Environment Southland media release

As received this morning by What if?

[Environment Southland letterhead]

CEO’s Stadium Comments Made in Private Capacity

Comments by Environment Southland Chief Executive Ciaran Keogh about the proposed stadium in Dunedin have been made in his private capacity as an individual and an Otago ratepayer, Environment Southland Chairman Stuart Collie said today.

The Otago Daily Times published an opinion piece by Mr Keogh about the proposed stadium development earlier this month. Mr Keogh had also been invited to take part in a public debate in Dunedin on Sunday, but has decided to withdraw.

Mr Collie said that the media had linked Mr Keogh with Environment Southland in relation to the stadium debate but that Mr Keogh had never purported to be commenting in his capacity as Chief Executive and had made it clear that he was expressing personal opinions.

“Environment Southland has not discussed the proposed stadium or its funding and our council has no official position one way or the other on the issue. It is not for this Council to comment on developments in a neighbouring region and Ciaran has never suggested that his comments were in any way reflective of this Council’s position,” Mr Collie said.

Mr Keogh said while he had expressed his own views in regard to the stadium debate, some had been unable to separate his personal opinions from his official position and to avoid any ambiguity, he had decided not to attend the meeting in Dunedin on Sunday.

ENDS

20 March 2009
Contact Stuart Collie for further comment, 03 211 5115

10 Comments

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

10 responses to “Environment Southland media release

  1. Russell Garbutt

    Nice to be reminded of the appalling behaviour of Chin and Cairns – both complicit in the biggest scandal in Dunedin’s history. Both would look so good stuck in stocks in the Octagon don’t you think? Or maybe fronting up in an appropriate Court.

    But both nice and safe protected by their mates…..

  2. Peter

    Yes, I well remember this despicable pressuring of Ciaran Keogh, by Chin and Cairns, to not speak out against the stadium. Thoroughly undemocratic. Bully boy tactics, which Hitler thugs would have been proud of. Not sure whether now seeing Chin, shuffling along our streets with his head down, is an indication of shame and regret. I hope so.
    I may add most of our other speakers were also approached in like manner.

  3. Lindsay

    I have always thought that as bad as the DCC’s involvement was in this farce, the ORC’s was worse. Most people, including myself, would struggle to name more than one ore two of the current councillors on the ORC. They have very little direct involvement with most of the population yet their frankly bizarre decision to contribute our money to a project, so far outside their area of responsibility it defies belief, was pivotal in it going ahead.
    I would hate to see those responsible in the ORC at the time slither off into anonymity without having to answer for their actions, and as soon as I locate that list I will put it back up here.
    As for Mr Keogh, an influx of integrity into the city can only be a good thing.

  4. Lindsay

    Peter – probably Chin’s only regret is that he didn’t get mentioned in the New Year’s Honours list when Malcolm did. Services to creative accountancy, Order of Merit for blind optimism or obfuscation above and beyond the call of duty.
    Those responsible must not be allowed to fade quietly into history.
    Once the first turf was turned there was never any going back, and most of those involved knew that. If nothing else, their names need to be repeated until everyone in the city knows why we are in this position.
    I will not accept people saying they made the best decision based on the information they had at the time, that is a cop out.
    I have to explain to my thirteen year old why he will be paying for the excesses of another generation without anything to show for it and that infuriates me above all else.

  5. Peter

    Right on, Lindsay. As the stadium debacle gathers pace there will be plenty of excuses – the information angle you mention being one of them. Remember one of the ruses for massaging the stadium along was pretending not to have made up their minds on building the stadium till further information was at hand. The peer reviews very early on warned the councillors of the folly of building the thing. They may eventually try to pin it on Malcolm and his CST whose job was to interpret the information for them. No excuse for laziness and not applying due diligence, but not sure whether you can ping councillors, who voted for the stadium, on the basis of stupidity. The people of Dunedin continue to elect well known names, show ponies who really don’t have the brains to process information and make sound, rational decisions.

  6. Bev Butler

    The day STS advertised the stadium public meeting at the Town Hall phones rang hot. Chin, Cairns and Farry rang most of our speakers trying to dissuade them from speaking.
    Stuart Collie was rung to pressure Cairan Keogh from speaking. This was laughed off as he had no problem with Cairan Keogh expressing his personal views. A further phone call was made – again this was laughed off.
    Finally, the other board members were rung, Cairan Keogh then pulled out from speaking as he did not want to compromise the excellent relationship he had with his board.
    What I am unsure of is why he has now resigned when he had such a good relationship with his board. Did the ‘big boys’ put pressure on to get rid of him because he wouldn’t support their stadium?

  7. Russell Garbutt

    Lindsay, you are dead right about the ORC. If anyone examines the functions of a regional council, no-one could really believe for a moment that building a new rugby stadium for professional rugby was part of their brief. Michael Deaker was the shining example of a Councillor who stood up strongly against the cabal led by the non-lamented Cairns. There were others that stood up but they were too few. The rest were simply following what they had been told to do.

    And of course don’t let us forget that Cairns, at the same time as voting to donate money for the stadium was down there pinning up his real estate notices on the land that was needed for it. But of course he convinced his mates round the table that this wasn’t at all a conflict of interest.

    And don’t forget that over at the CTO, John Farry and his CEO were part of the unelected, self-appointed committee put together by the ORFU to determine which parts of the community were going to pay what. Of course the final donators were to be the ratepayers. All the more reason for the independent analysis don’t you think?

  8. Anonymous

    Further to the above post this is the current list of ORC stadium councillors. Note then stadium chairman Stephen Cairns was replaced by another stadium councillor Stephen Woodhead.

    There was some effort put into trying to educate voters on the need to throw these councillors out too – and there were some good candidates who stood – but sadly few understand this office and I’m guessing a majority who did vote were for self-interest.

    For committing $37.5M:
    Cr Duncan Butcher (Dunstan)
    Cr Gretchen Robertson (Dunedin)
    Cr Doug Brown (Moeraki)
    Cr Sam Neill (Dunedin)
    Cr Louise Croot (Dunedin)
    Cr David Shepherd (Molyneux)
    Cr Stephen Woodhead, chairman (Molyneux)

    For (since left office):
    Stephen Cairns, former chairman

    Opposed:
    Cr Michael Deaker (Dunedin)
    Cr Gerrard Eckhoff (Dunstan)
    Cr Bryan Scott (Dunedin)

    Elected in October 2010 (after stadium vote):
    Cr Trevor Kempton (Dunedin)

    Councillor and executive information:
    http://www.orc.govt.nz/About-us-and-the-Region/About-the-Otago-Regional-Council/

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