A Whangarei district councillor believes the council should not spend ratepayer money on the troubled Zion Wildlife Gardens.
Suggestions have been made that local councils could rescue the big cat park, which has been placed into receivership.
However, Councillor Merv Williams says that, based on his experience with Craig Busch, the council should not get involved.
Mr Williams worked with Mr Busch on a voluntary basis when Mr Busch moved his animals from Kerikeri to Whangarei in 2002.
And Mr Williams said his wife organised tours of Zion Wildlife Gardens once the park was established in Whangarei.
The couple helped develop a financial plan to make the park profitable, but became disillusioned with the way Mr Busch ran the business, and incurred debt.
Mr Williams and his wife decided to cut their ties with him.
"We were always amazed at the goodwill and support from all sorts of people including banks who advanced more than enough funds to establish a good business," he said.
"It is very easy to get carried away by the romance of the big cats but the reality of what occurred under Craig's management and what was seen on TV were two very different things."
Ratepayer funding should not be spent on the park, he said.
Loyal Craig Busch supporter Jill Allbrow said Mr Busch's proposals for the park were already fully funded.
Mrs Allbrow said Zion Wildlife Gardens had not failed under Mr Busch's management.
"Without Craig Busch and the worldwide promotion he can bring, the park is not economically viable," she said.
"History has shown this to be the reality.
"If Craig Busch does not purchase the park, it will close and eventually the animals will be taken away.
"There really are no alternatives."
Mrs Allbrow said if the people of Northland want to have a safari park, a recognised breeding programme for endangered species and a television series promoting the park, they will support Mr Busch buying back the park.