Dunedin City Council in meltdown

### ch9.co.nz August 1, 2011 – 7:26pm
Fractures emerge as budget strains
Fractures are emerging between some of Dunedin’s civic leaders, as revelations about the Council’s ability to stick to its budgets begin to surface. The Mayor believes the problem is a major one, and claims it has only become apparent recently. However other parties say the issue has been forecast for a long time, and has come about due to the DCC’s overly extravagant spending habits.
Video

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

45 Comments

Filed under CST, DVL, DVML, Economics, Politics, Project management, Site, Sport, Stadiums

45 responses to “Dunedin City Council in meltdown

  1. Anonymous

    Some might say this is Allied Press waking up to the bad smell and starting to do real journalism. Some might say this is the start of the next election campaign by smearing Cull’s Mayorship since the old boys no longer have free rein…

  2. Peter

    First option – Hopefully.
    Second Option – Not if the full story comes out with Dave Cull opening the books on – everything. The smear will be on the Old Boys Network.

  3. Russell Garbutt

    No doubt that under this leadership things are starting to become a lot more transparent. To get community buy-in, people need to be confident that they are told the facts and those facts are able to be independently substantiated. Under the Chin leadership things were a lot different – how many people remember dumped Councillor Richard Wall’s response to so many things – “you may have an opinion, I know the facts”? Over the next little while I’m sure that many more stories will become more obvious and perhaps at the leading edge of that will be the answer to this question – “Exactly how much did the stadium cost, including all the “extras” and all the money scattered amongst other budgets?”? That will be of great interest and will form the basis of whether we can trust those that have been saying that it is completed on time and on budget.

  4. Peter

    Russell. The Honourable Richard Walls was fond of talking about ‘own facts’ compared to ‘the facts’ (his own facts) and in the latter part of his long and glorious reign I also remember him reciting the Gospel of Intergenerational Debt. This was a neat little device to justify debt spending.
    Sadly, despite the good news this week of things starting to move further in the direction of transparency, there is still no commitment from the wider council to curtail capital spending. Selling off of assets is coming across as the preferred option – or seems to be. The spend-up continues and before too long we’ll be in the same boat with no further assets to sell. The looming spectre of the stadium will continue to voraciously eat up money for years to come and for a while we’ll still hear about ‘making the stadium work’-despite evidence to the contrary that it can’t work despite the best intentions. Finally, we’ll get to the point: What do we do about the stadium?

    • Elizabeth

      While the stadium might be a worthy project, others would have to be put on hold to help pay for it. Regardless, borrowing on the part of DCHL companies to meet dividends to pay for the stadium – or any other debt for that matter – does not make sense.

      ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Aug 2011
      Editorial: Paying for the council debt
      If there is a niggling sense of deja vu in the contretemps surrounding the Dunedin City Council’s newly announced debt “hole”, it is because fundamental aspects of the crisis have indeed been played out previously. These include a categorical admission the council’s holding company was not earning sufficient to meet its promised dividend returns to the council; and that it was having to borrow money to meet those commitments.

      Questions have to be asked: why did it take this length of time for the council to act, why has the matter come to a head now…?

      Read more

      ****

      Cr Hudson said he had planned to table documents at a non-public council meeting last week, detailing DCHL briefings to councillors about debt levels and dividends. However, he instead quit the meeting after being challenged over a perceived conflict of interest by another councillor, because of his dual roles, which made him feel “uncomfortable” … “I’ll release it on legal advice at the appropriate time.”

      ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Aug 2011
      Hudson ‘not sure’ of post
      By David Loughrey
      Dunedin City Holdings Ltd chairman Paul Hudson says he is “not sure” he wants to retain his position following criticism from Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull. The comment came as claim and counterclaim continued yesterday between the two Dunedin City Council figures at the heart of the controversy over an $8 million shortfall.
      Read more

      ****

      ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Aug 2011
      DCC scours city for savings
      By Chris Morris
      Millions of dollars of planned capital spending, and assets worth many millions more will come under close scrutiny as the Dunedin City Council seeks new ways to save money. Mayor Dave Cull said cuts to capital spending and the sale of any underperforming assets – including council companies – were among options that would be examined in the search for new savings. Both options, together with operational savings, would need to be considered to bridge the projected $8 million annual shortfall in dividends to come from Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) beginning in the 2012-13 financial year, he said.
      Read more

      Projected spending (via ODT)
      DCC capital expenditure plans — 2011-12 to 2020-21

      Project – Spend (Timeframe)
      Dunedin Centre redevelopment – $38.65m (2011-14)
      Rattray St crossing – $1.242m (2016-17)
      Tahuna stage 2 upgrade – $62.255m (2011-15)
      Harbourside – $7.336m (2011-21)
      Otago Settlers Museum – $22.258m (2011-13)
      Dunedin Botanic Garden redevelopment – $6.066m (2011-13)
      Logan Park redevelopment – $14.786m (2011-14)
      Libraries redevelopment (South Dunedin and Central City) – $14.443m (2011-17)
      Portobello/Harrington Point Rd improvements – $19.01m (2011-21)
      Total renewals spending – $247.4m* (2011-21)

      *(between $18.2 million and $31.7 million a year)

      ****

      Asked how more savings could be found when staff had already found savings last year, and were then asked to look again through departmental reviews this year, Mr Cull pointed to the hiring of new chief executive, Paul Orders. Mr Orders had reiterated what had been concluded after recent reviews, which was that comprehensive change across the council “family”, both the council and its companies, was needed.

      ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Aug 2011
      Mayor says city can cope with debt
      By David Loughrey
      Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has said the city can cope with the $8 million shortfall identified last week, even though some services and expenditure might “get the chop”. Some commentators have suggested the city is in deep trouble, with the shortfall proof the most dire warnings about burgeoning debt have come to pass.
      Read more

  5. Bev Butler

    Here are some dates for Hudson which he has requested in today’s ODT. Hudson said in the following link that my statements re DCHL were untrue.
    He misrepresented the facts.
    http://www.ch9.co.nz/content/central-ward-candidates-have-their-say
    I had a brief phone conversation with Hudson on 8th April 2009 where Hudson also stated that he was comfortable with the dividends DCHL were expected to produce to the council. This conversation was in response to an email I sent as President of Stop The Stadium to all the councillors requesting an urgent meeting. Stop The Stadium through their legal team were preparing for an injunction. I requested meeting with councillors in a last ditch effort to request a referendum on the stadium. I met with Mayor Chin and Crs Walls, Guest, Brown and Collins on the 9th April 2009. Their minds were already made up and they were not prepared to contemplate a referendum. Hence the injunction followed the following week.
    I add that Hudson has only one vote. The other DCHL directors between them have four votes. Hudson is being made the scapegoat but, in my opinion, the other directors are equally culpable. None of the directors spoke out about the dire situation DCHL was in.

    • Elizabeth

      A useful letter to the ODT editor today (page 8, print and digital editions) from Cr Richard Thomson, dealing to Cr Hudson’s response (30.7.11) to the mayor making public the $8m per annum reduction to DCHL dividend payments to council. The letter, headed ‘Cr Thomson backs mayor on debt row’, ends:

      “It is quite inaccurate for Cr Hudson to suggest, as he does, that the mayor was unaware of “something made public in March”. It was the mayor who made it public in March, and Cr Hudson who said “he did not know any of that”.

  6. Anonymous

    Some money-saving suggestions:
    a) turn down the heating by about 5 degrees
    b) no discretionary copies of the ODT
    c) turn the pool room back into a library or a meeting room
    d) eliminate/minimise paper and all associated technology like printers and copiers
    e) rationalise/streamline IT
    f) sell off city property assets in a managed retreat from public ownership of city buildings; reinvest the proceeds by eliminating city debt
    g) enact a policy of no deficit spending

    The current property portfolio is $600 million, more than enough to pay off the entirety of the current debt.

    Once you have eliminated city debt, then depreciation actually works the way it should and you can return to rates increases no higher than inflation. As long as you have interest repayments on debt, you cannot. Once you have depreciation working to restore infrastructure assets, you can introduce targetted rates to pay for the nice stuff and, I dunno, hold things like polls and citizen referenda to determine what gets built in a process of real consultation?

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    “Well, I knew ONE of us made it public. You can’t expect me to remember every little thing everyone did, I’m actually very busy working on your behalf.”

  8. Phil

    The City Property assets can be a bit tricky. Community Housing, community halls, and heritage buildings are liabilities, but are necessary to the welfare of the city. They make no money, but do provide an essential service. I have no problem with those.

    The majority of the commercial properties owned around NZ by City Property do generate quite a lot of money for the DCC. From memory they are the second largest generator after rates. There’s been some smart investing in commercial property outside of the region. There’s been a few silly investments also, some of which have been inherited from other departments, such as Parks and Recreation. But, on the whole, the department performs well. They can dump the stupid practice of making a profit from other DCC departments in return for looking after that department (such as car parking buildings). That’s not real money, it’s just taking money away from ratepayers. What they don’t need in that department is 4 managers in an office of about 15 staff members. All receiving annual retention payments over and above their salaries, free car parking, etc. The frills can be cut back to reflect the true size of the department.

    The big consumer of internal costs within DCC is the IT department. An internal service provider should not be running at a profit. I worked for a major international company in Europe. We had 2,000 employees sitting in offices in one country. To service the IT needs of that entire country branch, the company had 4 fulltime IT staff. That’s four. Any extra IT work that was required was bought on an “as required” basis. Which ensured that no un-necessary work was carried out. And we bought computers, instead of leasing them for $3,000 per year per computer as is the current practice within DCC. Why do all DCC staff members over a certain salary level have to have a larger, and more expensive, computer screen ? Are their heads bigger ? That department has a lot of dead wood.

    I read that the manager of Building Control has predicted that the amount of building consent and monitoring work is going to reduce by 50% when the final changes to the Building Act come into force. I presume that staff numbers are being be tailored to suit.

    Halve the number of cars in the staff fleet and monitor their use. An IT project manager does not need to take a car home at night. Nor do 3 Environmental Health staff members. Anyone with work to be carried out within the CBD can WALK.

    Do both the mayor and the CEO really need their own secretaries ? When those two people sit no more than 10m apart from each other ?

  9. It is good that the debate has moved on to what needs to be done to save money.
    Reducing staff numbers has got to be a top priority. It is not just the salaries and staff expenses. The other problem is that staff spend and plan expensive schemes to justify their roles.
    A recent example is the painting of cycle lanes on Kitchener Street. It is a total waste of money because there is little traffic on this street and almost no cycles. But planning and implementing this has given a bureaucrat something to do.
    But cutting staff requires redundancy payments. What is needed is a sinking lid on staffing levels. When staff leave then they should only be replaced if the role is essential and cannot be filled by reassigning other staff.

  10. Phil

    The DCC staff Grading system is a real mess. I remember a middle manager deliberately writing job descriptions for junior staff who had little connection to that manager in their daily activities, specifically so that the manager could increase their Grading (and salary) level which was based around the number of people who reported to you. Thus inflating their actual worth. The system also links all staff members together, regardless of their roles and performance levels. So, if a library staff member of a particular Grade negotiates for a salary increase based on an outstanding job, the employee at Moana Pool, and the Building Control officer also on the same Grade, also receive a salary increase. And all those employees either side of the Library staff member’s Grading have their salary levels adjusted to ensure that the same gap remains. For doing nothing. It’s a mess.

    Redundancies cost. I accept that. But it’s a One Off cost, with long term benefits (although obviously not for the unfortunate being made redundant). Unfortunately we’re broke now, so there may not be enough money in the purse to afford to cut staffing costs.

  11. Some great stuff here, now to get it instigated!!

    Alistair, I couldn’t believe what I saw around there either. At least the boy racers have got lanes now.

    The way money has been getting thrown around is crazy, like the months it took to do the new entrance to Outram from Mosgiel which just flat out didn’t need to be like that, along with that bike lane the bikes don’t use. On wasting money….what about the council worker (higher up the food chain in fact in an office) I know that goes home in the work ute to mow his lawns while he’s on the clock? WTF!! There is bullshit going on all over the shop starting high up. When will it end?

    Sidenote: Does council own Delta?

  12. Russell Garbutt

    Oh yes they do! One of our dearly beloved Cr Hudson’s group. I heard today that a Delta employee based in Alexandra drove every day for a year to Queenstown to sit in a hut and returned each night and achieved nothing. After a year, they were disilluisioned and went to Australia to do some work. Delta returns a profit for DCHL but is riddled with such practices. But of course with such inspiring governance leadership as provided by Cr Paul Hudson, can we expect much more?

    • Elizabeth

      ### ch9.co.nz August 2, 2011 – 7:16pm
      Potential conflict of interest revealed
      The recent revelations over the financial situation of Dunedin City Holdings Limited has brought a potential conflict of interest to light. Dunedin City Councillor Paul Hudson is also the Chairman of Dunedin City Holdings Limited, and some parties, including the Mayor, are now questioning whether this is a suitable situation.
      Video

  13. Phil

    wirehunt, a lot of the mis-use of DCC vehicles could be very easily resolved by the reintroduction of marked vehicles. I would say that probably 80% of the fleet vehicles are unmarked today. Making it dead easy to whip off early to pick kids up from school, mow the lawns, or do grocery shopping in the evenings. There are very few instances where DCC staff need to be covert, and there can be be a dedicated number of cars (I would say 3, max, would suffice) specifically for that reason.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 3 Aug 2011
      In concert on restructuring
      By Chris Morris
      The two men trading verbal barbs over Dunedin City Holdings Ltd’s projected $8 million payment shortfall to the Dunedin City Council at least agree on one thing. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and DCHL chairman Paul Hudson both agree changes are needed to the structure of the DCHL board and its subsidiary companies.
      Read more

      ****

      ### ODT Online Wed, 3 Aug 2011
      Opinion
      Duplication cost for council companies
      By Dene Mackenzie
      Duplication of services and functions has been the major problem of the Dunedin City Council-owned companies for years. If the council had adopted a leaner, more dynamic structure, such as has been adopted by publicly listed companies, the costs incurred by ratepayers – who are ultimately the shareholders of the council companies – would have been substantially less.

      Combined, those directors received a total of $591,623 in the 2010 financial year for their duties as DCHL directors and directorships of the companies owned by the council. Mr Hudson earns a total of $116,026 from five boards, Mr Liddell earns $170,118 from six boards, Mr Coburn earns $93,430 from five boards, Mr Evans earns $94,930 from five boards and Mr McLachlan earns $117,119 from six boards (including Dunedin International Airport).

      Read more

  14. interesting

    Hudson is right that we certainly got monkeys on the boards, one of those Directors sits on the better part of twenty or more boards drawing fees from each as well as running an accountancy practice, it seems most of these “directors” were there to clip their tickets and clearly haven’t added any value and only done an average job of complying with their Directors duties.

  15. Amanda kennedy

    Exactly what I thought. The old ‘you pay peanuts you get monkeys’ angle is clearly incorrect. We are paying much more than peanuts but we got financially incompetent monkeys. The $8 million that Hudson has suddenly noticed is proof of that.

  16. Peter

    The reality is pay has often nothing to do with it. We pay these DCHL directors handsomely and we still got monkeys. Look at the shit in their cage.
    Do we think we got value for money from Harland? Ditto David Davies?

    • Elizabeth

      What if? Dunedin… views have been SO HEALTHY (meteoric) since Friday 29 July, DCC News Day. By 10:20pm, today’s view numbers have surpassed all 24-hour counts to midnight since the 29th. Still rising…

  17. Anonymous

    “The $3 million had always been included in budgeting, and had not changed since a Court of Appeal hearing in 2009, and before, Mr Stephens said.”
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/171977/council-considers-extending-length-loans

    Hmmm, THAT court case…the one that said basically “the budget numbers look right and time will tell”. Hmmm. Supreme Court, anyone?

    • Elizabeth

      Mr Stephens said DCHL had finally “flushed out a decent five-year plan”.

      ### ODT Online Thu, 4 Aug 2011
      Council considers extending length of loans
      By David Loughrey
      Extending the lifetime of the Dunedin City Council’s stadium loans has emerged as an option for dealing with part of the city’s $8 million shortfall. While there would be a cost for that option, raised to deal with $3 million of the shortfall, it might only be for a limited time, acting council chief executive Athol Stephens said yesterday. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the plan was a “legitimate option”, but he suspected the solution to “the problem” would be a combination of actions.

      Cr Paul Hudson, chairman of the DCHL board, said on Friday Mr Stephens had advised the holding company he had no further need for it to supply $3 million for stadium management company Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML), as he had achieved the result through other means. Asked to explain the situation, Mr Stephens said servicing the annual public debt requirement for the Forsyth Barr Stadium would cost Dunedin Venues Ltd (DVL), the company that owns the stadium, about $10 million a year.

      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        I’m strongly of the opinion Mr Stephens should lose his job. Unless I’m mistaken he has been the kingpin to all transactions.

        The thought of court action is appealing! Entirely necessary! Natural justice.

    • Elizabeth

      Mr Cull said a complaint had prompted his investigation, and he would decide by the end of the week whether to refer the matter to the council’s conduct committee for possible disciplinary action. The ODT was also told the complaint had come from Cr John Bezett, and Cr Thomson was quick to respond.

      A complaint or not ? (meltdown)

      ### ODT Online Thu, 4 Aug 2011
      Confidentiality issue raised with mayor
      By Chris Morris
      A fresh war of words has broken out – this time between Dunedin city councillors – over comments made about Dunedin City Holdings Ltd’s projected $8 million dividend shortfall. The first shot came after the Otago Daily Times was told Crs Richard Thomson and Bill Acklin were being investigated by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull for an alleged breach of the council’s standing orders.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Thu, 4 Aug 2011
        Opinion
        Time to sell baubles we can’t afford to keep
        By Calvin Oaten
        The front-page ODT news of July 31 was a revelation of momentous proportions. “$8m annual DCC shortfall” announces Mayor Dave Cull. He proceeds to accuse Cr Paul Hudson, who is also chairman of Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) of being less than forthcoming about the council companies’ financial situation, and is clearly pushing for him to end his time on the board of directors. Not so, protests Cr Hudson, in turn, accusing the mayor of not keeping up with company finances. Since then, one could become quite confused by the heady fumes of “injured innocence”. Is this the big day of reckoning or just a political storm in a teacup? Personally, I would opt for the former.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said when contacted it was time to focus on the future, rather than “constantly relitigating the past”, and he was confident the council could manage its financial difficulties.

          ### ODT Online Fri, 5 Aug 2011
          Official inquiry possible into DCHL
          By Chris Morris
          The Office of the Auditor-general is considering investigating claims of dodgy loans, financial errors and conflicts of interest inside Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) and two of its subsidiary companies. Former Stop the Stadium president Bev Butler has complained to the Auditor-general’s office over claims relating to DCHL, Delta Utility Services Ltd and Newtons Coachways (1993) Ltd. A second unnamed person has also asked the OAG to investigate “all matters” relating to the Forsyth Barr Stadium – the second time the OAG has been asked to investigate the issue.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Fri, 5 Aug 2011
          Hide says intervention inappropriate
          By Chris Morris
          Local Government Minister Rodney Hide says he will not intervene to try to resolve the Dunedin City Council’s $8 million annual shortfall. Mr Hide told the Otago Daily Times in a statement he was responsible for the legal framework within which councils operated, but “not for the actions of particular councils”.
          Read more

  18. Russell Garbutt

    While Athol Stephens may say that the 20 year loan period is a” psychological” term of a loan and there is nothing that prevents say a 40 year period for repaying the debt, think of this. A couple who purchase their first home in Dunedin this year at the start of their married life and start paying rates will still be paying off the wretched stadium debt when they retire. Were those that put us into this position immune from action?

    As importantly, was the sworn evidence presented regarding budgets at the Stop the Stadium case correct? Seems on the surface that the level of debt is significantly different. Should the Courts not realise that things were not as they were told?

  19. Another scheme from Athol Stephens. I think that is time to ask questions about his role in the City’s financial debacle. If a private-sector company had a financial performance like the Dunedin City Council then the chief financial officer would be likely to be looking for a new job.
    There is an expression that has been used to describe American and European attempts to deal with their debt problems without the necessary spending cuts, which could equally apply to Dunedin:

    Kicking the can down the road.

  20. Amanda kennedy

    Mayor Cull has to say that otherwise stadium councillors will not be very happy and may try go to the press (and we know Mr Smith has a love of the stadium). No. Cull is being smart here. We have every reason to remember who created this debt. Do you think Crs Hudson and mates will fight very hard to not sell our assets if it means more money for their stadium?

  21. Amanda kennedy

    Mr Cull’s confindence is not enough I am afraid. Being a politician the reality is he is trying to please all parties. He wants to get re-elected. That is not a concern of mine.

  22. Hype O'Thermia

    Rodney didn’t take any responsibility for areas south of SuperAuckers before and he ain’t going to start now.

  23. I was near on the floor laughing so hard the other night. Both Campbell Live and Keys were saying what a wonderful job of the money pit. On time and on budget.

    I wonder who does the research and writes that crap for them?

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    a) Malcolm’s cuzzy-bro
    b) Another of Malcolm’s cuzzy-bros.

    • Elizabeth

      Further to the news about a possible investigation by the Office of the Auditor-general:

      ### ODT Online Sun, 7 Aug 2011
      Delta chairman clarifies spending
      By Chris Morris
      Delta Utility Services chairman Ray Polson says claims made by former Stop the Stadium president Bev Butler that the company has exceeded a $1 million borrowing cap are the result of a misunderstanding. Mr Polson yesterday clarified earlier comments in the Otago Daily Times suggesting Delta’s statement of intent allowed loans of up to $10 million before Dunedin City Council approval was required. Ms Butler had questioned the legality of loans totalling $7.1 million, taken by Delta and loaned to subsidiary Newtons Coachways (1993) Ltd for property investments in Queenstown and Luggate.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Mr Stephens ended by warning staff to brace for more political statements, newspaper headlines and letters to the editor. “There will be a lot…my suggestion is that you should do your best to ignore them. We have a job to do.”

        ### ODT Online Mon, 8 Aug 2011
        DCC seeks savings ideas
        By Chris Morris
        A letter from Dunedin City Council acting chief executive Athol Stephens says nothing is off-limits, and “no idea is too crazy”, in the quest for savings within the organisation. The letter to all staff confirmed the council faced cuts that would “almost certainly” affect council services, as the organisation strove to address a looming budget shortfall.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          What I really hate about Mr Stephens’ call for ideas is the huge potential for AD HOC decisions to be foisted on Dunedin residents and ratepayers, the effect of which could be cumulatively worse for community wellbeing (see Annual Plans and LTCCP) than the collateral damage of Farry’s Folly.

        • Elizabeth

          It’s good to know open government continues at DCC.

          Mr Cull defended the need for secrecy, which was needed to protect the reputations of individuals and companies mentioned in the reviews.

          ### ODT Online Tue, 9 Aug 2011
          Council to debate DCHL issues behind closed doors
          By Chris Morris
          Any fireworks seem set to go off in private when the Dunedin City Council meets to discuss its projected $8 million budget shortfall tomorrow. Councillors at the full council meeting will discuss three separate agenda items relating to Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL’s) cashflows and the findings of two reviews scrutinising the company. However, all three items have been listed in the closed section of the meeting’s agenda, and would be discussed with the media and public excluded.

          Full copies of the two reviews would not be released, again for privacy reasons, but “the vast bulk of them” would be. -Dave Cull

          Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Newtons Coachways (1993) Ltd, according to the NZ companies office is the previous name of DELTA INVESTMENTS LIMITED (incorporation date: 26 November 1993).

        Directors:
        Grady Cameron
        Stuart James McLauchlan
        Michael Coburn
        Raymond Stuart Polson

        Historic data for directors:
        Former directors: Norman Gilbert Evans (18 Jun 2007 – 16 Jul 2009), Ross Douglas Liddell (8 Jun 2007 – 1 Jul 2009), Philip James Harland (25 Oct 2000 – 8 Jun 2007), Murray Francis Douglas (25 Nov 1993 – 25 Oct 2000)

  25. Amanda kennedy

    Mayor Cull, we know that the ‘reputation of individuals’ is an absolute priority for the DCC. Stakeholders are very important in Dunedin and simply must have their way. I learnt my lesson well! The (wealthy, powerful) few over the many is the motto. I do wish you had told this before the last election though.

  26. Phil

    Surely you would only want to protect the reputation of individuals if those individuals have done something that would damage their reputations. In which case, they should no longer be entitled to retain the reputation that they have (or think they have) today. If someone has done nothing wrong, then the truth will further strengthen their reputation. The clear message (perhaps intended) by Mayor Cull is that several key people (and it’s a very short list) have been proven in the reports to have screwed up big time. Otherwise, no-one would need to “protect” them or their reputations.

    It’s another play on the “Streisand effect”. In saying that you intend to hide something, you just know that someone else is going to find out about it. Didn’t work very well for Ryan Giggs either.

  27. Peter

    I think this is all about not ensuring accountability that Dave Cull refers to in today’s ODT. He states he wants solutions, which is fair enough, but if you leave the same people in their jobs, where they have proven their incompetence, then no real change will happen. I’m starting to see that this is what Dave Cull is all about. The appearance of change, but it ends there. (He has changed his tune on the stadium though!) Will Hudson and Co keep their directorships on DCHL? Starting to look like it.

  28. Amanda kennedy

    Hudson is one of the ‘senior councilors’, too wily for Cull. He has his stadium team of Crs Collins, Brown, Bezett, Weatherall, Noone and Acklin behind him standing firm and strong because if one goes down they all do. What does Cull have to rely on? The Greater Dunedin ‘team’ do not stand united and probably cannot be relied upon to support Cull against the stadium cabal. Cull has his politicial reputation to protect. If he is not careful the economic failure of Dunedin will be blamed on him (if he stops funds going to the stadium which will be our economic ‘saviour’ if we just are patient).

  29. Amanda kennedy

    Well, not totally fair, Cr Thomson did support Cull against Cr Bezett’s attack. That was good to see. But they are all lone wolves compared to the stadium cabal.

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