Some further thoughts.

This terrifies me for many reasons, probably the least being the stadium being not built.

But what if, just what if Bev & and the StS wins (temptation to just say Bev, but then I’d be hypercritical as I’m critical of them using Farry as the easy target)?

Here’s a couple of scenario for ya.

1) The Stadium is approved, and construction starts, then by 2010 the StS has the dear old ratepayers in such a frenzy, that they vote out the current council, giving the anti stadium councillors a majority. Of course by that stage it would be more or less impossible to stop. So you have a council that doesn’t want it, and by that very definition will not give it the time and energy it needs to succeed. How would such a development go ahead without critical people actually wanting the stadium to succeed making crucial decisions.

2) The Stadium is/isn’t approved, and above scenario happens, a firm anti stadium council. With such a mindset that development is wrong, but voted in on such a narrow platform, how could council function with any vision. I mean Bev Butler has been on public record describing all manner of opportunity costs associated with this development, not too many have tenuous grasps with reality – what would be her vision and mandate. I mean she’s not actually going to stand for council (dear god no). This council would be so shit scared of making decisions that would upset Witherow enough to put more holes in Council historic doors. We’ve all seen what the StS can do to each other if they don’t tow the line, what the hell would they do to the puppets they put in. Everything would be judged on a Stadium yard stick, and I’m guessing this isn’t a good platform for intelligent and progressive local government.

I mean there were people there today each with their own barrow to push. One sign said save F&P, another wanted the House of Pain retained. Come on, is it local council’s role to save a business. There possibly could be arguments for better business conditions etc, but do we stop there, what about lithographic firms, tap-ware makers, at what line do you stop helping business. We just can’t actually bail them out. Bev told us we were $600m in debt at the moment, how far into pockets do we go to prop up faulty business. I was sad to see F&P go, but then I am ecstatic to see the new Design Institute go ahead and the talk is that the R&D design dept of F&P could be located within the new building. Brilliant. One door shuts, another opens.

Bev also mentioned business leaving due to poor broadband. Not, but never mind. From Monday I start a new job at the Centre for Innovation, and I can tell you for a fact that I will be using one of the fastest internet connections about. I operate a business that is 100% reliant on fast and efficient broadband, and I get it here. To further complicate her claims, I am now very reliant on 3G networks because of my iPhone. All my clients have them, all of the people I work with have them, and the network here in Dunedin is much more efficient and reliable (much less black spots) than the likes of CHCH or Wgtn. Then to further complicate things, the govt has signalled that they are going to be spending over $1B to upgrade broadband nationally. Telecom is doing so here in Dunedin by middle of year. We will have first class broadband connections here. This was a big issue for Bev, I’ve heard her repeat it 3 times. But what would she do, have the council build a network, invest in one, this is all our money for rapidly evolving and incredibly expensive technology? And besides this work is already being done by someone else.

Bev has talked about the opportunity costs, but the resolution of those is outside the mandate of more or less every single local authority in NZ. What would the vision of the StS as a political platform be? Because really at the end of the day, could you honestly see Witherow’s, Butler’s, Oaten’s etc names on ballot sheets to tick come election 2010. No, but then thank god, no.

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26 Comments

Filed under Economics, Hot air, Politics, STS, Town planning

26 responses to “Some further thoughts.

  1. Elizabeth

    Called by the StS website to check for more blarney. 3 new ‘Recent Posts’:

    POST# 3news
    Fed-up locals march against plans for Dunedin’s waterfront stadium
    http://www.3news.co.nz/News/NationalNews/Regions/Otago/Fed-up-locals-march-against-plans-for-Dunedins-waterfront-stadium/tabid/753/articleID/89208/cat/142/Default.aspx

    Video: http://www.3news.co.nz/Video/National/tabid/309/articleID/89208/cat/142/Default.aspx#video

    Licence. Waterfront? Anyone would think it’s going right next to OUSA’s Aquatic Centre or the Otago Yacht Club.

    POST# ONE News
    Protesters give Dunedin anti-stadium message
    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/protesters-give-dunedin-anti-stadium-message-2458637

    Video: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/protesters-give-dunedin-anti-stadium-message-2458637/video

    POST#
    Protest March Speech by Bev Butler January 31 2009
    http://www.stopthestadium.org.nz/index.php/2009/01/31/protest-march-speech-by-bev-butler-january-31-2009/

    Enough said.

  2. Cheers for the links Elizabeth, was going to hunt them out but the wine and Midsumer Murder took over

  3. Richard

    “Bev told us we were $600m in debt at the moment….”

    Not correct! The Statement of Public Debt tabled and considered at Finance and Strategy at its last meeting on 1 December, showed total Council debt as at end of September as $137.266m with between $115m/$120 million rate funded. Of this $43.17m relates to the Wastewater Upgrades; $22.17 to Water Upgrades; and $17.82 to the proposed Stadium including the land purchase payments made to date. My recollection is that Ms Butler was in attendance when the report was discussed.

    Changes have occurred, of course, and will be reported in the agenda papers to the meeting of F&S on Monday 9 February. They certainly do not total $600m!!!!

    The projections for council core debt 2009-2019 if all the major capital works set out in the draft LTCCP currently being considered are shown in the graph below. I trust this is helpful!

  4. Richard

    A busy week for Sports Editors!

    First Hayden Meikle in the ODT, now Richard Boock (formerly of Dunedin) weighs in. http://www.stuff.co.nz/sundaystartimes/4834432a6444.html.

  5. Cheers Richard, have all but given up on the SST over recent times.

    While not agreeing with the tone (not much to be achieved by calling opponents ‘flat earthers’), I do agree with much of what he had to say.

    In particular, the sentiment that it’s never been a better time to invest in capital and infrastructure, as put by Don Elder, CEO of Solid Energy (possibly not on Jocelyn Harris’s xmas card list). I read last week (and boy do I wish I had bookmarked it) the developers of the new NY Yankee stadium said that they wished they had had a credit crunch and market chaos when they were starting out, the estimated upwards of 15% saving if they were developing now as opposed to 18 months ago.

    Even middle of last year I was struggling to see how the development could stay on budget with oil being the prime driver of all essential commodities going through the roof. Now too concrete and steel have gone on the same downward spiral as other essential construction materials, it’s not hard to see 2011 final construction figures being very obtainable.

    If you look globally at those industries which are thriving, it’s not a long bow to draw the conclusion that the likes of Donald Trump (who’s been on a spending spree last 3 months) are seeing this is about as bad as it will get, and in 3 years time when labour is once again short and all commodities are rising again, they will have to use a phrase, creamed it.

  6. Elizabeth

    Richard Boock’s “Dunedin, a southern city of such waning relevance and geographical isolation” ended it for me, although I did scan the rest. His commentary rose and fell like the proverbial sea… “Instead of worrying about the legacy of cost, you trust ratepayers will think more about the value being added to their city’s future, and won’t be distracted by the question of whether the proposed stadium will pay for itself or not. It’s not even important.” Classic.
    Actually, I was expecting something to appear in SST from Karen Arnold on behalf of Bev.
    Shall get onto some resistance training in the wind of a fine Sunday!

  7. Richard

    “Instead of worrying about the legacy of cost, you trust ratepayers will think more about the value being added to their city’s future, and won’t be distracted by the question of whether the proposed stadium will pay for itself or not. It’s not even important.”

    As Elizabeth says, “Classic.”

  8. Don’t start on that wind, the first point of contact after coming over Waverly is Company Bay. Our trees bless them have been on various degrees of horizontal all day.

    Karen Arnold, for the sake of keeping things dignified I won’t post the reply I got from her when I questioned something she wrote once, I hope she would be embarrassed.

    Here’s another thought. I am continually amazed and thankfully relieved how many people actually don’t care about the stadium. Dinner to celebrate a friend’s milestone was accompanied with a stadium free zone, not by decree but by genuine disinterest. Yesterday at the march, if I honestly didn’t give a toss, all of the people going about their business and having a wine or beer at the Octagon cafes looked like they were having a great time at our expense.

  9. Richard

    “Here’s another thought. I am continually amazed and thankfully relieved how many people actually don’t care about the stadium. Dinner to celebrate a friend’s milestone was accompanied with a stadium free zone, not by decree but by genuine disinterest. – Paul.”

    You have it in ONE!

  10. Elizabeth

    Now, Richard…

  11. Richard

    No, NEXT Monday, Elizabeth!

  12. Elizabeth

    You got me there.

  13. Elizabeth

    We could all be persuaded that the Councillor ‘developer’ boys are leading the rush to build the stadium, if, IF, ODT’s saying the Council’s 7-5 vote to realign SH88 is indicative of Councillors’ position on the stadium.

    Forgive me, Richard, but when you replied to Paul above, with “You have it in ONE!”, this had a sniff of a pro-stadium vote.

    Maybe the various peer reviews, ah, the ‘constant’ measuring of the project by ‘independents’ (of stature) – none of which recent information is available to the public (yet) – are giving Councillors full confidence in the stadium’s viability.

    I hear ‘something’ will be released to ODT tomorrow for fathoming in the lead up to MONDAY 9th. Which probably means Councillors (now) have something to sink their false teeth into, too.

    Public omniscience (the wider public, including those successful in business and with sound investment portfolios) would say the Council has been completely seduced by a venerable few, that the stadium does not rate ‘future positive’.

    It would be reassuring to know Councillors aren’t making decisions about the stadium proposal on misguided or slim vestiges of hope; that they have given full consideration to the future of citizens, of all ages, on $21,000 per annum or less (and sinking?).

    Do I delude myself that Council has a sufficient, active, ‘measure’ of concern for the people who make up this low-‘wage’ economy. MONDAY, Richard!

  14. I almost have to agree with you Elizabeth, well only in that I too hope that the Councillors have been given the full story.

    Call it naivety (go on be kind to me) but I would have to assume (unlike the StS) that they do have the full range of information relating to this decision. Nothing would grate me more than to find 1-3 years down the track that they were just going on loose reports.

    As long as the Councillors of both the ORC and DCC have been fully informed, that’s all I ask. The rest is their job. At least they haven’t been fed the lies and disinformation that the public unfortunately has been subject to.

    Finally, gotta disagree with you on the wages/economy side of it. Despite the doom and gloom of the media, reading respected journals and economists views, this is a short sharp recession, and the NZ economy is still forecast to be in growth of 4.1% by 2011, you know wages up, job growth, housing up, interest up, affordability up. It’s never going to be this cheap to build major projects in the next 20 years (now if I could only convince my wife that now is the time to build my modernist dream – a copy of The Incredibles, the movie house).

  15. Elizabeth

    Paul, an optimistic outlook makes the world a better place. I appreciate the sensibility – let’s hope you’re right on the various counts. Oh, why not, your dream house included.

    Lord knows, Dunedin in particular needs a contemporary architectural lift of ‘incredible’ sort anytime soon.

  16. Richard

    Elizabeth: the “something” is, of course, the agenda papers for the meeting of Council scheduled for next Monday, 9 February. A day earlier than usual because of Waitangi Day on Friday.

    There is a lot of reading in them!

    My first impression is that those who have maintained an “open mind” or objectively approached the matter will find much to interest them.

    Until Monday!!!

  17. Richard

    Addendum: Oophs! The papers and thus the ODT report stems from the agenda papers BEING DELIVERED A DAY EARLIER THAN USUAL (i.e. today) because of Waitangi Day falling next Friday!

    Astonishing what radio newscvats attached to that today without understanding why!

  18. Richard

    Elizabeth:

    (1) “We could all be persuaded that the Councillor ‘developer’ boys are leading the rush to build the stadium, if, IF, ODT’s saying the Council’s 7-5 vote to realign SH88 is indicative of Councillors’ position on the stadium.”

    (2) Forgive me, Richard, but when you replied to Paul above, with “You have it in ONE!”, this had a sniff of a pro-stadium vote.”

    (2) As I have said to David Loughrey, I would not take that punt. Too many pieces on the chessboard!

    (2) No, it was purely the sniff of a bloody good red Aussie Shiraz! The truth is that the stadium, while of interest, is not top of most everyone’s people’s topic of conversation. The odd enquiry. The occasional comment. The occasional call. For or against, it is NOT the most important day-to-day thing that people have their focus on.

  19. Elizabeth

    Thanks for clearing the ‘something’ up Richard.

    I feared on Channel 9 news tonight ODT’s warning of an “announcement” affecting the future of the stadium… would either be an announcement from Community Trust, or news on the GMP or an appeal on the NOR.

    Re (1) – you can say that again, is it chess or mastermind.

    Re (2) – sampling cafe types (people not wines) and assorted persons I have roaming contact with in the city the first question to me is: “Stadium?” As if I can divine the answer.

    Next questions today were something like “Flights?”, “RMA amendments?”, “Hughes Litho, why?” or “Your Summer?”… it happens.

  20. Richard

    Oh! I got my numbering mixed up! On (2), well I would expect that given your stance is well known to your friends and acquaintances within the circle in which you move.

    For me: Hughes Litho came up in two contacts I made on Saturday and, of course, Air NZ’s reduction of their Trans-Tasman flights came up yesterday and today over rather more. One of my fellow councillors made brief reference to the RMA announcement. The only reference to the stadium …. wait for it …. came from a visiting former Lord Provost of Edinburgh whose company June and I enjoyed on Saturday evening!

    It is a matter of interest, just not the all-consuming obsession that some would have us believe!

    Now, I still have a lot to read!

  21. Richard

    This statement was released by the Otago Community Trust at 7.00pm – Tuesday 3rd February 2009

    The Otago Community Trust announces that it has approved a donation of $7million to the Dunedin City Council to be used towards construction costs of the Otago Stadium at Awatea Street Dunedin should this proceed.

    In announcing the decision, Chairperson Bill Thomson said the application met the Trust’s established criteria for community project investment. “We believe the stadium will become a major asset for the City and the region offering significant long term opportunities. The potential benefits for the University given its proximity to the Stadium will be valuable to both the University and the Stadium itself.”

    The Trust was unable to approve the full amount requested of $10 million. Trustees could not overlook the impact of the downturn in global financial markets during the Trust’s current financial year, which has contributed to a depletion of reserves.

    “The Trust was mindful of the downturn, alongside its on-going donation programme for a wide range of organisations.”

    The Trust is proud to have had a long history of investing in significant community assets in Otago, including the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Moana Pool and the Oamaru Opera House.”

  22. Elizabeth

    Thank-you Richard – we heard it here first. Not to mention we (quite a few of us) were searching hard for the news, OCT included, tonight.

  23. Elizabeth

    Dunedin town’s busy this morning. Won’t attempt differentiation between fact or opinion here until I see it in writing from official sources:

    The NOR for the harbour arterial link is under appeal. A large property owner.

    GMP has come in under budget at $163,156,825 (vs $165,400,000), which includes $25.6m for design costs and $7.7m adjustable. This comes from a white paper distributed by DCC this morning

    In the report, Jim Harland outlines two options to Council:
    (1) Stall now (spending to 31 Dec was $13 mill), or
    (2) delay until government responds to funding request.

    There’s an issue with CST’s contracts. 382 signed contracts are 5-year and 230 are 10-year, but there is an option to withdraw after 5 years.

    To date, CST has $21.4m with $5.54m pending (all 5-year contracts). They need $27.3m, including sponsorships. Will they get the pending contracts signed by Monday?

  24. Elizabeth

    Re “The NOR for the harbour arterial link is under appeal. A large property owner.”

    On SkyscraperCity the name of the party to appeal is suggested: possibly, Chalmers Properties Ltd (CPL).

  25. Elizabeth

    It is CPL.

  26. Elizabeth

    To view the Council agenda and reports (178 pages in total) go to:

    http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/minutes-and-agendas?/_nocache/queries_macommittee_query_posted=1&queries_macommittee_query=Council&submit_button=Submit

    Alternatively, pick up a print copy at 2nd floor Reception, Civic Centre, 50 The Octagon – as a courtesy to Council staff, phone 4774000 and ask for 2nd Floor reception, so to request a copy be put aside for your collection.

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