Letters to Editor: education, cuts, ODT

Otago Boys High School rector Richard Hall has taken aim at parents taking their children out of...
Otago Boys High School rector Richard Hall has taken aim at parents taking their children out of school. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including education techniques, the government's job cuts, and the news of the ODT

A trip overseas need not be a wasted time

I don't agree that the pupils who are taken to an overseas country by their parents during term time are the ones we need to worry about.

When our children were in primary school we took them off school to attend Expo 88 in Brisbane. They learned heaps by going there. The principal of our school was happy for them to go and said the experience would be amazing for them.

We also took them to Sydney and visited Taronga Zoo and other tourist spots. We walked them everywhere and they experienced the underground trains, amazing flights to get there and back.

Our eldest is now 50 and lives in Sydney and flies all over the world with his job. His brother has never been without a job and earns over $100,000 per annum

A few days off school towards furthering their education as long as they attend school the rest of the time is not a truancy problem. It is the ones whose parents don’t instil in them a work ethic at an early age that are the problem.

We were firm with our children and they had to help at home and never allowed to stay up late and lie in half the day even though at the time they might have wanted to. They thank us now because they are both married and have children of their own and a good lifestyle.

Target the ones who are consistently absent for no reason.

Lynette Howden



Cuts unwarranted

It is old news now that Christopher Luxon was happy to receive $52,000 a year to live in his own apartment. And we also know he decided to remove that "distraction".

Yet his $52,000 was nearly a quarter of the mere $228,000 each year the government gave to support the Dunedin Budget Advisory Service. That small community organisation over the last 10 months alone helped nearly 1000 people to help themselves out of financial distress. (That's $228 for each "client" if you want to reduce everything to its dollar value.) It will now receive no government funding at all. Why? Because its "application score did not reach the required level".

Add it to cuts to those in the disability sector, changes to benefit calculations, threats to cut free school lunches, proposals to remove lower bus fares and prescription charges, and so on.

I'm waiting for the Minister for Social Development and Employment (who is also the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Service) to step in and restore the funding.

Any or all of the Minister for Children, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Health, the Prime Minister and local government MPs Joseph Mooney, Miles Anderson, Todd Stephenson and Mark Patterson should be well ahead of me in demanding that she do.

Ruth Chapman



A simple solution

Business editor Sally Rae is on to it in her report on consent for a zero carbon multi-storey building in Wanaka (ODT 10.4.24). It is really quite a simple solution.

Other high-rise buildings have gone up in this country using sustainable locally produced timber beams, and substituting metals for wood-based constructs with carbon retention capabilities. Engineered laminated timber instead of RSJ steel beams, reduced concrete walls, floors, foundations. Low carbon footprint in harvest and manufacture a factor. Locally produced engineered woods, cutting imports and transport to sites.

Long past time engineers, designers, architects broke away from old time systems, and think "carbon zero". Give our own resources a break.

Jim Childerstone



Trust and not resting on one’s laurels

I applaud the sentiment described in today’s editorial (ODT 10.4.24) that being " ... the most trustworthy news brand in the country" is due to " ... the efforts of everyone at the ODT to produce a compelling, accurate and honest newspaper and website ... .". As noted by the editor, trust in the ODT actually fell, but by less than other news organisations, so there are no laurels to rest on.

The ODT needs to regain a high standard of professionalism, which, like most mainstream media, it has lost by being a political influencer. An example was evident again recently, with the report on page 2 re the latest Taxpayers Union poll which was unfavourable for the governing coalition, but there has been no mention at all of the previous week’s Roy Morgan poll which, conversely, was favourable. It looks like bias by omission and reduces trust amongst those of us who get our news and commentary from many sources.

John Day



Cost control

I think that the proposed enhancement to Bluff Hill would be great, in times of prosperity. Funding for this will clearly come from councils and maybe central government (taxpayer) and let’s be honest, the cost will grow from $18 million to $25m by the time the job commences.

However, these are not the times for spending millions on these types of projects. There is a cost of living crisis, and ratepayers are facing huge rate increases as councils have an inability to control costs. There are far more important infrastructure issues to face rather than what appears to be a huge vanity project at Bluff. While it may be a great "work creation" project, this should be put on ice until we are not facing massive rates increases and councils get their costs under control.

David Williamson


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