Hopes for a Hastings-based Regional Sports Park were dashed today after Napier City Council withdrew financial backing for the ambitious project.
Earlier this morning, Napier Mayor, Barbara Arnott, announced funds previously earmarked for the park would instead cover the purchase and shipping of a two-year old Orca (killer whale), set to join Marineland’s last remaining dolphin, Kelly, in late September.
Mrs Arnott said Orcas’ markings were in keeping with Hawke’s Bay’s black and white motif, and that they were the obvious “sentimental” choice. “Hawkeye [Magpies’ rugby mascot] now has a mammalian playmate – we’ve dubbed him ‘Orc-eye’ ” (pictured).
“It was abundantly clear during last year’s furore that my anthropomorphic constituents, bless them, chose the dolphin as their cause célèbre; yet not once during the debate did they object to captive Orcas. So, considering we need to address Marineland’s $381,000 ratepayer bill in the coming fiscal year, this seemed a great idea.”
Napier’s Japanese sister-city Tomakomai greased the wheels of the acquisition, with the Mayor saying council were “spoilt for choice,” and that Tomakomai were “overly generous” in freeing-up one of their scientific cetaceans.
Hastings Mayor – and sports’ park champion – Lawrence Yule, today refused to comment to BayBuzz, except to say the decision was a killer blow.
Meanwhile Mrs Arnott said Hastings’ disappointment was to be expected. “At the end of the day Mayors’ remunerations are based on their districts’ assets,” she said. “With no sports park, Lozza [Yule] will take a cut, whereas Orceye’s introduction means I’m in for a pay rise, and the city can boast a rates neutral Orca.”