Postcards sent to ministers

Dunedin's concern over its courthouse's uncertain future has resulted in thousands of protest ''postcards'' being sent to government ministers, with thousands more to follow.

The Save the Courthouse group, formed to fight for the building's reinstatement as a functioning court, printed 2500 cards earlier this month to help locals have their say.

The cards offer people the chance to send their name, address, and statement of displeasure to one of five government ministers whose portfolios tie in with the saga.

The last of that initial stock of cards were snapped up a week ago with another 2500 printed last week.

Already hundreds of the new batch had been handed out - on George St on Wednesday and Friday and at Saturday's Otago Farmers Market - group spokesman and Dunedin city councillor David Benson Pope said.

As well as giving people a chance to make their feelings known, it was hoped the enthusiastic response from locals would have a tangible effect on the decision making process, he said.

It was convention that New Zealand's government ministers replied to all letters which included a return address, meaning thousands of replies would need to be sent to those signing the cards.

''I'm sure this will accelerate a ministerial decision on an announcement.''

Reaction from those filling out the cards had changed in the last week, with people now more willing to spend a moment to write a personal note on the cards.

People had become more educated on the issue, with the over riding opinion being that they considered the building's empty state ''completely unacceptable'', he said.

''The repeated comment volunteered by people is that it's ridiculous what's going on.''

Mayor Dave Cull said the strong public support for the card campaign was not a surprise.

''That's indicative of the depth of community feeling around this. This is not something just a few lawyers and councillors are a bit brassed off about.''

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