Business as usual for DCC councillors

The following item appeared as “Comment” in the printed and digital editions of the ODT (page 4) – at ODT Online it featured as “News: Dunedin | DCC” and “Home » News » Dunedin”. The ODT Online editor treated the column as NEWS rather than Opinion.

### ODT Online Sat, 2 Jul 2011
DCC: Dysfunction or show of ‘co-operative spirit’?
By David Loughrey
A new visitor to the public gallery at the Dunedin City Council’s meeting this week might have wondered what they had walked into.

The meeting was notable for what one councillor described as “robust debate” by “strong-willed individuals”, or what could also be described as some bitter sniping between opponents.

Both of those views – and some quite different analyses – came through when councillors were asked what they thought of last Monday’s council meeting, and behaviour at the council table about nine months into the triennium.

Mr Cull described councillors at the meeting as “displaying an admirable co-operative spirit”.

Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

15 Comments

Filed under Economics, People

15 responses to “Business as usual for DCC councillors

  1. Russell Garbutt

    “Political groupings” are not new in local body politics and for many many years Dunedin saw candidates standing on a number of groupings either directly or indirectly linked to national political organisations. Such groupings are, it could be argued, a great deal more transparent than the shadowy groupings that actually existed under so-called “independent” nominations.

    The concept that it is somehow sinister to even discuss issues between Councillors prior to a formal meeting is a little baffling. It is inconceivable that key Councillors in past Councils have not, prior to a formal meeting, had informal discussions or sought clarification or other views.

    It is also hard to fathom the purpose of this piece from Loughrey in the ODT when he has consistently shown that he is very selective in what he reports from Council business.

  2. Amanda kennedy

    This is huge. This is the stadium cabal trying to tell Greater Dunedin to get in line and support future funding of the stadium. They have waited a six months but we are watching Bezett and pals try to see if Cull and mates will blink first. We can see which side the ODT wants to win. Loughrey does not even mention any sort of Stadium grouping and hopes that we all have forgotten it too.

    • Elizabeth

      Nothing huge, nothing new here, except that ODT’s standard of reporting has reached an all time low. I think it has been accepted by all that the Otago Daily Times is not able to provide independent senior reporting on stadium politics and the financial implications. The editorials play safe. So we’ll have a 150th party at the stadium to drown our sorrows. That’s about it. Dance until the ship goes down; keep slapping the Farry pack on the back for a job well done. Crack another bottle of champagne.

  3. Anonymous

    Discontent will wait until the end of first year of operations and the multi-million dollar operating loss that cannot be concealed. Thereafter, the second year of huge operating loss comes just before the next triennial. Remember that $1 million is 1% on the rates.

    The problem is that just not re-electing the culprits is not enough. The massive debt means that rates rises well above the rate of inflation are the norm for the next 20 years, simply due to the interest burden. I’m virtually certain that there will have to be a default within the same timeframe.

    Indictments? Unlikely. The profits have been extracted and the remaining councillors in the cabal are just the patsies.

  4. Russell Garbutt

    Anonymous, your prognosis is, I think correct, with the underlying proof of this being the lack of any viable alternatives for an income stream that is large enough to cover operational expenses and also start to provide something for “private funding”. Watch in the following days for a response from Farry and co about their utilisation rates for the stadium – the content and the way in which that response is delivered will be telling I’m sure.

    I’m not sure however that the previous Councillors that foisted this ratedrain upon us are beyond some form of action. That should become more apparent in the following period. The same should apply to some of those within the regulatory areas I would have thought.

  5. Russell Garbutt

    I’m sure it won’t be too long – but sadly, not before we have spent our penny.

    • Elizabeth

      It amazes me what a good job ODT did in exploring the resource management issues tied to the various heavy-handed proposals for Waitaki River power generation and irrigation – yet the stadium is too close to home.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    As you say Elizabeth, the stadium is obviously close to the ODT’s heart. It knows it is wrong but can’t bring itself around to admitting it. As long as it has Cull in the big house it will keep supporting it. Big “Julie” is a bit like Nelson, puts his telescope to his sightless eye and says “I can’t see it, full steam ahead.”

  7. Peter

    Sooner or later, as the stadium falters, it will become an embarrassment for the ODT and Forsyth Barr and I think it will be then that we finally see a more critical and less self serving allegiance to the thing. A clear sign will be lack of renewal of naming rights for the stadium.

    I was initially puzzled by this piece too, but then realised that, this time, the ODT has been more careful and put David Loughrey’s piece as a Comment. Personally, I see no problem with that.
    ‘Hard news’ stories can still be biased in terms of what information is included and what is left out. (We have seen how the ODT has not reported on critical information handed to them on the stadium that should have been published.) In a commentary the writer is presenting their view only – and we can either take it or leave it.

    Some councillors make better news than others. It is natural to report on those who shoot their mouths off without thinking and make fools of themselves. We have had pearler examples of this from one councillor, in particular, in recent times. It’s fair game to report on this. Others are luckier in that they hide behind the radar – or are allowed to by their media friends – despite the fact that their questionable actions or inactions, behind the scenes, should also be reported.

    I have no problem with the media reporting on councillors who are hypocritical, inconsistent, avaricious, lazy, stupid, incompetent, illogical. All such reporting being ‘personal’, but still necessary to report on. I feel more uncomfortable when councillors, and others in the community, are targeted when the media know their intentions are sincere, but they don’t fit the media source’s agenda.

  8. Stan

    Calvin – portraying Nelson as saying “Full steam ahead” is an absolutely charming anachronism. No offence meant.

  9. Amanda kennedy

    The ODT removed pretty much the whole point of this post that I sent them. Since the ODT seems so strangely reluctant to remind its readers of who chose the stadium debt I take every opportunity to do this and included the list of the stadium debt councillors – Bezett, Brown, Hudson, Noone, Collins, Acklin, Weatherall (think that’s all of them) – in my post to the ODT. They deleted these names. The ODT is not happy to remind us of the councillor luminaries and financial geniuses who pushed for the stadium.

    “Yes, stadium councillors were especially shy about their involvement in pushing ahead with the stadium and its debt around the time they were all trying to get re-elected. Funny that. Except for ex-Mayor Chin and councillors Walls and Guest and they were dumped from Council.

    Will be very interesting indeed who comes forward to stand in the limelight when the Prime Minister is in town to share in the stadium debt jubilation. Will all of the Council be there, thus making it not so clear who are the true stadium councillors, or will those responsible be the only ones to shine and smile for their stadium? It will be a gamble they will have to make.” [Abridged]

    {We deleted the two repeat paragraphs at your comment end. -Eds}

  10. Amanda kennedy

    Thank you. I forgot one of the most important stadium councillors too in my list. Cr Hudson.

    {Added. -Eds}

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