turn up.”
Cities that exhibit the creatures “have done very well,” Key said. He’d talk to Xi Jinping about a kiwi-panda swap: “If that was a possibility, sure, yeah.”
Earlier on Tuesday Key confirmed the Government would help foot the significant bill – but said the cash injection “wouldn’t be massive”.
It shouldn’t be anything.
I do not believe having pandas in a zoo in New Zealand will entice a single tourist to NZ. People do not decide what country to travel to, on the basis of whether they have a panda there.
Pandas in Wellington will boost internal tourism. People already in NZ will be more likely to visit Wellington and go to the zoo. Hence there is a case for a contribution from ratepayers, so long as the projected economic gain is greater.
But there is no real case for a contribution from taxpayers.
The idea of swapping some kiwis for pandas has merit though. But what would the exchange rate be?