Car chaos and Central Otago mayor criticised

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan. Photo: RNZ
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan. Photo: RNZ
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including car chaos, a memorable professor and criticism of Central Otago's mayor on rates proposal. 

Ban the lot and target unwanted car chaos

Once again we read of young people creating chaos with their vehicles.

From the time when ‘‘Crusher Collins’’ was determined to solve the problem (total failure) which now appears to be escalating with associated violence, little has been done by successive governments to effectively stop these events occurring.

Could I suggest to solve this problem the Minister of Police looks at New South Wales legislation which effectively bans all modifications to vehicles including motors, tyres, suspension, exhaust etc?

Any vehicles not conforming with these regulations are confiscated until they comply. It seems rather than investigate other problem-solving solutions from other nations around the world, our politicians continue to plod their blinkered ways to their retirement superannuation.

Richard Hutchison


Sick of strikes

I am a little tired of the misuse of the word strike. First we have a bunch of school children wagging school on a Friday so to enjoy a long weekend, now we have a Maori political party trying to deny the majority of the population the right to lawfully go about their business. The expression on strike had a maritime origin: captured ships would drop their top sails in surrender therefore showing submission and rendering them motionless.

The word ‘‘strike’’ to describe withholding labour has been in existence in English for more than 250 years since the London strikes of coal heavers and seamen in 1768.

John Beckett


Energy issues

Your editorial (ODT 6.6.24) is incorrect in stating that the 185MW emergency power from NZAS is a quarter of the Lake Onslow scheme. It is actually less than a fifth of the 1000MW from Onslow.

Also, Onslow energy would be fully available for an extended time when hydro lakes are low. The 185MW is only likely to be requested when the lakes are already low.

For example, hydro storage is at present about 30% below average for this time of year but Meridian has only now requested a reduction in NZAS power usage. This raises the possibility that the 185MW load removal might not slow the reduction of already-low hydro lake levels sufficiently to stop being out of hydro water before it rains.

Additional significant on-call stored energy like Lake Onslow or some equivalent scheme is much better than load reduction for power security in extended times of low inflows.

Earl Bardsley
School of Science, University of Waikato


Supervision needed

My thoughts are that given the recent tragedy where one of Dunedin’s beloved sons didn’t arrive home after school, I think that school buses should stop outside the schools to transport them on the return journey giving them no reason to visit the bus hub. There is supervision outside the school gates. Something has to be done.

C. Aitken
St Kilda

Sawn off

So one seesaw has already been removed from this George St amusement park. I hope this seesaw goes to a suitable established playground along with the other one or two. Better still, remove all the so-called play equipment and return George St to a retail area so that shoppers can return to the CBD and retailers can make a decent living.

Bernice Armstrong
North East Valley

Professor Ferguson a man of many enthusiasms

I was sad to learn of the death of Prof Martin Ferguson through the publishing of his obituary last month (ODT 25.5.24). He was one of the memorable characters I have interviewed during my reporting career.

In 2011 I wrote ‘‘Odd case of the professor's luggage’’ about some of the strange items he had brought through Customs in various countries, including a monkey head, bits of ovary and other tissues, strange white powder and a case full of sheep's heads, all items connected to research projects. He was a great raconteur and that story certainly illustrated that.

Prof Ferguson was a man of enthusiasms and, at that time, he was keen to get his hands on a reliable supply of pinhead oatmeal for haggis making. He was also persistent and persuasive, and, if he contacted me about one of his projects, I knew it would not be a short phone call.

When I realised Harraways was making steel cut oats, I thought Prof Ferguson might have had a hand in urging the company to do that. (Steel cut oats is the name New Zealand, Australia and the United States use for pinhead oats, and they are also known as coarse oatmeal or Irish oatmeal. Harraways tell me all are groats (the inner kernel with the inedible hull removed) which have been chopped into to or three pinhead-sized pieces with steel blades).

I was disappointed to learn Harraways, which has been making the product since 2016, did not know of Prof Ferguson. Rather, the steel cut oats were part of its new product development strategy on the back of the success of this product in the United States.

Despite my Scottish name, I am yet to go into haggis making, but I think fondly of Prof Ferguson when I use Harraways' fine product (great in biscuits) and I am sad Harraways' staff never got to meet him.

Elspeth McLean
Broad Bay


Ex-community board chairman on CODC rates

I note that Central Otago ratepayers faced with an obscene proposed rate rise of round 20% are being advised by Mayor Tim Cadogan to consider reverse mortgaging their homes so they can pay his bloated monopoly of a council. In the same story, the mayor attempts to justify his views saying that many people are asset rich and cash poor.

It would make a lot more sense if this same mayor actually required the council to live within its means, something which ordinary ratepayers have learned to do over lifetimes of managing either their household or business budget.

The CODC, along with many other councils, has been identified by the governor of the Reserve Bank as being major contributors to the country’s inflation. At the same time, the mayor is consumed with activities that have little or no relevance to this community. His voting on such issues shows he is completely out of step even with those others sitting round the council table. Is it time for him to stand down?

Russell Garbutt

Potty priorities

$4 billion for potholes. How many cancer drugs would that have funded?

Graham Bulman

Address Letters to the Editor to: Otago Daily Times, PO Box 517, 52-56 Lower Stuart St, Dunedin. Email: