Letters to the Editor: cats, dogs, cyclists and senility

Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including a compromise for the Taieri Gorge, double standards for cats and dogs, and inexperienced negotiations.


An innovative way for gorge compromise

I think there is a good compromise that would allow us to extend the rail trail through Taieri Gorge for cyclists while retaining the tracks and excursion trains.

To understand how this would work look for "rail bike version 11" on YouTube. It’s a lightweight conversion kit that allows ordinary bicycles to be ridden on rail tracks.

We have a fleet of rail bike kits available at either end. These would be bookable in advance for those days that the train was not running (the gorge would remain closed to cyclists on train days in which case cyclists could take the train).

Cyclists would be expected to complete the section within a day but we could send through a sweeper if someone failed to complete it. With spot trackers and the upcoming New Zealand-wide One network it would be easy to keep track of the location of each kit in real time.

I’m not aware of an experience like this being offered anywhere in the world. We have the opportunity to turn one world-class tourist attraction into two. One being a unique cycling experience which I believe visitors would readily pay for.

We have some amazing engineering firms in Dunedin. I’m sure they could help produce a practical, flexible rail bike design that would facilitate problems such as passing.

It’s a crying shame that an attraction such as the Taieri Gorge is currently only available when trains are running and can’t be enjoyed more often by more people. Let’s fix that.

Julian Cox


Truly gobsmacked

I am truly gobsmacked that an elected councillor (Marie Laufiso) could so callously state that we should be flying the Palestinian flag to support their cause which was caused by Hamas from Palestine attacking Israel.

I know that there have been tensions between Palestine and Israel for decades but for Hamas to attack Israel without provocation is beyond belief. I do not condone their actions and for Israel to defend itself is right but to continue to bomb Palestine is also out of proportion and the ongoing conflict between these two countries is likely to escalate to an all-out war. I for one will not vote for this councillor ever again.

Bill Swift


Not far enough

Well put Jocelyn Harris (ODT 24.11.23), including the Shakespearian rhetorical flourish. But pleading "just stop" the carnage and begging Israel to halt its attempt to inflict an Endlösung on the Gazans do not go far enough.

What is required also is a profound and honest addressing of the root causes of this conflict (which go back far beyond October 7 this year, at least to 1948 if not further), and finding solutions that bring some closure to both sides. What has to stop also is insisting on political solutions that may bring some satisfaction to one side and just mean further humiliation, grief and the continuation of past injustice to the other.

Erich Kolig


All are losers

L. McConnell (ODT 27.11.23) is totally off the mark if he/she genuinely believes I condone the Hamas militants’ cross border attack which killed 1200 innocent people.

The correspondent may wish to reflect the deaths of over 4000 innocent Palestinian children. The Israel/Gaza war is the deadliest conflict for children in modern times.

"In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers".

Laurette Robinson


That age-old battle between cats and dogs

It was rather bemusing to read about Jim Moffat's letter (ODT 27.11.23) inferring that cats are like feral pests with what they do in people's gardens and suggesting they are somehow a cost to ratepayers, thus his demanding registering of them.

Yes, it is unfortunate that they do catch birds — an anti-climber metal strip on bird table stands can mitigate this. Cats bury their waste.

But compared to dogs, that poop anywhere, harass and kill other pets and livestock and wildlife, not to mention threats/attacks/maulings on humans, cats thus are barely part of the equation. Yet, little is mentioned of this latter aspect, and when a dog attacks, it's excused with words like "That's what dogs do". No human has been mauled by a domestic cat or got life-changing injuries or been killed, so this strikes me as blatant double standards. Thus, at least, that's why dogs are registered, so that when some human is seriously injured in an attack, as happens all too often, we at least know where it came from.

Dogs, not cats (to use Mr Moffat's words adapted) get far more love and affection regardless of all this, and now even have dog parks along with many other things lavished that no other benign animals/pets ever get.

Paul Jeffery


Better service please

The front page news today (ODT, 28.11.23) says that the DCC is going to increase the cost of rubbish collection. I hope the quality of service will improve. Our yellow top bin has been waiting forlornly to be emptied for days now. All the other bins in our street were emptied. I phoned the DCC and was told they would send out a contractor the same day to empty it.

It does not have a sticker on it, it was not blocked by vehicles, it was waiting since the previous night. I have not received an explanation.

Maxine Hall


A party for some poor old chap: me

As a reasonably spritely octogenarian, I really enjoyed Jim Sullivan's column (ODT 28.11.23) on attitudes towards the so-called elderly.

When I reached my 80th birthday three years ago, I decided to celebrate by throwing a party

in a local church hall. I was told that another event, a children's party, had been booked for the lunchtime of the same day. My partner and I went up to the hall that morning, to ask the adults setting up if they could leave all the tables and chairs out, which we would then adapt.

"Yes, I was told about that when I booked", said the young mum in charge.

"Some old geezer is 80, they're having a party for him, poor old bugger."

"That poor old bugger is ME!," I exploded, to her embarrassment and the hysterics of all her friends.

Rob Upward


The body politic

I love it that a newly mangled political body with no experience in actual governance, with no visible sign of essential stability and no real credibility of individual ability is going deal to "The Public Service", which maintained order and ran things whilst they squabbled like children. Perhaps it is the overly expansive and expensive Parliament that needs dealt with and let the real people do their job?

Pete Jenkins


Heaven help us

Imagine if Labour had been re-elected and had taken this long to form a government. The "experienced negotiator" would have curled his lip and, along with his deputy, the head prefect, would have had a field day. Luxon has touted his skills and experience so many times, it wears thin when he realises he can't throw his weight about because he is dealing with stronger personalities than himself. Heaven help us if he ever has to deal with the crises Labour has coped with in the last six years.

Kay Hannan


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