LGOIMA request – stadium event

The following Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) request and the reply was supplied to What if? Dunedin…
All square bracketing in the text below is by the What if? editor.

On 25/07/2011, at 11:54 AM, “peter attwooll” wrote:

Dear Sandy [Graham]

I understand the Dunedin City Council is funding $70,000 towards the ODT’s 150th Birthday celebrations on November 12, 2011. On the Channel 9 News Cr Syd Brown stated that the money was not coming from the ‘stadium budget’, but from another budget.

I would like information on the following:

1. Was this gift initiated by the council or was it a request initiated from Allied Press/ODT?
2. Who authorised the gift within the DCC – both administration and councillor(s)?
3. Did this gift gain approval at a full council meeting? If so, could the minutes to this meeting be supplied along with votes for/against.
4. What budget does this $70,000 come from?
5. What justification is given for $70,000 of public money being given to a private company for essentially their own 150th Birthday Party?
6. What is this $70,000 being spent on?

Yours sincerely

Peter Attwooll

From: sgraham@dcc.govt.nz
To: peterattwooll@hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2011 14:18:16 +1200
Subject: Re: dcc $70,000 gift to the ODT’s 150th Birthday celebration- OIA Request.

Dear Peter

I will send you a minute extract from the meeting where the matter was considered – FSD from memory. That will provide answers to q2-5.

As to Q6 and Q1 – I will need to ask around and will get that to you as soon as possible but within twenty working days.

I’ll send an extract tomorrow as snowed in [remainder of sentence deleted].


From: sgraham@dcc.govt.nz
To: peterattwooll@hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2011 14:54:09 +1200
Subject: RE: dcc $70,000 gift to the ODT’s 150th Birthday celebration- OIA Request.

Dear Peter

Please find attached the minute extract and report considered by the Council on 16 May 2011.
I hope that these answer your questions.


EXTRACTS – non public – 2011_05_16 (40.0 KB)
SC360 C36011072614170 (208 KB)


### ODT Online Sat, 25 Jun 2011
150th birthday bash
By Nigel Benson
New Zealand’s oldest daily newspaper will celebrate its 150th anniversary in the country’s newest venue. And everyone in Otago and Southland is invited to the party. The Otago Daily Times will mark its sesquicentennial on November 15 – 150 years to the day after it was founded by William Henry Cutten and Sir Julius Vogel in 1861. To celebrate, locally-owned Allied Press – which publishes the ODT – is throwing the biggest birthday party in Otago’s history, with a free four-hour concert at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The Dunedin City Council is supporting the event as the opening community concert in the new stadium.

Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Concerts, Economics, People, Politics, Project management, Site

28 responses to “LGOIMA request – stadium event

  1. Amanda kennedy

    I wonder who will be paying for the (of course) copious amounts spent on advertising this event? Let me guess.

  2. Anonymous

    “Councillor Acklin retired from the meeting at 4.10 pm.”


  3. Phil

    Possibly because he is both heading the organising group and is also intending to take payment as a performer ? That’s the way it works for the Masters Games.

  4. Peter

    The council if it had any integrity and real commitment to reducing spending – even by just this amount of $70,000 – must rescind the decision to gift Allied Press this money. Doing so is hardly going to scuttle the party which is, after all, just an ODT promo.
    The ‘feel good’ excuse by councillors about giving the people a fake freebie to go to a ‘free’ concert beggars belief. With no commercial hiring of the stadium for the party this is a lost opportunity for at least SOME financial return on the white elephant.
    Greater Dunedin councillors – along with the longer term stadium acolytes on council – continue to rabbit on about ‘making the stadium work’ and yet they acquiesce with not only allowing the stadium to be hired for free, but also throw in an extra $70,000 for a corporate to stage its own birthday party. This is an absolute disgrace and gives no hope that this council can wind back debt.
    We need central government to step in, sack the council, and appoint a commissioner to tidy up the financial mess we are in. I believe the council is so dysfunctional that it is totally incapable of managing its own affairs. The new CEO, Paul Orders, will not be able to clean up the mess on his own if he has to deal with a dysfunctional council that can overturn any sensible measures he may propose.

    • Elizabeth

      “From a vocal point of view, it would be the strongest ensemble that’s ever been assembled in Otago. Our 10 regional guest artists are fantastic talents and we could have cast the dancers four times over.” -Doug Kamo

      ### ODT Online Fri, 26 Aug 2011
      ‘Strongest ensemble’ selected for Big Night In
      By Nigel Benson
      After the biggest talent search to be undertaken in the South Island, Otago Daily Times Big Night In artistic director Doug Kamo had good reason to look a bit tired at the concert cast announcement in the Southern Cross Hotel last night. Mr Kamo has spent the best part of two months travelling around the regions and auditioning 170 performers for the cast in the landmark concert.
      The Big Night In will celebrate the 150th anniversary of New Zealand’s oldest daily newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, and is being supported by the Dunedin City Council as the opening community concert at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.
      Read more

      The concert is being supported by naming sponsor Allied Press, the Dunedin City Council, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd and associate sponsor Deloitte.
      See Entertainers chosen for region’s ‘biggest party’

      • Elizabeth

        “The stage is going to be like a giant front page of the ODT.” –Doug Kamo

        ### ODT Online Sat, 1 Oct 2011
        ‘Big Night In’ draws top vocalists
        By Nigel Benson
        Some of New Zealand’s most popular singers will star in the Otago Daily Times “Big Night In” 150th anniversary community concert. Tina Cross (Auckland), Jackie Clarke (Auckland), Ainslie Allen (Wellington), Paul Ross (Auckland) and Chris Crowe (Wellington) will join former-Dunedin artist Chris Fennessy and a host of regional singers and dancers in the concert at Forsyth Barr Stadium on November 12.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 20 Oct 2011
          Fireworks for stadium
          By Nigel Benson
          Organisers are quietly hoping the Otago Daily Times Big Night In doesn’t go off with too big a bang. The community concert at the Forsyth Barr Stadium next month will feature an ambitious fireworks display inside the world’s first fully-enclosed grassed stadium.
          Read more

          Always assume Malcolm knows something about nothing.

          On the question of fireworks or flares, Carisbrook Stadium Trust chief executive Malcolm Farry said they would not be used at the new stadium. “We won’t be setting off fireworks.” Instead, laser light shows, which had been used “to huge effect” at events worldwide would be used. “They are the next generation beyond fireworks,” he said. (ODT, 3.7.10)

          Source: [What if?] Stadium roof saga continues: no fireworks since lasers are “the next generation beyond fireworks”

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Sat, 29 Oct 2011
          ‘ODT’ subscribers snap up tickets
          By Nigel Benson
          Otago Daily Times subscribers have been quick to secure tickets to the “Big Night In” community concert at Forsyth Barr Stadium on November 12. Subscribers were entitled to enter a preferential ballot for tickets, but demand had far exceeded supply, ODT circulation manager James Smith said yesterday.
          Read more

          See comment by digger on Sat, 29/10/2011 – 9:19am. Not all subscribers are going and the published reply from ODT:

          “Big Night In Charities Limited is not a private company, it being a not-for-profit company. All proceeds from the gold coin donations are
          divided as follows: Kidscan 50% – Lions 10% – BNICL 40%. The money allocated to BNICL is used to help offset costs of the free community concert. – James Smith”

          As digger says in an email to What if?: “It seems the BNI company is ‘non profit’, but gets back 40% of the takings of the gold coin donations ‘to offset costs’, plus of course the ODT has received $70,000 from the DCC. So much for ‘free’.”

          {What if?’s bold highlighting. -Eds}

  5. Peter

    The letter the ODT was too ashamed to publish.

    Tuesday, June 28 2011

    Dear Editor

    I read that the ODT is going to celebrate its 150 Anniversary by offering a free four hour concert at the stadium. I was wondering if the ODT is paying full commercial rates to hold the event in the stadium or is the ODT itself getting the venue for free?

    Yours sincerely

    Peter Attwooll

  6. Phil

    Please tell me that the contracted events organiser for the stadium opening is NOT the same guy who organises Fawlty Towers parties. That would be just way too easy.

  7. Peter

    Phil. Does this answer your question? Go to http://www.coys.co.nz for links/relationships to this newly set up company. It is a very user-friendly site.

    The original request was my letter above.

    Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 15:27:08 +1200
    From: gaynor.mcnaught@alliedpress.co.nz
    To: peterattwooll@hotmail.com
    Subject: Re: FW: 150 the birthday concert at the stadium

    Dear Mr Attwooll

    Am in receipt of your email to me of July 9 and the reply by our Matthew Holdridge to your original request.

    Your question was, are we paying full commercial rates to hold the event?

    Matthew should have pointed out that we are paying an amount to the concert organiser “The Big Night In Charities Ltd” to secure the naming rights for the event.

    The event organiser makes his own commercial arrangements with artists, amenities and hires etc.

    JCS Smith

  8. Amanda kennedy

    The stadium must give the ‘perception’ of being a smart economic spend. At least until we all forget who chose the debt. It does not have to be a success at all, we just have to all think it is. The ODT is obviously a big fan of the stadium, and Mr Smith is on the Stadium board too, so that dovetails nicely. They have it all figured out.

  9. Phil

    Interesting to read the DCC report to Council with regard to the contracted event organiser. “Doug Kamo Creative Entertainment” (quoted in the report as being the contractor) doesn’t appear to be a registered company in New Zealand. “Doug Kamo Creative Management” seems to exist, (with Fawlty Stadiums theme nights being their specialty), but again doesn’t show up on the companies register. Unless I’m reading the register wrong. I’m assuming that these “companies” are merely divisions of Ignite Productions Ltd. If it’s all the same guy. Or that he’s set those up as a sole trader. For whatever reason. Beats me why someone would need to continuously set up new companies. It would make them virtually impossible to get onto the official DCC Approved Contractors list. There was an architect around town who made a habit of starting a new company, with a slight variation on their name, every time the creditors got a little too close. At the very least you would think that the DCC report would have the official company name.

  10. Anonymous

    I am telling you, we will just end up hiring the Oxo Cubans again as the warm-up act for Elton John

    • Elizabeth

      ### ch9.co.nz August 2, 2011 – 7:09pm
      Big Night In auditions held in Dunedin
      The Big Night In is the Otago Daily Times 150th Birthday Celebration, which will be held later this year in November. Auditions have already been held in Oamaru, Invercargill and Queenstown, with Dunedin being the most recent stage of the process.

  11. interesting

    @ Phil,

    Doug is a Director of “The Big Night in Charities Limited” which just happens to have the ODT’s lawyer as co director and registered office and co shareholder in what appears to be little more than a shell company.

  12. Anonymous

    I love how the Companies Office list Stuart Douglas Walker as Director of the Julian Smith Family Trust a couple of entries above the directorship of The Big Night In Charities listing.

    • Elizabeth

      Did city councillors not check out the company credentials (public listings) and alliances of this Walker clown prior to approving the $70,000 spend? Have the majority of councillors been complicit? More mileage to go on this one.

  13. Peter

    ‘Naming sponsor’ Allied Press. Gee, cute.

  14. Peter

    This Big Night In is as much a strategic exercise for promoting the ODT as ‘celebrating the stadium’ for the ‘community’ (never mind the deep-seated opposition from the said ‘community’). What was stated as being ‘free’ is far from it. The ratepayers are paying for the hireage of the stadium for their concert, we have gifted $70,000 of ratepayer money to offset ODT expenses, and now 40% of the gold coin takings go back to the ODT to further offset their expenses.
    This oh-so-generous ‘gift’ by the ODT is cynical marketing. They appear to be generous, but giving with one hand and taking with another. Talk about Indian giving. How mean can you get when you know the Smith Bros are worth around $65m. It’s their party, their shout. Pay the lot, please, bros.
    They are not the only wealthy businessmen in town, and elsewhere, that indulge in ‘strategic philanthropy’, ensuring publicity as they ‘give to others’. (Time now, readers, to put your fingers down your throats.)

  15. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 5 Nov 2011
    Tickets for big concert being snapped up
    By Nigel Benson
    Otago’s party of the sesquicentennial will be officially unwrapped next week. A “Big Night In” programme will be presented free with every copy of the Otago Daily Times next Friday. The 24-page, colour programme includes photo profiles of the 50 national and regional artists, ensemble, OD Glee cast and dancers taking part in the November 12 community concert.
    Read more

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    I can’t wai………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  17. Peter

    The 40% of the gold coin donations going towards Big Night In ‘Charities’ Ltd has ‘forgotten’ to be mentioned.

  18. Ahmad

    @Phil – On August 1 you said: “Please tell me that the contracted events organiser for the stadium opening is NOT the same guy who organises Fawlty Towers parties. That would be just way too easy.” (Link)

    It was the same guy. What did you mean by your original comment? Thanks.

  19. Phil

    Do a search on him.

  20. Ahmad

    Hi Phil thanks for the reply.

    I know who the “guy who organises the Faulty Towers parties” is but was (since looking in detail into Big Night In recipient “charities”) curious as to why you had made the comment (which to me suggested that if it was the same guy that you wouldn’t be surprised).

    I’ve tried searching but can find any information linking this guy to anything apart from pages promoting him and/or his companies?

  21. Phil

    Not quite sure what you’re aiming for with this but my comment was that it seemed appropriate that the person deemed by Council to be the most suitable qualified event organiser specialises in Fawlty Towers impressions. It appeared to fit perfectly with the comical antics surrounding Council and CST at that point, creating it’s own laughing stock without the need for assistance from anyone else.

    Clear enough ?

    • Ahmad

      Oh LOL I see! Sorry I thought there was some sort of implied Old Boys’ network process involved in the selection. Ironically perhaps this guy is the Chief Executive of an Old Boys’ Association.

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