Letters to the Editor: airports, game shows and Tapanui flu

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including issues with international flights, solutions to living with ME, and more mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows.


Young man’s flights call deserves backing

I read with interest the letter to the editor from William May (ODT 10.5.24) regarding Ben Paterson’s airport campaign.

I am also one of those people that William May mentioned about receiving a response to the query to Dunedin Airport regarding international flights resuming. It is very disheartening with the response from Dunedin Airport and what appears to be the lack of engagement with the young teenager from them. Likewise Dunedin City Council and our elusive mayor — where are they?

Where is Ben’s local Mosgiel-Taieri MP Ingrid Leary? Where are the local tourism businesses that will benefit hugely from increased tourism?

I emailed my wellwishes to this young man and he took the time to respond to my message. I agree with William May, let’s get together and see what we can do to support Benjamin as it is clear that this lone ranger has done more for Dunedin and Otago travel and tourism than those in paid positions or those whose livelihoods are dependent on tourism.

Kerry Grainger


Fit for purpose?

Queenstown Airport appears to be coming less and less fit for purpose.

Our group of eight recently had a flight to Brisbane delayed until the next morning because of weather. We were advised by Qantas to check in from 7.30am for a 10.30 am flight. We duly did this but then when we went for some breakfast at 8am in a public cafe serving domestic and international passengers we were told the chef didn’t start cooking till 8.30am.

There are no non-cafe seats available before security in the main terminal foyer any more.

The security checkpoints for our 10.30am flight opened at 9.35, somewhat late for an international flight due to depart less than an hour later. That’s a lot of standing around.

Perhaps the airport operations need to be more customer focused, let alone more flexible to account for weather delays.

Peter Williams


[A Queenstown Airport Corporation spokesperson replies: We are sorry to read your correspondent was disappointed by his experience at Queenstown Airport. He was among those affected by the cancellation of flights caused by very high winds across the South Island that day. We know disruptions to travel plans are stressful, so we worked hard to support our airlines partners to operate two additional flights the following morning, when we would not usually have an international departure. To enable this, Customs staff were called in early at short notice and passenger processing could not begin until that had happened. While chefs are not rostered to start cooking in the Provenance cafe until 8.30am, an extensive range of cabinet food was available and baristas were brewing coffee. Domestic passengers could order a cooked breakfast at Airspresso in the domestic departures lounge.]


Directed anger

In what is possibly one of the most interesting times for New Zealand politics, I find that the most intriguing issue is what has happened to the Green Party. What has happened to love for the planet? We have our Right, full of angry people wanting to protect farming, business and wealth because that’s what matters, to them. We have our Left that very angrily wants every social imbalance balanced.

Because that’s the most important thing, to them. The Green Party are now firmly in that cluster. But who now worries and cares for Mother Nature? And who is prepared to get angry enough to do it?

Pete Jenkins


Grateful people looking and learning about ME

I had symptoms of Tapanui flu in the 1980s which I struggled through (The Weekend Mix 12.5.24).

There are a variety of means towards describing conditions it relates to, right up to Long Covid.

Research continues, with certain signs of hope — at least people are listening, and trying to find solutions.

The thing that changed my life around was a breathing course and work with a physiotherapist.

No regrets that I did not happen on this sooner, but I would suggest a breathing function test for people diagnosed with this range of illnesses.

David George


It seems unlikely

I am interested to see the All Black team for 2024. I wonder if it will still be loaded with Crusaders?

Dianne Davey


Award well deserved

Congratulations Prof Robert Patman on being awarded the 2024 Critic and Conscience of Society Award.

His tireless work to share his expertise in international affairs with the New Zealand public has been unparalleled over recent years. In a world increasingly prey to the whims of demagogues and dictators, Robert constantly reminds of the need for our country to maintain a truly independent foreign policy founded on ethics, decency and respect.

Andy Barratt


More game shows

Now that the investigative journalism shows have been axed I suppose we will be exposed to more game shows. Does TVNZ think we are all unthinking morons?

Mary Horn


Essential firm best kept in public hands

Re the proposed sale of Aurora, there are four points I wish to make.

First, a lines company like Aurora delivers an essential service. Second, it is a natural monopoly. Third, monopolies give their owners the power to extract more from their trapped consumers than a competitive market would allow: underinvesting in infrastructure, charging premium prices, and delivering excess returns to their owners. Fourth, points one, two and three together have for long argued that businesses like these should be owned and managed by a public body.

The council’s ownership of Aurora has exhibited at least one of the behaviours of any monopolist. Underinvestment in infrastructure over decades has led to the present expensive catchup in investment that has switched off the flow of cash from the operation of the business, and made it seem that this is an asset that is doing little for the council’s cash flow.

However, we must also remember that the dividends created by underinvestment over many years have flowed to the council, to the benefit of ratepayers. Once sold they will flow to a private-sector owner.

It is this long history of poor management of the Aurora network that makes it seem like an asset that is underperforming for its current public owners. We can be sure that, once sold, Aurora can be made to pay well for a private owner, with the trapped consumers of its services paying the price. The current investment programme is restoring the condition of the network and Aurora will again be a source of profits for its owners. Nothing has changed the argument that the ownership of an asset like this should remain in public hands.

Experience in the UK with privatising monopolistic essential services has exhibited predictable results. Thames Water has been underinvesting in the water network and diverting cash flow instead into excess dividends to shareholders and ridiculous levels of executive compensation.

Colin Campbell-Hunt
Emeritus Professor of Business, University of Otago


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