Ten thousand rubber ducks bought by Kidney Kids have spent three years in a Takanini storage unit after the charity was refused permission to release the toys en masse into Auckland Harbour.
An investigation by the Weekend Herald into the saga has revealed that in late 2013 Kidney Kids paid $21,275 to a company run by the charity’s chairman at the time – David Baty – for 10,000 yellow and 200 white ducks – along with a website and a large inflatable duck – but plans to deploy the flock in fund-raising ventures ran fowl (sic. ed:heh!.was that deliberate?) of authorities.
Mr Baty – who still serves as a Kidney Kids’ director – defended the purchase and said it had board approval.
‘At the end of the day the rubber ducks were bought with the best of intentions – no one was forced to buy them’ he said.
As he tells it the plan was adapted from overseas ventures and would have seen a duck race run on Auckland Harbour at the Viaduct with a website allowing people to adopt individual ducks with the winning bird coming with a prize of $1 million.
Mr Baty said getting event permission and consents from Auckland Council to dump thousands of rubber toys into the harbour had proved an ‘absolute nightmare’ and Internal Affairs also had unkind words to say about his online plans.