Date: 5 April 2009 12:28:11 PM
Subject: April newsletter: Rates Protest and other urgent action you can take
Thank you all for the marvellous turnout at the Town Hall Meeting. It was a record-breaker, according to former Mayor Sukhi Turner, who observed that no local issue in her nine years as Mayor had ever galvanised so many people.
The speakers were superb, each treating the stadium issue from their own unique perspective, and no rational person, by the end of the meeting, could have remained in doubt that the Awatea Street Turkey is indeed the most monumental folly ever to surface in Dunedin (if not the whole Southern hemisphere).
The Master of Ceremonies, Dougal Stevenson, set the tone for the evening; his magisterial and eloquent demeanour impressively linking the contributions of the speakers. The stadium project was dissected as never before in public, with a wealth of information – much of it hitherto inaccessible. The project’s ramshackle financial underpinnings were graphically revealed, and the Carisbrook Stadium Trust’s complete failure to meet its stipulated targets was left in no doubt.
One of the most significant features to emerge was the fact that the stadium proposition, as it now stands, is very different from what was originally promised. It is now a lower-quality building, constructed of inferior materials, with skeletal fixtures and amenities. Seating has been progressively reduced, and any former multi-use pretensions sabotaged by the building’s minimalist specifications. Far from being a “state of the art” edifice, it has degenerated into a cut-price facsimile of every other loss-making plastic barn that has been foisted upon a duped community.
The financial aspects are just as shoddy. As several speakers confirmed, the private funding (100%, as originally promised by Mr Farry) has disappeared. Private enterprise, not surprisingly, has shunned this obvious lemon, and there will now be NO private capital committed to its construction. ALL the risks involved in the project have been shifted to us, the ordinary public, via our rates and taxes. A more complete con would be hard to envisage.
We shall not attempt to summarise all that was said at the meeting. Suffice to say that it was a huge success, and has radically changed the political climate surrounding the stadium debacle. The Minister for Local Government, Rodney Hide, has undertaken to come to Dunedin to examine whether or not the DCC and the ORC have acted prudently and responsibly. The Minister has also expressed concern about proper consultation, and will consider this issue as well. The “done deal” mentality of recent days has evaporated, and brighter possibilities beckon.
Most members will already know about the rates protest, announced by Sukhi Turner. This is a simple, practical action available to every ratepayer. There is no risk at all, and the cost, over a full year, will only be a few dollars. (There was some confusion about this, caused by an inaccurate statement in the ODT, but we can confirm that the protest – based on advice provided by Prof. Henaghan – is genuinely no-risk and will incur only a minimal financial penalty). Members who are not up-to-date on this strategy should look at the attached rates-protest flyer for full details. Mrs Turner has said she will participate, and I urge you to do likewise.
The next significant action concerns the Dunedin Community Plan (the LTCCP).
This plan, which includes the building of the stadium, is now up for public submission. The details may be found in a recent postal communication from the DCC, or on the DCC website (Google Dunedin City Council, go to Home Page, and click on Community Plan. It is very easy to make an electronic submission from this site). Submissions may be as brief or as detailed as you wish – the important thing is to do one, and send it to the Council. To assist you we have attached a basic submission, already filled in with the project’s major shortcomings. There is space to add further comments, should you want. Simply download it, fill in your personal details, sign it, and post it to the DCC. Submissions are a vital part of the democratic process, and the more people who oppose the stadium in this way, the more pressure there will be on the Council. Persuade your family and friends to participate as well.
You should also express your concern personally to your representatives on the City Council. Phone, or email, or write to the Mayor, together with the pro-stadium Councillors. Express your opposition to the stadium and your disgust with the Council’s arrogant behaviour – and remind them that they are all heading for defeat at the next election. The relevant email addresses are:
Paul Hudson – firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Walls – email@example.com
Andrew Noone – firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin Weatherall – email@example.com
Bill Acklin – firstname.lastname@example.org
John Bezett – email@example.com
Peter Chin – firstname.lastname@example.org
Neill Collins – email@example.com
Sydney Brown – firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Guest – email@example.com
Send your message to all of the above.
Bev Butler. President. (and STS Committee).
To participate in the Rates Protest you will need to cancel your direct debit with the DCC and pay your rates – minus $16:50 per quarter – by whichever alternative means you prefer.
Keep sending letters to the ODT, D Scene, etc.
On Sunday, 5 April 2009 at 5:00 pm there will be a meeting in the Port Chalmers Town Hall to voice the concerns of our community with regard to the proposed stadium. Our City Councillor, Andrew Noone, has agreed to attend the meeting and address these concerns.
We would like to encourage all people in the Waikouiti Coast – Chalmers Ward, which runs from Ravensbourne to Waikouiti, to attend this meeting. Cr Noone needs to know how we feel about this important issue He is under the impression that his ward is overwhelmingly in favour of the Stadium. A strong turnout will tell him otherwise.
People from other areas are welcome to attend with the hope that this meeting will inspire them to do the same in their own ward.
If you cannot make the meeting, please contact Cr Noone and let him know where you stand.
Cr Andrew Noone
03 465 7157 or 027 430 1727
A DVD of the whole town hall meeting is available from Channel 9.
Our website continues to be a demanding task, and some assistance would be welcome. If you have any skills in this area – or know anyone who does – please get in touch with Bev. Ph. 4776861.
Finally, and most importantly, email, write, or phone Rodney Hide, who seems to be wriggling a little on his promise to come to Dunedin. Remind him that he unequivocally undertook to come here and investigate the whole stadium issue. Tell him what you will think of him should he try to back out now. Rodney Hide’s email address is:firstname.lastname@example.org His phone is 04-8176823, and postal address: Rodney Hide, Minister for Local Government, Parliament Buildings, Wellington. Please do this – it is vital.
StS template for submission:
Submission on Draft Community Plan. (T0 DCC, Box 5045, moray Pl. Dunedin).
My name is ……………….
I live at …………………
My telephone number is …………….
Email (optional) ………………….
My submission is that the DCC remove the proposed Awatea Street Stadium from the provisional plan.
The stadium, in my opinion, constitutes an unacceptable risk to the future of Dunedin. The so-called guaranteed maximum price does not provide any meaningful protections against cost escalations – especially in the matter of the building’s foundations.
There is no convincing evidence for multi-use, meaning that the stadium is essentially for rugby. We already have a rugby stadium.
There is no convincing evidence the stadium can make a profit – and considerable evidence that it can not.
The Council has repeatedly ignored its own stipulated requirements for the stadium’s progress (so-called “lines in the sand”). This is an abuse of process, and engenders no confidence in future decisions.
Economic conditions have deteriorated seriously since the project was mooted, further threatening the project’s viability.
The private funding has not been forthcoming, leaving almost all capital costs (together with blowouts, shortfalls, and every kind of risk) to fall on the ratepayers alone.
The current project is not what was originally proposed. Almost every aspect has changed, including seat numbers, specification of materials, installed amenities, conference requisites, etc. The funding, as noted above, has altered completely – shifted from the private sector to the public. Together these changes mean that the original consultation is no longer relevant. Before any further decisions are made there must therefore be a fresh round of consultation.
I wish/do not wish (cross one out) to speak to my submission when hearings are held.
UPDATED StS Rates Revolt poster: