Letters to Editor: Nobby Clark, bird expert remembered, races run

A retired greyhound. Photo: Getty Images
A retired greyhound. Photo: Getty Images
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics include Invercargill's under-fire mayor, a bird expert fondly remembered and the life of an ex-greyhound. 

Praise for Nobby, a mischievous uncle

Whilst Nobby Clark is currently a popular target for the media, in my opinion this man has been an excellent mayor for Invercargill, with his rigorous attention to cost control and stamping out wastefulness.

He has delivered rates increases of only 2 and 4 %, at times when other councils indulged in vanity projects, cost blowouts and double-digit rates increases.

Yes, Nobby is straightforward with his views, and given his recent medical adventures, he is probably not firing on all cylinders, but I will be extremely surprised if any of his critics could have done as good a job as he has. Inevitably his successor will squander the low debt/low rate structure Nobby has worked diligently to achieve.

I wish Nobby a full recovery and trust Southland’s citizens will recognise the exceptional person guiding them through difficult times.

Ken J. Lawson

Rollicking in the aisles

From what I read about his behaviour Nobby Clark sounds rather wonderful. I would (as a sometime Invercargill resident) vote for him if he stood again.

He sounds like a mischievous old uncle make a speech at a wedding. I knew one just like him who had the farming crowd rollicking in the aisles.

Some attendees needed counselling? Get a grip. What a bunch of prissy missies.

George Livingstone
Roslyn Dunedin and Windsor Invercargill


Second-class citizens

I would like to comment on Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark’s speech recently in which he described volunteer firefighters as “second-class citizens”. I am sure what he meant was, that they are second-class citizens in comparison to the treatment of professional firefighters, who get paid and have the best equipment. As an aside, the Mayor of the Clutha District should refrain from criticising other mayors, when he himself is unpopular with many of his constituents for his “I know best” arrogant behaviour.

Dave Tackney


Them and us

Thanks to Anaru Eketone (Opinion ODT 17.6.24) for attempting another much more ‘‘them and us’’ approach to race relations, something I had hoped Metiria Stanton-Turei (Opinion ODT 14.6.24) might have aspired to.

Alas, her ‘‘colonisation as invasion’’ article was more ‘‘them vs us’’ fare. It even dared to synonymise the ongoing and historic Kanak experience of colonisation with that of Maori, blatantly ignoring Maori experience leading up to 1840. Trading, whaling, intermarriage, especially in southern New Zealand, and missionary activity in the South from 1840, were all participated in enthusiastically by many Maori.

All manner of political, legal, and infrastructure invasion, including mass settler migration, occurred after Maori signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

What might these immigrant actions indicate concerning the worth of attempts to reconcile conflicting interpretations and practical value of the Treaty, then and now.

R Adams


Us and them

I challenge those letter writers and readers of the ODT who chose a simplistic view of the current conflict in Gaza - that of Israel's right to defend itself - to allow themselves just for a moment, to imagine bringing up a family in Gaza. But perhaps I'm asking too much? It's so much easier to just to follow our own prejudices without trying to understand another perspective.

Dave Sharp


A desire to chase but a lovely, affectionate pet

Re Winston Peters’ comments (ODT 19.6.24) June that greyhounds love racing. We picked up our 4-year-old, ex-racing, big handsome greyhound from Christchurch: he came with a racing name and we named him Skip. His ears stuck straight up like a wolf.

He looked battle-weary, with a number of scars on his body and a big one on his right back leg. Bald on his hind quarters and tail (the vet said it was due to steroid use; the hair grew back after a few months), he was limping and his coat was dull. He settled in to his new comfortable life, learning how to be a pet.

It was obvious on our daily walks that he was unsafe with cats and small dogs. On spotting a cat he would just want to go for it and some issues with small dogs getting into his space.

A racing greyhound bursts out of the start box due to the high prey drive they possess, just wanting to get that rabbit lure travelling on the fence.

Mr Peters saying dogs love racing is not entirely correct. The life of a racing greyhound, going from kennel to track and back, is dangerous and stressful.

But Skip was a lovely affectionate happy dog, loved his cruisy life, with his big comfortable bed. It was privilege to have his company for 10 years, I loved him dearly.

Ian Davie
Careys Bay


Bird lover was deeply loved and respected

Peter Schweigman's death was reported in the ODT of 19.6.24.

Many of us have Peter to thank for the skills we developed of bird identification. He was a patient mentor to many hundreds of us over the years, pointing out the subtle differences that identified the birds of different species that looked similar. I have no doubt that the fact that many of us will be filling in the Garden Birds Survey at the end of this month, owe our ability to do that because of Peter's patient tuition over the years.

As well, his ability to identify the nests and eggs of different species added to one's knowledge and enjoyment of field trips and surveys. He was an expert, not just in eggs of the local birds, but spent many volunteer hours identifying those overseas birds whose eggs had been donated to the Otago Museum.

Peter regularly refused to have his name put forward for accolades and acknowledgement of his importance so when he willingly offered his expertise to the development of the Otago Peninsula Birds: A Pocket Guide published by Save The Otago Peninsula Inc we were pleased to be able to surprise him by dedicating it to him to him.

He was a great loss to the Dunedin branch of Birds NZ when in recent years he was physically unable to participate in field trips and surveys.

Lala Frazer
Broad Bay


Happy days

If you are sick of all the negative news we are subjected to daily, come to the Mosgiel Library and meet up with the lovely staff there. The local Rotary Club members also brighten my day with their colourful planter boxes provided by the Blokes Shed men. These are only a fraction of the caring folk in Mosgiel Many thanks, you help keep us smiling.

Margaret Young

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