Toy exploitation

Exploiting kids’ strange fascination with fighting and gore, toy manufacturer Mattel creates a monster.

Toy a whaling ship in shark’s clothing

An irate mother has bitten back at shops for selling a “shark ship” that encourages children to fire a plastic harpoon into the head of an oversized shark.

Louise Pearse saw the Mega Rig Shark Ship advertised in a Toyworld catalogue delivered to her home in Paraparaumu Beach over the weekend.

“There is no excuse they can give for that toy. They should apologise for even publishing the wretched thing in their catalogue, and certainly withdraw it from sale.”

Mrs Pearse believes the toy, made by Mattel, is simply a whaling ship in shark’s clothing.

“What are we going to get next? The Battered Seal Kit with realistic blood that squirts out when you hit it with a baseball bat?”

Seeing the toy in the catalogue upset Mrs Pearse’s two children, particularly 11-year-old Zoe.

“It is disgusting and horrible because whaling is wrong,” Zoe said. “Having a shark there was not nice either and I can’t imagine who would want to play with it.”

The shark toy – made in China for children aged from four – swims against the legislative current that saw the Government pass legislation last year to protect the threatened great white shark in New Zealand waters.

Forest and Bird spokeswoman Kirstie Knowles said the toy was “shameful” and went against a strong anti-whaling stance held by many in New Zealand.

“I just appeal to the shops to recognise what this toy is and to recognise where New Zealand is in regards to whaling and protection of sharks. They should take it out of their stores.”

Greenpeace spokeswoman Carman Gravatt was similarly dismayed.

“Whether it is sharks or whales which are being harpooned … it has massive ramifications for the marine environment which is in a lot of trouble at the moment.”

Toyworld Megastore franchise owner Phillip Bramley said the mailer was put together in good faith.

“It is a Mattel toy that is sold in numerous countries throughout the world.

“We take the lady’s concerns seriously but we need to dig into it more before I pass comment.”

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