Letters to the Editor: George St, ideology and Israel

Dunedin skater Harry Dolan shreds a new ledge in George St outside skating and clothing store...
Dunedin skater Harry Dolan shreds a new ledge in George St. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including an apology for the George St project, the ideological pot calling the kettle black, and a defence of Israel.


Councillors should say sorry over George St

I am a long-time Dunedin resident who has always been happy and proud to live in this city.

I was so surprised and disappointed when previous mayor (Aaron Hawkins) and councillors began planning for (and forging ahead) with some expensive, unnecessary and unwanted changes. Suddenly 500 carparks were replaced by cycle lanes on SH1 and surely the bus hub should have been positioned in a drive- through building, similar to that in Christchurch.

During that time, the-then council came up with several expensive unwise projects. Now our present mayor is being blamed for the huge expensive projects which were planned by the last group.

The Totally Georgeous idea for George St was (and is proving to be) so unwise. Any person with business knowledge should have known that the timing was not right and removing parking, cars and many people would ruin the livelihoods of some retailers and workers.

When the present councillors had a second opportunity to vote in order to evaluate the project, as it progressed, and make possible changes seven (of the 15) and two unelected members won a close vote to go ahead. These nine people should admit that they made a huge mistake which has ruined parts of the retail area.

These nine temporary leaders should also apologise to the owners and business people who have been forced to close their (once profitable) businesses or who have moved from the central business and retail areas.

Bernice Armstrong
North East Valley


[Abridged — length. Editor.]


Going for a skate

When will it end? Turning George St into a playground for skateboarders?

This is risky. Often the behaviour of skateboarders is erratic and unpredictable and this means drivers have to be very cautious: yet another hazard to cope with. Is the council going to revise its event management plan?

I would like to suggest that events such as capping are held at the stadium and that

streets are not closed off. For capping the graduands should walk from Princes St to the university and stadium. The first university was actually situated in Princes St.

With all the changes to George St it has turned the experience into running a maze. It is unpleasant and hazardous. Given the climate of Dunedin who will benefit from being outside in the cold?

Whatever benefits there may be are negated because it is now more convenient to shop in South Dunedin or Mosgiel. Will there be any reviews as to whether foot traffic or business revenues have increased?

Vivienne Cuff


Reflections on ideology

The government seems to be having a bob each way in its attempts to improve educational outcomes in schools.

On the one hand it is mandating a single way of teaching reading, requiring increases in attendance and that attendance details to be reported daily, banning cellphones, telling kids what they can have in their lunch, and stopping building on already-approved projects, the latter two to save money.

At the same time it's spending $153 million on encouraging charter schools — either new or converting from the state and state-integrated system. If you take that bribe you can set your own curriculum, not be subject to ERO oversight and choose how you'll deal with lunches, cellphones and attendance. Oh, and employ unqualified and untrained teachers.

I can't make any sense of it, except when I read about David Seymour accusing the teacher unions of "ideology".

Look in the mirror, David.

Ruth Chapman


Too many stirrers in this banana dominion

We have a government that cuts public services while giving tax cuts to the wealthy, which abuses procedures designed for emergencies to push through legislation without the usual checks and balances found in a democracy; and gets a mining company to help write a "Fast Track" Bill.

A Bill that, if you read it, provides no rationale for which projects will be chosen, or why sections of 10 previous Acts of Parliament should be overridden. A Bill that allows some government ministers unprecedented power without any accountability.

A banana republic is a country where government removes oversight by its citizens in order to operate the economy as a private commercial enterprise for the profit of the wealthy and their corporate backers. By those criteria things are looking pretty "banana republic’ish" at the moment.

James Hegarty


Ice cream perils

Thank you Professor Campbell-Hunt for giving us the most compelling reasons not to sell Aurora (ODT Letters 18.5.24). We have heard a lot about the lack of maintenance at Aurora. It will seem firm legislation will be required to ensure annual infrastructure maintenance is carried out. If Aurora were to be sold many people are concerned who the buyer would be. Maybe a company from China, or maybe Ngāi Tahu, we don’t know: but someone will.

Cash on hand seems to be the big lolly that pundits offer but, to this council that would be like leaving an ice cream in the sun — gone in a minute and no use to anybody.

David Benny


Taking issue with defence of protesters

I take issue with Richard Jackson and David Jenkins (Opinion ODT 21.5.24) condemning Israel over the conflict in the Middle East.

Indeed, "all too quiet" is their observation of Otago University campus as they peer out of their office windows, compared with the anarchy and disorder breaking out on many overseas campuses. Maybe our students are a bit better informed or just more controlled?

I also take issue with Jackson and Jenkins’ misuse of the term "genocide’' to describe what is happening in this conflict. It is not.

They seem to put a lot of emphasis on a movement they call "moral universalism, universal human rights and the inherent dignity of human beings’' as a way to bring about peace and order. It wasn't this approach that defeated Pol Pot and Adolf Hitler, to name two forces in world history that were totally guilty of genocide.

Golda Meir, a former Israeli prime minister summed it up well when she stated there would be peace if the enemies of Israel laid down their arms and if Israel laid down its arms, there would be no Israel.

M. W. Cowan


[Abridged — length. Editor]


Click go the shears

I note with oft times cynical interest opinion pieces produced by University of Otago professors, associate professors, senior lecturers etc. There is an amazing array of subjects and faculties that provide all sorts of what could be regarded as useless subjects.

In today’s ODT (21.5.24) was a classic example from a lecturer in "political theory" and a professor of "peace studies". What possible usefulness can these subjects be unless students have ambitions for political or UN peacekeeping careers?

What wastage and deadwood there must be in all universities when these and similar subjects are in all likelihood being duplicated . The pruning shears have a long way to go.

Graeme Thompson


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