Letters to the Editor: benefits, tax cuts and Orwell

Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including changes to benefits, the Orwellian goings-on at the Ministry of Health, and marching "not only for a ceasefire".


What sort of govt is this? That sort, is what

What sort of a government is it that reindexes benefits to save money to use for unaffordable tax cuts for wealthier people; who increases the minimum wage by a small fraction only of the inflation rate; who both threatens and imposes sanctions on unemployed people if they don’t constantly look for work, ignoring the complex set of reasons that causes them to be unemployed and the results of constant failure to get work; who abolishes fair pay agreement legislation?

And all this happening or signalled for action within the first 100 days of taking office. At the same time the Reserve Bank governor, Adrian Orr, is saying that unemployment will need to rise if inflation is to be reduced further.

What is still to come to manipulate or bully the poorest of us all? I fear for the next three years.

Fay McDonald


Ministry of truth

The Ministry of Health has sacked the employee who leaked information that contradicted the Associate Minister, Casey Costello (ODT 22.2.24). The director-general of health said they "took matters of integrity extremely seriously" and that the employee who leaked the information "eroded public trust".

This all sounds very Orwellian. Should the job of a ministry be to bolster public trust in a minister who they know has lied? What sort of integrity is that? Is exposing the truth, as the ministry claims, a political act? Surely not.

Deborah Robb


Gaza matters

When the pro-Palestinian protesters announced their intentions to continue marching "not only for a ceasefire ... but when enough justice is achieved for Palestine" (ODT 19.2.23), I recall Israel on many occasions offered a ceasefire if Hamas released the hostages and surrender. Fair enough I would have thought, but as regards the "enough justice" demand I seriously doubt that anything could satisfy their demands unless the nation of Israel is completely annihilated.

Dave Crooks
St Clair


After reading the editorial (ODT 17.2.24), I am disappointed to see its one-sidedness. Granted, it did mention Israel has a right to self-defence and called for the release of hostages. However, Israel has to defeat Hamas completely including in Rafah, else Hamas will resurface again in future and another war in Gaza will ensue with even more deaths. Also Netanyahu may not be the perfect leader but he needs to make tough decisions at this unprecedented time. As for the "corruption charges", it is mostly trumped up by those trying to depose him. After all, politics is a dirty game. Lastly, without going into detail, in the Bible the land of Israel was promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants — the Jews. Perhaps because God knew one day they will need a haven to feel safe.

Neil Roberts
St Kilda


What controversy?

Could Marion Poole explain what is "highly controversial" about Ron Crosby’s book The Forgotten Wars? It is a shorter, and updated, version of Mr Crosby’s 1999 seminal volume The Musket Wars which was widely admired for its scholarship. I can find no negative reviews of either book. Mr Crosby continues to be a member of the Waitangi Tribunal. As a lawyer, he has been particularly involved in Treaty-related and resource management cases.

Philip Temple


Lessons which should have been learned

Having read the summary of the Taieri Green MP Scott Willis’ maiden speech (ODT 3.2.23) I am surprised he only learned one lesson after the failure of his botched projects in Blueskin Bay.

Lessons that should have been learned are: you need to consult with the whole community especially neighbours and listen to alternatives and ideas they may have; make sure your facts are accurate and honest; take responsibility for your mistakes and don’t blame others for your failures. I must remind Mr Willis that what he called the ill-informed few consisted of over 100 individuals, the DCC and the Environment Court. I suggest that they were much more informed than he is giving them credit for.

It is not easy to stop a project that has merit and the community at large supports it. We have seen many projects succeed in the Blueskin Bay area.

The latest project being a good example, the walking/cycle track from Orokonui Sanctuary to Waitati which will be part of the Coastal Cycle Connection from Dunedin to Oamaru. There is great community support for this section and it will be under way shortly.

Mark Brown


Musicals missed

Jim Sullivan’s article on the distinction between pleasant English language and an unpleasant version reminds me of two things. One, in American English they say "you the man" instead of "you are the man". This was unintelligible to me until I figured out what was happening. They leave out the verb "to be", is, are, am. Two, regarding music on radio, I cannot figure out why we don’t get tunes from musicals such as Argentina, Les Miserables and Oklahoma. They have beautiful singing, intelligent lyrics and are cheerful.

Peter Johnstone


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