Letters to the Editor: 'tent city', alcohol and God

"Tent City" at the Oval. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
"Tent City" at the Oval. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the shame of "tent city", more disinformation from the alcohol industry, and leaving God behind.


A shameful failure and it needs sorting out

Every day on my drive home from work, as I pass the Oval, I hold my breath and glance over towards what is now known as "tent city" and check the number of tents.

More or fewer than the day before? Shame and anger that this is now my reality. Local and central government have failed the citizens of tent city and all of us.

Winter is here. Get moving Rachel Brooking, Ingrid Leary, Mayor Radich, councillors, and list MPs — it is on you to sort out housing for these folks now. This is simply inhumane.

You are fortunate not to be living in a tent in zero-degree temps. Do your job: move the red tape, mobilise the bureaucracy and stop blame-shifting. We look forward to seeing you there tomorrow talking to the residents (your constituents) about your immediate plans to provide them with their basic human rights.

Katie Hogue


Down the rabbit hole

Once again, our government is going down the failed orthodox rabbit hole of external borrowing at usury interest, when there is no reason that government funded infrastructure could not be funded directly at zero interest through the Reserve Bank.

The procrastination and politicising of how to proceed with, for example, the Dunedin hospital rebuild or fixing the nation's potholes, should not occur in a net production and export country i.e. New Zealand and running an internal deficit to do so, would be more cost-effective than adding to the interest-accruing debt mountain we owe to foreign private multinational banks. Mortgaging tax and rate payers for generations to come is a recipe for further misery.

And no Mr Cadogan, reverse mortgages are definitely not the solution, just another penurious symptom of central and local government, fiscal irresponsibility or lack of meaningful remedy.

Warren Voight


Walking in lock step

New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council executive director Virginia Nichols (Opinion ODT 10.6.24) continues in lockstep with previous manufacturers of substances proven harmful to human health to delay and minimise regulation. The list is infamous: tobacco, asbestos, and, by her own admission, alcohol.

The script was established nearly 100 years ago by Dr Robert Kehoe in the US for leaded gasoline and has been trotted out many times since: claim interest in the public good, label independent research as opinion, and require victims to prove harm after exposure — usually in costly legal proceedings. Such industry efforts are eventually revealed for the disinformation that they are, but at what price?

Mike Palin


Visitors centre needed at Glade House wharf

The article on 11.6.24 "Tramper lost in Fiordland" reminds me to point out that the presentation of the Milford Track needs some work.

There should be a visitors centre at the Glade House wharf, like the one at West Arm Manapouri, as a courtesy to all the visitors to this world famous spot. Apart from a chance of a historical display area, there is a need for shelter for day trippers waiting for boats.

The nearest off-season shelter is away up the track at the Clinton Forks Hut. When Glade House is shuttered in the off season and people using the Dore pass only have a Doc long drop to shelter in if they get caught out.

Even if we got the Back Country Hut Trust to rebuild the long gone steamer depot/landrover shed, it would be a better operation than nothing.

Aaron Nicholson


Someone else’s problem

A question for Dunedin City Council — who will collect the thousands of soon to be redundant red-lidded rubbish bins? When? And what will be done with them? I trust there’s a plan to recycle all that plastic?

Annette Carr


[Scott MacLean, DCC climate and city growth general manager: We cannot comment on what happens to kerbside bins that are not part of the new DCC kerbside collection service. We recommend residents contact their private waste collection provider directly if they have questions about what happens to the kerbside bins.]


Sort them out

Yes, rates are out of control in Central Otago: mine are estimated to have increased by 30.88%. I questioned the council: all I get is increased costs but no solutions.

Someone needs to get this council back in line .

Richard Parker


A response to the one known reader

It is gratifying to know that at least one person has read what one writes (Opinion ODT 10.6.24). However, Dr Matheson's excitement (Letters 13.6.24) appears to have overcome his judgement.

The remark about the Anglican Church having left God behind was made to me by a now retired Anglican vicar, unimpressed by what he felt were excessive efforts to be "democratic" and all things to all people at the cost of more traditional values.

Whether this is the case or not it seemed to me an interesting point of view that illustrates the kind of thinking I was attempting to elucidate.

And that is the point that Dr Matheson has missed. I was not suggesting the imminent establishment of some Iranian-style theocracy, but the intrusion into politics of a mode of thought that does not easily entertain change or challenge.

One such rigid mode of thought is the "rational" code of neo-liberalism. The attempt by a holy trinity of government ministers to assume unchallengable powers is another.

Fortunately this one is contained within the context of parliamentary elections.

With respect to the Treaty of Waitangi and interpretations of it as some kind of holy writ, this would not be a problem if it were like other religions and entirely optional.

But, as it becomes more and more entrenched in our law and public institutions and so affects the whole population, it needs to be treated differently.

I suggest that Dr Matheson read again Dame Anne Salmond's critique of the 1987 court decision asserting a contractual partnership "between the races", which has become a keystone commandment and, ironically, closes the circle between rangatiratanga and the radically transactional world of neo-liberal philosophy.

Harry Love
North East Valley


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