Letters to the Editor: bigotry, meddling and despair

A Pride event in Dunedin. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
A Pride event in Dunedin. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including quiet homophobia in Dunedin, a coalition that promised a hands-off approach, and the despair of extinction.


Being out and about not all fun and games

I am writing in regard to the article "To be visibly queer in Octagon" (Opinion ODT 4.7.24).

I applaud the decision to publish a piece addressing the quiet homophobia and bigotry that is rife in this city. Ōtepoti Dunedin likes to claim it is a progressive and welcoming place, but yet it sadly doesn't actually seem to be the case.

The opinion piece barely even scratches the surface of what it really is like for a gay, trans, or otherwise not-straight person here.

I have lived as an openly gay man in Dunedin for just shy of 10 years, and in that time I have experienced many instances of outright homophobic abuse.

People have thrown beer bottles at me while aggressively calling me "gay" and "homo’' when I walked past their house. People have leaned out the window of their car to yell the f-slur at me as they drive past in the street.

I've been dancing with my husband at a bar and been verbally threatened or had someone polish and raise their knuckles at us.

We have had drinks thrown at us while we hold hands, and in one instance a young man took to repeatedly spitting at us.

I could go on. But all of this has happened in recent years and all in very public places.

I don't want to say Dunedin is completely hostile to LGBT+ people, as there are some groups and communities here and a few welcoming spaces.

But the sad truth is that there is a dark underbelly of homophobia here and it is not truly the safe haven many try to purport.

I'm surprised that it took this long for an editorial of that sort to be published, as none of that person's experiences surprised me, and I thought someone might have brought it up sooner rather than keeping it in the closet, so to speak.

Name withheld


Could be worse

Those who dislike MMP and still prefer our discarded first-past-the-post voting system would do well to contemplate the recent UK election. With just over one third of the vote Labour, with its justified victory, has almost two-thirds of the seats in the House of Commons. Even more daft, Nigel Farage’s Reform Party although winning over 4 million votes, has only four seats. Reform won more votes than the Liberal Democrats who will have 71 seats.

Bill Southworth
Port Chalmers


Hands off

For a coalition that promised hands-off government, it’s doing an awful lot of meddling and overriding of democratic process.

Telling English teachers what to teach, telling Pharmac how to operate its budget, telling Auckland to cancel its planned congestion tax, telling select committees that it’s OK to pick and choose submissions, telling KiwiRail not to buy new ferries. In short, telling experts that they have no place in the future direction of New Zealand.

What next? Telling Scott Robertson how to coach the All Blacks?

Jocelyn Harris.


Wellington experience offers food for thought

Re the sale of the DCC interest in Aurora Energy, Sue Kedgley (Opinion ODT 9.7.24) makes points to ponder.

Retaining the interest allows loans to be made for plant improvement. The costs of loan maintenance would be borne by ratepayers. Asset ownership would be retained.

Selling to a private entity means a loss of asset ownership with an associated loss of control over any developments. Also, the practice of on-selling for share profits raises running and development (if there are any) costs which are borne by electricity users — who may be largely ratepayers.

The Wellington experience and the privatisation of water utilities in the UK suggests that the argument is not simply about the cost of money but the risks from loss of control and major asset degradation. A clear, balanced risk assessment should be submitted before any decision is made.

Stephen Chalcroft


Look and despair

Other writers have pointed out (ODT 8.7.24) extinction is the inevitable end for all species, including those who put themselves above the rest.

Consider the fate of Shelley’s Ozymandias. His bust proclaims that all should "look on my works, ye mighty and despair". To equate the extinction of indigenous fauna with that of the public servant, while simultaneously urging them to stop their whining, raises pressing issues.

The statement is unnecessarily cruel if not vindictive, and it suggests that the essential working of democracy is similarly doomed. Christopher Luxon is, he proclaimed, unprepared to listen to "pundits and commentators" as he drags us all down his fast track to hell.

Marian Poole
Deborah Bay


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