Letters to the Editor: Warbirds, Plunket and the Easter Bunny

Cheerful Crusaders, but not C. Campbell. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Cheerful Crusaders, but not C. Campbell. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Today's Letters to the Editor from readers cover topics including coverage of Warbirds over Wanaka, the legacy of Isabella Truby King, and the fantasy of the Easter Bunny.


Status of the South as seen on TV news

Being unable to attend the Warbirds over Wanaka airshow, due mainly to the long hours of driving that would have entailed, I had made a point of watching all TV news on Saturday and Sunday evenings for some mention of the event.

Apart from an interview on practice day with an elderly woman who had once flown aerobatics, there had been no mention of Warbirds among the usually trite and intellectually stunted fare on either major channel.

Of riveting interest, apparently, was which Super Rugby players had crocked out as a result of the weekend’s fixtures, boring and irrelevant English soccer statistics and the usual speculation about Australian league and the Warriors.

Apart from a fleeting mention that the Highlanders had been thrashed, and the report of a fatal vehicle crash at Lake Pukaki, apparently nothing noteworthy had happened in the South Island during the first three days of Easter.

It was heartening, then, to see that the Otago Daily Times had devoted a page to some coverage of the Wānaka event, while the only other mention of Wānaka on TV had involved the annual farce of which shops had continued to trade despite the usual inflexible trading regulations.

If ever we had harboured misgivings about the South’s status in the national scheme of things, for me the performance of TVNZ over Easter 2024 had confirmed them beyond any possible doubt.

Ian Smith


Land use

Tim Curran (ODT 21.3.24) writes "New Zealand’s land-based ecosystem services contribute $57 billion to human welfare". With our social statistics such as child poverty in serious decline, is Curran’s $57b human welfare contribution entirely misdirected or fabricated?

He also writes: "Much of New Zealand’s most at-risk indigenous biodiversity is found on private land".

With nearly 50% of NZ being public land, one-third of which is Doc estate, we should probably then release some of this land as it can’t all be "at risk" if much of the at-risk areas are in private land, and buy up the private land areas.

Bernard Jennings


RUCs ruckus

The new road user charges will destroy the political right in Parliament. Swing voters will move towards any other party, that does not add to the cost of living.

What will it matter to get back $75 in child support, if you have to pay more than this for driving on the road? National is giving with one hand and taking more with the other. So much for taxes cuts, what will that matter? All the while, money is returned to the pockets of those landlords who do not need it, while their tenants pay a higher percentage of tax than most landlords.

This is setting the stage for massive change. It is likely a new party will evolve.

Brett Smith


Isabella Truby King

One hundred years ago Plunket was established by the inspirational work of Isabella Truby King.

She was the driving force to get this organisation in place. She was the speaker at numerous groups, wrote extensively, set up branches around the country and wrote articles printed weekly in the nationally syndicated newspapers.

As a result the mortality rate for babies dropped by 50%. As a nation, we need to celebrate her as the founder of Plunket and to acknowledge the positive impact of her work.

J. Park


Lest we forget, Easter Bunny died for nobody

I was happy when your Thursday sports supplement (ODT 28.3.24)announced that the two Super Rugby matches would be played that night; but alas, it was a misprint, and the games were played on Good Friday.

I had hoped that out of sensitivity to the Christian community these games could have been conveniently played at another time.

It is because of these Christian holy days that we have the holidays. It appears the reason for the holidays have been, in the main, forgotten.

Commercial interests do not find the death and resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, a very marketable product so the farcical fantasy of the Easter Bunny is fed to our children.

But let us remember, the Easter Bunny died for nobody.

C.D. Campbell


Where are the Bill’s checks and balances?

Your correspondents Jane Young and Andy Barratt (ODT 28.3.24) have succinctly identified the most concerning aspects of the Fast-track Approvals Bill at present before the House. Giving absolute powers to decide over development projects to three ministers is anti-democratic in the extreme.

Corporates, who are already vying to be on the list of projects that will bring significant regional or national benefits have access to ministers, as utterances from Shane Jones have already made clear. But the general public doesn’t.

There will be no checks and balances. Yes, there will be a panel of experts. But who would agree to be on an expert panel if the advice given may only affirm the minister’s wish?

The projects on the list — not accessible to the public — will be evaluated in purely economic terms. Conservation values will carry little weight. The ministers can override the Conservation Act, the Wildlife Act, fisheries regulations, and many others.

The glories of the New Zealand landscape, and the treasures of its wildlife, which make us all proud, are not just a feel-good source of national pride. At a time when our society is very divided, that love of our environment is perhaps the most unifying social force we have. The enormous growth in recent years of voluntary groups fighting predators to protect vegetation and wildlife is evidence of that. That is who we are.

The present government seems unaware that tourism is our biggest earner. Our environment is the basis of that income. Retention of many of its treasures from exploitation has in the past had to be fought for. Under the new legislation efforts to protect native species in high value conservation land threatened by mining, such as the Denniston Plateau or the Coromandel will have little chance of success. They do not have the protection of being part of a National Park.

This legislation was not mooted in the election campaign. New Zealanders did not vote for this.

Alyth Grant


[Abridged — length. Ed]


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