Letters to the Editor: councils, rates and Joe Bennett

Photo: ODT Files
Forbury Raceway. Photo: ODT Files
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including how water services will be delivered, the high cost of rates, and the philosophy of a young whippersnapper.


Ecan example suggests leave Otago water alone

Simeon Brown stated last week in Parliament that National policy "recognises the importance of local decision making and flexibility for communities and councils to determine how their water services will be delivered in the future. We will do this while ensuring a strong emphasis on meeting rules for water quality…"

In 2010 a National-led government took control of Environment Canterbury with commissioners who then granted further water rights to already over allocated areas via the Central Plains Water Scheme. The now dry smaller riverbeds of Canterbury, and the Canterbury coastal algal bloom seen on satellite imagery, show the devastating results of that not only in terms of the environment but also disease causing nitrogen pollution in the ground water.

Mr Brown, we do not need the same results here. Please leave the Otago Regional Council alone to make decisions on ensuring exactly the same aims quoted regarding Three Waters, for our local natural water resources.

After nearly a decade of consultation it’s time we had some certainty and better natural water quantity and quality. All of our water, whether in a pipe or not, is an essential resource to be managed locally according to the best scientific evidence available and what all local stakeholders value.

David Bridgman


It’s not all good

Get rid of the Otago Regional Council: any public body which considers a 21.3% increase in prices, at a time of economic stress, is harmful to the public, clearly out of control and should be disbanded. They provide no significant benefit .

I clearly recall paying my regional council rates at York Pl about 10 years ago and the amount was in the hundreds. Now it is in the thousands.

This outfit is out of control and is is a self perpetuating bureaucracy. It is clearly happy with the harm it causes low income and other people struggling with high rents and mortgages and food bills.

George Livingstone


For why?

Could the Clutha District Council please explain how they arrived at the figure of 25% over the next three years added to our annual rates bill? The repealing of Three Waters is being discussed in Parliament now and the government has already stated that it will be some time before all parts are fully implemented. When this question was put to the minister in charge, Simeon Brown — "What is going to be the added cost to ratepayers under this scheme"? — his reply was "Under this new entity there should be no extra cost to people".

We need an open and honest answer along with a breakdown of how the money already obtained from the existing Three Waters fund was spent.

Mary Laurenson


Sheer delight in the muddy Manuherikia waters

Oh what a delight it is to read a letter from Cr Laws directed to me (ODT 20.2.2023). Cr Laws is getting himself into some muddy waters. It must be the rivulet close to him once known as the mighty Manuherikia.

While Cr Laws may feel he is schooling me on democracy or public service neutrality, he should know I come from a long line of teachers and I have learnt that good teachers are known by their actions, not words.

One shouldn't conflate a natural scepticism with a dogmatic and ideological cynicism. Staff should be respected at the Otago Regional Council, not for the strict view of impartiality Cr Laws appears to have, known in some quarters as "my way or the highway", but for their experience, passion and understanding that staff have towards their areas of work.

Again, Cr Laws conflates political party association with a lack of neutrality. Would he see staff as more neutral if they belonged to a party closer to his political identity?

Cr Laws should assure the voting public that his view of impartiality won't come at the expense of the leading work the ORC is undertaking, and he should assure us that from time to time he listens to the advice he receives.

Daniel F Benson-Guiu


Pay your rates

To offset the DCC’s prudent purchase of the Forbury Raceway, the University of Otago ought to be required to pay full rates on all of its property holdings.

It is past time for it to lift the heavy burden it has posed on ratepayers and make a significant contribution to the city's infrastructure.

V H Markham


Time flies but Joe Bennett’s quality endures

As always, I enjoyed reading Joe Bennett's article (ODT 15.2.24) on the phrase "Tempus fugit", but the full form of its Latin does more than add a whiff of seriousness to what he classes with "trite and corny statements of the obvious". Its source is Virgil, who in his Georgics wrote "fugit inreparabile tempus" ("time flies, irretrievable"). The extra word's length, placing and meaning imply that we can't retrieve, recover or repair what we did yesterday, so we ought to do the right thing first time round — a strong moral principle if ever there was one.

J Donald Cullington
Company Bay


Do not go gentle

I wish to thank columnist Joe Bennett for the elegance and poetry of his exploration of time and age. I truly hope the new generation of the starling family thrives, even in cruel winter. It is gentle and accepting. And it's made me think. Soon I will turn 67. Governments and organisations are now making plans that won't include me, and that's frightening.

My philosophy has been simple: "Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light." (Dylan Thomas). The young whippersnapper Joe has invited me to reconsider how I will go into that good night.

Susan Grant-Mackie


Dangerous drivers

After reading today (ODT 15.2.24) of the rental car crash into the Octagon pharmacy, I can no longer hold back my frustration. Having recently completed four return trips to Queenstown, I am in disbelief regarding the driving quality of many tourists. These people are dangerous and have very little driving experience, if any. They are all over the road and drive so slowly. Their driving ability must be assessed before they are given the keys to a projectile on four wheels.

Vince Jones


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