Letters to Editor: the cost of health and Otago Uni decisions

Houses at 111 and 113 Union St are set to be demolished by the University of Otago. PHOTO: GERARD...
Houses at 111 and 113 Union St are set to be demolished by the University of Otago. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the cost of health, inclusivity at the university and its decision to demolish two villas is decried. 

Prescription fee change and health affordability

I find the comments about affordability of prescription charges by politicians very interesting.

While we are all aware we are going through a recession and times will be hard, I notice there has been no mention or indeed any reference to the parliamentary privileges which cost this country a considerable amount of money. Nowhere can I find an employer who pays a pension after nine years’ service and adds free international travel.

Perhaps if there is a genuine intent to assist families and those on lower incomes a re-look at whether these entitlements contribute to any productivity to our economy or whether the money would be better spent on health and education. I wait, not with bated breath, to see which political party is prepared to reconsider these entitlements.

J. Millar
St Kilda

Because Christopher Luxon does not feel comfortable about being let off a $5 prescription fee he can afford because the cost of filtering out those who also could afford to pay for their prescriptions themselves would cost a ridiculous amount of money, he could just choose to donate $5 to a charity each time he fills a prescription.

How someone heading a political party cannot see that wiping the $5 fee for everyone would cost much less than administering a tiered fee system makes me worried that other financial advice he is getting is flawed.

Carol Thompson
Central Otago

Maybe $5 prescriptions and cutting them is a welcome relief for the truly poor, but unfortunately I can't abide a $5 cut costing $157 million when we just had our local hospital budget attacked by the very same people. It's just a scattergun policy method that makes no sense to me.

Matt McDonald

Sheer disinformation

When Jacinda Ardern as prime minister claimed her government was the sole source of truth it signalled a huge change in the relationship between New Zealand governments and the general public - a change further reinforced by the adoption of the term ‘‘disinformation’’ to describe any point of view that disagrees with pronouncements from the Beehive.

That this situation should have arisen in New Zealand, of all countries, is a blight on the democratic processes which have seen, for the most part, a society which has functioned in a remarkably co-operative way with free exchanges of differing opinions.

The increasingly Orwellian nature of ongoing government pronouncements is exemplified by the current call for tenders to produce ‘‘insights to build an empirical picture of the disinformation landscape’’.

This is sheer gobbledegook.

The Oxford dictionary's definition of disinformation as, ‘‘false information that is given deliberately, especially by government organisations’’, casts an interesting light on this matter.

David Tranter

Hospital waiting

Why are we still waiting on the go-ahead for Dunedin’s much needed hospital?

The percentage of the shortfall is a lot less than other infrastructure projects completed further north.

Why can’t ACC, who are apparently flush with profits from the associated health system, contribute to the shortfall ?

ACC are in the health business and indirectly benefit from the public health system.

Come on ACC. Put your hand in your pocket and let’s get this hospital built for the benefit of our community.

Peter Sinclair

The university and the bottom of the barrel

Just when we thought the University of Otago had hit the bottom of the barrel, we discover that the barrel hasn't got one.

The report on inclusivity (ODT 22.5.23), which would have remained hidden but for the vigilance of Professor Adler, appears to take the institution to even greater depths.

To be a ‘‘Treaty of Waitangi-led organisation’’ is a concept to which many find difficult to attribute much meaning in the context of a ‘‘university’’.

However, in practice in this case and in the context of the university's financial difficulties, it seems to entail an increase in management (Human Resources does ‘‘not have enough staff to do what is required of them’’) while shedding academic and support staff.

What remains of Otago University's shredded reputation can only be further damaged by such banalities as renaming HR as ‘‘the people and capability division’’ - you couldn't parody this.

In all that has been heard recently of the university and its vicissitudes no-one seems to be interested in, or even cognisant of, academic values and functions. It is indeed an empty and bottomless vessel.

Dr Harry Love
North East Valley

Proposed villa demolition riles readers

The upposedly cash-strapped university’s decision to demolish houses in and around the campus defies all logic. If it is for financial reasons, why are they not being advertised for sale as is? Why spend money having them demolished when nothing is planned for their sites?

Are they just going to be left to grow grass and weeds and become dumping grounds for old couches and the like as evident on a growing number of other empty sites in the north end?

Would it not make better sense to sell these houses as they stand to someone prepared to bring them up to a liveable condition for the benefit of all, including those who value the heritage these early houses add to the campus area?

Lois Galer

There's a chronic housing shortage, right? There are two solid houses in the university domain, right?

How about the university property managers sell these beauties to the Ministry of Housing for relocation rather than demolition? There are people in Dunedin needing homes, too.

Pat Kerr

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