Letters to the Editor: the hospital and the airport

International flights campaigner Benjamin Paterson. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
International flights campaigner Benjamin Paterson. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including praise for Marama Davidson, the shilly shallying around the new hospital and the potential of our airport.


Cancer is to be treated so as not to be unwell

Over 50 years ago, as a newly qualified nurse in the UK, I referred to her "illness" while attempting to offer support to a senior colleague who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

In the era where many people (including health professionals) wouldn’t utter the word "cancer" , that strong woman told me in no uncertain terms that she was not "ill" and was having surgery to deal with a cancer to ensure that she did not become "unwell".

Fast forward to the 1990s, and my role was supporting women participating in the pilot breast screening programme here in Otago/Southland, later working in the team developing the National Breast Screening Programme and providing care for women diagnosed through the programme as well as those with breast symptoms.

I believe that sharing the lesson I learnt from my colleague helped many women to continue to see themselves as well despite the stark diagnosis of breast cancer through screening.

Yes, surgery requires a recovery period, and adjuvant therapy may cause women to be less well – but the diagnosis itself usually does not.

Women diagnosed through the programme need their friends, colleagues and loved ones to recognise this as part of their support strategy.

Your editorial (ODT 19.6.24) promotes self-awareness and participation in screening, recognising that early diagnosis does make a difference.

Hats off to Marama Davidson for her openness, and best wishes for a full recovery from surgery and treatment – and here’s hoping that "illness" doesn’t interfere.

Teresa Wasilewska


A hot trend

Secondhand clothing is a booming business but the hottest trend in town is the slogan tee — specifically the "They Save, We Pay" white shirt. While National has gone rogue over the Dunedin hospital rebuild, I suggest last year's tees are back in vogue.

Health Minister Shane Reti seems to care little for the patients or the outpatient building, with callous disregard for patients needing cancer drugs or their ability to get treatment inside the hospital. As for Mayor Radich, he seems to have had a remarkable change of faith.

Rachel Hannan


Broken promises

Dr Shane Reti just broke another promise by saying it could be a decade before we know if the Dunedin hospital would be built as promised by National last year.

This comes after the debacle of the broken promises to fund a number of cancer drugs for people who desperately need them.

It also lines up after promises that planned cuts to health would be "back room only" when clearly frontline staff are being affected negatively.

The list of broken promises would need a small book to cover, but clearly we have a callous coalition whose greatest achievement has been to promise the Earth, but deliver dirt.

Ewan McDougall
Broad Bay


You may be right

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren’t Ingrid Leary and Rachel Brooking both MPs of a Labour government which has shilly shallyed around for years over the design and funding of the proposed new Dunedin hospital?

Isn’t it a bit rich then for them to be speaking up now and criticising the efforts of the current government?

Lyn Murray


Teenager’s campaign should be backed

I have been following with interest the teenager's campaign to get the flights back to Dunedin Airport and noted that a handful of people mentioned the potential of bird strikes at Dunedin Airport due to the landfill in the Brighton Hill area.

I find it interesting that Queenstown Airport is regarded low risk from bird strikes yet we all saw what happened earlier this week when the Virgin Australia flight departed Queenstown Airport. This shows bird strikes can happen anytime and anywhere.

More of note, is that Dunedin has been told that it comes down to economics. That is understandable but how can a flight of 73 passengers from Queenstown to Melbourne be economic? Isn't it time for Dunedin to be given a shot at proving that a service to Australia is sustainable?

I was a frequent traveller using the pre-Covid flights direct for my work. I travelled once or twice a month and regardless of what some people have said, those flights were always full or near capacity.

Our mayor is more interested in connecting Dunedin with China, but perhaps he should look at connecting with our Tasman neighbours. Why does it take the community, or a teenager to do the work of our paid officials?

Nigel Thompson
St Kilda


Columnist and letter writer’s takes spot-on

It is wonderfully refreshing and enlightening to read your columnist Hilary Calvert’s views on the farce that is "consultation" by local councils (Opinion ODT 20.6.24), particularly when read in conjunction with Stan Randle’s letter on the same topic.

Her example of the recent determination of staff and the mayor of Central Otago District Council to alter the spelling of Maniototo against the clear wishes of the community is but just one small example of "we know best".

Regarding finances, key to both of these contributions, is that councils never start from the assumption that they have no income and subsequently no spend. Council’s starting point is always based on the premise that their spending is what has always been, plus whatever else they are dreaming up. And as already pointed out, it is staff or employees that are really steering the entire process.

The other issue of course is the transparency of financial position. When chartered accountants relate that they simply cannot understand the financial statements issued by councils in support of their inflated demands, then these are worrying times.

So, well done to Hilary Calvert, who has seen this charade operating at close quarters for shining a light on the entire process of "consultation".

Russell Garbutt


High praise

In my opinion the Otago Daily Times has two outstanding photographers who would be an asset to any newspaper anywhere. Who could not enjoy the Parallax photographs of Gerard O’Brien, with their wonderful juxtaposition of the ordinary and sublime, and the photographs of Stephen Jaquiery, especially his dawn photos of Dunedin, are simply amazingly beautiful. I think he must get up very early indeed to capture all those breathtaking images. Thank you to both of these photographers for all the joy they give.

Diana Kearns


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