Daily Archives: March 3, 2009

Never the twain

ODT Online comments, you have to laugh. Or cry.
At least note the mordant polarity.

Awesome!
By wingy1234 on Tue, 03/03/2009 – 6:37pm.

This is the greatest thing that has ever happened in Dunedin, Its awesome!!!

****

Awesome indeed!
By Duke of Ban Phai on Tue, 03/03/2009 – 9:54pm.

I entirely agree. It’s the greatest mistake ever made in Dunedin, and the magnitude of the stupidity displayed by the DCC, ORC and the present Government is truly awesome.

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Filed under Economics, Hot air, Inspiration, Politics, Stadiums, Stupidity

Today, Bev to planet Mars…

Well, as good as…

Public Forum Speech to ORC
Tuesday March 3, 2009

By Bev Butler

The Otago Regional Council’s mission and purpose is to protect and enhance our natural environment and resources. You should not even be contemplating borrowing $37.5 million to help fund a new stadium. Your own Chair has expressed the view that you should stick to your core business – but only after you fund the rugby stadium. The logic of this defies me! Put simply, you have no business in being involved in this project.

At the last Public Forum, Tony Borick, on behalf of the Ratepayers and Householders’ Association, spoke to you of his concerns regarding the legality of the Otago Regional Council donating $37.5 million to the stadium project. He outlined his concerns referring to sections of the Local Government Act 2002. There has been much debate as to whether the Otago Regional Council is going beyond their mandate of what constitutes core services for a Regional Council. As a follow up to these concerns, Stop The Stadium Inc is currently seeking legal advice from ChenPalmer (specialists in Public Law, Wellington) in relation to the legality of any decision of the Otago Regional Council to commit funding to the stadium project, and that depending on the advice received, Stop The Stadium may take further legal action.

You have ignored the views of the ratepayers who have indicated in the only independent professional survey to date that they do not support ratepayer funding for the project. I would like to now table this survey where 78.3% of citizens with an opinion are opposed to public funding of the stadium. This is overwhelming and the data for this survey was collected four months ago. Since then the economic crisis has worsened and I believe the percentage opposed has probably increased further.You are required by law to be prudent and conservative guardians of our resources. Should you vote to grant $37.5 million to the stadium project you would show yourselves to be the very opposite.

Recently, Stop The Stadium wrote to all leaders of political parties requesting an opportunity to meet with them to present the other side of the stadium story. Responses are just beginning to come in. We received a letter from Mr Peter Dunne, the Minister of Revenue and Leader of the United Future Party. In this letter, Mr Dunne states: “I have noted your comments about local opposition to this proposal the parallel which comes to mind is the development of the Westpac Regional Stadium, which occurred only on the basis of strong regional support. If that kind of support is not forthcoming in this instance, then I think that it would be inappropriate for the Government to be involved.” Mr Dunne rightly recognises that projects need community support, which is so lacking in this instance. It is a travesty of democracy in Dunedin when the overwhelming majority of citizens have persistently told both councils through public submissions during the consultation process, letters to the editor and the University survey that they do not support the stadium.

When I spoke in the public forum on 11 February 2009, I tabled a Stop The Stadium press release outlining that $8.7 million went “missing” from the Carisbrook Stadium Trust’s private funding commitments between May and November last year. This morning we read in the Otago Daily Times that a Dunedin City councillor has heard rumours that some of the private funding contracts are in fact dummy contracts. I wish to add to this rumour the following and in doing so if these rumours are unfounded I will not hesitate to give a full apology. Recently an unnamed Dunedin businessman told me that people were being approached to sign private funding contracts and being told they wouldn’t need to be bound by them – that they just needed to have signatures on the contracts. If this rumour is correct then this is scandalous. One way to lay rumours like this to rest is to insist that all the private funding contracts are independently reviewed. Why hasn’t this already been done? One wonders! Is it the same reason why the independent Davis Langdon peer review was not completed March 2008?

Today this scandalous project should be put to rest. Please, for the financial health of this city, lay it to rest. We are being gripped by a major worldwide economic crisis which is worsening day by day. Many in our community are already facing hardship. This proposal has deeply divided our community – as you well know. It is a localised version of the kind of division that occurred during the ’81 Springbok Tour. Incidentally, they both involve the game of rugby and its politics. Not only will the proposed stadium be a financial drain with predicted annual operating losses – it will drain our community spirit. It will always be a symbol of division if, God forbid, it is ever built. Dunedin does not need this stadium. Dunedin cannot afford this stadium. Please stop.

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ONE News forgetful

National television avoids talk of social cost. No community reaction.

### ONE News Tuesday March 03, 2009 3:07 PM
Dunedin stadium wins government backing
Source: Newstalk ZB/ONE News

The government will support Dunedin’s new stadium but it’s unclear what strings are attached. [our italics] Rugby World Cup Association Minister Gerry Brownlee has pledged a maximum of $15 million to underwrite the construction of the stadium.

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Open letter to the Mayor

### ODT Online Tue, 03/03/2009 – 12:41pm.
Comment by Graham Bishop
The Stadium
(an open letter to the Mayor of Dunedin)
(sent February 17, 2009)

Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would ever be necessary me to write to the Mayor of Dunedin in this way. I am appalled at the hubris you and your councillors have shown for the residential ratepayers of this fair city. You have treated them with disregard despite two very clear indications of the majority opinion.

Read more

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Dunedin citizens fully ignored

Personally, I’m caught between some D words…
Daylight robbery of tax and rate payers and Disgusted.
No doubt Paul will see the latest funding announcement as pretty positive, to ease – as he might see it – the burden on ratepayers.

The burden is still VERY LARGE.

I DON’T accept this is ‘good news’ in any way.

CST has been let off the hook by the Government, no less – the fundraising CST was supposed to do was never real; the serious question of operational viability for any such stadium facility at Dunedin is patently NOT ANSWERED.

“We” have just shifted a ton of money into the Dunedin private set’s pockets. And plentiful other dollar notes will go to external contractors and consultants. Clever ‘old Dunedin’. Not one ounce of integrity.

Sick making politics. How bloody sad.
Commiserations ALL.

Let’s not ask ourselves where DCC’s $20m will come from. Can’t deal with any more EXPENSIVE news today.

I have to lie down.
Elizabeth

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Govt funding secured

Just heard on Radio Sport news that the $15m funding shortfall sought from the government has been approved. Yet another hurdle crossed.

For the life of me why central govt isn’t investing much more substantial figures than this is beyond me, although something called ideology will have a big part to play in that.

More soon when back at computer and not on the road.

“The Government will underwrite the $15 million Otago Stadium funding shortfall – securing the financial support of the Otago Regional Council.

Regional councillors voted 6-4 to commit funding to the project after being told of the development in a closed session at a meeting this morning.

Chairman Stephen Cairns told the meeting “the Crown was willing to underwrite the construction of the Awatea St stadium up to a maximum of $15 million”.

The council’s key $37.5 million contribution to the controversial $198m project hinged on a further $15 million being found from the Government or other sources to cover a shortfall in private sector funding.

Earlier story – Cairns gets crucial call
The deadline was yesterday, in time for a council meeting today.

Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry said from Wellington late yesterday afternoon the trust was “working around the clock” and was confident it would have “something for the regional council to consider”.

Link ODT

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OH, dummy contracts…

### ODT Online Tue, 3 Mar 2009
Stadium contracts questioned
By Mark Price

A Dunedin city councillor has suggested the amount of private funding for the new $198 million Otago Stadium has been boosted by “dummy contracts”.

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“Cairns gets crucial call” (ODT)

Stephen Cairns, ORC 25.9.10 [odt.co.nz].### ODT Online Tue, 3 Mar 2009
Stadium: Cairns gets crucial call
By Mark Price
A confidential telephone call to Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Cairns yesterday may have delivered the help needed to get the Otago Stadium project over another critical funding hurdle.

Mr Cairns, who is in favour of the stadium, would not tell the Otago Daily Times who the call was from or what was said, but he appeared positive.

Just over a fortnight ago, the council confirmed its $37.5 million contribution to the $198 million-dollar project. One of its conditions was that it receive an “assurance acceptable to council” that $15 million from the Government or other sources had been found to cover a shortfall in private-sector funding.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: odt.co.nz – Stephen Cairns, ORC

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