Letters to the Editor: war, poverty and Three Waters

Photo: RNZ
Photo: RNZ
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including the repeal of Three Waters, the ethics of sending money to Ukraine, and trying poverty out for size.


It is not a bad action, it is what voters wanted

Murray Neilson (ODT 19.2.24) opens his opinion piece with: "The government is proposing to rewrite environmental law and to remove protections for fresh water" as if these were bad actions.

The electorate voted this government in to, in part, do just that, and for good reasons.

The Labour government’s mess of legislation supposedly protecting fresh water is expensive and onerous. About 300m of an intermittent stream flows though our property. After completing Land and Environment Plans levels 1 and 2 at no cost through Beef and Lamb NZ, we fenced it off in 2009. No cost apart from the fencing.

Now we are required to devise a similar plan taking in Te Mana o Te Wai. Said plan is to be certified and then audited. This is estimated to cost circa $6000; enough to build a good fence both sides of 300m of stream, in a year when many farms will already make a loss.

Meanwhile Fish & Game, of which Mr Neilson is a former councillor, resolutely oppose gravel extraction from riverbeds choked with the stuff, heedless of the risks to property, lives and infrastructure posed by the impediment to flood flows.

Water bodies need to be valued. This needs to take into consideration the adjacent and affected landowners and infrastructure managers, not become a cash cow for a bunch of shiny-bottomed consultants.

Hence the need for some changes.

Julian Price


Three Waters overreach

The Three Waters legislation was repealed by the coalition government in mid-February.

Three Waters had been controversial from day 1. There had been a government inquiry in 2017 into Havelock North’s drinking water, after more than 5000 became ill when campylobacteriosis was detected in the water. To base a review on the Three Waters, drinking water, wastewater and stormwater, when only one city’s drinking water was contaminated did not make sense. Drinking water has regulations that councils must follow to ensure it is safe for consumption. Adding wastewater and stormwater to the review was purely political.

What has emerged however is the state of pipes that carry water in and out. Ageing pipes are failing, or need replacing. Councils are responsible for their infrastructure and now they have to decide how they are going to fix and fund the flow of water, in and out.

Ross Davidson


No more crayfish

In mid-February our smallish creamy-white dog took great delight in jumping into the upper Kaikorai Stream. She emerged black up to the belly. Now that Three Waters is no longer an option, what commitment is being made to clean up the filth, and when by? I remember that many years ago I saw fresh-water crayfish in the stream. No longer.

Warren Palmer


Try poverty

I am wondering how PM Luxon and Social Development Minister Upston would like to go on the benefit for six months without touching any other money, and definitely no perks. They would have to open new bank accounts, do their own shopping, pay power, rent — everything beneficiaries have to do. I honestly don’t think they would last four weeks let alone six months with the cost of living going up all the time. Now National is doing this to people. When is it going to stop?

Frank Thompson


We can’t support madness as NZ is struggling

Why the hell is this government sending millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to Ukraine? This money is not going to get to humanitarian needs.

It is just typical, whenever our allies pressure New Zealand for assistance and tell us to jump, we say how high. Ukraine is finished, they can’t find soldiers, there are no men left — they are now conscripting old men and women.

I hope the money we give President Zelenskyy will help him sleep better at night because there are a lot of sick people in New Zealand who can’t be seen at hospitals because of underfunding and lack of doctors.

This money is needed here in New Zealand. Try the new hospital in Dunedin we are desperate for.

It’s time to wake up in this country. Our allied countries are being run by out-of-control madmen intent on war to line their own pockets. They will drag us down with them and tar us with the same brush and we will lose all our exports to countries they are feuding with. What a nightmare that would be.

We can’t support that kind of madness. Our country is struggling. Charity starts at home.

G. Palmer
West Harbour


Efficiency needed

I agree in principle with V. Cuff (ODT 16.2.24), in particular that the execution of the work (in observation) appears to be lacking in poor project management and agree no streetscaping, rather have a basic finish. Put the savings into supporting getting the jobs finished. We are paying dearly in money, time and inconvenience for decades of neglectful management of the water pipe network — efficiency and prudent expenditure should now be the priority.

Ruth Tansley


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