Letters to Editor: South Dunedin, climate change, and Israel

An aerial shot of South Dunedin. PHOTO: ODT FILES
An aerial shot of South Dunedin. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the future of South Dunedin, democracy in tandem with climate change, and a reprimand concerning Israel

Check your facts, justice for South D

Some recent South Dunedin Future project ODT reporting has been illogical and unfair.

For example the ODT (4.12.23) article title "Risk of permanent groundwater by 2030" is meaningless. The groundwater under South Dunedin is already present — it can’t be made more permanent.

The same article was retitled online within 24 hours to "Risk of permanent flooding by 2030". If the groundwater were to rise at the same rate as the adjacent sea level (which is unlikely), the groundwater could rise about (six years x 3mm) 18mm by 2030. This will have no real impact on the South Dunedin stormwater system.

The suggestion of "permanent flooding" by 2030 is illogical and unfair to property and business owners. It’s time for ODT reporters to check their facts and exhibit a little more justice towards the people of South Dunedin.

Julian Doorey

St Kilda


Scare territory

We are almost getting into scare territory in that it is perfectly natural that an area which was once swamp and been filled in many many years ago for sea water to be seeping into the same area.

Much of Wellington’s foreshore was once under the sea. About the turn of the last century the ODT printed a huge front-page picture depicting what the South Dunedin area could look like in about 2020 if the sea continued to rise at the level it was at in 2000.

The picture showed St Kilda and St Clair under water. The sea level rises were extrapolated from the then levels increasing at a given rate every year whereas the sea has barely risen at all off the coast from Dunedin.

Which shows the absolute folly of computer-generated data working off the then sea levels increasing every year for the next 20 years — it simply hasn’t happened.

I would suggest the "possible" increases in the South Dunedin groundwater fall into the same basket, "possibly could" being the operative words.

I realise that the Dunedin City Council must prepare or be accused of sitting on their hands, but I would love to see a reprint of the front page of the ODT showing the predicted sea level rises so that people can judge for themselves just how inaccurate forward computer generated data can be.

Consulting with the Dutch would be one of the wisest things that the DCC could do.

Graham Woods



Funny stuff

Our democracy is based on fair and reasonable debate. Well that’s debatable but it’s the theory.

Except that is, with climate change. "The science is settled", they say and anyone with an alternative view is a denier or a conspiracy theorist. Purposeful words.

I have sent many letters, together with supporting data and videos showing that climate is far too complex for carbon dioxide to be any sort of climate control knob, but they aren’t printed.

I never supposed for a minute that the ODT was following the Labour government’s "no debate on climate change" ideology, then Winston Peters opens his mouth.

I merely thought there’s column space, word-number restriction and other relevant issues to consider.

Anyway, in today’s paper (ODT 5.12.23) there was a long and authoritive spiel about climate change written by a professor no less, of performing arts. I find comedy in that.

Ian Davies



Pastor’s defence of Israel also unfortunate

It was somewhat disconcerting to find that a recent letter (ODT 29.11.23) telling us that it was merely "unfortunate" that thousands of innocent Gazan lives are but kindling to the furnace of a supposedly just cause was from a pastor.

One would assume a man of God would defend the rights of everyone to live free from lethal force. Not in this case. The staunchly pro-Israel pastor is Nigel Woodley, a man who is so aggrieved that John Minto marches in support of the Palestinian people that he leads counter protests.

Mr Woodley bridles at the allegation that Israel is an apartheid state even though it exerts a humiliating "bosshood" over the West Bank with its 645 checkpoints and 400km of road that are for Israelis only. Many people, of course, including David Cameron describe Gaza as "an open air prison".

Pastor Woodley attempts to placate those appalled at the destruction of Israeli bombings. It’s unfortunate, he opines, but necessary and we wouldn’t condemn the Allied bombing of German cities would we?

Yet after Dresden someone wrote, "It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed" That person was Winston Churchill. The consensus among historians now is that bombing civilians didn’t slow down military production and it didn’t dent civilian morale.

Pastor Woodley wants to justify the response to the horrendous colossally cynical attacks of October 7 but overlooks the reality that the response is, most likely, following the script Hamas prepared. But thankfully, there are other pastors, who speak with hard won wisdom, who roll their sleeves up to help anybody, no matter their faith, who don’t glibly consign other people to the furnace of history.

Richard West

St Kilda



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