Tag Archives: Core business

Whaleoil: Rodney Hide on Dunedin’s Luddite Council

Ever since Helen Clark allowed councils general competence we have seen debt burgeon and empire building of armies of council staff increase. It is time to rein in the excesses. The reforms have largely failed. I’m not even sure we need local councils in any case….except to just provide essential services. –Cameron Slater

Whale Oil Beef Hooked logo### whaleoil.co.nz May 24, 2014 at 5:00pm
Rodney Hide on Dunedin’s Luddite Council
By Cameron Slater
Rodney Hide excoriates the Dunedin City Council for their embracing of a buggy culture. [NBR paysite]

“I was taken aback by Dunedin City Council committing to invest ethically. I would have thought it was already beyond reproach. But it turns out it’s not about the council not taking back-handers and the like but rather what it can and can’t invest in. Henceforth, it won’t invest in porn, munitions, tobacco or gambling. Seriously? Was investing in porn ever in prospect? I once took a paper to the cabinet to circumscribe council activity. I wanted to limit them to core services. To buttress my argument, I had examples of the nutty investments that councils had entangled ratepayers in. I remember dairy farms, property development, Lotto shops and cinemas. My concern wasn’t ethical investing but rather local government’s proper role. I wanted councils to stick to basics. I didn’t succeed but would have had a chance with the Dunedin example: a council having to make a rule to stop itself investing in pornographic movies.”
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It matters enormously that city leaders are declaring fossil fuel extraction unethical. –Rodney Hide

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under DCC, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics

DCC: 2014 Residents’ Opinion Survey (ROS)

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Tell Us What You Think!

This item was published on 20 May 2014

Letters will be sent out this week to 4,500 Dunedin residents, inviting them to take part in the DCC’s annual Residents’ Opinion Survey (ROS). DCC Acting General Manager Services and Development Nicola Pinfold says, “The ROS provides a host of useful information and helps us gauge the views of residents who may be less likely to tell us what they think in other ways, such as the Annual Plan process.”

Last year, the residents randomly selected from the electoral roll were invited to complete the ROS online using a unique code, rather than receiving a hard copy of the questionnaire. A hard copy was made available on request. This was successful in raising the response rate and cutting costs so the same approach is being taken this year.

The survey is also open to all residents online at www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros and will be sent to all members of the Dunedin Peoples’ Panel. To ensure the statistical validity of the ROS results, the responses from the people who were selected are used as the official results.

“We have been using this Survey for 20 years and it has become a key tool for us to assess how well we are doing, and ultimately guiding our planning and decision-making. ROS focuses on how well we deliver our services, and asks questions about residents’ perceptions of our performance. Some of the results are used as official measures of the Council’s performance for audit purposes. But equally importantly, the feedback is used by staff and the Council to guide our thinking about how we might best deliver services to better meet the needs of Dunedin’s residents.” –Nicola Pinfold

The Survey is open until 18 June. A reminder letter and hard copy of the questionnaire will be sent to those who haven’t responded about two weeks after the initial letter, a practice that has proved successful in increasing the response rate. The results are expected to be publicly available in late July.

█ Responses from residents who independently chose to complete the Survey online are analysed separately but still provide the DCC with valuable feedback about how it can improve its services.

For the second year, all respondents will have the opportunity to enter a draw to win a prize. Each prize is worth about $150 and three winners will be drawn who will be able to choose from a range of prizes, including vouchers, swim passes or a donation to a charity of their choice. The Survey, which costs about $40,000, will be undertaken by independent research company Key Research. The results of last year’s ROS can also be viewed at www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros

Contact DCC Acting General Manager Services and Development on 03 477 4000.
DCC Link

Related Posts and Comments:
9.5.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 Submission by Bev Butler
7.5.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 hearings
11.4.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 Submissions due by 15 April
20.1.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15
9.9.13 Residents’ dissatisfaction (2013) with elected council and mayor —increase!
27.6.13 State of the City —DCC or Dunedin? [see comment]
8.10.12 2012 Residents’ Opinion Survey: DCC spooks massage Cull, for sheep
13.6.12 DCC: 2012 Residents Opinion Survey

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
 

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Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, People, Politics, Project management, What stadium

Councils “in stchook” —finance & policy analyst Larry.N.Mitchell

Received Sun, 21 Apr 2013 14:45:37 +1200
Topic ring a bell? We are using DCC and Kaipara as the salutary case studies.

Larry.N.Mitchell
Finance & Policy Analyst (Local Government)

PO Box 404 103, Puhoi 0951, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09 422 0598 Mobile: 027 479 2328
Email: larry@kauriglen.co.nz

Read here or scroll to end of post to download this paper.


Councils “in stchook”
… their debt is way too high … it matters … so do proper disclosures

Dealing as I do, with matters of New Zealand Council finances, the one area that produces most comment, sometimes heated debate, is Council debt. Public discussion of Council debt is muddled, an often fractious difference of opinion generating more heat than light.

For example, the most recent (March 2013) Office of the Auditor General’s report of their findings from New Zealand Local Government audits concludes that Councils have their debt levels “within a reasonable range”. Recent New Zealand Local Government Association press releases concur.

Compare these reassuring findings to those of the 2013 NZ LG League Table where the lowest ranked 15% (10 in number) of New Zealand Councils are revealed as exhibiting unfavourable financial sustainability and community affordability issues. Both contradictory positions can’t be right. Unfortunately, the debate over Council debt is complicated by unsatisfactory public reporting-disclosures.

Discussions of Council debt are often compounded by current Council practices. These amount to opaque, imprecise Council debt accounting and “smoke and mirrors” disclosures. It is tempting to suggest that these are deliberate attempts to suppress discussion of Council debt on a “don’t scare the horses” basis.

This is particularly evident for use of the term by Councils of “Internal Borrowing”, a meaningless label, better described as “Robbing Peter”, covering as it does Council treasury management dealings involving a clear misuse (some might say misappropriation) of asset replacement funds.

Add to these sleights of hand a motivation for the more highly indebted Councils to keep their heads down when their debt totals soar, along with a tendency toward misinformation.
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Cull’s state of denial…

See previous post:
24.9.12 DCC against imposition of local government reforms

Comment received.

Calvin Oaten
Submitted on 2012/09/25 at 7:43 pm

Dave Cull and Paul Orders submitting on the proposed local government reforms to a select committee hearing is entertaining to say the least.
Dave says “the DCC should be left to tackle debt levels and rates rises without new controls imposed by the Government”. Is he ‘avin a laugh’? It is just that which brought about the Government’s interest in this problem in the first place. He says rates and debt were two issues already at the top of his council’s agenda, and the Government’s proposed changes risked “unintended negative consequences”. He’s ‘avin a laugh again’. The man’s sense of humour knows no bounds. The proposed limit on rates rises would erode council’s previously “unfettered” ability to raise revenue through rates, he says. It’s almost like he is in a ‘drug rehabilitation programme’ and is in denial about his addiction. Classic response, don’t admit any problem, just leave me alone and I will sort it.
Sorry Dave, but you and your equally drug driven cohorts are in serious denial and the citizens are paying a very big price. He worries that to restrict them now would upset the ‘drug peddlers’ (banks) and cause the price to rise. That, of course would increase the pain and he just couldn’t stand that. It would seriously affect his sense of wellbeing and confidence in his own ability. The man is desperately in need of being loved by all.
Lee Vandervis, as our only hope, I hope you can mediate around that table and get some traction. I am not holding my breath.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Fun, Geography, Hot air, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Stupidity, Town planning, Urban design

DCC against imposition of local government reforms

For once, Central Government has it right – the unreasonable burden on Dunedin ratepayers and residents is beyond the pale, following ten years of excessive debt loading by the Dunedin City Council, fueled by the sheer lack of conservative management and fiscal prudence (a requirement clearly set out in the Local Government Act). Something has to give. Cull’s council has no wish to be made transparent or accountable – without Government intervention the Dunedin community has NO protection from this council’s excesses, brought about by deliberate deception and oft times the financial ineptitude of councillors and senior management of council departments; ditto the boards and senior management of council-owned companies and related entities. Meanwhile, the old chestnut – Council pouring rates funds into professional rugby without ratepayer sanction, with no end in sight.

A proposed limit on rates rises would erode councils’ previously “unfettered” ability to raise revenue through rates. -Cull

### ODT Online Mon, 24 Sep 2012
Cull opposes debt, rates intervention
By Chris Morris
Local authorities such as the Dunedin City Council should be left to tackle debt levels and rates rises without new controls imposed by the Government, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says. Mr Cull and Dunedin City Council chief executive Paul Orders made their case this week, while presenting the council’s submission on proposed local government reforms to a select committee hearing in Christchurch.

The reforms – unveiled in March – included plans for new benchmarks to assess the financial performance of councils, as part of a push to control local government debt levels and limit rates increases.

Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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DCC, DCHL, debt, democracy (and professional rugby)

Cr Vandervis told yesterday’s meeting the council holding company would borrow $6 million to help fund dividend payments to the council in the 2012-13 year. The council would also draw another $3 million from the Waipori Fund in the same period, and taking money from other “places it doesn’t exist”.

Cr Kate Wilson denied the council was engaged in “trickery”… describing Cr Vandervis’ comments as “lies”.

### ODT Online Tue, 7 Aug 2012
Ire and apology at heated meeting
By Chris Morris
Allegations and threats flew when a Dunedin City Council meeting erupted yesterday over claims the organisation was relying on millions of dollars in loans to keep rates down. Cr Lee Vandervis began a verbal melee at yesterday’s meeting by claiming borrowing by Dunedin City Holdings Ltd continued to offset council rates. The suggestion was quickly rejected by DCHL chairman Denham Shale, who last night confirmed to the Otago Daily Times the practice had ceased under the company’s new board as of July 1.
Read more

It’s interesting Cr Syd Brown has inside knowledge on (the latest iteration of) DCHL’s financial manipulations, while other councillors appear not to. Since when has Audit New Zealand been the last ‘honest’ word on (iffy) council accounting and book shuffling. We built the stadium didn’t we, and we fund professional rugby as if we ACCEPT this as council core business. You’re excused for thinking Audit New Zealand has hands in pockets; we do know it runs a conveniently narrow brief for audit purposes. But isn’t this FUN FOR SYD.

Cr Syd Brown, chairman of the finance, strategy and development committee, said the community should be reassured the 5% rates increase had been struck for 2012-13. That followed a democratic process accepted by councillors, which had also been “given the all clear” by Audit New Zealand, he said. He also reassured councillors DCHL had committed to paying dividend payments without borrowing to do so.

Do we accept Sydney Brown as Apologist for Dunedin City Council?

Who is DCHL now? (spot the token woman)

Arthur William BAYLIS (Queenstown)
Appointment Date: 31 Oct 2011

Graham William CROMBIE (Dunedin)
17 Jul 2012

Kathleen Enid GRANT (Mosgiel)
17 Jul 2012

James Denham SHALE (Auckland)
31 Oct 2011

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### ODT Online Tue, 7 Aug 2012
Councillors back four-year term
By Chris Morris
Chants of “four more years” could soon be ringing out inside the Dunedin City Council chambers. That is if Dunedin city councillors get their way after voting yesterday to support a push to extend three-year local body terms to four years. The idea was already being promoted by councils in Christchurch and Wellington in their submissions on the Government’s better local government reforms, which are before a select committee.
Read more

How to lock in sheer incompetence for four years… Is this more or less DEMOCRACY? What would we know, people keep voting back in the likes of Brown, Hudson, Collins and Stevenson.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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D Scene: Cull and councillors captured by Fifa bid, it will cost

Front page news, the mayor fancies spending more ratepayer funds on stadium events (he’s smiling, after all). Like Rugby World Cup, though, the events will deliver profits to very few local businesses and almost nothing to council coffers. Your mayor isn’t an economist, it’s hard sticking to a household budget.

Register to read D Scene online at
http://fairfaxmedia.newspaperdirect.com/

### D Scene 7-12-11
“Having a ball?” (page 1)
Dunedin is planning an ambitious pitch for games in the 2015 Fifa under-20 Football World Cup, Mayor Dave Cull says – including a bid to host the final. See page 3. #bookmark

Millions would see Dunedin (page 3)
By Wilma McCorkindale
The tournament will bring 24 countries and 52 games to New Zealand and is the most prestigious international football event next to the senior men’s FIFA World Cup. The tournament is broadcast to about 500 million television viewers in more than 200 countries [...] Category 1 hosting could cost the city up to $1 million in cash and “in kind” resources, such as traffic and crowd management, infrastructure, and services.
{continues} #bookmark

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“This further bailout of the ORFU, a private entertainment business, is an abuse of ratepayer funds.” -Bev Butler

New stadium agreement another ORFU bailout (page 4)
By Wilma McCorkindale
Ratepayer advocate Bev Butler is outraged the Dunedin City Council was left out of contract discussions between its venue company and the Otago Rugby Football Union [ORFU]. Councillors able to be contacted this week confirmed they had no idea Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) and the ORFU were combining services at Forsyth Barr Stadium [...] Most contacted supported the contract, saying it made commercial sense.
{continues} #bookmark

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Editorial: City needs return on investments in rugby (page 7)
Mike Houlahan says “it stretches belief that rugby follows on from rubbish and roading as core business for council”.
{continues} #bookmark

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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