Letters to the Editor: elections, bridges and trolls

Chloe Swarbrick. Photo: NZ Herald
Chloe Swarbrick. Photo: NZ Herald
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including roading developments in Wānaka, the majority doesn't always rule, and the trolls are coming out once more.


Consider own works before hiking rates

I read with rather raised eyebrows the comments made by Queenstown Lakes District Council deputy mayor Quentin Smith (ODT 17.2.24) regarding Three Waters and potential rate increases, considering an apparent myriad of excessive expense which would appear self-inflicted by his own council.

There have been a myriad of roading "developments", with minimal or no apparent improvement, regarding speed bumps (at times very near already existing give way signage) — and in two locations those speed bumps required early replacement as they were later apparently deemed unsuitable.

Also, corner guttering, which has in places had the resulting affect of a now more sharp and significantly narrower turn from the previous natural — such as the Rata St/Kowhai Dr corner (and in the case of the busy Anderson Rd/Aubrey Rd no longer allowing sufficient space for vehicles turning left to Aubrey with the previous relative ease, with those turning to the right).

There is a footpath of around 20m with no apparent need at the same Rata St/Kowhai Dr corner, and an excessive apparent focus on walkways and continued new cycling pathways in a town with a significant retired population in Wānaka, and with minimal actual public transport.

Then there is the extremely tight roundabout system established at the Anderson Rd/Aubrey Rd corner, and the 40kmh speed limit restriction on the wide Beacon Point Rd which is just over the top.

Possibly the council should consider looking more at their own financial performance rather then seeking continued increased rates rises and government support.

Ian McGregor


Jumping from bridges

Recently as I was driving over the Clutha River at Albert Town near Wānaka, kids were jumping off the bridge. Great, kids having fun. Next thing a jet boat went up under the bridge and obviously this is dangerous. I phoned the council who got the harbour master to phone me. He was totally aware of the situation, but unable to put up signs warning of the danger. OK, put up a barrier to stop kids jumping in a certain specific area creating a safe boating lane and a safe swimming area. No, can’t do that either as the council believes this would detract from the natural beauty experience.

OK, then stop the boats. Not an option. Two commercial operators have been given consent to traverse this water all year, and anyone can during certain months. The only thing he has been able to do is impose a speed limit.

However, this will not help anyone who is unfortunate enough to land on a boat, potentially injuring themselves or someone on the boat.

Jonathan Pullar


[Queenstown Lakes District Council regulatory manager Anthony Hall replies: Use of our district’s waterways is complex and involves many different types of users. The community has used bridges and other structures for jumping/swimming for a long time, and this has increased as our population has grown. Similarly, the number of other users has increased, including those with powered vessels.

With different users come differing views around how these activities should be managed. The QLDC Navigation Safety Bylaw 2018 regulates these and other activities in our district for all users. Jumping off bridges into rivers remains a permitted activity given there are no rules in the current bylaw to prevent it.

Council is currently working through a review of this bylaw and a period of pre-engagement (to inform next stages) took place late last year. We expect formal public notification to take place in the second half of this year. The use of structures for jumping into rivers (including the Albert Town bridge, which is owned and operated by NZTA Waka Kotahi) will be an important part of this review.]


Election result does not mean what you think

Alan Baxter’s letter (ODT 13.2.24) highlighted one of the many ways that facts become distorted and then by repetition these errors, or in some cases falsehoods, become accepted as fact.

Mr Baxter asserted that the results of the last general election indicated that "the majority of New Zealanders feel it is time the Treaty was revised and perhaps even revoked." This is far from the truth.

Act New Zealand was the only party campaigning on this issue. Act received 8.64% of the vote. In both practical and statistical terms this is minuscule.

To put this into perspective, this is the percentage of the population that would fall into the borderline or very low range of intelligence. That is, not within the average range.

I am certainly not suggesting that all of those who voted for Act would fall into this range of intellectual functioning, but wish to point out that the election results certainly did not reflect a desire by the majority to alter or replace the Treaty.

James Hegarty


Troll time

Chris Trotter (ODT 16.2.24) writes that Jack Tame homed in on Chloe Swarbrick’s "political inflexibility" and that her "unflinching defence of the Palestinian cause … [exposed] her zealotry."

Rather, she remains true to her — widely shared — values, more than one could say for many these days.

I was wondering when the rightwing trolling would start, in this case also misusing and misrepresenting Tame’s excellent interview as a cover.

Leoni Schmidt


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