Letters to the Editor: George St, auroras and 'woke' sushi

Saturday’s aurora. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Saturday’s aurora. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including councillors feuding over George St, Dunedin's future as a "Night-Sky" city, and the puzzling war against sushi.


Councillors’ clash seen as foolish, childish

Unbelievable. Is it disingenuousness or just wilful ignorance that leads Councillor Weatherall to suggest retailers "experienced" a pedestrianised George St during the construction phase (ODT 11.5.24)?

For those months, safety fencing and construction vehicle access precluded people from crossing from one side of the street to the other. And rightly so.

But that is a far cry from the wonderful experience George St offers now.

And now we learn that Cr Weatherall chose not to attend the opening because he didn’t agree with the project in the first place. Such childish behaviour from an elected official.

Max Reid


A foolish effusion

Councillor Walker needs to get a grip on himself instead of reacting with abuse to someone pointing out that he egged the cake claiming to have dreamt all his life of the pedestrianisation of George St.

To defend a foolish effusion by making himself out to be a victim of "border-line racism" is to diminish the abuse inherent in actual racism.

Rosemary McQueen


There is only us

Re the ODT article (11.5.24) "Borderline racist": councillors bicker over future of George St."

If you follow the reasoning behind Cr Weatherall’s comment about a colleague’s accent, one can detect immediately how morally bankrupt it is. The implication that the views of those "born and bred" in Dunedin have more validity than those who were not, is not only abhorrent but contrary to the city’s strategic focus.

Council actively encourages people to choose Ōtepoti Dunedin to study, invest and live here (often having been charmed by our city while visiting). Every week I meet people who have done just that.

As chairwoman of Study Dunedin (international education sector) and deputy chairwoman, Economic Development, I regularly welcome new residents from other parts of New Zealand and around the globe who have chosen this place to make their home, as well as those considering the move.

I want them to know they are warmly welcome here, their views are valued and the contribution they make to our city enriches it in so many ways and is deeply appreciated.

From former refugees who have escaped conflict in their homeland, to those who have been recruited from overseas for their specialist skills, including members of our DCC staff — we are all residents Cr Weatherall.

There is no "other", there’s just "us".

Christine Garey
Dunedin City councillor


Dream up the boohai

Cr Walker is up the boohai with his dream of full pedestrianisation of George St.

I live in a retirement village and some of the residents who have trouble walking far are pleased with the parking retained there.

I travel regularly to Kenosha, USA, a city of similar size and in the 1980s they closed their main shopping street, 6th Ave, to vehicles.

The shops gradually closed down and it became a sad sight. The street was opened again and in recent years it is resurrecting with cafes and night life.

The new George St is great for pedestrians and the limited traffic. There are enough empty shops already, Cr Walker, and may your "lifetime dream" remain just that.

Ron Robert


Nature’s light show shows the way forward

Saturday night’s spectacular aurora illustrates Dunedin can become a genuine "Night-Sky" city, treasuring its night sky, as promoted by the Dunedin City Council.

Occupying 3300sq km, Dunedin may develop international dark sky reserves and parks.

Accomplishing this would be momentous, furthering New Zealand's endeavour to become a "Dark-Sky" country.

Light pollution is growing in Dunedin. Vast numbers of unprotected, extremely bright lights shine up into the night sky creating a sky glow that is increasingly drowning out the stars.

Encroaching light pollution is denying human rights, harming people, and wildlife.

Light pollution can be redressed by responsible lighting. Light only where and when you need it.

Outdoor lighting should be warm-coloured minimising blue light, and targeted. Lamps should be shielded, not spilling light upward and beyond its intended use.

A Night-Sky city is consistent with mitigating climate change and would enhance Dunedin’s reputation as the wildlife capital of New Zealand.

Mike Broughton
Dark Skies Dunedin


Who controls provision of healthcare?

The article "Think localities while acting locally" (ODT Opinion 9.5.24) makes some sweeping generalisations while discussing provision of healthcare locally.

The article suggests that in the health system doctors have control and that is part of the problem. That was certainly not my experience. As a medical specialist I did not feel I had control of where and how care was delivered. The article further suggests that health professionals want to stick with the status quo and not re-organise to meet the needs of the population. That was not my experience either.

During the area health boards era a plan was made for a medical centre in Cromwell to serve the needs of Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago with facilities for visiting specialists. The plan was put together by a medical specialist, and I was keen to provide services at such a centre. Regrettably, the plan disappeared when the Crown Health Enterprise (CHE) system was introduced.

For many years my own specialty service based in Dunedin strove to develop arrangements to set up services at other locations. The pressure was very much from our service on health authorities rather than the other way round.

The article is correct that some relatively simple local facilities are sufficient for many specialties to provide local consultation. Then comes the question of staffing and how to maximise delivery of healthcare to as many people as possible with a limited number of specialists.

I think it is an over-simplification to say that "patient travel requirements and resulting poor access is because of tradition only".

John Highton


Woke food

David Seymour fancies himself as a culture warrior and pontificates that "sushi is woke". This is puzzling. What part of sushi is sentient, non-bigoted, fair and empathetic?

Ewan McDougall
Broad Bay

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