Letters to the Editor: cycling, smoking and the NZSO

Enjoying the heat in Dunedin, two cyclists try out the new wooden cycleway near Roseneath.
Enjoying the heat in Dunedin, two cyclists try out the wooden cycleway near Roseneath. Photo: ODT files
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including danger on the shared cycleway, the music of global warming, and the disillusionment of an NZSO supporter.


Cycleway collision no surprise at all

Sadly, this headline (ODT 7.12.23 "Call for safe riding on cycleway after accident") comes as no surprise. I am just glad the boy involved was not badly injured.

I have approached Dunedin City Council on a number of occasions regarding the dangers to walkers from cyclist who show little regard to other pathway users.

Obviously, many cyclists do take care, slow down, give a warning and cause no problems. Many do not. They act like it is a racetrack and pay little heed to walkers.

If it is suggested they slow down and give a warning you are often met with a torrent of abuse; they seem to think they have sole rights to the shared path.

The cycle code is clear and simple. On a shared path, cyclists, when passing, should slow down, give a warning and leave plenty of space.

I have requested DCC put clear reminders of cyclists’ responsibilities on the path and a few signs were painted but they have had no impact.

Could I suggest that DCC, as the ones who have created this unfortunate situation, take some responsibility to solve the problem. A speed limit would be sensible and maybe a bye-law requiring cycles to have bells (and use them).

DCC have a duty to keep pedestrians safe as well as other road users.

David Tordoff


Despicable harm

The coalition government has already proved they are morally bankrupt. The decision to repeal smokefree legislation that would prevent yet another generation being exposed to tobacco harm is despicable.

When substances are found to cause ill health, strict measures are usually taken to prevent exposure to them. Tobacco use is the greatest cause of preventable illness resulting in around 5000 deaths annually but the government does not want to reduce exposure to it. Not caring about who is harmed, they make up claims that it will have negative consequences for sellers. Would cigarettes lower in nicotine be that sought after?

Those who dismiss this as smoking being "a personal choice" do not understand how addictive nicotine is.

The constant narrative of National in opposition was that the previous government didn’t get anything done and yet they now seem to be putting in a lot of effort to undo many positive things the Labour government did.

Sadly, the only track this government is taking us on is backwards.


Lou Scott


Listening to music

A correspondent mocks a professor of performing arts for writing about climate change. Can he tell us where the article is wrong?

No. There is no scientific debate about global warming: Earth is responding to increased levels of atmospheric CO2 as it always has. Indeed, it is CO2 that brings us out of an ice age — increased warmth from the Sun only initiates the phenomenon, the heat itself is insufficient.

Ian Davies believes the climate is too complex to attribute the warming to CO2. In fact the reason is simple. More CO2 causes the level where energy is lost to space to rise, where the air is cooler, and the Stefan-Boltzmann Law tells us radiation is related to the fourth power of temperature. Satellite measurements show decreased cooling from CO2. Decreased cooling means warming. Doesn't it?

In any case, complexity can be simplified. We don't try to plot the energy and movement of every molecule of air in a car tyre — we measure the pressure. We don't hear an unimaginably large jumble of countless frequencies from a symphony orchestra — we hear music. If we stop to listen.

Dennis Horne


NZSO devotee disgruntled with meagre fare

I fully support the opinion of Bryan James (ODT 29.11.23) that southern audiences are being badly short-changed by the national symphony orchestra.

The 2024 NZSO season is heralded with self- congratulatory hyperbole. But it is with dismay and disillusionment that I understand Dunedin is to be allocated just one public concert, in stark contrast to the multiple events in northern locations.

I have been a supporter of NZSO for many years and have valued their world-class performances. But until there is a more fair distribution of our tax dollars I will not renew my subscription, giving my full support instead to the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra which, in the face of meagre funding, makes a generous contribution to Dunedin’s cultural life.

Jeanette Leigh


Whistling in the wind

Harry Love (ODT 4.12.23) questions the effectiveness of the second criterion for Māori and Pasifika placements in our medical schools ( that they be committed to giving back to Māori communities), and how it is measured and achieved. With a shortage of physicians placing a heavy load on hospitals and primary care (not just rural practices), here and globally, he could ask the same question of all medical school entrants. How do we keep our graduates from going private, here or abroad, in this competitive environment? Is he suggesting some sort of bonding arrangement requiring some years service in the public health system? With the new National Coalition Government intent on private provision, he will be whistling in a very ill wind.

Susan Hall


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