Letters to Editor: Fiordland, Aurora, alcohol

A circus of Kea in the Wapiti area of Fiordland. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A circus of Kea in the Wapiti area of Fiordland. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including a Forest & Bird submission, Aurora energy, and alcohol related injuries

Wapiti review decision baffles Te Anau reader

I cannot comprehend why Forest & Bird are applying for a judicial review in an attempt to have the iconic Fiordland wapiti herd exterminated.

For reasons only known to them, they are completely ignoring the work that the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation undertakes in the wapiti area with predator control giving whio, kea, kiwi and other native birds the chance to survive and thrive, culling to manage deer numbers, with meat being donated to food banks, maintaining tracks and huts, all this at no cost to the taxpayer. This allows Doc to spend elsewhere across the vast conservation estate.

Ideology versus reality and common sense as to what can actually be achieved working with nature.

In various places throughout New Zealand, red deer, wild pigs, goats, and wallaby numbers are getting out of hand. Forest & Bird’s time could be better spent doing something constructive towards addressing these issues rather than targeting wapiti. It appears there is no cost of living crisis with Forest & Bird, or perhaps they are trying to impose financial ruin on the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation by dragging them through the court system to achieve what?

I feel there needs to be a change in the legislation to protect wapiti; they deserve it.

Peter Dolamore

Te Anau

[Nicola Toki, Forest & Bird chief executive, replies: Forest & Bird has a constitutional role to preserve and protect the indigenous flora and fauna and the natural features of New Zealand.

We welcome the mahi undertaken by the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation and other organisations which contribute to protecting New Zealand’s most precious places. Hunting is part of the toolbox in tackling the out-of-control numbers of browsing animals. However, hunting needs to take place in a way that is consistent with the law. That is why we lodged the judicial review. Fiordland National Park forms part of Te Wāhipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Forest & Bird considers that the agreement is unlawful for a number of reasons. As the matter is before the court, it is not possible to go into detail about the case. However, we disagree that the judicial review is an attempt to exterminate the wapiti herd. The judicial review is a challenge to what we consider is an unlawful agreement. We feel it is essential that the Department of Conservation supports the hunting community, in this instance the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation, by ensuring that any agreement it enters in to is in keeping with the law.


Aurora options

Mayor Jules Radich has decided to give the people the mandate to decide on the sale of their "family silver", Aurora Energy. This will give the impression that his decision to sell Aurora to pay off debt and make investments looks democratically devised, but how will ratepayers’ submissions make a difference to an already decided outcome?

Graeme Jeffrey's letter (ODT 30.3.24) letter and Scott Willis' article (The Mix, 30.3.24) need to be studied in full by the mayor and councillors and rationalised to benefit the people in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown.

The decision to sell Aurora Energy, "the main contributor to DCHL's profit hike’’ (ODT, 26.3.24) would be welcomed by overseas investors as well as the big corporations, who will be rubbing their hands with glee.

What are the options? Sell Aurora, pay down debt and make investments (the sky will be the limit for energy dependents’ power bills); do not sell Aurora and keep the main profit-making DCHL performer; make an in-depth study of the well-run Waitaki Board; or explore what else could be sold to pay down debt.

Kathleen Moore



Dunedin Hospital emergency department. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Dunedin Hospital emergency department. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Is it any wonder that we are turning to drink?

The latest shock horror statistic we are being fed is that older people are appearing more often in emergency departments with alcohol-related ailments than younger people.

Could it be that anyone over 65 has an adult memory of a world, and a New Zealand, that was better in every way than what we have now?

There was less poverty, less racism, more opportunities, less unemployment, better healthcare.

We camped on riverbanks and swam in the water without question.

We weren’t tracked, photographed and monitored wherever we went — that was the stuff of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.

Despite the Cuban Missile Crisis, there was less chance of being imminently blown up by a nuclear holocaust than there is today.

Global warming hadn’t been thought of then, and if it had been there was not only a better chance of doing something about it than there is now, but a better chance that our government and governments around the world would take such action.

The world, and New Zealand, 65 years ago was a hugely better place than it is now.

No wonder we turn to drink.

Tony Williams



I’m grumpy and not going to back down

I would like to reply to the letter from Taieri MP Ingrid Leary (ODT 17.4.24), which was in response to my letter which criticised the Labour Party’s performance in Dunedin.

Ms Leary labelled me as grumpy, which in relation to the activities of the Labour Party would be an understatement. The former Labour government has left a trail of death and destruction in its wake.

The introduction of racial preference, the fact that the economy has tanked, crime is at its worst level ever, immigration of unskilled people at unprecedented levels, the idea that people’s feelings trump facts, the support of minorities at the expense of the majority and the wasting of billions of dollars on ideological fantasies.

As stated in my letter, Dunedin cannot expect preferential treatment from the coalition government regarding the hospital rebuild, therefore the mayor and civic leaders must be very diplomatic when dealing with this issue. Ms Leary makes the point that the closest National MP is based 3.5 hours away in Queenstown. This backs up my point that we need a National electorate MP in Dunedin. My advice to Ingrid Leary and Labour would be, get back to what the party was founded for, the promotion of the wellbeing of the ordinary working person.

Dave Tackney



Wise words from Dad

I find it difficult to realise that South Dunedin is still having trouble understanding the state of environment problems. My dad was born in Dunedin in 1918 and lived in North East Valley as a boy. He used to go out to St Kilda on a Saturday to feed the birds and ducks. As a teenager, my dad said to me (born 1939) in 1952, South Dunedin has only water underground, so never go out to that area to live.

When I married I lived in Opoho as I always remembered my dad saying never live in South Dunedin, as there is only water underneath, which comes from the beaches.

Joan Englefield



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