HOT page 5 beefcake.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Image: whatifdunedin (cameraphone)
The story today at ODT, Further DCC inquiries possible amid changes – with no ability to post online comments – smacks of the very worst of undemocratic processes and shonky leadership coming to light at Dunedin City Council.
“The Government had the power to replace an elected council with commissioners, or appoint managers alongside, or over the top of, a council’s existing management team. Dr Bidrose confirmed the council had been keeping DIA staff informed about the alleged Citifleet fraud, as well as the council’s reform process, but there were no signs an intervention was likely.”
Be pleased with today’s ODT editorial: Disturbing ‘we know best’ attitude
Meanwhile, take a look at this NZ Herald story:
█ Council votes to sue ex CEO for cost overruns
(see Comments to article, fascinating! suing of Audit NZ and OAG pending)
Think again, DCC.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
Fairfax Media has obtained Audit NZ letters of management to the DCC from 2005 to 2012, released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. The letters show that in the years 2007-2010 auditors consistently urged the DCC to tighten up its risk-management policies and processes.
Audit NZ expressed concern over what it indicated could be inadequate controls over several internal processes, including verifying signatures of those authorised to sign invoices and purchase orders, independent review of creditor files, and controls of sensitive areas such as sale of council assets to staff. (Fairfax)
### stuff.co.nz Last updated 08:17 26/08/2014
Dunedin council officers ‘not kids’
By Wilma McCorkindale
The Dunedin City Council (DCC) appears to have ignored calls by Audit New Zealand to improve its risk and fraud processes, saying its officers were “supposedly people with integrity … not kids”.
The DCC revealed in June it was investigating a suspected major fraud within its Citifleet unit. The fraud was suspected to have been carried out over a decade. Citifleet team leader Brent Bachop died suddenly in May. His death has been referred to the coroner. Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said the alleged fraud of $1.5 million included alleged illegal transactions resulting in the loss of profits from the sale of 123 council fleet vehicles. The findings have been passed to the Dunedin police for further investigation.
Fairfax Media has obtained Audit NZ letters of management to the DCC from 2005 to 2012, released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. The letters show that in the years 2007-2010 auditors consistently urged the DCC to tighten up its risk-management policies and processes. It appears Audit NZ was compelled to repeat similar advice over the period and noted the DCC met only minimum requirements.
Council managers’ response to the Audit NZ findings in 2010 was to say the council had considered creating an audit and risk committee but concluded its finance and strategy committee adequately performed the role. In December 2010 Audit NZ raised the issue of reviews of areas “susceptible to fraud”, but management commented that specific audits in the “most sensitive areas” had found “no transactions of concern or deficiencies in controls”.
Five council staff were involved in “employment processes”, with some facing the prospect of losing their jobs, the ODT understands.
[Irony] Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule yesterday told the ODT the “mind-boggling” alleged fraud was the biggest involving a local authority he could recall.
### ODT Online Tue, 26 Aug 2014
Council overlooked audit advice
By Chris Morris
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull concedes a chance to detect the alleged $1.5 million Citifleet fraud may have been missed, after the council twice overlooked advice from Audit New Zealand. The revelation came in Audit New Zealand’s annual reports to the council, obtained by the Otago Daily Times, which highlighted gaps in council processes dating back to 2003. [...] The findings have triggered finger-pointing between past and present council staff, councillors and Audit NZ, but council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said responsibility for failing to detect the alleged fraud rested with the council.
Related Posts and Comments:
23.8.14 DCC public finance forum 12.8.14 (ten slides)
6.8.14 DCC tightens policy + Auditor-General’s facetious comments
1.7.14 DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet
3.6.14 DCC unit under investigation
2.5.14 DCC $tar-ship enterprise
28.4.14 DCC loses City Property manager in restructuring
7.2.12 DCC ‘money go round’ embedded
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Images (tweaked by whatifdunedin): tmba.tv – Tim McGarvey: 3D forensic animation (TMBA Inc. Animation Studio, New York City); scottthornbury.wordpress.com – F is for forensics (illustration by Quentin Blake, from Broughton, G. (1968) Success With English. Harmondsworth: Penguin)
The ten powerslides presented by DCC group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie, as discussed at the public finance forum held earlier this month are available for download (see PDF below).
Public notices advertising the forum and the warm invitation extended by Cr Richard Thomson, chair of the Finance Committee, were unfortunately met with low attendance on the night. Few of the well-known vocal commentators on DCC’s financial position, or indeed, leaders of the Otago Chamber of Commerce, bothered to show. Those individuals lose a measure of credibility. Where were all the beleaguered ratepayers and residents? The local ‘interested’ accountants, economists, board directors, investors, and successful business people? Their apologies? Has everybody drowned with rising sea levels or been knocked from their bikes on the one-way? Blame Dave Cull.
Rob Hamlin and ‘JimmyJones’ did make the effort to be there, solidly plying their observations and questions in debate. Other members of the public also engaged. We didn’t hear the names of people who forwarded questions prior to the meeting, or what their questions were. Notwithstanding, the slides are the Council’s attempt to respond to issues commonly raised, in summary.
The first public finance forum was held on 27 November 2013. The second on 12 August was an opportunity to hear Grant McKenzie who arrived at the Council in January. He proves to be approachable, mild-humoured and self-effacing. Grant explores the expanded GCFO role ably supported by senior finance staff; his already onerous duties include the overlay of current fraud investigations, new systems for accountability and risk management, as well as the stadium review (due in September).
[click slides to enlarge - scanned from forum handout]
█ DCC Finance Forum (powerslides 1-10) (PDF, 18.6 MB)
For more information on DCC, enter the terms *finance*, *dcc*, *dchl*, *delta*, *cst* *dvml* or *stadium* in the search box at right.
Other Reading – link supplied by Calvin Oaten
Sat, 23 Aug 2014 at 12:08 p.m.
An interconnected world was meant to reduce inequality – but that doesn’t seem to be happening.
### blogs.telegraph.co.uk August 22, 2014 13:18
Nobel gurus fear globalisation is going horribly wrong (technical)
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
David Ricardo’s Theory of Comparative Advantage has broken down after 200 years, or so I learned at the Lindau forum of Nobel laureates in Bavaria. The theory published in 1817 has been a guiding principle of free trade, taken as a given by every student of economics in the modern era. It has served us well, but just as Newton’s theories ran into limits and were overtaken by Einstein’s relativity, comparative advantage no longer explains the world. Under Ricardo’s model, inequality was supposed to narrow within countries as globalisation accelerated exponentially in the Nineties. Instead it is getting wider. The Gini coefficient measuring the spread between rich and poor is narrowing between countries, but is widening almost everywhere within countries, leading to a corrosive concentration….
● Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has covered world politics and economics for 30 years, based in Europe, the US, and Latin America. He joined the Telegraph in 1991, serving as Washington correspondent and later Europe correspondent in Brussels. He is now International Business Editor in London.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Images: (from the top) Facebook – yahoofinance (advert); goodcars.co.nz – Finance your next car (advert); nzvf.co.nz – New Zealand Vehicle Finance (advert)
### NZ Herald Online 5:51 PM Monday Aug 11, 2014
Poor losing out on pokie cash
By David Fisher
Money tipped into pokie machines in the poorest parts of Auckland doesn’t come back to those communities in gaming grants, new data shows. In contrast, the wealthiest areas gamble far less but take a disproportionate amount of money out of other areas. This has been greeted as proof of a long-stated but never-proven claim about pokies – that the poor get poorer but the rich get richer. The Auckland Council research is behind a challenge to government plans to ringfence 80 per cent of pokie grant distribution inside large regional areas. Instead, it wants a special system for distributing pokie grants inside Auckland which will allow the poorest areas to benefit from money gambled locally. [...] Overall, the study found all of Auckland missed out to the benefit of the rest of New Zealand. The $214.6 million put into pokie machines would have made $61.6 million available for grants, on industry averages after expenses were taken out. Auckland got $35.2 million.
● David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.
Auckland Council Regional Strategy and Policy Committee
07 August 2014
Gambling Working Party – new regulations for the distribution of class 4 (pokie) gambling grants to communities
File No.: CP2014/14759
1. To report back on a gambling working party’s deliberations regarding new government regulations to control the distribution of grants from class 4 (commonly known as “pokie”) gambling, and present recommendations based on feedback from the working party.
2. The Minister of Internal Affairs has recently acquired the power to make new regulations specifying the amount of class 4 grants money that must be returned to the area from which it came, and to set out how areas will be identified and defined for that purpose
3. The Minister recently announced that regional council areas will be used as the areas into which grants must be distributed, and the rate of return to those areas will be 80%. New regulations implementing that decision are expected to be issued later this year.
4. A gambling working party, established by minute REG/2013/10, has reviewed information regarding class 4 gaming machine proceeds in Auckland, and the current rate of return of class 4 grant money by local board area.
5. The new regulations could increase the amount of grant money flowing to community and sport groups in Auckland as a whole, but there are significant inequities in the distribution of class 4 grants within the region that the Minister’s proposal would not overcome.
6. The working party has developed a proposal which would address those inequities by defining areas, within Auckland, for the return of class 4 gambling grants.
That the Regional Strategy and Policy Committee:
a) endorse the working party’s proposal to define areas within Auckland, as presented in the appended map, whereby a proportion of grants derived from the proceeds of class 4 gambling in those areas would be returned to them
b) endorse the option of advocating for a 90 percent return of grant money to the defined areas, instead of the 80 percent currently proposed by the Minister of Internal Affairs
c) endorse the option of advocating for a different rate of return to the area identified as CGI on the map (comprising the City Centre and Gulf Islands), of either 40 percent or 45 percent
d) delegate to the chair of the Regional Strategy and Policy Committee to write to the Minister of Internal Affairs advocating that the proposed regulations be amended in accordance with the committee’s response to recommendations (a) to (c) above
e) note that the grants data for Auckland will be published on a web portal
f) note that the findings of the working party will be reported to local boards.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr