Letters to the Editor: homeless, housing and cancel culture

Dunedin Night Shelter. Photo: ODT
Dunedin Night Shelter. Photo: ODT
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including helping the homeless, cancel culture and the state of Dunedin housing.

Words are a cop-out, we need to offer help

Regarding your article ‘‘Solution for homeless turned down’’ (ODT 6.7.24), I totally agree with Aaron Hawkins’ comments on not always relying on the government to save us and needing to come up with our own solutions as a city.

As a past trustee of the Dunedin Night Shelter at the time of fundraising for the purchase of their current buildings, that was exactly the mindset and approach that we took.

The problem I have with the article is the use of words such as ‘‘hoping’’ for continued discussions, ‘‘encouraged’’ that the minister is continuing to take a close interest in the plight of the homeless in Dunedin.

Why? Because I know these words are a cop-out and nothing will happen even in the medium term. The ensuing bureaucracy will ensure that we will have regular headlines but our most vulnerable will continue to suffer and potentially die on our streets.

This needs to be made a city issue where again Dunedin helps Dunedin. Put the right people in the same room and I guarantee from it will come not only ideas but an action plan to drive it forward.

We have those people in Dunedin and the time to act is now.

John Le Brun


Power in a union

Lots of buzz surrounds the new Kmart so I was extremely pleased to read of the great conditions that First Union fought for (The Weekend Mix, ODT 29.6.24).

We are an increasingly separated and individualistic society. The comments on the ODT's page under the story sadly reflecting this, with only comments about the lack of toilets and how great the shop is.

No shade on these observations but I was hoping that people would have taken away the golden message: unions are the real reason that the shop is buzzing, with happy staff through union organisation.

Rachel Hannan
St Kilda


Dropping the ball

Re the pending demolition of the historic house at 284 Stuart St. The council have really dropped the ball on this and sadly let the people of Dunedin down. This house, one of 300 identified by council that potentially meet the heritage schedule, has been left to languish on a list since 2021.

Along with another 209 buildings it has waited for its final assessment and reclassification.

Why is interim protection not given until the assessments are complete?

I foresee during site development the “protected lime tree” will be damaged and also need to be removed.

Greg Nicol


No resources

Protect Private Ownership Of Trees Society (POTS) stood off becoming involved with the Dunedin City Council’s schedule heritage tree on the Elim Group’s 284 Stuart St development because it did not involve just a ratepayer.

In more than 20 years of supporting private ratepayers wishing to eliminate a heritage tree on their property, POTS simply does not have the resources to deal with every council schedule heritage tree.

Jim Moffat
POTS secretary


Cancel culture needs to be cancelled out

I would like to comment on the Civis opinion piece (ODT 6.7.24) in which they (apologies if I have used the wrong pronoun) give a rather unbalanced view of the cancelling of a Rainbow Storytime event in Wellington, following protests from Brian Tamaki and his group.

A major part of the piece is devoted to the thuggish behaviour of Tamaki, and his attempt to stop an overtly sexualised performance being conducted in a local library.

The “rent a mob” transgender, Māori, Palestinian activists have been involved in cancelling countless meetings by law-abiding citizens all around the country, aided and abetted by council staff, who cancel venue bookings because they don’t like the message being delivered.

The Posie Parker story gets a small mention at the end of the article, which is surprising owing to the fact it was by far the most violent and egregious cancel culture protest seen in this country.

Among the violent protesters were many members of the Labour and Green parliamentary parties.

The self-styled doyen of local government, the Mayor of the Clutha District, actively attempted to cancel the “Stop Co-governance” meeting which was planned to be held in Balclutha.

“Cancel Culture” is now deeply embedded in this country’s fabric.

I suspect it is only going to get worse, unless a government decides to take a stand on it and legislates against it.

Dave Tackney


Inquiry needed into housing, rents & prices

So Chris Bishop considers rents are too high (ODT 6.7.24). I totally agree - and the rental stock in Dunedin is of very poor quality.

The accommodation supplement may only be a factor in high rents. There are a number of factors and what is needed is a Royal Commission into housing that will look at all the factors.

The recent house price valuations because of market increases in prices mean that prices and particularly rents are inflated. The role of property management companies needs to be looked at: they inflate rents because the more the rent is, the greater their fees.

One thing that needs to be stopped is arbitrarily putting up rents, for what ever reason, because of the desire for profits.

The poor quality of housing stock does not justify the high prices or rents. I am so tired of hearing stories where they have increased and the owner or landlord has done nothing to justify the increases.

I also read with interest the article about Abel Abodes (Business ODT 6.7.24). I wish the company every success: we need more entrepreneurs like them.

Vivienne Cuff


Another fake under supply

The ‘‘Oh, how awful’' story about vulnerable people being kicked out of backpackers to make way for visitors willing to be fleeced (ODT 4.7.24) left me with the picture of one eye crying and the other winking. Both Labour and National governments refuse to intervene in the housing market: they would be turfed out if they did.

The cultural norm is that housing is a cash cow. Which suits a parliament filled with members who own multiple houses. Whenever this market is threatened with a great supply of state houses the government of the day, as in the 1970s and 1990s hastily sells them off.

We may be in the throes of another fake under supply. But that’s not news, that’s just New Zealand.

Christopher Horan
Lake Hawea