Letters to the Editor: PET scans, possums and the Gloriavale enigma

Mackinnon Pass on the Milford Track. PHOTO: PAMELA WADE
Mackinnon Pass on the Milford Track. PHOTO: PAMELA WADE
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the cost of a private PET scan, the killing of a possum, tourism in Fiordland, and the enigma of Gloriavale.


PET scanner a cancer treatment essential

I was very angry to read in today’s (ODT, 25.9.23) paper that the PET CT scanner had been cut from the hospital budget because the private sector could provide one.

The cost of a private PET scan is exorbitant and beyond the reach of many without health insurance. A PET scanner is an essential diagnostic tool for some cancers, including prostate. With prostate cancer a radioactive tracer drug is injected and this attaches itself to the tumour. The PET scan identifies precisely where the cancer is and whether it has spread beyond the capsule. Knowing the exact location enables radiation treatment to be pinpointed.

I do not have health insurance and required a PET scan for prostate cancer. I was able to pay for the cost of return airfares from Dunedin to Melbourne and the cost of a PET scan there, for half the cost of travelling to Christchurch and having the scan there. My subsequent radiotherapy was successful and I am now cancer-free.

Not everyone can afford the cost of a private PET scan, and some who need it and cannot afford it may well suffer increased morbidity.

It is more annoying that the decision to cut the PET scanner from the hospital budget was made by a Labour government who promote the interests of the less well off. And this without objection from the local Labour MPs.

Name withheld


Possum killing

I do not know how an adult possum can be killed with sticks unless it is already in a trap. They do not stay around socialising with humans, they are away and up a tree at considerable speed. Have you seen their paws? Their claws are formidable weapons.

If the animal had been shot and wounded the only decent thing to do is finish it off. Possums are pests that wreck the environment, not their fault, it’s just how they are and if it weren’t for human folly they would not be here.

Geraldine is a country town. Country children aren’t more cruel than others but they live with different attitudes to pest species and the need for eradication. Possum trapping and shooting for fur and skins has been a source of extra income for years, varying in profitability.

Perhaps those kids beat the possum and joey to death in the wrong way, not doing their best to inflict a quick death.

If so they deserve condemnation. If however they were acting to protect our native bush and birds, the shock-horror story should be corrected in the media.

K Nordal Stene
North East Valley


Not "rodeeo"

An interesting article from Elspeth McLean (ODT 20.9.23) about the word "rodeo". Unfortunately, not sufficient homework was done. The word is from the Spanish language and is pronounced "rodayo". The pronunciation as "rodeeo" came from an event in California not too many years ago.

Bob Farrell


The can not kicked

Best not kick the Dunedin 2030 carbon zero can down the road, as we are probably the richest and most able to afford the high investment options now than we will be for a long time. Tough to say in this time of high cost of living, but global warming is already costing ratepayers and individuals a lot and it will only get worse. The longer we procrastinate the deeper and sharper the cuts to emissions will likely have to be, creating ever more significant changes to businesses, agriculture and food supply, livelihoods, lifestyles and biodiversity.

Sue Maturin
St Clair


Reimagining tourism in Fiordland National Park

I see the Milford Opportunities team from the land of Piopiotahi have come out with survey figures on what people want out of tourist development and infrastructure in the Northern end of Fiordland National Park.

The idea is that Milford is projected to have to cope with 1.1 million visitors a year by 2030 (if humanity collectively decides to ignore science and burn out the planet) and they need to plan for action.

Personally I have studied the situation since the 1970s and I think we should go back to the start where our parks where primarily set aside for the mental wellbeing of the New Zealand people.

Small day trips should be higher priority, showcasing history and geology as well as flora and fauna, and in this day and age cycling should be allowed on special designated trails in our national parks.

It would be good if Doc could be free to do this basic function, as well as be regulator of tourism through joint ventures but it is clear we are not there yet, and in some ways things are really going sideways in the way of mission creep.

I guess it is kind of symptomatic of a wider problem in our politics in general.

Aaron Nicholson


One’s estate and the enigma of Gloriavale

I have been following the Gloriavale enigma for many years.

In the late 1960's I and my family were friends with Neville Cooper and Phil Hartnel. We lived in Fielding at the time. We were well treated and used to join with their congregation and share in their services.

Being an aircraft engineer I also assisted with servicing the aircraft they used, which was a feature of their mission work which started in Australia.

They have been very successful in the commercial world with a variety of ventures. However we know that is not the full story.

I have written to the leaders a few times expressing my concerns at their style of leadership, and failure to look after those who have been trapped in servitude, as I see it.

According to my interpretation of scripture, those who felt they did not fit should have been able to take their share of the "estate" with them.

I would like to see the Gloriavale Elders make full allowance for each member’s contribution whether they decide to stay or leave. I feel strongly that the members have actually had their New Zealand citizenship suspended.

Incorporated societies were set up for the benefit of all the members generally in a hobby situation. Membership was never intended to be permanent. However, those who do leave before the society is wound up may not be in line for any share.

The "stayers" at Gloriavale gain twice when some leave. Their outgoings are reduced, and their share goes up. And the leavers are in dire straits, with no income, no home, and no meaningful possessions.

I support you who have left, and sincerely hope that New Zealand incorporated society law will be re-examined and restructured to reflect true human rights.

I look forward to the day when all Coasters are proud of each other, and have no artificial or restrictive boundaries holding you back.

Byron L Knight


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