Letters to the Editor: hospital, co-governance and GE/GMO

A concept design for the new Dunedin Hospital. Image: supplied
A concept design for the new Dunedin Hospital. Image: supplied
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the vital need for both a Clinical Skills Laboratory and an Interprofessional Learning Centre in Dunedin's new hospital.


Old nurse pleads for centre to stay in plan

I write to join those who are disturbed at the decision of "the powers that be" to decide not to build a clinical teaching area in Dunedin's new hospital.

I was a nurse some time ago and had a special interest in teaching. I realised there needed to be an area for staff to be taught skills, that it is not possible or appropriate to demonstrate in the clinical area.

I searched all over the hospital then moved to search the Fraser Building, and there was an area that appeared to be suitable. Much begging, cajoling, removing without permission occurred until, finally, we made an area, a suitable teaching space.

The Clinical Skills Laboratory become very well utilised. It was a safe please to practice on inanimate models and bits and pieces of "handy objects". The laboratory still remains in the Fraser Building. It is an essential area, especially in a teaching hospital.

I earnestly hope the decision not to place such a asset in the new hospital is reversed.

Lesley Dennison


Centre support

I wish to register strong support for the comment by former dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine, Dr John Adams, when he deplored the omission of an Interprofessional Learning Centre from the new hospital development.

Medical students were first admitted to Dunedin Hospital in 1878, in recognition of an historical relationship with the University of Otago. This connection has now expanded to provide undergraduate and postgraduate health professionals with learning of immeasurable benefit to patients, hospital staff and the wider Otago community.

Dunedin’s new hospital must first provide essential medical services. However, it must also honour its obligations to teaching.

Health education is mandated in every major hospital where clinical learning is a priority. To declare an Interprofessional Learning Centre as non-essential, is to dismiss the importance of health education in ignorance of Dunedin Hospital’s unique point of difference as a true teaching hospital.

Local politicians, strongly supportive of this venture, should be held to their word.

David Gerrard
Emeritus Professor, Auckland



Reading Prof Anaru Eketone’s Opinion piece on his understanding as to the meaning of co-governance (ODT, 19.6.23) I suggest that he has confused co-governance with management. However there are major differences between the two.

Governance has the job of setting policies and rules with procedures to ensure that they are adhered to. It involves the creation of a governing body such as a government whose role is to have procedures in place to ensure the members being governed are aware of their responsibilities and are accountable for their actions. In New Zealand the creation of such a governing body is via a democratic election.

On the other hand management involves the day to day running of the organisation such as planning , budgeting, setting goals and objectives and overseeing operations. Management has the responsibility to ensure the organisation meets its objectives. The creation of a management team is via an appointment process.

Governance sets the rules and regulations while management applies them. Both are essential but they are quite different.

Stan Randle


Farming family fears proposed GE/GMO policy

Our farming family would like to thank the Minister for the Environment David Parker for his astute comments in response to various misleading remarks on the subject of GE from National leader Chris Luxon.

We are also troubled that Mr Luxon fails to mention the risks that outdoor GE/GMO experiments/field trials or releases present to our valuable GE-free brand, biosecurity, economy and food sovereignty.

Mr Luxon’s comments show he is either out of his depth or being duplicitous — this does not resonate with hardworking farmers and growers whose enterprises deserve protection from GE contamination.

There are so many vectors for GE/GMO contamination that pose a threat to us (as seen in so many cases overseas, harming farmers and the environment) including soils, pollen, seeds, vegetative material, wind, machinery, animals, waterways, soils, insects, extreme weather events.

The insurance industry will not insure GE-free producers against GE contamination and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act has significant deficiencies. Under HSNO, there are inadequate liability provisions and no mandatory requirement for the EPA to take a precautionary approach to outdoor GE/GMO applications. This is why so many councils have put in place enforceable GE Free bans in order to protect their ratepayers and the environment.

HSNO needs retaining and strengthening, so that farmers and growers are not stuck carrying the can for GE contamination. We don't want to have a "contamination threshold" for GE like they do in USA and deal with GMO escapes.

National has lost major credibility by failing to be honest about both the risks and the harm done by GE/GMO experiments/crops overseas to date.
Linda Grammer


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