NSC ruckus: Mr Hide and council core services

### Mayoral News Release 12 June 2009
News and opinion from North Shore City’s Mayor Andrew Williams
By Andrew Williams

Hide shoots himself in the foot over council ‘core services’, says North Shore Mayor

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has shot himself in the foot, with his own gun, over his latest plan to smash local government and limit it to providing basic ‘core services’ such as roads and rubbish collection, North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams said today.

“Rodney Hide wants to outlaw council involvement in “social, economic, environmental, and cultural community outcomes” in favour of a narrow focus on the “core activities” of transport services, water services, and public health and safety services, arguing that local councils should not provide “services that benefit a limited number of people but for which the whole community is required to pay” because the “beneficiaries of the service “free ride” on other ratepayers.”

“Yet only back in August last year, speaking in Parliament on the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Bill, which he and his party voted for, Hide argued strongly in favour of long term council funding of the Auckland Observatory and Planetarium, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, the Auckland Theatre Company, the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, the Zoo, the Coastguard Northern Region, the Opera New Zealand, the Surf Life Saving Northern Region, the Auckland Festival Trust, and WaterSafe Auckland.”

“Rodney Hide went on to tell Parliament that the only fair way to fund these organisations is to “tax and rate” the people of greater Auckland to pay for them. And he actually had the gall to challenge those who did not support long term council funding of these public amenities and organisations to name which ones they would close. We could ask the same question of Rodney Hide today, not that we are likely to get a straight answer from him.”

“Rodney Hide’s hypocrisy on the issue of council core services is simply breathtaking. Ten months ago, he was firmly behind council funding of the Opera, the Maritime Museum, the Theatre Company, the Planetarium, and all the rest that he listed in Parliament, yet now, he says they “free ride” on the backs of ratepayers and ratepayers should not be forced to pay for them.”

“Prime Minister John Key is very sensibly distancing himself from Hide’s crazy plan to gut local government services, saying councils “are quite clearly involved in the delivery of social policy and quite a wide range of things” and that he expected councils to “continue to have quite wide responsibilities” for the wellbeing of their communities.”

“With his credibility over council core services now shot to pieces, and with the ‘super city’ plan he is ramming down our throats falling apart piece by piece, day by day, perhaps the message might start to sink in that 97 percent of New Zealanders did not vote for his extremist ACT policies and that they do not accept his ‘bully boy’ bulldozer tactics, and that he should abandon this foolish review and drop the rest of his crazy ACT plans for local government,” Mayor Williams said.

Mayor Williams also expressed disbelief that Rodney Hide would so easily abandon the very people he praised so highly back in August for their invaluable support for their communities.

“Rodney Hide praised to the rafters “the unsung work of people who support organisations that we all enjoy and that we all benefit from, and I do not think that those people get sufficient recognition. I would like to place that on record, on behalf of the whole House, because we all live in communities where people give up their time and make sacrifices for the things we enjoy.”

“Yet here is Rodney Hide today, rubbing the noses of these very people he was praising in the dirt, saying that the community organisations they work so hard to support are ‘freeloaders’ on the ratepayers and unworthy of ratepayer funding. He should be ashamed of himself,” Mayor Williams said.

Mayor Williams noted that a survey of North Shore ratepayers undertaken in late 2007 to test public support for council funding of regional amenities found that only a small percentage were opposed, with the highest being 13.68 percent opposed to funding the Auckland Theatre Company and the lowest being 9.12 percent opposed to funding the Zoo, showing that Rodney Hide is well out of step with public opinion on this issue.


Hansard; Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Bill; 27 August 2008

Rodney Hide MP: “I ask people who object to this bill to ask themselves what it is they want to close. Is it the Auckland Observatory and Planetarium, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, the Auckland Theatre Company, the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, the Coastguard Northern Region, the Opera New Zealand, or perhaps the Surf Life Saving Northern Region? Perhaps it is the Auckland Festival Trust, or WaterSafe Auckland. They are the organisations that are to be funded by this bill.”

Rodney Hide MP: “I will close by saying that it is good to see that we have such agreement in this House—and the bit of disagreement that we have will not be here after the election [NZ First], so it will not be a problem. I would like to thank the many, many people who have worked for many, many years to get this bill here. That work is the unsung work of people who support organisations that we all enjoy and that we all benefit from, and I do not think that those people get sufficient recognition. I would like to place that on record, on behalf of the whole House, because we all live in communities where people give up their time and make sacrifices for the things we enjoy.”

Cabinet Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee; EGI (09) 44; 6 April 2009

Hon Rodney Hide, Minister of Local Government: While there is no formal definition of core services for local government, I would expect there to be general acceptance that it includes transport services (roading, footpaths, and public transport), water services (water supply, sewage treatment, stormwater and flood protection) and public health and safety services (refuse collection and regulation of nuisances).

Hon Rodney Hide, Minister of Local Government: Councils can be pressured to expand their services by providing services that benefit a limited number of people but for which the whole community is required to pay. This raises equity issues as some beneficiaries of the service “free ride” on other ratepayers. This leads to the principle that costs should be distributed as closely as possible to benefits received.

Andrew Williams, JP | Mayor of North Shore
Email mayor@northshorecity.govt.nz
Tel 09-4868687 Fax 09-4868445 Web http://www.northshorecity.govt.nz

North Shore City Council
1 The Strand, Takapuna
Private Bag 93500, Takapuna,
North Shore City, New Zealand


Filed under Economics, Geography, Hot air, Politics

24 responses to “NSC ruckus: Mr Hide and council core services

  1. Phil

    I don’t think that Rodney intended to outlaw council involvement in “social, economic, environmental, and cultural community outcomes”. I think the intention is that wider community consultation and approval be sought prior to moving into areas which are deemed to be outside of the core activities. Something which, in Rodney’s view, has been lacking in Councils around the country. That’s my interpretation anyway.

  2. I think Phil’s interpretation is correct.

    This is epitomised by Wanganui’s actions of holding referendums on all non core proposals of significance affecting the citizens at large.

    A classic case in point here in Dunedin is the stadium. If ever there was a case for a public referendum this was it.

    Who knows what the outcome would have been, except that whatever, it would have been sanctified by the majority. This is what democracy is about.

  3. When we hold Whanganui up as any example of anything we are clutching at straws.

    I was always under the impression (even with my champagne Socialist views) that an election was to provide leaders of the community. Mayor Laws demonstrates complete lack of leadership. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary Mr Laws continues to hold that Maori have no right having their correct spelling of the River and City recognised officially. The thumbing of nose to local Iwi is disgusting, and holding up so called referenda or ‘polls’ only caters to the lowest common denominator. The city is Whanganui with an H, or his name is Micael Lws, and his title is a Maor. He is possibly the most arrogant libertarian ideologue in public office (there are plenty of them in the media), but this does not make a good leader.

    Public referenda produces Vanilla government, when the people deserve all the colours of the rainbow.

    Case in point as stated by Calvin. A so called referenda here in Dunedin over our stadium would have been nothing more than an exercise in lets see what the lowest common denominator thinks, irrespective if that opinion or thought is formulated on the most hideous hearsay, irrational thought and stupidity.

    Lets take our “Watcher” stationed down at the stadium site. Reporting back to us that the piles were going in alarmingly too fast for his liking, and based on this expert analysis, all of the disinformation surrounding the geology of the site and proposed engineering solutions were in fact wrong and that he was right. This was confirmed by the subsequent ‘here here’ cries, once again telling us that the experts were wrong.

    Lets take another example. So called experts in the Marketing Dept at the University of Otago have applied the so called “Collective Intelligence of Groups” theory to this stadium development. I have heard one lecturer tell us that the collective intelligence of the community will know more about this development that the experts. The evangelical delivery of his theory came across more like a preacher of one of the populist American churches, than that of rigourous academic enquiry. He tired to use the example of American Idol as to why the community knows more about this stadium project than the experts. He said that the public polls that elected the most popular artists came to the right answer, and picked the best American Idol, rather than the so called experts. One major problem with this is, how many of the winner of the popular vote have gone on to be lasting successful singers/songwriters in their own right, standing up to the public wallets and critical query?

    He suggested that 500 people would be a big enough sample to find the right answers with regard to building of the stadium. However when questioned there was no methodology to back up how or why he came up with the figure of 500, and what the peer-reviewed evidence for such a number suggested. When pushed further, he suggested time will tell. FAIL.

    Time and public opinion will not prove to be the correct way in which to formulate the best way to complete the engineering of the stadium sub structures.

    Public opinion on the so called ‘glass roof’ is about as useful as invisible billboards, the public opinion or ‘collective intelligence’ with regard to the Mean Sea Level Rise as a result of anthropocentric global warming was not correct, public opinion with respect to the stadium being a terrorist target was about as intelligent as a lobotomised monkey.

    Take another example, One I have used before, because this person obviously hasn’t read this blog, as he has repeated these claims time and time again. In my place of work at the University I over heard a supposedly intelligent person holding forth with passion that the ‘glass’ roof would fail, that it would be too heavy for the structure, that it was too expensive, would be difficult to clean etc. None of this was true, but it hasn’t stopped him repeating it time and time again to differing people.

    I have questioned folk at the marches as to why they were against the stadium, and only two were even slightly intelligent. The surf dudes were moaning about the poo on the beaches, while the very last stages of the new 1.2km long sewage outfall pipe was being completed. Others were moaning about the glass roof, others moaned it was too ugly, others that only rugby was to be played there.

    The campaign conducted by the loonie elements within the current StS have argued and preached all manner of lies and disinformation, repeated ad nauseam and successfully managed to get it into the public as ‘collective intelligence’.

    What would a public referendum on this topic serve us now. Nothing but to show than any number of hideously misinformed idiot ‘expert’ has an opinion based on anything but the facts and actual knowledge.

    No Calvin, democracy is about electing officials into office to conduct roles and positions that many of the populous are simply not capable of doing. Democracy is not about dumbing down of society and so called ‘knowledge’ to the level of the lowest common denominator, even more so when the campaign of lies and disinformation has been so sustained and relentless, and where the ‘facts’ have been the casualty of public outrage.

    Funny, before the sustained campaign of smudging of the issues by the StS, most if not all of the issues surrounding the stadium were in the public domain, and a council election was run with this as one of the main issues facing the city. Everyone knows it’s an expensive venture for a city of this size. But seemingly now everyone knows that the site is unsuitable, the materials wrong, the figures wrong and the result will be a stadium holding what about 7 rugby matches a year.

    NO a public referendum on this stadium now would tell us nothing, except perhaps that people in the face of something they might not understand are willing to those who yell the loudest irrespective of the content of that yelp.

    Democracy is not public referenda, that is a totally different political system.

  4. Paul,
    well, what can one say? In that whole diatribe only one startling fact arose. It was that you stated that you actually work at the University.


    As for the rest. Absolute garbage. An incoherent ramble introducing racism, evil slurs at well meaning people, and a generally nasty slant on anyone and everyone who does not accept your bigoted views on all matters.

    The fact that you may be unhinged is no excuse.

  5. David

    There is a shorter version of Paul’s message –

    Every method used to come to a decision is wrong, if it doesn’t match the outcome I want.

  6. Calvin and David in the face that you are unwilling or unable to refute any of even some of the things I state above, I will take your criticism as faint praise.

    I was always under the impression to refute or dismiss anything one needed to put forward counter argument.

    In the absence of any such counter argument, I’ll take all points raised above as valid.

    Thanks chaps.

  7. Racism? Really WTF and HTF did you come to that conclusion? I am continually amazed at what comes out of your keyboard, and I’ve been pretty bloody amazed at times.

  8. As Elizabeth says, there is nothing to refute. I wouldn’t deign giving it credence as being anything but an incoherent rant.
    Your problem Paul, is that you are so imbued with the righteousness of your opinion that you are blinded to the possibility of any other options. You then resort to attack and denigration, and in so doing destroy any credible facts you may have to offer on the subject. Not on balance, a rational way in which to establish any respect.

  9. David

    Paul – the stadium could cost $50,000 per house and you’d still think it was an amazingly innovative and absolutely positive facility.

    No price is too much for you.

    And you don’t even acknowledge things like the opportunity cost.

    If you can’t even address these important factors, then your other arguments are not particularly relevant.

  10. Calvin, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

    I would be a stadium doubter if any of the so called facts added up to a compelling story, let alone a half convincing argument, but to date, I have only heard some compelling arguments.

    Calvin, I’m not looking for your respect, I am however looking for you so called ‘morally’ correct to defend any of the above points I have raised, and I have never once.

    Could anyone please explain to me why a Professor of English is able to tell the concerned masses that global warming will flood the area, despite the facts of the matter not backing up said fears. I haven’t heard ONE defence of this line of disinformation – not one single attempt to back up this so called ‘expert’ witness. If you think this is denigration, then sorry, if said Professor want’s to put professional credibility on the line with this, then that is that person’s want. If however said professor was to talk about one’s area of life long, sustained and distinguished career, then I am in no position to question. But crossing over the line into telling a collected ‘angry mob’ at the Octagon that the area will flood, is simply opening one self up to public ridicule, even more so considering said position had been questioned previously.

    Calvin & Elizabeth, these may have been tired and previously mooted concerns of mine, but while they are still the basis of many people’s opposition to this stadium development, they are still open to ridicule. And yes Calvin, I am willing to ridicule the absurd. Because despite the facts being completely the opposite, if people continue to call it a glass roof, when it is one of the worlds most advanced plastics, then what the hell am I to do with that, “oh sorry old chap, you have that wrong, but I’ll let you away with it”.

    I would happily have moved on from these points, nothing bores me more than to bring them up time and time again, but time and time again, I am continually hearing these used in every day discourse as valid reasons as to why the stadium shouldn’t go ahead.

    And as the point seems to be lost on Calvin, let me spell it out another way. If one’s negative opinion of the stadium is based on lies, dis/misinformation, myth and unfounded fears (a la “watchers” suspect engineering of the piles), then there is no way that a supposed public referenda could be anything but biased to the negative.

    IF and I want to repeat this 1000x over, if there had been none of that bullshit and campaign of deliberately misleading the public, then I would be more inclined to think that the validity of a public poll would be more neutral. but what is a poll, nothing more than a popularity contest at one given time and place.

    Calvin I would have the up-most respect for you, David or anyone else opposing this project if they were simply able to say, yes there has been a hell of a lot of bullshit, the terrorism claims, the sea level rising etc is all suspect, but I still have quams over the allocation of public money on such a project.

    But I’ve only ever heard such argument from Elizabeth, hence I had no hesitation in asking Elizabeth to contribute to my blog. See despite what you think, I do listen to others views, and I want others views voiced. Why else do you think I asked Elizabeth to be a co-author of this site? Have you ever seen me edit or delete anything Elizabeth has posted on MY blog?

    If righteousness is to be confused with sticking to the facts of the matter – call me one righteous SOB.

    As for public referenda – no, not blind trust in the Elected officials, but a belief that unless they are about to commit the gravest of errors, they must be allowed to continue their mandate – that is unless they conduct a ‘morally or unholy’ (as has been labelled recently) actions. But sorry this development is not unholy or immoral. What was immoral was state discrimination against homosexual people. And we saw very clearly with the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, where some 80% of the population was against any ‘normalisation’ of homosexual people – how could this ‘might is right’ view be anything but morally bereft.

    If you are thinking that we have come a long way, look no further than the Foreshore and Seabed debacle. The courts were treated with complete contempt, the Maori people run roughshod over by a populist backed spineless govt, and possibly the gravest modern Treaty breach was enacted into law. It was the will of the people to say that Maori should not have customary title, and despite fears to the contrary being more or less completely wrong, the people were scared shitless about loosing access to the beaches etc, and voted with the govt on this one. Nothing could be further from the truth, but that didn’t stop the so called ‘experts’ formulating opinion splashed all over the media, whipping up fervent scared opposition to any notion of Maori Kaitiakitanga.

    Final example from the Hon Michael Laws. The locale of Whanganui, home of the people of Whanganui nui tonu, including the river is spelt with an H included. But because of an historical error and continued bigotry (look up the real meaning of the word please Mr Oaten) on the back of the fervent opposition of the pig headed mayor, the city remains in opposition to using the CORRECT spelling of the city. It is plain racism (again seek correct terminology Mr Oaten) and prejudice by one power group over another that perpetuates this injustice today. So called public polls, on the back of a sustained and pathetic campaign of misinformation, has resulted in the majority of the ‘pakeha’ population wishing to continue the injustice. It’s very simple, Whanganui without the H is actually a meaningless word, yet with the H, it’s not only the correct name, but it has meaning and spirituality to the local people. I don’t call HRH Queen Elizaeth or Right Hon Jon Key, just because it suits me to be so bloody arrogant. Does anyone still call it Mount Egmont? That argument was long put to bed, as should the issue of Whanganui with an H, and Mayor Laws continued campaign against it, only strengthens my arguments that the public can be misled.

    To base policy or political direction solely on so called public opinion polls, when demonstrated that said polls are only an exercise in marketing, not on facts or issues, is a very dangerous way in which to run a council or any political entity.

    If there were compelling economic arguments outside of the so-called opportunity costs against the stadium, and these were backed up by ‘experts’ in their respective fields, then I would be more than willing to listen.

    But finally Mr Oaten, it is not disrespectful to question others whom I have difficulty in their argument. It is not a denigration of their professional ability or their personality, it is a simple questioning of their conclusions, methodology and justifications. If Dr Hamlin at the initial STS Meeting (see once again I turned up to be educated – what a joke) had been correct in telling the people that the stadium would hold only 19,000 people, and if he was correct in telling us Twickenham is a single use rugby stadium, then I would have held his opinion in higher regard. Alas he was talking bollocks, so I had to take what he had to say with a massive pinch of salt.

    Now anyone – anyone – anyone, willing to refute any of the points I have raised above. I am more than willing to be told I am wrong, but I know for a fact, backed up by NIWA’s lead climate change scientist that the area will not flood as a result of global warming rising sea levels.

    Just convince me with the evidence to support the above loonie claims, and I’ll listen – god knows I’ve listened to enough rubbish and lies about this project to date, a little more wouldn’t hurt.

  11. David, what are the opportunity costs, genuine ones, not pie in the sky ones.

    The esteemed Bev Butler told anyone willing to listen that she knew for a fact that business in Dunedin was lining up to leave because broadband was too poor and holding back business. This was repeated time and time again in the media and in public meetings. This despite the fact that she couldn’t name one business, and the fact that business in Dunedin was NOT being held back by poor broadband. She wanted the DCC to invest in faster broadband, this despite both parties before the last election indicating they would be investing billions of dollars in this area. Are we to expect the DCC to compete or even duplicate spending in this area, where little or no problem exist. And if you wonder why I know so much about it, this is the very area I work in. I use the internet on average anywhere from 6-14hrs a day for all aspects of my work, it is vital. I am very happy with the speeds of both my work and private broadband connections. Sure they could be faster, but then that’s a commercial issue, not a local council issue. Then all of this has been superseded by the exceedingly fast changing nature of mobile communication and mobile broadband. In the year that Bev has been raising these grave concerns, Vodafone has increased it’s speed and coverage of it’s 3G network, offering stunning products like the iPhone (which has revolutionised my work). Then comes along Telecom with it’s even faster XT network, further making business possibilities greater, not only in the city, but in previously inaccessible rural areas.

    But Bev would still call this an opportunity cost of the Stadium. Bev would have the public purse spent on a service that is being offered by many competitors in a fast and rapidly evolving industry.

    David, these might be important factors, but as you are all basing so much weight, in fact the whole moral fibre of the argument against the stadium is that the so called public against the stadium. But what are they against? If they have based any inkling of opposition to this stadium based upon any of the false facts, misinterpretation of facts or just baseless lies and scare-mongering, then that is not an informed opinion, and is about as worthless as the ideas that the area will flood from rising sea levels.

  12. LG

    Just a random aside to the rest of this argument, but 500 people would be enough for the survey. The maximum margin of error for such a survey would be just under 4.5%, which should provide sufficient clarity. You’ll note most political polls have n=800, which gives 3.5%, and that’s only 800 people to pick the opinions of 4,000,000 people.
    The trick to make such a small sample work is in the sampling. It requires good random sampling, and a high response rate, probably best delivered by telephone, because mail surveys inevitably produce poor responses (e.g., the StS survey).

  13. LG

    Also, I think there are genuine opportunities that may be lost. Access through the old rail tunnels to the Taieri, improving public transport, a South Dunedin library, the mainland island, and many things to come. However, I think many people who don’t support the stadium wouldn’t support money spent on any of those things either.

  14. These may be opportunity costs put up post Stadium development being mooted, and while I agree with almost all of them, particularly public transport, was any public money not allocated to these as a result of the stadium development, or are these ‘wish lists’ which everyone has come up with since the stadium has been under consideration. Heck I’d have a hell of a wish list for this city, but then like so many so called opportunity costs, these weren’t on the public agenda before the stadium, and to be quite frank they wouldn’t get the level of public money that some think.

    Take for instance Public Transport. NZ has a SHOCKING public transport system, but with what we have there are some excellent people trying their best. Cr Deaker tried his best to get a city loop bus working, from the Uni area over to the Edgar Stadium (where so many hundreds of students play each week), but do you think this route was a success? Another is out here on the peninsula, on a Sunday there is a total of 3 buses, who in their right mind wants to get on a bus into town, do some chores of fun and time one’s return trip precisely to the last minute to be at the mercy of the last remaining bus. One of the problems is the buses themselves, some improvement of late. But why on earth is a massive full size bus running the peninsula route with only half a dozen paying customers on board. Vancouver is my yard stick for public transport, and for way too many reasons to list here (using it many times a day, every day for the best part of a year is testament to it), but one very small and easy example we should be looking at, is the very buses themselves.

    The small, local routes in Vancouver (the University of British Columbia loops, or in particular C22 – HAMPTON PLACE/UBC LOOP). This local service carries people who can’t be bothered, are in a rush, or don’t want to be caught in the rain (or what ever reason) around 1 part of the UBC campus, the total distance as a crow flies would be less than 2km. But because of integrated ticketing (my bus pass was valid over every bus, sky train or sea bus in my zone), it was used by many people. The bus used was also unique, it was a converted Ford pick-up truck, (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Translink_commshutt-s077.jpg). This would be the perfect type of bus to run many of the services in Dunedin, it is even equipped with wheelchair accessibility at the rear. But no we run big expensive buses, with outrageous fares, on very limited timetables.

  15. What an angry person you are Paul. It must be extremely difficult living with you. I don’t know why you are so vehement on all things. So what if the professor of english is of the opinion that climate warming will bring about flooding of the stadium site. Like you, I don’t happen to agree with her on this matter either. But I would never dispute her right to voice her point of view. Why would you become abusive of the lady for that? Is it perhaps due to poor potty training in your infancy? Regarding the matter of the “H” in Wanganui. Who says so? It is an established fact that the Maori folk had no written language prior to the arrival of the European people. So it is actually a moot point which could be argued endlessly over nothing. It is not a problem, if you want an “H” then have it. Doesn’t mean that it must be obligatory. But hey, you like a confrontation.

  16. David

    Paul – My website moved out of Dunedin over two years ago because the broadband is too slow here.

    So did dozens of other websites from one of Dunedin’s largest web hosts.

    You say you know about this subject, but on this you are wrong.

    Opportunity costs. If I saw a gold plated Rolls Royce convertible that I wanted to buy, to use on just a handful of Sunday afternoons each year, and it would take me 20 years to pay off – then FIRST – I would consider the opportunity costs.

    That’s a large sum of money and long term debt. What ELSE could I spend that money on – holidays, house extension, boat, shares, investments, etc.

    I would never ever spend a huge sum of money like that without carefully considering the other options – that would be madness.

    But that is exactly what this council has done.

    They have committed to decades of debt without any reasonable consideration of the benefits of what the same money could do elsewhere.

    There has been ZERO analysis of the comparative returns to the city of different projects.

    That’s negligent – highly negligent.

  17. David,
    You are absolutely right, except, I presume you would be considering either the Roll Royce or the other options you mentioned as being paid for with your available investment funds.

    The DCC on the other hand, have no investment funds. They plan to borrow it and pledge the citizens to pay both interest and principal over as long as it takes.

    Analysis of the comparative returns to the city? You have seen Richard’s comments on the subject, which suggests not negligence so much as casual indifference.

  18. David

    Pauls says “David, what are the opportunity costs, genuine ones, not pie in the sky ones.”

    There’s hundreds – you’ll hear about them for the next 20 years every time funding is turned down for a project.

    Already we’ve had Regent Theatre upgrade knocked back, and also the Portobello Jetty.

    The city put in about $1.5m into the Chinese Garden, so there could be 133 projects of that size, or 40 if the council funds the whole project – that’s 2 projects every year the size of the Chinese Garden for 20 years – imagine the possibilities in that.

    My favourites would be a pier at St Clair (Christchurch’s huge pier cost just $4m)

    This would be linked with all the new seaside cafes by a tram that runs down Victoria Road past the Ice Rink and Forbury Park, down the main street of South Dunedin past the Warehouse and Supermarket and up Princes St past the new hotels, Casino, close to Speights Brewery, to the Octagon bars and Art Gallery, Regent Theatre and Visitors Centre, down George St past the Shopping malls and restaurants, close to the Museum and University, along to the Botanic Gardens, and up North East Valley to the terminus at Baldwin St.

    From there a cable car would go to the top of Mt Cargill – the most spectacular view of any city in the country.

    We also need to finish the cycle track from Taiaroa Head all the way to the city and back down to Aramoana. It’s a disgrace that we have such a stunning harbour but unlike Auckland and Wellington we don’t make much use of it as we don’t have any footpath/cycle track around it.

    We currently get a bit under a million visitors per year. There is a massive opportunity (now wasted) to substantially increase this number, get them to stay longer and spend more).

    And consider that there would be about 350 days per year where all these projects would be being used, when the stadium will be empty.

    They are 365 days per year assets, that would be used by locals and visitors – bars, accommodation and restaurants would benefit EVERY day of the year – not just one.

    And what about a decent place for Cruise Ship passengers to disembark – what a disgrace that we make them get off at a container terminal. Each one of these ships brings a similar amount of new money to Dunedin as the single test match we get every one or two or three years but the ships come 50 times per year- FIFTY – that’s like the value of a test match every week – and we treat them like cargo.

    All these assets would increase the profile of Dunedin, and particularly improve the visitor experience – the stadium will not do this.

    The idea that we’ll bask in glory at with our new stadium at the world cup is delusional. We have three minor matches in the middle of a large number of more important matches.

    Who remembers the minor stadiums from the world cup in South Africa or France or Australia or UK?

    The fantastic dusk aerial views of over Carisbrook looking down the harbour will now be lost – what’s the point of paying thousands to put a helicopter up if you don’t have a clear view into the stadium?

    Dunedin could be a vibrant forward thinking city with lots of new attractions visited every day, or we could be a place in severe debt and a down-trodden economy for 20 years so that one day every two or three years we can say to the country – “look at our roof”.

  19. DAVID for Mayor.

    Seriously, he encapsulates all that is wrong with the stadium concept, and at the same time points out the opportunities that are going begging for the want of a bit of rational management.

    Dreams are great but please, let’s live within our financial means, before the “roof” falls in.

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