Letters to the Editor: Taieri, WW2 and Atlas Seymour

Options for train services in the Taieri Gorge will soon be discussed by the Dunedin City Council...
The Dunedin City Council has voted to defer decisions about retaining train services through the Taieri Gorge, which would include developing railway lines between Dunedin and Middlemarch, until its 2025-34 nine-year long-term plan. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including rethinking Taieri Gorge, the holocaust of the Palestinian people, and the mindless policies of National and Act.


Rethink Taieri Gorge, ex-DCC councillor asks

Dunedin Railways Limited made a loss of $800,000 in six months. They are being gifted $2 million of ratepayers’ money to operate over the next year.

Deferred maintenance and carriages that have no side intrusion bars means that tens of millions will need to be spent to make the carriages safe and the line fit for purpose. Is it the ratepayers’ job to subsidise a tourist operation? Should the ratepayers be subsidising the predominantly high-carbon cruise ship passengers to take a train down the Taieri Gorge?

This is high-carbon tourism that instead of contributing to Dunedin takes money out of the ratepayers’ coffers and excludes the people of Dunedin from enjoying this amazing asset for themselves.

Is it time to rethink the Taieri Gorge? To create a destination walking and cycling trail like the Dunstan Trail – which had 80,000 uses in the first year. With a link all the way to Queenstown in two years.

With the Tunnels Trail done, enabling the people of Dunedin to access and enjoy the amazing Taieri Gorge for free and create a low carbon and healthy, recreational and visitor asset for all of Dunedin residents to enjoy – rich or poor.

The bonus? It will attract thousands of lower carbon tourists who stay longer and spend more to Dunedin and boost the numbers transiting through Dunedin Airport.

Rachel Elder


Pest control vital

Easter in the Rockburn Valley, just north of the Routeburn, had glorious calm, warm, dry weather, perfect for tramping. My family and I, plus many others including overseas people, had a great tramp there, made fantastic by the bird life we encountered.

Every stop on the track and each campsite, robins hopped around on the ground with us, within minutes. Riflemen, tomtits and piwakawaka flitted by. We heard and spotted a kea on Sugarloaf Pass. And the two most special of all – a whio (blue duck) flew into a pond beside us, plus on every one of the four days we saw and heard kaka. Until last year on the Routeburn, my husband, who has tramped and worked extensively in mountains for 30 years, has never seen kaka in the wild before.

Congratulations to Doc for the extensive and effective pest control. Money well spent. Bird life is flourishing. Fingers crossed you can continue this work.

Beatrice Lee


It cannot be ignored

After World War 2 many questioned themselves, feeling guilty for not being aware or open to being aware of the Holocaust of Jewish people by German people. Today there are very many Western people who are not open to being aware of the holocaust of Palestinian people by the governments of Israel and the United States.

Today we have communication at our fingertips. We don't have the excuse that we just don't know what is happening.

Holocaust means "destruction or slaughter on a grand scale". It calls for a heartfelt massive humanitarian response.

Marie Venning


Atlas Seymour

National and Act New Zealand are inflicting mindless and cruel policies on us, like cutting thousands of public service jobs, making people pay exorbitant rates for public transport, stopping free school lunches for children who desperately need them, threatening the disabled and the Suicide Prevention office, and much much more, all in the name of further enriching already wealthy people.

Yet in this theatre of the callously absurd, there is one strikingly Orwellian piece of idiocy: Atlas Seymour's Ministry of fewer Ministries.

Ewan McDougall
Broad Bay


Plea for engineering sector strikes chord

In Sarah Ramsay's recent opinion piece (ODT 27.4.24) "Policy alignment needed for underrated industry," she highlights the necessity for schools to align their policies with external providers to introduce students to vocational career paths.

I echo Sarah's observations, drawing from my own experience during a master's research project.

I encountered a pervasive reluctance among schools to engage with external providers regarding vocational career options or education, as one principal succinctly stated, "we say no to all" when it comes to third-party interventions with students.

Interestingly, within my own social circles, I noticed a strong preference among bluecollar parents for steering their children toward university rather than vocational trade paths. As a parent myself, I've sometimes found myself projecting my aspirations on to my children's career choices, linking it directly to my parental success.

Sarah rightly emphasises the need to challenge the entrenched perception that vocational pathways are inferior, advocating for an industry-led campaign to showcase the true value of trades.

Reflecting on my personal journey from being a fitter and turner apprentice at Millers Mechanical (MillMech) in South Dunedin, where I was encouraged by the then GM Alex Adams to pursue my NZCE, to my current role as managing director of an engineering company in Sydney, I realise the significance of embracing vocational opportunities.

It's a journey I cherish, with few regrets, transitioning from craftsmanship to leadership.

Phil Meek

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