Letters to the Editor: semantics, legality and neglect

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including international flights in Dunedin, the tenets of Labour, the abuse of language, and a letter full of adjectives.


Tasman flights and the state of airport lounge

Would Megan Crawford, business development general manager of the Dunedin Airport, please provide an update regarding her endeavours to re-establish international flights between Dunedin and Australia?

Also, after taking a flight from the Dunedin Airport recently, we were shocked at the condition of the tables, chairs and lounge seating in the departure area. If you are wanting to promote international travel it’s about time you upgraded this area to an international standard. I can not understand how management could have allowed this area to fall into such a bad state of neglect.

Denis Claridge


[Daniel De Bone, Dunedin Airport chief executive, replies: "Since 2020, the Dunedin Airport team has worked closely with long-standing aviation partners to proactively identify opportunities to connect Dunedin to Australia through a direct service. The current global environment is a challenging one. There are numerous factors that make reinstating flights to their former schedules a challenge. Many of these are out of our control and reside with the airlines themselves. Dunedin Airport is a gateway not just to Dunedin, but to the lower South Island. To strengthen our strong destination message, we are proud to be working with regional tourism offices in the lower South Island, as part of the Southern Way proposition, to encourage visitation to this part of New Zealand. In the coming months we will be collaborating on joint campaigns to drive both domestic and international visitation into Dunedin. Airlines need to see a commitment from Dunedin as a destination to attract and support any new services.

The team at Dunedin Airport are very passionate about providing the best possible customer experience for our visitors, and we are always looking to improve. We do take customer feedback seriously; if Mr Claridge could provide further details about when he visited, we will investigate his concerns and respond directly.]


A tough brief

One of the tenets of the New Zealand Labour party is to ensure the just distribution of the production and services of the nation for the benefit of all people — tough, Dave Tackney (Letters 12.4.24) must surely agree.

Quid pro quo may be the way they operate in his political circles, but the "preferential treatment" he suggests (in the form of vote buying) is generally considered to be graft. His preferred right wing parties are entitled to promote private profit and the accumulation of capital for the benefit of the individual, but graft and "treating" are strictly forbidden.

Perhaps the National-led coalition government’s hasty repealing of tobacco laws and other legislation protecting workers, natural resources and the environment from the exploitation of powerful industrial interests, has given him the impression fast and loose is an acceptable way to run things — for a bunch of spivs round a card table maybe.

Susan Hall


The meaning of words

We live in an age of the abuse and misuse of language. First they did it to "apartheid", then "genocide". Now they are doing it to "holocaust".

"Holocaust" has become the proper noun to refer to the industrialised murder of six million human beings — people gassed and incinerated in the cruelest possible manner, thousands at a time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for over four years.

To use it to refer to what the United States and Israel are doing in Gaza is not only inappropriate, but extremely offensive to anyone of Jewish heritage. It also completely misrepresents the facts of the matter.

I suggest a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau for Marie Venning (ODT 15.4.24) if she really wants to know what a holocaust looks like.

Chris Caradus


Whether a country can control another’s border

Despite Hamas polling 90% support in December 2023, Susan Easterbrook (ODT 13.4.24) questions Hamas’ long democratic leadership in Gaza. Clearly in support of Israel’s claim of self-defence in the current Gaza conflict, she also asks whether countries should be allowed to control their borders. Israel believes it has legitimate control over all Israel, including Palestinian East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. The fact that Israel has sworn to destroy Hamas is proof that Israel assumes this total control.

However, Israel’s total control is actually illegal because the original creation of Israel as a Jewish homeland was itself entirely illegal. The current International Court of Justice (ICJ) examination of whether or not genocide is occurring in Gaza has already presented a conclusive argument regarding the illegality of Israel’s entire occupation.

The answer is "yes" to the question of a country being allowed to control its borders provided that the defenders are legal occupiers. Obviously, this cannot apply to Israel’s illegal occupation.

Jenny McNamara


Adjective rich

Ewan McDougall’s letter (ODT 15.4.24), rich in adjectives as it is, such as "mindless, cruel, exorbitant, desperate, threatening, enriching, callous, and idiocy", is a tribute to his command of the Thesaurus. He will have to reconcile this with the inconvenient fact that democracy has spoken.

Some of us hope that the final outcome will be more positive than his dire predictions.

Ian Bilson
Broad Bay


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