DCHL and subsidiaries: shuffling, no real clean out?

Read: “Keeping Stuart”
Larsen recommended looking to the national pool of directors (steering away from the local boys) – the kind of writing on the wall we wanted. Alas, politics afoot in the run up to local body elections, huh Dave?

### ODT Online Fri, 16 Sep 2011
Cull hopes to effect directorship rule changes soon
By David Loughrey
Changes in the Dunedin City Council’s group of companies – expected to result in the end of the terms of at least some directors – should be imposed soon, despite the illness of a key figure causing a delay. The changes were expected at a Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) annual meeting planned for October 31, following the release today of the companies’ annual reports.

The council appoints directors of DCHL, and is asked to approve DCHL’s recommendations for directors of the subsidiaries.

Read more

Related Posts:
13.8.11 Ridding DCHL of conflicts of interest . . . and other ghouls
9.8.11 CRITICAL Dunedin City Council meeting

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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69 Comments

Filed under DCC, DCHL, Economics, People, Politics

69 responses to “DCHL and subsidiaries: shuffling, no real clean out?

  1. Elizabeth

    {This comment was received at Dunedin conniptions over RWC 2011, yawn -Eds}

    Calvin Oaten
    Submitted on 2011/09/17 at 11:22 am

    What a pathetic figure our Cr Paul Hudson makes when he adopts that whining stance over what he perceives is a total misunderstanding of his handling of the duties of chairman of directors of DCHL.

    He says: “That rotten man, mayor Cull is persecuting me unfairly while I am valiantly striving to serve two (Pay/)masters at once. It is hard enough to have to constantly explain why it is that I have consistently voted for each and every grandiose project council has proposed over the last decade and more. This, notwithstanding the fact that our former CEO Jim Harland has constantly bullied me into convincing my fellow directors into agreeing to DCHL paying to its client the DCC exorbitant dividends. That these dividends were/and are unsustainable, being only possible through excessive borrowing by DCHL is no reflection on my personal integrity or business acumen. Surely, any ordinary man, one might meet anywhere {moderated -Eds} would understand that I am being singled out for blame, when it was all along my earnest wish only for the continuance of what was best for the city, and, by extension, best for me. After all, one must be respected for one’s fiscal expertise in constantly having a foot in two camps, each on separate sides of a razor topped fence, where one slip could easily result in the removal of one’s last vestige of manhood.

    Goodness me, if we just look at my performance it is plain to see that over the last five years DCHL – under my chairmanship – has paid to the DCC a total of $106.3 million cash in the form of interest and/or dividends.

    “Never mind that in that same period DCHL’s Term Borrowings (debt) has moved from $212.452m to $534.2m, an increase of just $321.748m. That this debt accumulation is over three times the amount paid to DCC is testament to my fellow directors and my diligent governance of this complex group of companies. The fact that the group does not, and never has, produced profits sufficient to sustain the continuous payment of these excessive demands from council, let alone service its own debt does not seem to have dawned upon the elected council/shareholder. Nor indeed, should I be excoriated for not constantly warning council that there was a problem looming. No, I faithfully served the council by either conveniently being absent, or voting continuously in favour of the Stadium, the Otago Settlers Museum, the Chinese Garden, The Town Hall/Conference Centre (despite the fact that the stadium is also a designated conference venue), the Tahuna Sewage treatment (essential) and of course such small petty fogging items as the Regent Theatre, the Wall St development, Moray Place Parking building, the Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland commercial investments.

    “And of course, in order to protect my family interests, it was only right and proper that I should use my influence to negotiate a deal to surrender the lease of the ‘Hungry Frenchman’ restaurant for the miserly sum of $360,000, even though commercial opinion was that it was worth all of 10% of that.

    “No, all in all, I feel somewhat aggrieved that after all the years of service and sacrifice I have made in the interests of Paul Hudson errr! oops! I mean the citizens of this fair city, that I am being pilloried and made the scapegoat by that miserable mayor Cull. It all points to the fact that he won’t be satisfied until he has driven me from the halls of power to spend my declining years in penury. Where is the justice in all of this. After all, that dopey ex mayor Walls and the crooked lawyer didn’t suffer this type of indignity. Even broken down conference entrepreneur/entertainer DIC drivers don’t incur his wrath. No, it is a personal vendetta, predicated on envy of all the substantial monies I have winkled out of the system over the years. Just because I have been successful over many years in kowtowing to an apathetic electorate in order to preserve my position and privileges is not sufficient reason in itself to adopt this attitude. Nor is it the monumental blunders I have made in the citizens interests over the years, such as the sale of the Waipori Generation complex for a pittance, only to see it on sold within weeks to Trustpower for a vastly increased sum, leaving some with the wonder as to whether there was more to it.

    “No, on balance, if I have to fall on my sword, I shall do so with all the grace and dignity I can muster. But if there is a cheque in the mail it would be appreciated. Farewell.”

    • Elizabeth

      On October 31 a general meeting will deal with the election of directors, in particular the one-third of directors who must retire each year, and Mr Cull has made clear he wants changes in the organisation. Mr Hudson said he had “no idea” what might happen at that meeting, but “I’m not up for re-election”.

      ### ODT Online Sat, 17 Sep 2011
      Hudson’s head still on block
      By David Loughrey
      A healthy profit and a multimillion-dollar dividend from the Dunedin City Council’s group of companies does not appear to have saved board chairman Paul Hudson’s neck. Mayor Dave Cull yesterday said that despite a healthy result, a report had recommended councillors should not be directors on the company, and “the council has accepted the recommendation”.

      A report released in August from independent reviewer Warren Larsen said there was a high level of dysfunction in the organisation, and financial problems with the potential to become serious.

      Read more

      ODT CORRECTION 19/9/11 (page 3): “The page 1 caption accompanying a photograph of DCHL board chairman Paul Hudson said he was “not standing for re-election”. Mr Hudson does not come up for re-election this year.

      ****

      ### ODT Online Sat, 17 Sep 2011
      Confidence DCHL can service debt
      By Dene Mackenzie
      Dunedin City Holdings Ltd’s (DCHL) debt continued to grow in the year ended June 30, but chairman Paul Hudson is confident the company’s strong cash flows can service the debt. The release of the holding company’s report yesterday was earlier than normal, mainly because of a continuing dispute between the company and the Dunedin City Council regarding an appropriate level of dividends.
      Read more

      ****

      ### ODT Online Sat, 17 Sep 2011
      Operating profit rises 9%
      By Dene Mackenzie
      Dunedin City Holdings Ltd yesterday reported an improved operating profit of $26.6 million for the year ended June, up nearly 9% on the previous corresponding period. However, the reported profit for the year was dragged down by higher tax in the period and the need for the company to take a $2.6 million loss on the sale of Citibus during the period.
      Read more

      ODT CORRECTION 19/9/11 (page 3): “In the table accompanying the results of Dunedin City Holdings Ltd, which appeared in Saturday’s newspaper, the profit for Taieri Gorge Railway Ltd should have read $3000 not $3 million.”

  2. Amanda kennedy

    So Cr Hudson asks us to trust him when he say he is confident the company can service the debt? His fiscal ineptitude has got us into massive debt. Why would anyone trust him?

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sun, 18 Sep 2011
      $2.6 million loss from Citibus sale
      By David Loughrey
      The Dunedin City Council-owned company Citibus Ltd was sold for “in excess of $6 million”, it was revealed yesterday. But the company took a $2.6 million loss on the sale. The figure was given by Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) chairman Paul Hudson, despite requests from the Otago Daily Times for the information being turned down twice in the past few months.
      Read more

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    My comment in the daily’s online was abridged omitting my helpful suggestion – because I do try to be helpful and not simply negative – that when it comes to councillors, business experience has proved to be a handicap not a strength. Next election let us see more jugglers, couriers, part-time cooks, telephone sanitizers – and as a nod to tradition let’s have a “deaf-dumb’n-blind kid*” to serve as solo-charge media go-to person. He wouldn’t give us any more information but we’d be spared the excuse of “commercial sensitivity”.

    *Quote from The Who’s song “Pinball Wizard”, no disrespectful intention towards people with hearing sight and speech impairments.

  4. Mike

    I also followed up that article, in my case with a list of the directors of Citibus suggesting that they hadn’t been very good at their job and councillors could print off the list to avoid hiring them as directors in the future.

    The ODT appears to have lost my letter.

    • Elizabeth

      Oh. I found a list (from an earlier comment):

      Citibus (sold to Invercargill Passenger Transport)
      Paul Hudson [Chair], Ross Liddell, Michael Coburn, Norman Evans, Stuart McLauchlan, Bevan Dodds

  5. Anonymous

    The deaf-dumb-and-blind kid would do well in the role – there seems to be no end to the senseless decisions the current crop makes.

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    Goodness Sherlock, there appear to be common factors. I know whatsa-name isn’t causation, but could this conceivably be a clue?

  7. Anonymous

    A further clue is given by Richard Wall’s comments (on this site, February 2009): http://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/councillor-walls-lets-rip/#comment-5104

    “Paul Hudson as Chair of DCHL, someone who has had far greater financial management experience than either you or I, has patiently and repeatedly explained that as much debt as possible should be placed within the companies.

    The reason should be apparent to anyone who has been in business.”

    One wonders that, having got his cake, Cr Hudson didn’t like the taste after all, and refused to eat it…

  8. Russell Garbutt

    A nice referral back to the unmissed Walls who also said later on in this thread “In regard to your query re DCHL, the Directors have stated to council that they foresee no problems in meeting their commitments and to maintaining the forecast dividend. Indeed Paul Hudson, as Chair of DCHL, said so yet again at the meeting of Finance and Strategy on 9 February.”

    Interesting isn’t it when Hudson is saying that in 2006 he was telling the Council that DCHL couldn’t afford to keep on paying the level of dividends required, and by 2009 he clearly was saying the opposite. Mind you, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Problem with Hudson is when do you believe him and when shouldn’t you believe him?

    I do see that Walls has reappeared on the odd site, and again clearly has demonstrated the reasons that the voters in the last election decided to give him the heave-ho. As previous Chair of Finance and Strategy he must be extremely busy trying to justify his decisions to consistently vote to proceed with the stadium at every opportunity – he really only has the choice of being too silly to understand what was going on, or proceeding on the basis of what he wanted to believe rather than what was blindingly obvious – even then – to anyone that had examined the figures.

  9. Anonymous

    The changing statements to Council should stand as a devastating indictment (not in the legal sense yet) of both DCHL and Finance & Strategy.

    • Elizabeth

      Well folks, what a great series of comments from you all today! Bingo, as they say. I’ve been out ‘researching’ bluestone basements this morning, our ‘subterranean’ heritage is ripe for life-long incarceration of the offending parties cited here – airless, dark and fairly echoless. Brilliant.

  10. Calvin Oaten

    Thank you ‘Anonymous’ for regurgitating that thread. Richard didn’t get it then and he won’t still get it, if we ever heard from him. Interesting nonetheless, how times have changed. DVML has spun off a sibling DVL to carry the purse. Instead of putting $108m odd into it as Athol Stephens said at the time, it is now going to have $170m in it. Chocka! So much so that DVML has to carry $10m in its own purse. But I see where Paul was happy at the time to pay his bit. Russell, Hudson says lots of things in his capacity as chair of DCHL, most of which is just placatory claptrap to the council. But it looks as if he is about to get garrotted by our machiavellian mayor and his inner henchmen.
    Sometimes one could almost miss the halcyon days of Richard’s chairing of the F&S committee, except for the lamentable lack of understanding he had of all things fiscal. Mind you, the crooked lawyer was there to cover with his usual line of braggadocio.

  11. Russell Garbutt

    I don’t think anyone really misses Walls – one only needs to read a couple of his messages and they constantly repeat his mantra – “you may have your opinions, but I have the facts” or variations ad nauseum. Really when you see what he was writing then – as Chair of F&S committee as he constantly reminded us – he really either believed what he had been told, or he was just too incompetent to see through the BS. Incompetence or complicity are his only real choices if he cared to honestly assess his “contribution”.

    Hudson though is a different kettle of fish. He must have authorised that pile of hype published in the ODT on Saturday which is nothing other than a late attempt at justification to hold his job and the associated gazillions of our money that he and his mates are milking out of our wallets as we speak. As many of us have been saying for ages, he and his mates have to go, but now we have a truly independant respected person in Larsen, saying exactly the same thing. Hudson and his mates have acted in a reckless manner and the very least he could do is to pack up all his bags and go somewhere where he could do us less harm. White Island for example. And before he closes the door he just may consider whether he should make a nice personal donation to the City as a sign of contrition. Let me think – about $217m from that tight little group should be a good start.

  12. Calvin Oaten

    Russell,
    Don’t forget that Richard had a coterie of advisors. He was never, as F&S chair left alone for a minute, lest he burnt the place down. The advisors are the ones to blame. Who are they? Oh, no-one knows, how convenient.

  13. Amanda kennedy

    Check out Walls’ response to Mike’s post. Ex Cr ‘Intergenerational debt is good’ has decided that he no longer wishes to respond to stadium ‘relitagation’. Funny that. Wonder why. http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/178280/stadium-and-its-bill-leave-impression#comment-23778

    • Elizabeth

      Walls always used the phrase “intergenerational equity” – we kept correcting this to “intergenerational debt”, based on what other local authorities had conceded was the more honest wording….local authorities with considerably less debt per ratepayer than Dunedin City Council, I might add.

  14. Russell Garbutt

    Of course Walls won’t want to “relitigate” anything. A close independent examination of his behaviour, voting and understanding of things fiscal would throw up the bleeding obvious. Nonetheless, his positions and views and abilities will finally get out there when the full history is published – not the Farry/Chin/Walls/Cairns version I hasten to add.

    I heard a comment today that the main reason that Walls was chucked out was his association with the Harbour Molars. Bearing in mind the minefield of the Arts Committee or whatever its called, it might be likely, but I still subscribe to the view that the voters finally saw through the arrogance and his sense of entitlement.

    But he’s gone now and not really worthy of any more time spent on. The three main issues remaining now are are a full independent review of the City’s finances, a full disclosure of that state with truly open consultation to determine how the obvious financial crisis might be solved, and lastly the pursuit of those that put us in this position.

  15. Amanda kennedy

    Yes. Though in Walls’ defense I can certainly appreciate that being endlessly re-elected to council for, what?, thirty years? would make anyone get a bit of a ‘entitlement complex’ and conclude that re-election gave him a ‘mandate’ to do what ever suited him (re-election ‘proved’ his ‘good judgement’ so whatever he decided had to be a good idea). Dunedin voters seem to be reluctant to go beyond the same old names; Collins (on council for thirty years at least?) is another such one. Hilariously, it looks like Noone and Acklin, though relative newbies, already have a sense of entitlement developing very nicely indeed!

  16. Amanda kennedy

    Though I believe the local media is the key reason why Dunedin voters have repeatedly re-elected the same old faces. That has been the most important lesson I have learned in this whole stadium con.

    • Elizabeth

      I’m of the school that a substantial number of Dunedin voters have been lazy, apathetic, irresponsible, and unsuspecting. The eligible non voting public is beneath contempt. A huge indictment on a ‘university’ town.

  17. Russell Garbutt

    God, don’t get me started on Collins! Ask yourself a really basic question. What skills does Collins actually have that would warrant his position as a Councillor? Ditto with Acklin. Never mind community profile and an ability to show up in old people’s homes. If either of these two were actually applying for a job that required financial acumen and understanding, proven strategic thinking, governance abilities at a high level etc, they wouldn’t get past first base. Give either of them a written test on anything and they’d flounder.

    But hey, we were collectively even more stupid to elect them.

  18. Amanda kennedy

    Well, I think it is extremely telling that on the run up to the last election the local media were extremely reluctant to name the stadium supporing councillors, yet after re election of (thankfully, some) of them, they had an article about how the voters had obviously no problelm with the stadium as they re elected Crs Noone, Acklins, Collins et al. But, they can even do whole articles about the stadium debt without mentioning who on council created it. Why is the local media so determined to not name those who created the stadium debt?

  19. Amanda kennedy

    Yes. But why are they lazy? Like many they have bought the neoliberal ‘trickle down’ lie that is all the stadium ever was ‘Just wait, little folk, and the good times will flow on down to you!’, meanwhile those who push for public funds to be used for their own private gain, for ‘community assets’ (notice how I am not using actual names here but you know who I speak of) make millions. Privatised profit and socialised debt, expresses what is happening throughout the western world, not just little old Dunedin, sadly.

  20. Amanda kennedy

    Now they are waking up to the reality of that, some like Fed Farmers woke up too late.

    • Elizabeth

      Amanda – Mike Lord has consistently campaigned on the stadium debt implications for rates across Annual Plan processes etc. Yeah, it must be said, most of his cohorts at Federated Farmers, and those engaged in other commercial enterprise have probably have been less insightful.

    • Elizabeth

      Had to wince, one young woman on Twitter, a stadium supporter, said “ahem, not all oppose, but then, at my reasonably young age, I will be here (I hope) for the next 40 years to contribute, no need 4 riots”

  21. Amanda kennedy

    Thanks Elizabeth. I did not know that Mike Lord saw the writing on the wall. I wish more had. The thing that worries me, is that now there is so little money left, the whole community is going to be fighting for every dollar that does not go to the stadium. Due to the council now voting that all must be sacrificed for the stadium, it will be interesting to observe how this ‘divide and conquer’ tactic of the stadium proponents plays out. Will people (business not ‘the people’) stand up to the stadium cabal or will they just shrug their shoulders and stoically struggle on and fight for their own few crumbs left over from the stadium?

  22. Amanda kennedy

    This might explain Greater Dunedin’s reasoning; they see this future divisiveness and figure they need to dampen down the stadium debt outrage angle. Much better for politicians if we all become used to the fact that for some unknown reason (that has been forgotten), there is very little money available and we do not kick up a fuss when they want to sell assets.

  23. Amanda kennedy

    I know. It is a beautiful thing.The man can’t seem to help himself. At least there is some amusement value in all of this!

  24. Calvin Oaten

    So, “Rip van Richard” has stirred from his deep sleep (induced before the election, hence costing him same) when the stadium was to be a 30,000 seat venue costing ‘not a cent over $188m’ and the DCC’s portion was to be $94.2m. Now, in a semi somnolent state he starts reciting the same mantra, unaware that the world has moved on with the stadium now a 19,000 odd seat (plus around 12,000 temporary extra cost seats) venue costing between $240m and $270m with the DCC commitment now $170m plus. Poor old Richard, I really think he should, before jumping in have had a cup of strong black coffee and some deep breathing. On balance, I think I prefer it when his little cherubic head is firmly ensconced in the pillow and sound asleep. That way he perhaps snores a little, but generally causes no harm.

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    Richard’s trouble is he can’t tell the difference between truthiness and gilded cow-patties.

  26. Calvin Oaten

    I don’t know, H O’T, I think Richard probably does know a gilded cow-pattie. After all, he spent enough time baking and dispensing them.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Tue, 20 Sep 2011
      Editorial: City council’s golden geese
      The Dunedin City Council-owned companies have laid another golden egg, with healthy profits reported on Friday for the last financial year. Whether one would describe the result as “outstanding”, as did Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) chairman Paul Hudson, is another matter. Nevertheless, the main companies have done well with a notable boost from strong log prices.

      Mr Cull is still correct in his view that councillors should not be on the boards of council companies. Mr/Cr Hudson, for his part, should realise, that despite having a strong business background, he probably would not have been on the boards were he not also a councillor. Even if his term continues until next year, it would make sense for him to resign this year.

      Read more

  27. Peter

    All the attention is on Hudson. He’s the scapegoat for DCHL’s dysfunction. Everyone, on either side of the political fence, wants to be rid of him. We’re all sick of his creepiness and eighteen plus years in the job is well beyond his use-by date. Why should he feel entitled to any longer? The money, of course. The rest should also go, as Larsen has recommended, otherwise there is no real change – only the appearance of change.

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    Yes, it’s definitely time to lose those old familiar names. It’s all been too cosy too long.

    • Elizabeth

      Oh nose. Too much negative press. Walls’ fumblings have been curtailed at ODT Online. The thread he came alive on, momentarily from the grave, was closed at 4:47pm today.

  29. Russell Garbutt

    Wasn’t it extraordinary? The old children’s magician and women’s hosiery salesman comes out of a deep sleep, gets thoroughly shown up for what he was/is and bingo! Protected by those that didn’t really want “the real facts” to come out. Maybe the site couldn’t put up with “the inverted commas”, and ” constant quotation marks”. Dear dear, never mind.

  30. Bill Acklin

    I would like to invite Russell Garbutt to direct his criticisms of me – to me. {email address and cell phone number deleted} It is fine to have a view on issues that are council related, but to knock me without substance or facts is not acceptable. Russell – all you know about me is what you have read in the media, or come across in your dreams! And to suggest that my attendance at resthomes entertaining as I have done for 30 years is some sort of cop-out, makes you a horrible little man with no consideration for people in unfortunate circumstances. What do you do for the community that helps make peoples lives better? Grow the balls to be accountable for your words, or shut the hell up!

    Bill Acklin – City Councillor/Entertainer

    {What if? does not supply individual councillor email addresses or phone numbers. The DCC website has contact details. -Eds}

  31. Mike

    Sigh – Bill, you have to read more carefully, he’s not putting down your work in rest homes, I think he’s saying you do that bit well, it’s your financial accumen, strategic thinking and other things that are actually important in a councillor that are missing, and given that you signed off on the stadium without a viable plan to fund it I have to agree.

  32. Calvin Oaten

    Bill — that’s one of the joys of being elected to public office. It immediately exposes you to the public glare. That is where the rub comes in, you are seen and judged by the comments and decisions you make. If they are exceedingly intemperate and dopey, as in your outburst against Cr Vandervis over the Octagon “art thingy” then you must expect to be castigated for the fool you were seen to be. You cannot rewrite the council rule book just out of a fit of ‘pique’, no matter how aggrieved you might feel. No-one comfortable in his/her position would show that weakness of character. So toughen up or ship out. The latter would be the better option.

  33. Hype O'Thermia

    Bill, since Russell expresses here the views of many other people I would be as disappointed as I’d be surprised were he to give in to your peevish taunt and communicate with you alone and out of sight of the rest of us.
    No, Bill. YOU come HERE and front up with explanations of your record, your reasons for getting Dunedin into the mess it is in now; if you have any, besides being easily convinced to go “Yes sir, 3 bags full sir” to the big boys because you haven’t the intellectual equipment, or perhaps the cojones, or both, to work out for yourself that we could not afford the stadium and the other shiny-thing glamour projects. Wall Street, Chinese garden……..

  34. Russell Garbutt

    Bill, what a surprise to see you appearing on a site to communicate with the ratepayers.

    Firstly, the comments I have made in reference to an Old People’s Homes contact do not refer to you – if you haven’t figured that out by now. I have to say that I have the utmost admiration for those in the community that supply services to the elderly. I have no knowledge whatsoever of what you may or may not contribute in this area.

    However, in the interests of communication, I’m sure that you are more than capable of leafing through the pages of the telephone directory and ringing me directly – it doesn’t take a lot to do that and so I invite you to do just that.

    I see that you think that I am a horrible little man who hasn’t contributed to our community – only too happy to either convince you of your own prejudices or perhaps eduate you to the contrary. Up to you Bill.

  35. Phil

    People in unfortunate circumstances ? Since when are elderly people in Dunedin rest homes considered to be living in unfortunate circumstances ? If their living conditions are so bad as to warrant such a description then Cr Acklin should be using his self sought public profile to highlight their plight. A number of ODT reporters are avid followers of this site, I’m sure they will jump at the chance to expose the injustices that Cr Acklin has obviously witnessed.

    As has been rightly pointed out, those people who actively seek a public office profile have to accept the scrutiny that comes with it. It comes with the job. No-one forces anyone’s arm to take on such a role. With the choice comes the responsibility. One can’t pass everything off as a Wow Factor.

  36. Phil

    Wait, have I missed something ? is it election year again already ?

  37. Bill Acklin

    Thank you all for this experience – it has been an extention to my 7 year journey on this council. I am happy to come to you and explain myself – please forward an invitation. It appears to me that you don’t actually know Cr Vandervis very well. Nor do you understand the obligations of elected members. The best way to find out these things is to stand for council. I realise that some of you have, and it is frustrating when you don’t get elected, as I didn’t the first time I stood. However, there is another election in 2 years and I encourage you all to put your mouths where the seats are! Good luck with your future blogging.

    Bill Acklin

  38. Amanda kennedy

    Acklin choses to attack you personally Russell because he genuinely does not get it. He seems to actually think we just woke up and decided to be against the stadium for some strange reason. Do you have any sense that he will step back and try to understand where we are coming from? Of course not, that is why he chose the stadium debt in the first place. Acklin, like his mates Hudson and pals, just don’t care that many will struggle to pay the stadium tithe. For Acklin and mates that is just tough for them, time for the entitled ones to live large while we pay for it for the next forty years.

  39. Amanda kennedy

    Oh for the love of god. Did he just imply that only those on council have any insights or opinions into ‘the obligations of those on council’? He really is a little student of Walls, it is the old “I the Great Elected Know Best” rubbish. Not buying it. Acklin kept his mouth shut nice and tight about his stadium support on the run up to the election. Why? He knew it was a vote killer, he knew the stadium was a lemon all along.

  40. Peter

    Being a public figure, as Calvin has stated, immediately puts you in the spotlight – whether you like it or not. Admittedly, it is not always pleasant especially when such a figure sometimes errs – as it is human nature, to be fair. We have to ask ourselves when it is appropriate, or not, for the media to report.
    We have had examples in recent years of drink driving, owing money to creditors, theft carried out in a private professional capacity, libelous comments about others, mental breakdowns that affect work capacity, mad and impulsive comments that bring derision to the person concerned, getting freebies from council services over many years… and lying. Should these things not have been reported?

  41. Russell Garbutt

    I see that Cr Bill Acklin thinks that this has something to do with Cr Vandervis. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    What it has to do with is the decision to proceed with something that was unaffordable. All of our elected representatives should have a firm grasp on governance issues and have a demonstrable set of skills that enable them to make quality decisions.

    The decisions that the last Council made were stupid – there is no doubt about that. The problem that Cr Acklin has is that at every opportunity he voted to proceed on a course of action that was unsupportable by fact or common sense or reason. He was not alone, but he was one of those that consistently voted to put us all in the doggie-doos. Or does he wish to re-write history and tell us otherwise?

  42. Amanda kennedy

    Yes, his little dig at Vandervis is a signal is it not? The big boys are zeroing in on any ‘dissent’ on council. Interesting to watch how they go about this!

  43. Calvin Oaten

    Bill, you say “it appears to me that you don’t actually know Cr Vandervis very well”. Strange, it appears to me that you don’t know Cr Vandervis very well either. If you did, you would be a bit more circumspect before you pit your wit against his. He may not look as well in a kilt, but that is about where the comparisons stop. For an understanding of the economic plight that you and your compatriots have placed the city in he would leave you hopelessly in limbo. My advice is don’t tangle with him lest you end up looking a bigger fool than most credit you for.

  44. Russell Garbutt

    Bill, just so as you can’t be confused by any of the preceding – happy to invite you to explain your previous voting record on any issue but sorry to say that it would be to an audience of one. I’m not a part of any collective, club, or association. So, as I said earlier, consult the phone book, ring me and arrange a meeting. I look forward to your call.

  45. Bill Acklin

    Thanks Russell – I will give you a ring tomorrow – Bill

  46. Hype O'Thermia

    Russell, since many of the points you make and the issues you raise here are my thoughts too, though expressed much better than I could, I hope you will report Cr Acklin’s responses here. I’m sure I am correct in assuming that though we are not a club, organisation or whatever, many of us who write to What If? have similar attitudes regarding the mess Cr Acklin et al so undemocratically landed us in.

  47. Peter

    Some things aren’t reported, but probably should be. Getting pissed at council functions and having a history of hoovering up the supplied food for supper, at home, later on. Even just photos on the social pages will do. A picture tells a thousand words, they say.

  48. Phil

    Wow, getting called out behind the bike sheds after school. Haven’t heard that in years. Last time anyone with a mullet tried to intimidate me, I was 14.

    The curse of the internet is that once you’ve posted something, it’s there forever.

  49. Bill Acklin

    Gosh – who is this ‘Phil’?

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 22 Sep 2011
      Boards shake-up looms at DCHL
      By Dene Mackenzie
      The days of directors sitting on multiple Dunedin City Council-owned company boards are numbered. A major restructuring of Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) and its subsidiary companies – Delta Utilities, Aurora Energy, City Forests, Dunedin City Treasury and Taieri Gorge Railway – was set to take place before Christmas, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said yesterday. Directors most affected include City Holdings chairman Paul Hudson, and directors Ross Liddell, Michael Coburn, Norman Evans and Stuart McLauchlan. It is likely the chairman of Delta and Aurora, Ray Polson, will also be under scrutiny. It was not clear whether the council appointees to the Dunedin International Airport board, Richard Walls and Mr McLauchlan, would face the same restructuring as the airport company is 50% owned by the Government.
      Read more

      ****

      ### ODT Online Thu, 22 Sep 2011
      Comment: Is anybody listening?
      By Dene Mackenzie
      Someone in either the Dunedin City Council or its Dunedin City Holdings company needs to pick up the phone and make a call. The tit-for-tat accusations about non-communication between Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, and council, and holding company chairman Paul Hudson, and the other directors, reached a new level yesterday. Each man claimed the other was not talking to him. On Friday, Mr Hudson said Mr Cull attended most of the holding company meetings and the Otago Daily Times could not understand why Mr Cull had not picked up on the signals from the board that future dividends were under pressure.

      Was there never a time when [finance and corporate support manager Athol Stephens] felt a formal report on the state of dividend payments should be requested from the holding company?

      Read more

  50. Peter

    I thought Dene Mackenzie made some very fair comments here about the lack of communication between members of this council – Hudson and Cull in particular. Maybe, it is inevitable they are not talking given the power play taking place between the two. Hard to talk to someone, and look them in the eye, when you are about to give them the chop.
    I was surprised by Cull’s comment that it is not his job to read balance sheets! Certainly I wouldn’t expect him to necessarily pore over all of them, but at least read the bottom lines of the important pieces of financial data and get someone to help him interpret what he doesn’t understand. Where’s Athol Stephens in all this by giving his ‘guidance’? If he has no confidence in Athol – given he has presided over the mess we’re in as Chief Financial Officer – he could go to someone whose advice he trusts, couldn’t he? Maybe that’s where Stuart McLauchlan and Mike Coburn come in. Hmmm.

  51. Elizabeth

    DCC Media Release
    Dunedin City Holdings Ltd – Annual Result Year Ending 30 June 2011

    This item was published on 16 Sep 2011.

    I am pleased to report a year of outstanding performance during which we have seen both revenues and cash flows exceed last year’s result.

    “Directors have been very satisfied with the results of the core businesses. Forestry returns, both from the point of view of operations and carbon credit receipts, have been a record for City Forests Limited and we have also seen very positive growth from DELTA Utility Services Limited” comments DCHL Chairman, Paul Hudson.

    While the regional economy has been unimpressive DELTA Utility Services Limited, our water, waste-water and general contracting operations, improved its revenues by 19% to $103.7m. Overall the revenues of the group increased 9.4% to $245.8m and cash flow generation from operations went up from $32.1m to $39.2m.

    The profit after tax from City Forests Limited improved from $7.1m to $9.5m. Two factors underly this result. We had a large improvement in log prices, caused by high demand for resources within Asia, and strong sales of carbon credits. However the increase in the forest valuation was substantially less than last year. The 33% improvement in profit after tax and the cash flow performance that more than doubled the cash flow produced from operations last year was therefore very satisfying.

    The profit after tax for Dunedin International Airport was higher than budgeted. Total international passenger movements through the airport increased although domestic numbers were down slightly. We welcome Jetstar to our airport.

    On 31 May the business and assets of Citibus Limited were sold to Invercargill Passenger Transport Limited. It was the directors’ view that the capital employed in this business would serve the group better if it was placed elsewhere. Many of those Citibus staff members transferring to Invercargill Passenger Transport had served the company well over a long period and we would like to thank them again for their hard work and dedication to the company.

    Total payments in cash to the Council this year were substantial at $23.2m and if we were to add up the total cash paid to the Council over the last five years we get a figure of $106.3m. During this period, which has been heavily impacted by the global financial crisis the hard work of all in the group grew revenues by 33.7% and generated a total of $168.8m in cash flows from the business before capital expenditure and dividends. After this strong cash flow generation a total of $179.5m was invested to further the capacity of the business to maintain a steady flow of cash to the Council.

    This has been a strong period of performance from a well-focused board, management and staff acting together for a common goal.

    Contact Mr Paul Hudson, Chair DCHL on 0274-321-632.

    [DCC Link]

    Annual Report (PDF, 486.2 KB)
    Dunedin City Holding Ltd Annual Report 2011

    Annual Report – Media release (PDF, 1.2 MB)
    Copy of media release regarding Dunedin City Holding Ltd Annual Report 2011

    • Elizabeth

      Dunedin City Holdings Ltd chairman Paul Hudson was obliged either to refuse to take on stadium debt obligations or resign, believes Robert Hamlin, of Dunedin.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 28 Sep 2011
      Opinion
      DCHL directors’ duties clearly set out in Act
      By Rob Hamlin
      There has been a great deal of comment in this newspaper recently about relationships between the Dunedin City Council, the mayor and the board of Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL). The majority of this comment revolves around who said what to whom and when they said it, with regard to DCHL’s inability to meet its well-defined dividend obligations to the DCC. The debate now appears to have crystallised around two personalities, Paul Hudson as chairman of DCHL and Dave Cull as the mayor.
      Read more

      • Robert Hamlin is a senior lecturer in the marketing department at the University of Otago.

  52. Ro

    Clause 136 looks like game set & match for Paul Hudson (& his colleagues on DCHL). But as Hamlin says, Hudson’s & the other directors’ departure from DCHL will only come about if enough councillors back Dave Cull. I’ll be writing to them all.

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