I am about as angry as could possibly be!

What a wonderful way to ruin a bloody good day. Holly crap the ODT has gone too far this time. I have read some SHIT about this stadium development in the past, but the ODT have completely ruined my day, nothing like sunshine and a good coffee, still what a terrible start.

If I could adequately express in words how utterly pissed off I am at the ODT running an Opinion piece that is possibly worse than anything Bev Butler has ranted on about, from someone supposedly in a position of responsibility, the CEO of the Southland Regional Council.

Full sorry pathetic woeful and disgraceful crap here!

It seems that Ciaran Keogh doesn’t think that building a stadium in Dunedin is a good idea. Fine, but the way than conclusion is drawn is just laughable a outright bloody joke.

Actually way too angry to even construct a reply that is publishable, so will do the sensible thing and get to work and get a coffee on board.

Coffee aboard, here goes.

OK: Reasoned response to this rubbish, line 1:

“No matter how worthy the motivation for building the proposed covered stadium, it is the wrong answer for ensuring the future prosperity of Dunedin as the principal city in the future of Otago and Southland”

This is not a single strategy issue, this isn’t the one strategy that will take this city forward. This is not nor has it ever been the rock for which the economic future of the city its to be based. Not even the CST or most rabid stadium supporters have stated this.

“It is the commitment of the last of the city’s spare resources, and some, to a grand gesture to the past in the hope that the ancestors’ spirits will smile once again upon the city.”

Over simplistic assumption to what this project is. This is stadium is not looking for ‘daddies’ approval. This is a pretty hollow assumption and poor analysis.

“Dunedin needs to readdress itself to both the future and to its relationship with the remainder of the South.”

Which town or city in this country isn’t constantly doing so? And to assume that the city isn’t currently doing so is again disingenuous.

“Its role in the South of the future is becoming increasingly tenuous”

Eg, this is hyperbole for the sake of seeing one’s own words in print.

“If it weren’t for the hospital and the university it would already have little relevance at all to the rest of us in Otago and Southland. And the issue of relevance is what Dunedin needs to debate if it is to adapt to the changing world ahead.”

OK, this is where the whole article just falls apart into an arrogant rant. This is akin to saying Wellington wouldn’t be without Parliament or the Movie Industry. Or that Invercargill wouldn’t exist without the Dairy Industry and the Polytech. We know this is absolute and utter rubbish. We are constantly having this discussion, seemingly oblivious to this, the author is ignoring this for simple fact of a rant against the stadium. This is possibly one of the SILLIEST and plainly DUMB summations of the place of Dunedin in NZ in the early part of the 21st C I have ever read. It’s actually meaningless drivel.

“The current global economic turmoil is a symptom of a much wider change occurring in the global environment”.

Yes but No. This is a massive over simplification of the socio-political and economic failures of the last 12 months. But in a nutshell (since we are allowed to be so mindless simplistic), a massive failure in economic institutions within the worlds economic powerhouse have had far reaching effects. No one is suggesting that capitalism is at failure (well not outside of the socialist realms, and good on them for questioning so), however there is much reform needed within the financial institutions which dominate the western economic model. The fundamentals of stable government, global trade and free societies will ensure the continuation of western civilisation as we know it. But then nothing is without change, change is good. However this author is somehow suggesting that Dunedin, more than any other centre, isn’t prepared for changing economic times. Pre tell how long have the Southland Regional Council been planning for global economic meltdowns and if so lets hear your plan for the financial nirvana which will be Southland (let me guess it has a hell of a lot to do with primary mineral extraction in the form of coal and oil).

“I have lived on the borders of the city for much of the past decade watching it develop an increasingly inward and backward-looking stance.”

What a ridiculous statement from the Author. I have lived IN the city for near on 12 years now and am continually amazed at how outward looking Dunedin has become, mindful of who or what it is. If the above statement had any grasp on reality then the likes of the Cruise ships and the Taieri Tain would not have eventuated. There would be no Centre for Innovation at the University with the aim to take the knowledge of it’s staff to the world in a commercial venture. There would have been no Animation Research nor Natural History New Zealand, do I need to go on. Fisher and Paykel would not be competing in the very biggest luxury markets in the world if this was so. Hillside workshops would not be courting work abroad. These are but a few of the most obvious examples of how Dunedin is looking past even these shores to brighter and more lucrative economic fields.

“If this stance does not change then the stadium will be the final act for Dunedin.”

Wow, if you were on a game show right now the adjudicator (Lockwood Smith, John Humphrys or Jeremy Paxman) would have pressed the buzzer for an incorrect answer and deducted all of your points for being so bloody stupid.

“For those who wish to explore the consequence of this pattern of societal behaviour I would suggest reading Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond.”

This book is not without it’s criticism, while on the whole painting a grim picture, nothing is set in stone yet. This is the beauty of being human, the ability to rationally evaluate our surroundings and adjust accordingly. But then to further blight his colourful soliloquy, the Author goes on:

The stadium is no different in concept than the moai of Easter Island, the temples of the Aztecs or the coliseums of ancient Rome.

The monuments all got more elaborate as these societies responded to a changing environment by desperately doing more of the same hoping that some deity would be appeased, or at least the inhabitants would be distracted until things improved.”

Please Mr Paxman hit your bloody buzzer once again. Wrong answer. If, just if your assumption and wildly idiotic conclusions were correct, then why is every other western, eastern or in between society building these monuments. Seemingly stadia construction is one of the last steps in the demise of a society.

However, I guess without even knowing it, the author does raise an important issue. That is the power and place of a stadium or like structure within the social and economic fabric of society. The counter argument to Ciaran’s claims can be found in “The New Cathederals. Politics and Media in the History of Stadium Construction” by Robert C Trumpour {Syracuse University Press 2007}. This work simply and dispassionately describes how the place of the stadium and/or major sporting team associated with a region has become increasingly important economically and socially. Could the author please explain the rational behind the very singular use velodrome facility built in Southland, or the Events Centre, surely these must come under the same criticism?

“The most insightful document I have read recently on where we might all be heading is a report released in November 2008 by the United States Joint Forces Command entitled The Joint Operating Environment 2008 (JOE2008).

This document is remarkably frank, insightful and alarming.”

OK, I am starting to get the picture. Correct me if I am wrong, but I am guessing this gentleman is of an older generation with somewhat conservative or right wing ideologies, because why else would you use a US Military document to argue against a Stadium Development in Dunedin. Unsurprisingly this document is not without it’s critics. Seemingly the author is keen for Dunedin to look outwards and engage the world, I (and others) would argue that to pin the economic development hopes of this city on a flawed Military document is somewhat problematic.

“It is not militaristic alarmism but a concise and comprehensive geographer’s analysis of the possible consequences on our collective futures of the mixing of the demographics of massive population growth, the ageing of the West, competition for resources, economic instability and indebtedness, pandemic, international interconnectedness, technological change and relative changes in the economic and military power of nations over the next two decades.”

Buzzer Mr Humphrys? It has been found to be flawed in both is assessments scientifically and thus it’s conclusions. But if they Author again thinks that the city leaders, indeed the countries political, social and economic leaders aren’t already engaging these issues, then Mr Keogh is sorely mistaken.

“What is not uncertain is that the world will see change the like of which it has never been seen before”

And the world in 1925, 1945, 1955, 1965 (you get the picture) will change like it has never changed before. To plant future success or failure on suggested simple assumption is incredibly weak and somewhat, I hate to use the term again and again, disingenuous.

“Dunedin also seems in denial of the fact that without the support of provincial Otago and Southland it would cease to exist, while the reverse is not true.

Gore and Invercargill both possess more secure dynamic and productive economies, where Dunedin is critically dependent on the future of two large state-funded institutions.”

I am sorry, did I really just read this? Are you joking. Gore and Invercargill are independently progressive economic units, seemingly non-reliant on the wider Southland economy. This is possibly the second silliest thing I have ever read with regard to criticism of the Stadium development (and that’s saying something). Dunedin is an economic identity into itself, operating within not only the wider Otago, but (this may astonish the author) South Island, New Zealand and global economy. This is just too bloody silly to even contemplate countering, suffice to say, if the Author thinks that Invercargill or Gore has not worked symbolically with the wider economy to get to where they are today, this person obviously did go to University to eat his lunch on his way to an MBA.

“These institutions are not just vulnerable to change in government policy, they are the most exposed of institutions to the oncoming changes in society and technology.”

Hello – Southland Institute of Technology, Comalco and the Dairy Industry, are all subject to the very same pressures. Sorry, there is a term used in the new web technology Twitter, in which brevity is essential in the 140 character allocation of message construction – FAIL. It is a term we should use here with this analysis.

“Both universities and hospitals are hugely costly and inherently resource-inefficient beasts. There are technologies presently in their early phase of development that will render redundant much of their physical infrastructure and compete for provision of services.”

Again wrong. Sorry if the public is a drain on the government coffers, but these “inherently resource-inefficient beasts” are some of the basis of the social democratic institutions on which New Zealand proudly sits. However if we are to assume this line of argument has any sane conclusion, could someone please inform Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Harvard that they are to be redundant soon. OMG this is a bloody joke.

But again if he thinks that the leaders and future leaders of said institutions aren’t aware of these pressures, then again I am assuming that this person is living with one’s head in the sand. I am coming to the conclusion that the author seemingly recently came across this document and is somewhat startled by it. Is it irony (or some other linguistic term) that the University actually teaches and encourages this so called technological revolution. Similar claims have been made in the past, cars will render horses useless, electricity will save us all, the cell phone will kill the telephone, we will all have 4 day working weeks… The future is yet unwritten my friend.

“Dunedin is at vitally important stage of its history.

Its initial reason for existence has nearly run its course.

Its only natural asset is its character.”

Ok, now you are getting personal and arrogant. Does one need to point out that Dunedin does not exist in an economic bubble, that the economic strength of the city is symbiotic with the surrounding region. Does not Gold and other mineral exploration have positive economic impact on this city. But to be even more local, Dunedin’s assest are greater than simply ‘character’. Again you are doing a great disservice to the wonderful business and institutions which are creating wealth in Dunedin. In 2004 it was shown that the University annually contributes over $900m towards the local economy. The natural environment itself is a wonderful asset to the city. The Harbour is physical, emotional, cultural and economic asset for this city. As is the surrounding landscape, from the productive city forests through to the Albatross Colony, the penguins, and other wonderful wildlife found within the city limits. This hollow statement by the author also rudely ignores the greatest asset this town has, the people. Without the Emmy Award winning, industry and science leading, world class artists and other creatives (musicians), business leaders, global technology leaders, through to the everyday people, Dunedin would be nothing, and to ignore them with such simplistic ease is a discredit to himself and us. In fact what he said is bloody disgusting.

“It has no inherent physical resources or productive base upon which to build. The city’s economic core is about to experience a life threatening exposure to virtual education and virtual health services and its main street to e-commerce.

We’ll let this stand on it’s own stupidity. Un bloody believable.

“If we are lucky and insightful, these changes will occur positively, driven by adaptive necessity as our nation becomes increasingly impoverished through indebtedness, a loss of wealth through foreign ownership of our resources and infrastructure, and an ever-increasing dependence on imports.

If we are not lucky and insightful we will fail to adapt and succumb to terminal economic decline.

If Dunedin is to survive then it must look to the future, not the past.”

Again sir you are doing this city and it’s people a great disservice to suggest that we aren’t currently doing so.

“It is a future where the wealth of the South will be increasingly focused in Southland and the Clutha where energy and agricultural developments will drive economic growth”

Once again sir, you are the one riding on old economic modes of development. it is not a given that the southern oil fields will be serviced in Invercargill. Oh crap, I’ve had enough of this, it’s taken way too much of my time countering these bloody disingenuous arguments.

“It is a future where the city could become increasingly isolated through travel being constrained by the cost and availability of fossil fuels and limits on its use by climate change policies.”

Buzz, bloody wrong once again. You are on one hand talking technology will save us, yet you are assuming that modern travel will be old technology based. People will always travel, it is a very in built trait of humans. There will be better economic times and relative to the past, travel will continue to get cheaper, greener and easier. Who is the one rooted in past economic modes now?

“The stadium is an old idea from an era nearly past. Dunedin needs new ideas for a new era and it needs to conserve its scarce economic resources until this strategy for the future is resolved”

Someone had better tell New York, Beijing, London, Christchurch… that their stadiums are doomed.

Could I be more depressed. A sham and a blur on the ODT for publishing this.

EDIT: What annoys me possibly most about this article is how it is intended to divide. Sometimes I literally don’t care if it’s built or if it isn’t, the apathy is sometimes too great. Most of the stuff published about the stadium I’ve heard before and it’s like background noise, and life seems pretty normal. I like not really caring too. But when something as poor as this comes along it makes me put my too pro hat on, and I just don’t want to. There was no need for this rubbish, and it certainly didn’t need to be published.



Filed under Economics, Geography, Hot air, Media, Politics, Stadiums, STS

22 responses to “I am about as angry as could possibly be!

  1. Elizabeth

    Like your sensationalism, Paul.
    WE LOVE Ciaran!

    When he says this “is the commitment of the last of the city’s spare resources, and some, to a grand gesture to the past in the hope that the ancestors’ spirits will smile once again upon the city”, I have to concur.

    It’s not a smart project at all. It’s dated and replicative of other stadium-makers’ (in some cases, very poor) endeavours; a roofed rugby field is hardly a worthy point of difference to bring economic benefits to “Otago”, let alone Dunedin. A massively inane gesture of limited business thinking, all up.

    Ciaran continues, “Dunedin needs to readdress itself to both the future and to its relationship with the remainder of the South. Its role in the South of the future is becoming increasingly tenuous.”

    Problematic, worthy of consideration. – fair enough! Can’t agree more.

    I’m late, due in town, will write more later. Thanks to Ciaran, a spring in my step for the day. Will buy lots of ODT’s.

  2. Peter

    Mr Keogh’s opinion piece seems to epitomise all that has been wrong with thinking about regional development in Otago and Southland over the last few decades – the parochial view that ‘my area is better than your one and we don’t need each other’ argument, is the intellectual equivalent of ‘my dad’s better than your dad’. Otago and Southland aren’t big enough to be fragmented by this kind of rubbish.

    The Southland economy in very recent years has prospered from the dairy boom and renewed interest in oil/gas/mineral exploration. Good on it but take them away and your left with a marginal smelter and meat industry. The future of the southern regional economies lies in the planned integration of activities across both provinces. For example, the export of dairy produce is largely through Fonterra and the new Mosgiel distribution centre will only enhance the trend to export through the Port of Otago rather than SouthPort; the potential benefits of oil and gas exploration in the Canterbury bight and Great South Basin may fall as much on Dunedin as Southland. There’s no God given right for either area to be the physical base for these activities. And what about those mineral rich parts of Central and Coastal Otago? Why should Invercargill prosper from Southland’s resources but Dunedin not benefit from Otago’s? Mr Keogh’s argument just doesn’t make sense.

    Central Otago/Queenstown has also boomed recently on tourism and viticulture. Whether high growth can be sustained in these areas is questionable. Central Otago’s population is less than 40,000 people. Its recent growth has been largely forged on economic links and migration from Auckland rather than Dunedin but it would be most unwise to think the Lakes area can somehow ‘go it alone’ from Dunedin and the rest of Otago amd Southland. Many of its business services are conducted out of Dunedin and Invercargill.

    Dunedin accounts for 123,000 of Otago’s 195,000 residents. That’s still quite a hefty demographic dominance .How to make Dunedin prosper is in many ways the economic puzzle box for the wider Otago region and the lower South Island. The so called geographic impediment of physical isolation and technological change make Dunedin no less relevant or vulnerable than any part of the South. Growth in Tourism, Information Technology, professional services, industrial research and development would seem part of of the equation for a city which has a bright a future as people wish to make it. The stadium isn’t going to detract from these developments, only enhance them by creating a city with a wider array of quality public amenities.

  3. Elizabeth

    Not the time to do a long essay in reply, Paul. I feel a fascination for, and often admire, passionate outbursts – keeps me from any complacency. Seriously, mean it. What a job. Doing blog stocking fillers. Testing resolve and the continuous boil, around all other work and responsibilities.

    I’ll lead in by saying…

    Each week, I hear staffers and managers of ORC and DCC in their private, not their professional, capacities express despair and disillusionment about the stadium project (Ciaran is his own man but he will know what that sounds like), about how it will curtail other initiatives (inside councils, outside councils, and in the partnerships between) – due to the lack of a real business case for the stadium. They speak to likely impacts on communities, including on their own children – the probable extent of subsidy required for the stadium’s existence, involving too many years.

    The shift of money is out of residents’ and property owners’ collective pockets into the hands of a few little empire builders.

    While I will accept there is ‘some’ social philanthropy possible in the hearts of key private sector players in the stadium project, the wider drive of the project is not about that. At all.

    I can safely say that, because the ‘stadium model’ is well known and understood both here and abroad. The ‘Otago’ stadium project is the dog’s dinner for a flabby resting dinosaur – as Cr Paul Hudson said on 7 February, “We haven’t been able to find other projects.” (link) Where the hell has DCC been, perhaps Jim Harland’s historic blue-sky beanbag brainstorm sessions with staff weren’t replicated for elected representatives, who seem uncomfortable with LTCCP processes anyway. God help us all.

    The Dunedin-Clutha debate is an extended one that the territorial authorities or ‘personalities’ concerned continue to stir.

    Why the future doesn’t need stadiums, the opinion piece by Ciaran Keogh, is exactly this, an opinion, with hyperbole; and ODT as an independent privately owned newspaper can print what it ‘likes’, I don’t mean literally.

    Editorially, ODT provides an outlet for opinion – it doesn’t automatically follow that ODT supports the opinion writer’s views.

    Ditto the What If? blog.

    I enjoy your views Paul, and those of contributors – in all their unexpurgated glory. Sometimes I even get to hate my own views if later I realise I’ve written in a vacuum. So what. Opinion isn’t enough to wreck the day, or cancel sunshine existence at Otago. But it’s good to react to or ignore…plenty of this happens. Worse than Ciaran’s piece has happened.

    He’s not the kind of person to hold back. I wish more people would share their personal-professional views against the stadium – jeez, I have a vested interest in that (I don’t support the amount of public funding going into this project – if it can’t stand on its own legs why bother).

    The number of lawyers, financiers, accountants and business owners around town that say the stadium project is a crock – privately voiced, not in the media unfortunately – is sizeable. I would like more to have courage and independence in speaking their minds publicly…because their combined lack has actually allowed the DCC and ORC to churn on with this project at all costs – without sufficient criticality, transparency and accountability.

    Businesses have influence and have chosen not to exercise it; leaving the variety of ‘residents’ and ‘ratepayers’ completely exposed to raw unparalleled council profligacy.

    When CST went to the regions it found few takers, north, south or west. CST didn’t have the strength to present to Dunedin residents in any great quantum. Divide and conquer tactics, we’ve seen these play out again and again.

    In the end, it comes down to:

    [I just typed that, not a yell, not a scream – sniff]

    Simmer, have a good day : )
    We can all explore what’s good for a rise. So did Ciaran. The stadium debate has most of us talking or slinging off – ODT’s up for that.

  4. Richard

    I agree with Peter! The article was esoteric nonsense of the first order!

    Ciaran is not to be taken too seriously though. Don’t forget he stepped down as CEO of Clutha District to whip across “the ditch”. Now he’s back. Hmmh! Obviously never got to see Ayer’s Rock from ground level to get a real perspective on things!

    Or maybe he feels forgotten in his “old stamping ground”. Kevin “Who?”

    It’s all a bit of a stir, really! And he certainly has got Paul going!

    Oh, by the way Elizabeth, ALL the Mayors in Otago and Southland signed a letter to Hon. Bill English supporting the Stadium. All – including Frana Cardno, Mayor of Southland District.

  5. Perhaps there was a method to his madness, and you may have stumbled upon it Elizabeth;

    “Each week, I hear staffers and managers of ORC and DCC in their private, not their professional, capacities express despair and disillusionment about the stadium project (Ciaran is his own man but he will know what that sounds like), about how it will curtail other initiatives (inside councils, outside councils, and in the partnerships between)”.

    OK, so if there is a global economic meltdown, why? Simply because old models of doing things in the modern world were not good enough to meet the needs of a modern economic model. There was no radical thinking, in fact the answer to perceived problems was to liberalise and de-regulate, to the point where so much rope was given that they simply hung themselves.

    Who staffs councils (with all due respect to anyone in council employment)? I could argue are people who are not willing to think outside of the box. The most successful people I admire (yes Champagne Socialist and all) are the risk takers, those who constantly think outside the box. I mean really who would have thought painting big bright orange boxes and calling them Untitled 1 would be a good idea. But the privileged few times I have been to the Tate Modern, I get the shivers when I walk into the Mark Rothko room, I literally wept the first time I saw them in real life.

    A hippie opens a record store, takes a risk and signs reggae bands, goes on to be one of the most innovative and recognisable brands in the world. The Virgin airlines operation was the first airline in the world to turn a profit after 911, when tired established airlines were disappearing off the map faster than a stadium in the midst of global warming flooding. Not content with that, Richard Branson is now heading for the stars – the bloody stars.

    Not happy with being a rock star, John Lennon takes off all his clothes and lives in a bed with his wife protesting the War in Vietnam.

    These people are successful because they were told that they can’t do something and thought “bollocks to that” I’ve got a good feeling about this, I’ll do it my way.

    Now I’m not suggesting that Council staff aspire to the dizzy genius of these great minds (apologies to those I have left out), but if Elizabeth is correct and there is frustration within council about this project, and Ciaran is concerned about the global economic situation (from a US military point of view and all), then what are these people doing about it. It seems to me that there is a complete mindset that this is how things are done and this is the way things are going to be done forever. Sure this isn’t Sir Humphry’s civil service, I’ve even encountered it. We were the first people in Dunedin to build a strawbale house, and my god did it not only ruffle a few feathers, it challenged and evoked the strangest reactions. To all those who said we were mad – sorry I live in possibly the warmest house in all of Dunedin, and thanks to the vision of Ian Butcher, we also have a house that is visually stunning. We were told we couldn’t do it, we shouldn’t do it, and when Council told us that we’d need to cover the straw when it arrived (really no, rain’s bad for straw bales?) we knew we really had pushed people in ways they weren’t comfortable to.

    If the stadium is going to put an undue pressure on council commitments and these people still want to see the area and city prosper (the reason they have taken these jobs right?) then think outside the bloody box. If council had previously been the cash cow for a project, do the bloody hard yards and squeeze the money out of some other source, because despite the doom and gloom there is a lot of money out there waiting to find a home that will add value to it, be it social or economic or preferably both. If Ciaran is correct and we need to rethink how things are done, fine do it, don’t bloody bleat about it. The future is never set, there are always new ways of doing things, and what may have worked in the past may not necessarily work in the future. My god the greatest attribute humans have is to adapt to their changing environment, this is what perhaps defines us, it’s at the very heart of Darwin’s stunning thesis.

    I hear that Donald Trump has been the busiest he has ever been, stating that this is the best environment in a generation to get major projects under way, he’s literally spent billions of US dollars investing, upgrading and spending, as he is another of those flawed genius’ who truly understands what it takes to get things done at the right time. Last year a Canadian funds investor bucked the trend and increased business 70%, and is now warning Canadians to do up their houses, build new houses or invest in any way they can, money has never been so cheap, and he dismisses any notion that this is going to be a greater depression than the “great” one. How was it that Apple computer turned a greater profit, selling the very things that apparently were meant to fail, consumer electronics, but selling quality derived from thinking differently, which became (to use a Steve Jobs term) insanely great. Not only did they turn a profit, they increased sales across the board, and introduced new product.

    There is no sane reason why anything else needs to be curtailed. Think of another way of doing it. You see it everyday all around us, but we choose to ignore it, from the very simple though to the insanely genius. We need to use another of those great Human traits and learn from these. I mean Dunedin 2008 is so vastly different, so vibrant, so alive, outward looking, exciting, compared to the drab closed Dunedin I used to visit in 1988. In twenty years Dunedin has transformed itself into a small vibrant city full of artists, cafes, business, some of the finest education facilities, world leading television and technology. If Ciaran thinks this is all down to Dunedin looking inward, I suggest he takes off his ideological blinkers and see what is actually going on around him, it’s a very bloody different story to what he paints.

    If council and business are all in fear of the mythical tartan army, then a few casualties may be the result of shaking that mythical beast. After all what is the tartan army, but an old boys club looking to make money. So make them some money, but use that money to make us some too, and make this city an even better and brighter place. Crack a few bloody eggs. Seriously did the Farmers Market establish itself because when they were told no you can’t do that they gave up?

    Argh, show me the bloody heads that I need to bang together, I’ll bloody do it. If these people can’t see the wonderful assets and riches that this city and region can offer people, despite the hurdles, then they have no place in public office and the employment of the public. Call me naive, call it blind bloody optimism, but there are just too many examples time and time throughout the entire history of civilisation of success from adversity, and if we aren’t willing to acknowledge this then we might as well shut up shop and bow to the likes of Ciaran.

  6. BTW, love your passion Elizabeth.

  7. Richard

    “Each week, I hear staffers and managers of ORC and DCC in their private, not their professional, capacities express despair and disillusionment about the stadium project (Ciaran is his own man but he will know what that sounds like), about how it will curtail other initiatives (inside councils, outside councils, and in the partnerships between) – due to the lack of a real business case for the stadium.”


    One minute we hear the frequent refrain that elected members do nothing but “rubber stamp” what the staff want.

    Now you are saying Elizabeth, that it will curtail “other initiatives” etc and that there is a real lack of “a real business case for the stadium.”

    If what you say is true, whose initiatives? Whose business case?

    In the “old days” (i.e. pre 1989) when the budgets were crunched by “the gang of four”, departmental heads who had their ‘pet projects’ put aside used to arrange for well-managed “leaks” to the newspapers. Guess what happened next?

    Frustrations, differences of opinion, I understand.
    but governance (the duty of elected members) is
    not about rubber-stamping.

  8. Elizabeth

    Richard said, ‘Now you are saying Elizabeth, that it will curtail “other initiatives” etc and that there is a real lack of “a real business case for the stadium.”

    ‘If what you say is true, whose initiatives? Whose business case?’

    I’m almost too lost today on stadium perceptions to know the reply. With apology, Richard.

    Wouldn’t it be something like…CST to provide strong business case for operational viability of stadium, that would satisfy the likes of PwC and Horwath, so there was felt no significant risk or uncertainty for the project.

    I note ORFU’s Richard Reid was ranting today that if people don’t go to the game/concert on Saturday we could lose the Highlanders franchise…HECK. Not words to help executive summaries in review of operational projections.

    And say, if CST couldn’t manage to smooth risk or uncertainty, there’s always the Dunedin City Council’s ability to buy in consultants to make the case properly, if it can be made. Now, isn’t that what our rates are for.
    [don’t go there, rhetorical]

    Initiatives for “the good life” – more sunshine in Otago and Southland – I think, logically, come from the wide community and that community most certainly includes Council’s elected representatives and staff. And that would, in an ideal world, have more than ‘losing rugby’ to contemplate for business direction and community support and beneficence.

    [was never very atune to human carthorse sport]

    Will leave it there. But see how simple, how memorable, Nicola Bould’s anti plastic bag campaign is. Citizens can believe a lot can be achieved for less, and look forward to being part of the multiple answers…I won’t give you Otago Farmers Market-like essays right now, worth $millions in trade across the floor (and the region), provides opportunity, grows businesses, and jobs, makes people happy, is too popular, too crowded – looks like a gypsy encampment once a week…deceptive, flavoursome and essential. Basic trade and endeavour, adds value – has more to develop regionally if the charitable trust stops resting on its laurels.

    We the originators built OFM for success.

    A large building doesn’t always breed success, unless the feasibility is spot on and the activity it caters is proportionately foreseeable and achievable. Is it.

    Like I say, a bit lost – which is completely in character for this time of night in the middle of text editing.

  9. Elizabeth

    On this thread, March 5, 2009 at 11:20 pm, Paul said everything! With complete lucidity, style, grace and excellence.

    Said you could write! You know it.

    You said, “if Elizabeth is correct and there is frustration within council about this project, and Ciaran is concerned about the global economic situation (from a US military point of view and all), then what are these people doing about it…

    “If the stadium is going to put an undue pressure on council commitments and these people still want to see the area and city prosper (the reason they have taken these jobs right?) then think outside the bloody box.”

    Paul has it. Design thinking.
    Of what you say there is nothing to undermine, devalue or throw shoes at.

    Will never get to sleep now…my research for a time was ‘black box’…a little contrary, high design theory reaching into the multidisciplinary, and where, practically fielded, the likes of Branson arrive at.

    Not especially good for Council chat rooms, as we know them.

  10. Fliss

    17 years ago on a “don’t leave town till you see the country” commitment and round trip of the South Island, I met Dunedin. It was a rainy old day in April. The Mosgiel sign stood proud and winked while it made the statement: Mosgiel is here. The view coming into the city of the harbour knocked us over. The rain disappeared. We wandered around the city for the next few days in a daze.

    I remember thinking at the time: Why didn’t I know about this place? How did all these solid buildings get to be here? What excellent shopping with a real MainStreet. We even forgave the new bricklaying on the pavements, and the cheek from the bricklayers, as we picked our way through it. But the views! And as the taxi driver backed his way up Baldwin Street to give us something else to think about, we did.

    A year later, with cat, three teenagers and new life ahead we had moved from Tauranga to our new chosen home. We found an old building close to the city centre and started again. Given, it was lonely for a few years and there were a few rocks in the way, but 16 years later we are still here and proudly Dunedin. Proud to operating our business from the city and even prouder to be doing business all over the region and – gosh – in Southland too!

    So what’s up with Ciaran Keogh? Ciaran dude! Next time you’re in the city can I invite you to stop and smell the rhodos! A wee visit to our beautiful Botanic Gardens will surely grant you some grace over your fervent jealousy of our city. Or I would be happy to take you for a visit to Okia Reserve where you can check out ten years worth of quiet reclamation and regeneration for Penguin purposes – but as this is an active city you will need to do some walking. Or you can come to a KUMA (Marori Business Network) meeting with me and meet some of the members involved in all sorts of hip and groovy businesses that may or may not have a business connection to the University or the hospital or may or may not have a business connection to Invercargill or may or may not have a business connection to Shanghai. You will like them because they are on to it people who are just getting on with their lives and making a living from their own enterprise and creating work for others. They just chose to do it from Dunedin.

    I could also introduce you a young friend who is contemplating taking over a successful, rural based family business and moving it from up north to re-establish it in Dunedin. He is the same rare person who can do carbon credit audits for your Council and he also knows a truck load about the sustainable forestry and trees business. And just to show you how diverse an economy we have in Dunedin, I could put you in touch with your inner man by encouraging you to have a session at one of the new Spas that are popping up across the city. You will especially like the ones that offer ‘braz’.

    From there we could trip about on a Citibus – and if you have a Super Gold Card you can get free travel. We could visit any number of heritage properties and chat with the owners and live the passion they have for heritage and this city. Following that we can follow the new Port Chalmers heritage walk to Aramoana and call in to chat with the Southern Heritage Trust and discuss all their other projects and plans for economic development for the city and the region. Projects based on their philosophy of past>present>future.

    Still not convinced that Dunedin is the hub of the South, let’s visit Middlemarch, have a great coffee with Kate and her team at Kissing Gate and talk business before we start the rail trail. On returning to the city we can nip up to Balmacewan, check out all the work that resident Golf Pro Shelly Duncan is achieving, play that fine heritage golf course which is one of dozens of courses in the city giving Dunedin huge potential to become a golfing destination. Or you could come ice skating, gymming, swimming, curling, cricketing, netballing, softballing, mountain biking, tramping, climbing, dancing, singing, bag piping, waka ama, sailing, fishing, wind sailing, bird watching, kapa haka, gallery visiting, museuming, coffee culturing, library, movies, air guitar, dinning out, dining out, dining out.

    Or you could just sit and be quiet as you contemplate the full past, current and future potential of the Good Ship Enterprise Dunedin and what a special place she has been; is now; and will continue to be. It’s awesome to contemplate all the potential and to think about what we could achieve if we worked together across boundary lines on maps to make the lower South stronger and more resilient.

    And as for the last comment you made in article – “Dunedin needs new ideas for a new era and it needs to conserve its scare economic resources until this strategy for the future is resolved”. You will be pleased to hear I am sure, that Dunedin does have a strategy for the future: and that it includes our neighbours, and their cows.

    ### This Opinion piece was also published by the Otago Daily Times on March 9, 2009.

  11. Richard

    Well said, Fliss!

  12. Richard

    “Wouldn’t it be something like…CST to provide strong business case for operational viability of stadium, that would satisfy the likes of PwC and Horwath, so there was felt no significant risk or uncertainty for the project.” – Elizabeth.

    Now I do not want to get into a ‘pros and cons’ debate over the stadium, or any other project on this, or other blogs.

    So, I simply point out that the answer to your point is set out in Appendix A , page 12 of PriceWaterhouseCoopers letter dated 30 January – page 2.13 of the papers tabled at Council on 9 February.

    This may be read by some as ‘a disclaimer’ of sorts but it is essentially what you get when you do anything on a new project, even a small – or large – or any sized business.

    When June and I put together the projected sales, budgets etc when were working on starting our wee business in 1996, the “accounts/budget)” we prepared had the same sort of clauses attached, although not in as much detail.

    So, while we may have different opinions on the forecasts, that is all you can expect from PWC etc.

    And, on forecasts, there are always questions that remain, or keep cropping up. That is as it should be. It is also about quantifying the risks.

    Take this one as an example – the acquisition of land, the only major item that has exceeded budget. Did we pay too much? Well, maybe in two instances but that is what happens with property especially when ground titles, leases and buildings are held by different owners etc.

    The risk – Na Na!

    Just look at what the DCC has purchased. It is an investment either way and additionally enables a sensible/practical resiting of the highway to Port.

    Then I could go back to the forecasts etc and ‘business plans’ (!) for the redevelopment of the University Oval, the relocation of the DPAG, the redvelopment of the Octagon in 1988-89, ditto the redevelopment of The Municpal Chambers, the acquisition of The Regent et al. (And it was the redvelopment of The Regent that sparked the revival of Malcolm Latham”s dream of making The Octagon, “The Heart of the City”). Now, that as all ‘history’. You, Peter E and me would feed off it all day but everyone else would, I think, find it boring although your “old chums’ at NZHPT might learn a thing or two!!

    As it always was!

  13. Elizabeth

    Hello Richard, that was a discussion if not a debate, thanks!
    I was just ruminating on your questions, not closely or academically, late at night perhaps –

    Risk, for everyone, is part of life. Some people want more than others…the lenders and developers falling over just now attest to the dangers of not being tidy with it.

    No sorry, no-one has really presented a viable business case for the stadium. I’m certainly not alone in thinking or saying that; and I reserve the right to remain ‘misguided’ on this.

    Don’t we think in using so much by way of public funds on one project, potentially, that we should be a trifle – or was that a heap of tripe – far less exposed to risk in the operationals. Or are we really VERY content, as a Council, to pump it with more ratepayer subsidy, if at first we can build the thing.

    I read all that, of course, PwC is clear that they agree with Horwath…risk and uncertainty identified not solved. What is the future of rugby at Dunedin, for one, has bearing. And as I say, ORFU’s Richard Reid is conveniently squawking now.

    I won’t go into more debate, since this is merely my opinion.

    I’m not too sure what NZHPT has got to do with it. Will need to re-read your post. Suffice to say they’re not on earth to play rugby, or if so they’re stronger on strategy and technique nationally than physical body power. As you know, their local team is improving!

  14. Elizabeth

    Greetings Fliss! Thanks for stopping by. Enjoyed the read, quite right in all respects. Brilliant.

  15. Elizabeth

    To clarify, Richard…
    In reply to your: ‘Now you are saying Elizabeth, that it will curtail “other initiatives” etc and that there is a real lack of “a real business case for the stadium.”‘

    I am saying about the business case for the stadium; the council staff are saying it independently of me, as I say, quietly privately. They’re saying the stadium will curtail other initiatives.

    Will watch my use of authorial voice(s) and strive for more clarity.

    As Paul asks, what are they doing about it – and I will add, “as individual citizens”. They’re free to take their hats off like anybody else.

    I feel a de Bono moment coming on…

  16. Richard

    (1) I am not aware of any other initiatives and/or projects that are being stifled or excluded by the stadium with, perhaps, the exception of Harbourside. But then some Council staff are opposed to that too!

    Maybe some ambitious ‘dreams’ ) read pet projects) are being curtailed.

    Everyone is – AS YOU SAY – entitled to a personal opinion but it is the elected members who decide POLICY!

    Always remember DEBT is a good discipline!

    (2) Accounting firms can only verify BUDGETED FORECASTS – whether for private or public purposes – on the information available. If it’s new, there are always uncertainties or risks. There are no actuals for them to do anything more than that.

    (3) None of the PEER REVIEWS – none of them – have said “the risk is too great, don’t do it”.

    (4) The CST will not own or administer the Stadium once it is in operation. That will be the responsibility of the new Dunedin City Venues Ltd (similar to Christchurch’s proven V-Base which will take over the bricks and mortar, and – very importantly – the marketing of all event and conference venues etc. A paper is due at Finance and Strategy shortly which will detail that all in depth.

    (5) Finally, debt not only results in inter-generational equity (i.e. spreading the cost over those generations who will use a major capital asset) but is also a good discipline! It is the management of debt that is important.


  17. Hey guys, shame the rest of Dunedin isn’t in on this discussion, but well done guys, and sorry the new site is coming along.

    Great discussion folks and thanks for taking the time Fliss.

  18. Elizabeth

    Richard’s (1): Think brainstorms, community participation, intuitions, friends’ good suggestions, and some pet projects…all in light happy conversational gestation. In the wider community that includes Council staff and managers.
    Chief Executive Jim Harland is himself is very fond of POLICY (and PROCESS), I think I’ve observed – but oh my look what’s happened to AUD and (Policy) Planning with the new position and appointment of Development Manager. Potential for design leadership, visionary socio-spatial know-how completely missed.
    Apart from one urban designer/landscape architect and one landscape architect are there any DESIGN professionals left at DCC to help facilitate, where it counts? I’m not talking about the graphic design office which has a varied but limited brief. Wait, before I administer the word ‘bereft’, there’s the new City Property Manager Robert Clark, acknowledged to have strong appreciation for urban design – after being at Auckland in the company of pre-eminent architect Gordon Moller and Co. Phew.

    Re Richard’s “Always remember DEBT is a good discipline!”. A popular view would be that DCC has too much already – DEBT, not discipline.

    Richard’s (2): Thanks for spelling that out. Cheers!

    Richard’s (3): DCC pays consultants to produce a view. Don’t we all. Watching resource management professionals and witnesses at ‘play’ in resource consent processes or plan change hearings. Yes, they’re serious enough…they afford to be careful.

    Richard’s (4): Read that somewhere. You again render the stale fruitcake: ‘build it and they will come’. Later, might upload Murray Stott’s material on the stadium question for general interest.

    Richard’s (5): Debt… intergenerational equity, discipline, management = pass the buck if we think we need a stadium. Stiff requirement: Good ball skills for a covered rectangular rugby field…built to lighten the INDEBTED life of ORFU.

    Richard’s “Cheers!”: Always end on an upbeat note.

    PS. At Dunedin today got a lot of sunshine – didn’t need a covered stadium for Vitamin D or the grass to grow.

  19. Richard

    “Re Richard’s “Always remember DEBT is a good discipline!” A popular view would be that DCC has too much already – DEBT, not discipline.” – Elizabeth.

    The city does not take on debt for debt’s sake and it has, of course – as Calvin has pointed out – to be repaid.

    What debt is incurred for and the level is for legitimate debate but is the “popular view” you refer to a well-informed one?

    It amazes me how such things as reports from rating agency, Standard & Poors, can be so easily dispensed with and the financial information tabled and considered at each Finance and Strategy Committee ignored. I accept it is not particularly “sexy stuff” but it’s there for those who want to access it. My recent article in the ODT did not ask anyone to agree, the intention was to inform and put some balance into the “debate”.

    I don’t like stale fruitcake. There are contrary views to what Murray Stott wrote and it is interesting that two recent outdoor shows – in Wellington just a few days ago – and before that in Christchurch, have been cancelled because of rain. Hmm!

    And if it is just a rugby stadium that is needed, then Carisbrook is already there. It would just be a question of ownership – as originally envisaged and recommended by the Harland Working Party five years ago – but, of course, with the same amount of debt and repayments … and on-going operating support as with the Edgar Centre, Moana Pool, Libraries etc. I just mention it because memories are so short!

    Oh yes, I have to tell you that my star sign last Monday was bang-on: “Keep your pockets open. Be friendly to others, and expect a miracle.”

    It seemingly happened that night!

  20. Elizabeth

    Hi Richard – regarding “but is the “popular view” you refer to a well-informed one?”, relax I was meaning ‘people in the street’ not any one person in particular, the great unwashed as referred to by others, perhaps those who don’t read the committee reports even. Ah well

    What a night it was then. Heavens.

  21. Richard

    Good Morning, Elizabeth

    To quote a former Thai PM, Chatachai Choonhaven: “No problem” (but it was not that easy, of course)!

    Paul has commented on that angle before i.e. “the man in the pub”. I just appreciate your giving me another opportunity to “get more information out there”.

    Daybreak is stretching out, last month of Summertime, ggrh!

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