Stadium debate invades trust meeting

I’m all for public accountability, however…

There was a letter in the paper (again, letter a day-athon at the moment), stating that the CST (and Malcolm Farry) must trust and accept the professional opinion of so called critics of the stadium. Which is a little two faced, as the stadium proposal has been put together by professionals, but the StS doesn’t want to accept these professional opinions, only theirs.

However last night the StS attended the Community Trust of Otago’s meeting which was meant to be about the Trust’s reporting of it’s operational and financial performance for the year. Instead the meeting was sidelined somewhat by the StS and it’s followers aiming questions at the Trust’s chairman Bill Thomson.

The StS called for “assurances the trust’s approval process of $10 million of funding towards the stadium would be transparent”. Does the StS imply from this that the processes of the OCT isn’t transparent, a very delicate claim to make indeed. Because by calling for transparency, they are assuming that there isn’t transparency at the moment. This I find highly offensive, and I would assume would be the same for members of the OCT.

Funny, just as members of the StS were calling for it’s professionals to be trusted, they were levelling somewhat less than trustworthy allegations at the OCT. How else can this be interpreted.

“Even after he attempted to steer the question and answer session away from the stadium, opponents continued to ask stadium-related questions – some of which rallied applause from those in the theatre” stated the ODT today, poor form folks, this world isn’t all about you guys, or me for that matter.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Stadium debate invades trust meeting

  1. Peter Entwisle

    The critics in question are the professionals whose opinions are recorded in the peer reviews and specifically the conference provider who said what the stadium is offering isn’t good enough for her clients. Mr Farry is not a conference provider, nor does he have professional expertise in any of the fields of the peer reviews critics. Yet he wants us to prefer his opinion to theirs.

    He could instead call on other professionals to counter some of these specific claims but he has not. As a consequence his replies lack credibility.

    This is what Peter Attwooll’s letter was pointing out.

  2. Peter Entwisle

    The Community Trust of Otago’s meeting last night wasn’t only about reporting its operational and financial performance of the preceding year. It also had a question time when StS’s President Bev Butler asked questions from the floor, which the chairman answered.

    The call was for the Trust to invite the peer reviewers to discuss the stadium project in public – when a request has been made – before the Trust makes its decision. The request impugns no-one’s integrity and if the Trust did what was asked it would do much to reassure a sceptical public that this request was being critically examined.

    You say you find calls for assurances that the decision-making process will be transparent offensive. But this is something expected of all public bodies and they should be ready to affirm and reaffirm their intention of making it so. It’s a duty of public office and as a matter of logic, the call for it to be honoured does not imply it hasn’t been before.

    And you are happy to say StS is running a disinformation campaign and that its members and guest speakers such as Dr Hamlin are liars. When challenged you are incapable of defending your claims which are not only offensive but if made in public would probably be actionable.

    Your claims to be offended are either disingenuous or the product of deep confusion.

  3. I am sorry Peter but,

    I was at the meeting in which Dr Hamlin made the strange and disturbing announcements that;

    a) Twickenham is a single use stadium,
    b) The capacity of the stadium is 20,000 and shrinking.

    among other strange inferences.

    Both of these are factually incorrect, and somewhat more startling are easily verifiable. I had my iPhone with me, and while Dr Hamlin was talking about Twickenham, I was able to call up their web site (http://www.twickenhamexperience.com/twickenhamexperience/index.cfm). This clearly states that the stadium is open for multi-purposes, while a quick trip to Wiki on Twickenham shows that a large number of concerts (and other sporting events) have also been held at the stadium. If Dr Hamlin was unaware of the mulit-use nature of Twickenham, then his credentials for making such comparisons must be questioned. I would hate to think that this wasn’t the case, and that he was well aware that the Rolling Stones, The Police, Genesis, U2 and other acts have all played at the stadium. This would simply show that he was lying at the meeting.

    While the capacity of the stadium is and has always been 35,000. This is of course made up of permanent and temporary seating, depending on the configuration of the event being held at the stadium. This is the case for more or less any major indoor arena globally. To state that the capacity is 20,000 and shriking, is disingenious at the very least, and at most, again a striking lie.

    I was there, I say the manor in which this information was presented to the public, and it was simply to ‘inform’ the public about the ‘myths’ of the stadium as proposed by the CST. There were of course “ooohs”, “ahhhhhs” and occasional astonished “gasps” from the audience. The intended tenor of delivery of ‘facts’ as determined by Dr Hamlin had the desired effect, that of reinforcing negative opinions of the development. Unfortunately these negative opinions are based now on deliberate or grossly misrepresented false information, which in my and most people’s books, are known as lies.

    Peter I am offended that the StS calls into question the transparency of the operational procedures of the Otago Community Trust. I and others would assume that this transparency exists, and is verifiably accountable, or the Serious Fraud Office should and must be called in.

  4. Peter Entwisle

    Paul,

    First, for your statements about Dr Hamlin’s claims at the public meeting: you are relying on your memory and/or whatever notes you may have made at the time. It isn’t the same as other people’s impressions. Before asserting bold claims you should contact Dr Hamlin for verification or get hold of a record of his speech.

    Second, the claim about Twickenham – my impression – was that it was purpose designed for a single sporting code – Rugby – not that it was incapable of being used for concerts.

    Third, the claim about the number of seats is that that is the now the number of permanent seats, not the total seating capacity – which you can confirm from the CST’s own material or from the chief executive’s report and its attachments tendered at the DCC’s 17 March meeting, accessible on this site.

    Fourth, again, if you doubt that’s what Dr Hamlin said ask him and/or get an authentic record of what he actually said.

    These points have mostly been made to you before but you don’t attempt to answer them. Instead you keep asserting that Dr Hamlin was lying which makes it very clear who is determined to misrepresent – you.

    On your last point, again it is you who is guilty of gross misrepresentation. No-one calls an organisation guilty of a lack of transparency simply by asking it to affirm its commitment to transparency and suggesting ways it might proceed which would be transparent.

    I have already pointed out to you that the conclusion you drew from Bev Butler’s questions was a non sequitur. Instead of attempting to discover whether this obvious point is true or not you simply ignore it, as you do any facts inconvenient to your own distorted version of events.

    This doesn’t make you look very clever and it reveals your moral accusations for the libellous nonsense they are.

  5. Peter.

    Do not question my ability to recall what was said by Dr Hamiln. My note taking was extensive and thorough, I hardly had time to look up. I do not need to contact Dr Hamlin, I know for a fact, I could quote verbatim what was said with regard to these key claims of his.

    With regard to the second point. Please visit http://www.twickenhamexperience.com/twickenhamexperience/index.cfm and look at the facilities. This stadium was never built to be rugby only. This is a modern facility, in which multi-use facilities were built at the time of construction. Yes it’s primary purpose is Rugby, but it was designed and built as a multi-purpose facility. But then are you also saying that although the new stadium will be sports focused, it too is then capable of holding events outside of sports? This seems to be some sort of concession, or a bad case of cake and eating it too, you can’t have it both ways.

    With regards to the seating capacity. He EXPLICITLY claimed that the total capacity of the stadium was now 20,000 seats, with a nice little chart plotting the so called rapidly shrinking capacity of the stadium to point 0, of which drew much laughter as you would all not need to oppose the stadium, as it wouldn’t exist at this rate of capacity decrease. He did not say anywhere that this was the configuration of permanent to temporary seating.

    Peter once again I do not doubt what was said, I was there, I was astounded to hear what I was hearing, that is why I was paying particular attention to what I was writing down, it is not my want to call someone into question unless their claims are some what based on fantasy. While the folks were “ooohing and aahhing” I was hurriedly writing, it was an astonishing display from someone quite frankly I was expecting to possibly question my true understanding of the project.

    If he was not lying about these, he was being incredibly dishonest at best, disingenuous in the least, or incredibly uniformed and thus not really qualified to comment on such a platform in front of those people. We should have simply thrown the meeting open to the floor to see what ‘facts’ were being thrown about by the ‘man in the pub’. Either way I know what was said, and to be frank my argument is not with him, as his comments were so preposterous as to be comical. My problem is with the StS which has run with these comments and others for the express intention of giving the public a very slanted view of this development.

    Back to the seating configuration. This is nothing startling, or concerning. Many modern indoor arena’s which have multi variant seating configurations have in fact a small permanent seating capacity, and a relatively large temporary seating capacity. By definition any seat that is not fixed to concrete or substructure, which has the ability to be folded and moved is temporary. The capacity of the stadium is still 35,000 as it has been from day one of the project and will continue to be on opening day of the rugby season 2011. I actually prefer that it’s not a fully 35,000 seater stadium, I have been to way too many events globally where one rattles around a half empty arena. Those which limit capacity to suit events create better atmosphere and leave the user with a greater experience of the event.

    Peter, if you have to question an organisation’s level of transparency, there must be some level of suspicion of their methods – it does follow.. Otherwise claims made by the StS are redundant, as if you state they are transparent, why ask for it? – if not to throw doubt into the public arena once again.

    My accusations are not libelous, I know what was said, I still have detailed and full notes from the evening, and I would assume that any lecture notes Dr Hamlin have would differ anyway, as quite often, as we both know, he wasn’t speaking from notes.

    See Peter, the damage was already done regardless of the finer points of the details as exposed by me. Folk with only a passing interest in this, whom went along possibly to be informed and persuaded that this is a bad development, were given misleading but compelling information by him and others. From this meeting alone they have come to the conclusion that $188m (or indeed a $350m) stadium for 20,000 capacity of single use (rugby) is not a good thing. They quite possibly don’t follow this blog, and are blissfully unaware that most of the claims made that evening were tentative at the least, and at times downright deceitful. I thought it was a good meeting, however it was a meeting of minds, and the truth was never going to get in the way of a good moan. For example the gentleman at the end, who speaks to London and New York, telling us that this will be not a recession but a depression on the scale of 1919 was in fantasy land, a somewhat dark and disturbing fantasy land, but one never the less.

    Another exaple: The assertions that the Port of Otago’s inner harbor would be perfect for supplying a major oil and gas extraction industry if even developed off the southern coast of New Zealand, were again fantasy. There is not way an industry so polluting and so potentially polluting would ever get the green light for such a delicate and small ecosystem. But I feel that was more a dig at the suggestions that we should be putting cafe’s and bars and god forbid it, other recreational facilities around the inner harbor, the snide remark to that effect illustrated this perfectly well. But once again people would have left that evening with the impression that we are possibly closing off the harbor for future oil and gas development for the sake of recreation.

    Dr Hamlin also severely questioned the suitability of the material chosen for the roof of the stadium, claiming that “there’s no proof that Carisbrook will have a playable surface under roof”. Again if you were at this meeting, and this was the learned Dr Hamlin of the University, he’s the expert after all, and we should really listen to what he has to say. This is of course contrary to the facts, as at the time there was a long term and on going study as to the suitability of the material for the growth of the grass. One which has just recently been proven as perfectly suitable. But if you were at that meeting, you were left with the impression that the roof is a dud, and if you weren’t able to catch the Channel 9 news report on the findings of the study, you were still in the dark as to the suitability of the roof for the stadium. Contrary to what Dr Hamlin thinks of claims, the suitability of the material has been proven. http://www.ch9.co.nz/node/9785 this study is being conducted by people somewhat more atuned to the field than a marketing lecturer, HOK Sport Architecture, New Zealand Sports Turf Institute, Vector Foiltec

    I could go on, but this is painful. False and or misleading claims were made.

  6. Anne Elliot

    Paul says,

    Do not question my ability to recall what was said by Dr Hamiln. My note taking was extensive and thorough, I hardly had time to look up. I do not need to contact Dr Hamlin, I know for a fact, I could quote verbatim what was said with regard to these key claims of his.</blockquote.

    If we are talking about Rob Hamlin’s presentation at the Burns Hall, I recorded all speeches and they are available on the Stop the Stadium website, http://www.stopthestadium.org.nz. There is no confusion about what was said.

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