Taxpayers shouldn’t shell out for Te Papa’s turtle costs

The Government should make senior leadership and Board members of Te Papa personally reimburse their travel to Canterbury for the funeral of a deceased leatherback turtle, National’s Arts, Culture & Heritage spokesperson Simon O’Connor says.

“While it is all well and good for iwi to request the return of the turtle, the fact senior Te Papa management and Board members felt it appropriate to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on escorting the turtle and attending its funeral lacks judgement and probity.

“Those from Te Papa, particularly senior management and the Board, who attended this turtle farewell should shell out the cost of their travel themselves.

“At a time when the Government is freezing the wages of teachers, nurses and frontline border workers, and Pharmac is considering pulling blanket funding for children’s cancer drugs, it boggles the mind that thousands would be spent on sending top officials to a turtle funeral.

“Arts, Culture & Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni should explain to taxpayers why she is comfortable with this outrageous spending.”