Letters to the Editor: Maccas, cigarettes and 49 goals

Artist’s impression of the proposed Wānaka McDonald’s. Photo: supplied
Artist’s impression of the proposed Wānaka McDonald’s. Photo: supplied
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the changes to our smokefree laws, returning New Zealand to the "status quo", and an alpine fast food sign.


Critical opportunity being missed by PM

The cigarette is the deadliest artefact in the history of human civilisation.

In New Zealand, around 40% smoked cigarettes in 1976. Now it’s around 8%, so we are well on the way to ending its use. This has come about by great effort by many and should continue for the sake of future generations.

So why would our incoming National/Act parties agree to do anything to stop this downward trend? Why would they ditch a history-making smoke-free plan for tax income and to keep the tobacco companies wealthy and our people poorer?

Politics should not be a tool to disrupt what is good for the health of its people. The Prime Minister has a crucial opportunity to show leadership by drawing on the strong evidence, revising the coalition agreement, and protecting the smokefree legislation.

Liz Angelo-Roxborough
Former Heart Foundation Senior Health Educator, chairwoman ASH Canterbury


It’s up to them

I have never smoked, have never had the inclination to smoke, and find it hard to understand why anybody would even want to.

However, we live in a free country where we should be able to do anything which we legally wish to do. It is not illegal to smoke. Therefore why should any individual or group of people feel they have the right to decide if anyone wishes to smoke or not, irrespective of whether it is detrimental to the general health of smokers?

It is obvious to me that there will always be a certain number of people who will not agree with all the actions that a government has been mandated to carry out.

I certainly did not agree with many of the actions taken by the previous government.

At the moment we have a coalition government which has been elected into power by the majority of electors to take action on a variety of matters it was elected to undertake.

The sooner it works on taking action on the reforms it has been mandated to carry out the better it will be for all New Zealand citizens.

Allan Baxter


Experts, leave us alone

It appears to me that a number of so-called "experts" in New Zealand pop out of their offices and make their recommendations, many of their comments aimed to control our lives and freedom. Recent fuss about the incoming government’s policy towards the sale of cigarettes is one such event.

A check of the website of Statistics New Zealand suggests the rate of smoking has been steadily decreasing, particularly amongst the younger people, some of the credit going to education of the target population.

Many believe that vaping and possible drug use have overtaken smoking as the current fad for many.

Why can’t these experts give a chance for the proposed governmental policy to coalesce into an outcome, and resist their urge to control the population and their behaviour?

Mathew Zacharias


Criminal behaviour

I subscribe to the British Guardian. The new government's pledge to repeal the smoke-free legislation was on the front page, reported as doing away with "world-leading legislation" to reduce tobacco harm. On another subject, as COP28 gets under way our new government pledges to repeal the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration.

At best these two policies can be described as irresponsible — I call them criminal.

Matt Harger
Shiel Hill


Not the right sort of welcome to Wānaka

Hear hear to Noeline Pullar (ODT 5.12.23). I am not a fan of McDonald's. I think it is inevitable that they will arrive but I think Three Parks would be a much better alternative than having McDonald's as the "Welcome to Wānaka" sign.

That prominent site should have something that reflects the town's style. To rock up to Wānaka and see a McDonald's sign is just going to be horrendous. Whatever gets developed there should be in the Wānaka style, not Queenstown. The Wānaka style is calmer, more tranquil and it is alpine.

Rob Herron


Surely some mistake

Big congratulations are due to the QLDC and to the Wānaka Reset Urban Design team for their recent success in winning an international award for their Lakefront Urban Design project.

Let’s hope that the QLDC will also follow through their inspired achievement by declining permission for the howlingly ludicrous proposal of a McDonald’s outlet at the foot of Mt Iron.

Or was this a typo, and intended for April 1?

Gavin O'Brien
Senior lecturer, Otago Polytechnic School of Design


Back to the future when kicking goals

The new government has set out its plan with 49 goals to return New Zealand to the "status quo", although, since status quo is time-dependent, it is not clear when that status quo was set.

If it is Goal 8, repealing the amendments to the Smokefree Environment Act, then the status quo would seem to be set before 2011, when National, then in government, introduced the Smokefree 2025 goal. There are other steps backwards in the goals, one of which, number 8, is to start reducing public sector expenditure, including consultant and contractor expenditure.

But Goal 22, to begin to cease implementation of new significant natural areas, will require the "seeking of advice" on the operation of the areas. This advice will need to come from outside the public service, so will surely involve hiring consultants.

Goal 39, to appoint an expert group to redesign some school curricula, is again surely about hiring even more consultants, who, being expert, will not be cheap. And Goal 49, an independent review into Kāinga Ora, must need outside consultants to be independent.

Of course, since there may be far fewer public servants employed by the government once Goal 8 is achieved, the government will need to employ more consultants to do the jobs of the public servants, who, in the nature of such things, may be the very public servants who have just been let go.

Also, in the nature of such things, the consultants will all have to be well paid to justify the seriousness and importance of their advice. One wonders who will be chosen to fulfil these expensive consultations.

Brian Nicholls
Broad Bay


War horse

So, there’s an old political cowboy who wants to horse around with the health and wellness curriculum. Maybe they also get advice from the local horse whisperer at the rodeo about their stallion’s emotional needs?

Mike Hammond
St Clair


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