''Not busy, but it's not dead yet,'' is Forget Me Not coffee
bar owner Bruce Tritt's take on the health of South Dunedin's
The area quietened down somewhat when Hillside Engineering
Workshops closed, but Mr Tritt is sceptical about the Labour
Party's promise to reopen the workshops, saying it is
difficult to put such a facility back together.
The Otago Daily Times is taking the pulse of the
region's electorates and yesterday visited South Dunedin's
retail centre and St Clair; both are in the Dunedin South
Many in South Dunedin express disgust and disenchantment with
politics and most say each side is as bad as the other.
In a shock result in 2011, Labour lost the party vote in
The promise to reopen Hillside pleases the few solid Labour
voters spoken to, but does not appear to have won new votes.
That politicians are untrustworthy ''idiots'' who are ''all
the same'' and need to grow up as a typical sentiment and one
person said they should put as much effort into helping
people as they do fighting one another.
Many express affection for New Zealand First leader Winston
A shopkeeper who did not want to be named says politicians
are out of touch with the fact many local people cannot
understand complicated reading matter disseminated in
South Dunedin resident Maria, who did not want to give her
last name, says ''Mr John Key'' makes life difficult for the
poorest, many of who cannot afford healthy food or heating.
She has not decided yet between New Zealand First or Labour
for her party vote.
''He says what we think,'' she says of Winston Peters.
For her partner Greg Guile, originally from Timaru, there is
only one choice - Labour.
They are pleased about the promise to reopen Hillside, saying
the area desperately needs jobs.
In JR's Pantry, owner Rachael Amos believes the Hillside plan
is unrealistic, as time has moved on.
Hillside is close to the cafe, and provides some foot traffic
because of the new businesses there, but there is not a huge
number of workers, she says.
Ms Amos bought the business a year ago, after working as a
chef at Everyday Gourmet in the city.
She has been shocked by the area's poverty.
One customer who comes for the pantry's staple favourite
mutton pies had not been able to absorb a price rise to
$4.90, and still pays the old price.
It is Ms Amos's way of giving something back to the
All her life a ''Labour girl'', she will vote National this
''There's no-one strong enough in Labour to do the job
properly. I think [David] Cunliffe is a weak man.
''I reckon Labour lost it when Helen [Clark] left. I liked
Not far from JR's Pantry, Stylz Hair Design owner Heather
Pringle says she likes Mr Cunliffe, but has not made up her
mind about her vote.
Brought up ''very Labour'', she has also voted National.
She likes the idea of reopening Hillside, and would like to
see South Dunedin revived; it does not even have a newsagent,
''I think South Dunedin's terrible,'' she says, referring to
the shopping centre.
Having a beer in Robbie's Bar and Bistro, local butcher Greg
Gilles says he's voted National more often than not.
This time he's not sure, and is not overly fussed on either
Mr Key or Mr Cunliffe.
Butchers do not earn as much as other tradesmen and he is
wary of plans to increase the minimum wage, as that could see
people without trades earning as much.
Business is down about 20% where he works because of
competition from The Mad Butcher and the new Countdown
At a cafe in St Clair, the mood is a bit lighter.
Dunedin teacher Bridget Schaumann is having a late afternoon
drink with two teacher friends before planning to attend the
Nicky Hager talk.
A keen follower of politics and current affairs, Ms
Schaumann, of St Kilda, has been shocked by the Dirty
She is a loyal Labour voter, but feels gloomy about its
chances in the election.