Letters to the Editor: Aurora, Ukraine and cancel culture

Sue Kedgley. Photo: supplied
Sue Kedgley. Photo: supplied
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including Sue Kedgley's article on the sale of Aurora, shutting down speech for a civil society, and the carnage in Ukraine.


Kedgley powers up readers over Aurora

May every councillor be tied to their chair whilst Sue Kedgley's excellent opinion piece(ODT 9.7.24) regarding the sale of Aurora to corporate self-interest is read to them on constant playback until they understand.

Since Rogernomics reared its ugly head we have seen repeated tragedies play out regarding the sale of functioning public assets. If they have short memories and can not or do not remember then the most recent debacle involving KiwiRail and the ferries should be enough proof of this folly.

How many times do you have to see the movie before you understand the plot?

Pete Jenkins


Immoral restructuring

Sue Kedgley’s interesting article about how electricity supply authorities in New Zealand have been sold out to overseas concerns, reminds me of the late Mr Lawrie Blakemore QSM of South Canterbury, whose book Deceit of the Highest Order covers his strong advocacy on behalf of consumers of electricity over 25 years.

After what Lawrie calls the "immoral restructuring", if that had not happened electricity, to the consumer could have cost no more than 10% of what it is today, as was forecast by electrical engineers 50 years ago.

Sue Kedgley's disclosure shows how our assets are being sold to overseas concerns who remit the profits they make out of us consumers back to their home country, leaving us all the poorer.

Robin I. Thompson.


Thank goodness for Sue Kedgley’s sound advice on the selling of Aurora. In their wisdom, our small council-run electricity companies were sold. They are offering us a billion dollars, an unheard of amount back then. We will be paying $2b back. I wonder how many billions we have paid now? We pay more per month for power these days than we paid in a year.

Lyndsey Hughes


Following weeks of debate the Dunedin ratepayers finally have a clear path on what is most likely to happen if the DCC sells Aurora Energy. This is outlined very succinctly by former Wellington city councillor Sue Kedgley.

She outlined the saga following the sale of the locally run electricity network Capital Power by the Wellington City Council (WCC) in the 1990s.

The same arguments currently being pushed by the DCC were used by the WCC who voted to sell. In summary, this is an account of what followed.

Capital Power was on-sold four times in a relatively short timeframe with each sale bringing windfall profits for its mostly foreign owners. As a result, and due to the capital value of the network being inflated with each sale the line charges went up by a staggering 600% in a decade. All this with "little obvious investment in the network, aside from standard maintenance" along with a main objective to "maximise profits to its shareholders and to on sell the network".

I suggest the DCC take note of Sue Kedgley’s cautionary tale.

B. Bishop


Shutting down the wrong sort of free speech

Dave Tackney writes that cancel culture should be outlawed (ODT 9.7.24); Anna Palliser writes that free speech in public spaces is now jeopardised (ODT 8.7.24).

However, cancel culture has only come about since social media algorithms started actively promoting the inflammatory opinions, misinformation, and disinformation of bigots and extremists.

In the relatively recent past, such outliers would never have been taken seriously by newspaper editors and the like, and their ideas would not have gained social traction. Call this censorship if you want, but back then it was simply a given that shutting such people down was in the best interests of maintaining a civil society where the right to free speech was preserved.

Legislating to moderate toxic internet content in the same way would surely reduce the social fragmentation highlighted by Palliser, and in turn moderate the extreme behaviours of protesters and counter-protesters now playing out in real life.

Hayden Williams


Keep out of it

Luxon’s government is giving $16 million to Ukraine.

Ukraine need to negotiate a ceasefire now before it loses more territory and more importantly more soldiers and civilians, whereas Russia has endless numbers to throw at the war.

This war was a mistake from the beginning. Ukraine should have remained separate from Nato, free to trade with both Russia and Europe.

The only scenarios that remain are a negotiated ceasefire, with Ukraine losing some territory, or real Nato involvement which risks WW3.

Should we be helping perpetuate the carnage? This is a menacing trend and a manifest failure of clear thinking all around.

Ann Mackay


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