Letters to the Editor: DCC, university and women's sport

Hundreds of people will graduate from the University of Otago in two ceremonies today. PHOTO:...
The University of Otago Clocktower building. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the university going down a hole, the coverage of women's sports, and a view of the DCC's financial woes.


Ideologies, beliefs, and a troubled university

In one issue of the Otago Daily Times (17.5.24) are two contributions that perhaps unwittingly reveal the hole that the University of Otago is going down.

On the front page, the news that the University of Otago’s Foundation Trust suffered a 42.1% drop in donations. The director of the Alumni Relations office was quoted as saying "a couple of overseas alumni had expressed concern about the financial management of the university" and had removed the university from their wills. Taken literally, these two people must have been responsible for a $5.1 million withdrawal of funds – unless of course "a couple" actually means something quite different.

A few pages later is yet another extraordinary contribution by Metiria Stanton Turei, who attempts to justify the appalling racist statements made in the House by Te Pāti Māori MP, Mariameno Kapa-Kingi who stated that our present government is wanting to exterminate Māori. Her statements were widely condemned by other MPs and political commentators. Ms Turei’s support for this racist and offensive claim by the MP are specious at best.

I’d suggest that a simple and logical explanation for the University of Otago’s rapidly declining financial position and falling student rolls is that the university, through its decision to become a Treaty-led entity and its costly pervasive repositioning in that direction, has completely failed to recognise that students and their parents want a quality evidence-based tertiary education free from woke or racist ideologies.

Russell Garbutt


[Abridged — length. Ed]


Boys and girls play

I am curious as to the response others would have provided when asked by their 16-year-old daughter "Mum, why did Otago Boys’ rugby get a story in the ODT yet Otago Girls’ rugby scored a record-breaking result and gets zero coverage or acknowledgement?" (ODT 16.5.24).

As our locally owned (and most trusted) media outlet, you will know the coverage you provide to stories, accomplishments and whoopsies significantly influences opinion. The visibility and popularity of sporting achievements are no different; what we don't see, we can't be.

Women’s sports receive significantly less coverage than men’s, which impacts public interest and awareness. Less media exposure also means fewer opportunities for sponsorships and advertising, which are crucial for funding and development.

My answer to her? "I actually don't know honey, how about I ask?". Looking forward to a suitable answer I can provide to my young lady.

Bex Twemlow


[Otago Daily Times sports editor Hayden Meikle replies: Your feedback is noted. The Otago Daily Times consistently leads all New Zealand newspapers in coverage of women's sport, and regularly covers women's rugby from the Black Ferns to Matatū to the Otago Spirit. Secondary schoolgirls rugby is growing and can expect to get more coverage if that continues. The Otago Boys'-Southland Boys' First XV clash has significant history and public interest, and is covered accordingly.]


Poor political choice

The National-lead coalition is committing political suicide as they are currently threatening rural health funding to 19% of the population that receives healthcare this way. This rural heartland is National's core constituent. This would mean end game for National, less so for Act New Zealand, which has more urban support. Voters would move to remove National MPs that would support any such reduction in care.

Brett Smith


Need to look at the big debt-ridden picture

I think your story about the selling of DCC-owned lines company Aurora is misleading (ODT 14.4.24).

Apart from the numbers you are reporting on being nothing like a representative sample, the big picture of the DCC's overall debt-ridden financial position is, in my opinion, not given enough emphasis.

Selling Aurora would permit the DCC and its companies to avoid having to pay some of the present interest on excessive debt.

Aurora may perhaps be an asset in a sense but borrowings at interest are most assuredly a great liability, especially considering current global financial instability.

Getting rid of some of the interest payments incurred right now seems to me to be a present, sure thing, as compared to any future profits Aurora might or might not make.

Diane Yeldon


Expanding frontiers

An event the size of the Commonwealth Games is deemed too pricey for a region like Victoria, Australia to host.

How then is a city entity in Africa, for instance, where the Games have never been hosted, able to see it as viable?

I would then propose all Games after 2030 — the centenary of the first Empire Games — to be a collaborative hosting effort of, say, three nations or territories to become the norm, rather than that of a single city.

So, with the current rapid development occurring in certain international regions, we may continue to enjoy this friendly festival of sports, sustainably, into exciting frontiers like Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Indeed, it may give a significant boost to their development to host.

J. T. George


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