Letters to the Editor: alcohol injuries and entitled males

Captain Festus McBoyle's Travellin' Variety Show, an attraction at this year’s Fringe. PHOTO:...
Captain Festus McBoyle's Travellin' Variety Show, an attraction at this year’s Fringe. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including alcohol injury statistics, abusive acts by "entitled males", and the outstanding quality of this year's Fringe.


Where is the mandate for sale proposal?

When asking for submissions how did the sale of the ratepayer-owned Aurora suddenly become the council’s preferred option when no mandate was given to our elected councillors by the ratepayers to make this so?

Such an important sale of a strategic asset should be an election issue and not one that has been drawn up by the vested interests on the council boards. No doubt this has been promoted by these unelected board members mid-term so it can be sneaked through with minimal fuss and minimal debate.

Before 1990 our network was well maintained, had less than a quarter of the outages it has now, and electricity prices were cheap. Yet it was council-controlled and run by engineers. Corporatisation led to inexperienced accountants and the likes running the organisations and ignoring engineers.

I was one of a group of four who wrote to the paper and had meetings with the mayor and other councillors in 1998-99 warning them that the board and management were cutting maintenance and capital spending to the extent that it would take huge capital expenditure to bring the network up to standard in 10-20 years and this would lead to a push for privatisation. Scorn was poured on this, saying maintenance standards hadn't been compromised and there was no intention to privatise at all. They were wrong on all counts.

Local ownership can be a win for ratepayers. If you doubt it look at Wellington, where the asset has been privatised and resold four times, network reliability is bad and their line charges are among the highest in the country. Compare that with the nearby, well-run Waitaki Board that is trust owned and operated, is well maintained and makes returns to its customers in the form of rebates.

Finally once it is sold what do we sell next to get out of trouble? The town hall perhaps?

Something to look forward too I suppose, as vested interest reap while the ratepayers weep.

Graeme Jeffery


[Abridged — length. Ed]


Where is the news?

I am rather appalled at your article (ODT 26.3.24) saying Otago was second-highest in country in ACC claims involving alcohol, per capita.

For the reasons explained in the article this is just what one would expect.

So where is the news?

Dunedin has set itself up as a training centre for people learning to become adults. Nothing immoral in that. Experience is an essential element in such training. So this is where the inevitable accidents tend to happen.

Are these stats based on the home address given by the applicants or the province where help was sought or given I wonder?

Certainly counting the number of claims does not reflect adequately the serious accidents, mainly involving motor vehicles, when considering alcohol-related harm.

Many such applicants will test zero for alcohol in the blood, but will know not the situation for the driver of the other car.

I think the residents of North Dunedin will have relatively low car usage especially at high speed and hence low overall alcohol-related harm, despite the highlighted claims of Sergeant Jones.

Allan Golden



Did anyone else note the irony of pages two and three in the ODT (25.3.24)?

Page two included a half page of Woolworths advertising its wine and beer sales for Easter.

Page three was headed with the article stating that Otago has the second-highest injuries from alcohol in New Zealand.

Go figure.

M. Pritchard


Entitled males, wealth and abusive regimes

RNZ Morning Report (27.3.24) highlighted Barrister Brian Henry's action to limit the abusive acts by Gloriavale's "entitled males" by attacking their financial securities, particularly those gained through abusive regimes enslaving young women.

I suggest that a similar approach be taken in cases of divorce.

Where ongoing severe marital abuse, including financial control, is confirmed by a professional report, the default 50/50 split of relationship property be changed to firstly significantly favour the victim and secondly legally register the real reason for the divorce.

If accruing wealth is a significant driver of the "entitled male" syndrome, as Mr Henry says, this measure would give victims some remedy.

If these males suffer from a psychopathic disorder leading them to recidivism, they should have to table proof of having received and benefited from medical and psychiatric treatment before they can legally re-enter a situation which enables their disease.

As long as women suffer from socially sanctioned misogyny, in the form of unequal wages and salaries and opportunity, they will remain easy prey to calculating men.

Perhaps all men should consider a means to pay parity by foregoing historic entitlement and settling on a midpoint between their wages and that of their female counterparts.

Marian Poole
Deborah Bay


The Fringe was massive, very well done

My wife and I were fortunate enough to have purchased 14 of the 8000 tickets sold to events at this year’s Fringe Festival, and what a festival it was.

The quality, range and diversity of performances was outstanding. Our only regret was not getting to more.

Dunedin should be rightly proud of this yearly arts festival, as it not only provides a much-needed accessible platform for new, innovative, and experimental art, but as a bonus, all the revenue from ticket sales goes back to the performing artists, a cohort who arguably suffered amongst the most from Covid and its overhang.

At the awards night, artist after artist from across the motu and beyond commented on the professionalism, kindness, and aroha they had received from the Fringe team during their stay in Ōtepoti.

Therefore, I want to pass on a massive thank you to everyone involved in putting on this incredible event, from the volunteers to the trust board and all those in between. The final shoutout however is reserved for the amazing Dunedin Fringe leadership team of Kate Schrader, Ruth Harvey, and Katrina Thompson.

I’m already getting excited in anticipation of next year’s 25th anniversary — no pressure.

Cr Steve Walker
Port Chalmers


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