Oh god. ODT asks a simpering question. #whoknew

Dunedin’s Rugby World Cup games are over, so what’s next for the city’s controversial stadium? Kim Dungey talks to the man at the helm.

### ODT Online Sun, 9 Oct 2011
Cup over – what’s next for stadium?
By Kim Dungey
A roof gives the Forsyth Barr Stadium a “five-year advantage on the competition” but managers need to use that time to continually improve the customer experience, says Dunedin Venues chairman Sir John Hansen.

Using any advances in technology will be a key part of maintaining a competitive edge and particularly appeal to young people, an important part of the stadium’s future. As a first step, the council-owned company will soon install up to 200 screens throughout the venue, including along the concourses, on which it can run information, advertising and competitions.

Sir John would not comment on the stadium hosting Rugby World Cup games rent-free, saying the contract was signed before his company was formed but prudent cost control meant staff almost halved the expected $400,000 loss.

Read more

MikeStk asks, “Is he suitable?” ODT Online
Dunno, Mike. Here’s a rundown. He’s well known to John Farry, if that counts.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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

50 responses to “Oh god. ODT asks a simpering question. #whoknew

  1. Mike

    Ah I see:

    Chairman Kaikorai RFC
    Appeals committee RWC
    NZRFU Appeals Council
    IRB Appeals Council

    and as you point out a Farry law partner – he’s sort of a prototypical member of the Tartan Mafia, even if they have to fly him in (actually they have to fly in 3/4 of the DVML board, it would be cheaper to hold meetings in Auckland)

  2. Calvin Oaten

    He is a “SIR” and that adds gravitas in spades. He is also a retired judge/lawyer hence the cream and hundreds and thousands on top. What more could you ask for in a director? Well, for a start, someone who understands what a budget actually means. Someone who knows and lives on a ‘modest’ income. Someone who understands the economics of stadiums, in a word someone who is bothered to do just a ‘teensy weensy’ bit of research on stadiums elsewhere in the world. Or at least do the maths in the most simple form, like dividing the cash total of construction by the available population and then add the costs of operation, again divided by the available population. Too hard for a retired judge? Probably.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Understanding what was wrong from the get-go:

    I have been indebted all along to people like Calvin, Bev, Lee, Russell……….. lordy, and so many more, for getting some understanding of the money side of it. My opposition at the first Meet (i.e. dazzle with Vision) the Plebs addressed by Mr Farry was a peasant-like response. First of all I knew that only one in approx a zillion building jobs comes in UNDER budget, doesn’t everyone know that, often from personal experience?
    Then there were the “multi-purpose” activities, most of which either wouldn’t fit well in the proposed building or already had their own grounds and club-rooms (built largely by their own efforts with small grants) and suited specifically to their activities: why would they give them up? Access and parking, already well-publicised problems for people around university, polytech and the hospital. Improbability of people and events coming to Dunedin from out of the immediate catchment when travel is expensive, relatively scarce (flights) and from most of the North Island it would be simpler and cheaper to go to the same concert in Australia.

    So add those first reactions to the more but not unreasonably detailed matters that anyone serious about being involved in decision-making could be expected to be on top of, and the question comes up in day-glo – WHY Sir John Hansen? And he’s not the only “why?” in the roll-call of this shameful rort.

  4. Russell Garbutt

    Ask yourselves a very simple question.

    How many of these wonderful Board positions have been advertised?

    We can forget the dear old CST which is, as we all know a self-perpetuating, private Trust with no public scrutiny of exactly what they did with all our money. Farry and his close mates formed a private club and that is their right – what wasn’t right was that the DCC under Chin and Harland actively supported the formation of the Trust, but they are gone along with their accomplice Walls.

    What is really interesting is that DVL and DVML are DCC companies and it appears that the Directors somehow magically appeared. What was the process? Who exactly decided that these rugby-connected, Farry connected, coterie had the abilities and qualifications to actually stack up?

    We have seen DCC appointments to the ORFU – which I believe is now vacant since Kereyn Smith went away to run the Olympics – and a pile of other directorships to various DCC companies, and not, as far as I can see, one notice of vacancies, intentions to appoint, advertise, or even God forbid, a list of qualifications.

    HOW COME???

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, I hate it when your fortune telling comes true. The horror doesn’t end for ratepayers or anyone interested in what Dunedin City Council claims to be its “business”.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 12 Oct 2011
      Jobs tipped to go in ORFU shake-up
      By Hayden Meikle
      A restructuring of the Otago Rugby Football Union appears likely to involve job losses but is seen as necessary for the union’s survival. The union has entered a consultation period to discuss a model that would lead to sharing of costs and services with the Highlanders franchise and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd. Chairman Wayne Graham said the union was not financially sustainable in its current form, and it also wanted to help make Forsyth Barr Stadium a success.
      Read more

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Oddly rugby-centric for a multi-purpose stadium…..

  6. “While the New Zealand Rugby Football Union is still to make a decision on test matches in Dunedin, the stadium is in the running to get a rugby league test next year………”

    So the union hasn’t even committed to the stadium. Why are we committed to them again? Can someone remind me?

  7. Mike

    Don’t forget that originally the CST members were appointed en masse to the DVML board, then quietly withdrawn. I’ve always wondered what went down there.

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    League, isn’t that a horse of a different colour? If not, count me bewildered too.

  9. Russell Garbutt

    Ah, a case of transparency remaining hidden methinks Mike.

    • Elizabeth

      Readers of ODT print and digital editions might have caught the story in the World Focus lift-out today: ‘Mother of stadium budget blowouts’, by Stuart Grudgings reporting from Rio de Janeiro on Brazil’s Football World Cup preparations (page 10).

      The large print caught my eye:

      “If you make it more transparent you might slow it down, and therefore increase the costs. If you don’t make it more transparent, you’re guaranteed to increase the costs because everyone’s going to have their hand in the till.”
      -Christopher Gaffney, visiting professor of urbanism at Rio’s Fluminense Federal University

      The story at Yahoo! News (via Reuters)

      • Elizabeth

        Another startling reply from DCC’s Athol Stephens, general manager finance and corporate support, to a letter to the editor from C.R. Sykes, Waldronville. (ODT 10.10.11, page 10)

        C.R. Sykes says “By forming a company, Dunedin Venues Limited, to manage the Forsyth Barr Stadium and its finances we have again been subjected to secrecy… The DCC does not tell ratepayers in a transparent way what the annual payment is and there is no easy way to find out. It is hard to see the average ratepayer delving into the issue through the annual reports of Dunedin Venues Limited and Dunedin City Holdings Limited.” [excerpts]

        To give him his due, at least Mr Stephens refrains from saying that all the invoices aren’t in yet. BUT, with his final sentence he stays right on the squalid path of obfuscation, saying, “We are in the process of adding additional information to our website which will show, for each property, the contribution each property makes towards the stadium.”

        As hell as like. He and friends in Finance are unlikely to open the council’s books wide enough to be truly accountable to ratepayers. All those hidden spends, boys and girls. All those hidden spends.

  10. Mike

    And I bet if they do that they do it in a naive way that obfusticates the truth – I bet they show how much of our rates go directly to the stadium, but not how much of the reduction of our rates rebate is due to the stadium

  11. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth; do you think that da Costa prosecutor fellow could be enticed to come and have a look at the ‘crap shooters’ who set us up with our stadium? He might ferret out all the snouts in the troughs.

    • Elizabeth

      We’re desperate, we’re smaller (on budget than Rio), he’d have it sorted in 5 minutes – given the mess at home he probably needs the holiday!

  12. Anonymous

    Marching Orders: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/181679/manager-exits-top-dcc-job

    He’s started well. Who’s next – Hall, Miller or Stephens?

  13. Phil

    The DCC cleaning contractors will be relieved.

  14. Mike

    Hype O’Thermia thanks for follow on that ODT thread – I seem to have been cut off, apparently pointing out that the gentleman concerned has a conflict of interest because he also does work for the NZRFU and the IRB is a no-no at the ODT.

  15. Calvin Oaten

    What we need is a “Gulag” with salt mines. How about the “Hawkdun Range” with some lignite pits? Then we could see some real punishments dished out.
    Neat move to [deleted] disestablish the position as well. Nice way of saying “you never had a proper job in the first place.” But Mr Strang is proud of his record in that non job. Well he would be wouldn’t he.
    Strange that “old Rodders” has missed the cut. Maybe in the next round.

    {Moderated to protect the site owner. Taking voluntary redundancy is not the same as being ‘fired’. -Eds}

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    Army volunteering, huh?

  17. Phil

    The organisation never needed so many links in the chain. A number of those groups are made up of small teams who report to a central manager, who in turn reports to the group manager, who then reports to the CEO. The Group Manager adds nothing to the mixture other than conveying the group manager’s message to the CEO. Now, it’s not reasonable to have the CEO dealing with every little squabble directly within a team, but they can do away with some of the links between the team and the CEO.

    As an example: The Animal Control team leader reports to the head of the Environmental Health team. The head of the Environmental Health team reports to the Development Services Manager. The Development Services Manager reports to the Group Manager for City Environment. Finally, the Group Manager reports to the CEO. Now, I don’t expect the CEO to be an animal control expert but, by the time the information reaches his desk, the person reporting to him is also unqualified on the subject matter. They are merely relaying information. That seems rather un-necessary, and a little dangerous with two unqualified people making the final decision together. You can justify either the Development Services manager, or the Group Manager. But not both.

    As an example.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 12 Oct 2011
      Six months pay likely for Strang
      By Chris Morris
      A senior manager at the Dunedin City Council could be in line for a six-figure payout after opting for voluntary redundancy rather than restructuring. However, the council was also likely to benefit from “significant” savings in the long run, which would increase if other senior managers followed suit, council staff have indicated.

      Mr Strang was a member of the council’s seven-strong executive management team, each of who earned annual salaries between $180,000 and $220,000, council human resources manager Bruce Miller confirmed yesterday.

      Read more

  18. Phil

    It’s quite interesting to read the areas of responsibility for each of the Group Managers on the DCC website. While it looks like an impressively long list, many of the activities listed are contained within the same business unit. So while a Group Manager’s profile might show 15 activities listed, they only have maybe 4 DCC department heads reporting to them. It’s not nearly as hectic as it looks. Misleading and a little mischievous on the part of whomever is supplying that information to the website.

    {http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/the-executive-management-team -Eds}

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    “…Sharing of costs and services with the Highlanders franchise and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd” – I say, chaps, I’ve just thought of an amazingly wizard idea. When they sort out all this sharing the ORFU could share in any of the Fubar’s income. Not the costs, don’t be such a silly billy. The ORFU doesn’t have enough money to share the costs.
    “Woof woof,” said Timmy.

  20. Phil

    And of course it’s “absolute nonsense” that the DCC had funded any debt repayment on behalf of the ORFU. Apart from the small matter of the $6 million owed by the ORFU to the DCC and the bank, that is. But absolutely nothing else.

  21. Anonymous

    My company is based in Dunedin and also requires administrative services. My company would benefit from a shared services model. Can I enter into an agreement with DVML and have offices at the stadium?

  22. Russell Garbutt

    The difficulty, dear readers, is that the so-called private funding that was supposed to pay for a few tens of millions of dollars of construction is actually where it belongs in annual revenues. But where it gets really really difficult is that the contracts for sale of product are reliant on the dear old Highlanders and the ORFU being here. If they aren’t, then all of the contracts and promises to pay for product go out the window. What do you think that this would do for the City’s finances?

    Yes, dear readers, the analogy would be either the Rena simply sitting on the Astrolabe reef, or splitting in two and creating a sudden catastrophic situation. It is either a slow moving tragedy or a fast moving tragedy. The truth is that the City of Dunedin and the coots that run rugby have entered into a mutual suicide pact. The blame for this situation lies where do you think? No sense telling Local Government or the Auditor General about it though – all they will want to know was did the DCC fully document its stupidity? I suppose we could ask Chin, Walls etc, but dear readers, there isn’t much point to that either – after all, only they know the facts and all we know are our opinions.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    Well Elizabeth, it sounds like the kind of thing they’d support. Some of them only because it’s “necessary” to “make the stadium work” of course. Others because they believe in the rightness of whatever rugby wants, rugby gets.
    Are you old enough to remember the song:
    “Whatever Lola wants
    Lola gets
    And little man, little Lola wants you…” ?

    • Elizabeth

      Hah! Caught somewhere between Dinah Shore and Sarah Vaughan…

      • Elizabeth

        Have to tell ya. Plenty sick of the non stories about future stadium events, the ones ODT and or DVML are pumping out just now. None of this false crowing is producing the golden egg. The stadium is a bankrupt idea, made concrete.

        • Elizabeth

          False leads? Free stadium advertising by association, thanks ODT.

          ### ODT Online Fri, 10 Feb 2012
          Rumours go Gaga on who’s coming to Dunedin stadium
          By Hamish McNeilly
          Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) is remaining tight-lipped over the next big name act to perform at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Yesterday it was confirmed Lady Gaga would perform at Auckland’s Vector Arena on June 7 as part of her Born This Way Ball world tour.
          Read more

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    Elvis lives! Malcolm’s signed him for first show in his comeback tour. Elizabeth, you’re a negative person, a nay-sayer. Next thing you’ll say Elvis ain’t really coming to our great Fubar.

      • Elizabeth

        And time to fold up the tent if Elton skips out.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ch9.co.nz October 20, 2011 – 6:39pm
          3D Forsyth Barr stadium
          A Dunedin student’s work is helping Forsyth Barr stadium staff with event management. These illustrations are part of a project by Otago Polytechnic Interior Design graduate Sara McKenzie, who spent around 100 hours creating a virtual stadium. Dunedin Venues Management Limited Event Manager, Kaitlin Wolf, says the system McKenzie has created is ‘absolutely amazing’. Wolf says it’s allowing her staff to more effectively plan for conferences and events around the stadium.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Fri, 21 Oct 2011
          Computer model to market stadium
          A virtual computer 3-D model has been created to highlight to prospective clients the hosting capabilities of Forsyth Barr Stadium and the Dunedin Town Hall’s Municipal Chambers… The 3-D model allows for “the ‘drop-in’ of furniture, staging and other items, which can then be rearranged in different ways within the building’s rooms and spaces, minimising the amount of time needed to set up on site”, she said.
          Read more

  25. Calvin Oaten

    That Sarah McKenzie sounds like my kind of gal. With her 3-D model I would be able to ‘drop-in’ and rearrange my furniture without having to vacuum where it had been. It also ‘minimises the amount of time’. Brilliant!!

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    Since nobody seems willing to pay a fair rate to hire the stadium why not hold all the events in the computer model and sell the Fubar, for scrap if necessary, it’s got to be better than the return we’re getting on all that $$$$$.

  27. Elizabeth

    The performance of stadium was one of the highlights of the tournament, and “it will be one of the go-to venues for New Zealand fans and the fans of touring teams… You have one of the world’s best sports facilities.” -Nigel Cass

    ### ODT Online Wed, 30 Nov 2011
    South lauded over performance of stadium as sporting venue
    By Hamish McNeilly
    The organisation behind the 2011 Rugby World Cup has praised the South for its involvement in the tournament. Rugby New Zealand 2011 tournament services general manager Nigel Cass, who was had been involved with the project since late 2004, visited Dunedin on Monday to thank those behind the event.
    Read more

  28. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 11 Jan 2012
    Radiohead NZ tour rumoured
    By Nigel Benson
    The New Zealand music industry is abuzz that English super group Radiohead may tour this year. Dunedin would appear to be in a strong position to host a New Zealand concert, as the band has indicated it will favour indoor stadiums on its 2012 world tour. The 35,000-seater Forsyth Barr Stadium is the only indoor venue in New Zealand capable of meeting Radiohead’s wishes.
    Read more

  29. Calvin Oaten

    I suppose someone/or entity with a name like “Radiohead” would add real ‘gravitas’ to the discussion. Certainly seems to have turned wee ‘Nige’s’ head.

  30. Hype O'Thermia

    Radiohead ain’t no nobodies. Have a lot at their reputation according to Wikipedia! IF they come here so will fans a-plenty:
    “Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (guitars, keyboards, other instruments), Ed O’Brien (guitars, backing vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass) and Phil Selway (drums, percussion)……..
    ………Radiohead have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide,[4] and the band’s work has been placed highly in both listener polls and critics’ lists, and the band have the distinction of doing so in both the 1990s and 2000s.[5][6] In 2005, Radiohead were ranked number 73 in Rolling Stone’s list of “The Greatest Artists of All Time”, while Ed O’Brien and Jonny Greenwood were both included in Rolling Stone’s list of greatest guitarists, and Thom Yorke in their list of greatest singers.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiohead

  31. Calvin Oaten

    OOPS! what a philistine I am. Obviously too old for all this.

  32. Phil

    I’m with you, Calvin. I figured they must have been some kind of student band. They weren’t on any of my Loxene Golden Disc albums.

  33. anon

    The story is another steamy cowpat in the face of the ratepayer. It has no substance and reads like a crafted advertorial. Not so long ago a newspaper would shy away from publishing opinion as a story. Not today. Not where its stadium is concerned. DVML chief David Davies and his so-called management, who are apparently authorised to respond with “no comment”, have zero right to deny their employer – the Dunedin City ratepayer – information. The corruption and corrupted in the DCC have infected all of its business practices. The whole institution is way out of control.

  34. Pedant

    Lady Gaga would love our use of shipping containers as windbreaks.

  35. Phil

    I read some comments which were fair concerns. People in Dunedin have a right to know if there is going to be a Dunedin concert before the tickets for the Auckland concert open for sale. To have to chance to avoid several hundred dollars in airfares, taxis and accommodation. If the organisers are going to wait until the first concert is sold out before announcing a second concert then it’s only fair that they say now where that potential second concert might be held. That’s not the same as holding off announcing a second concert at the same venue in order to boost tickets sales for the first concert. No-one is disadvantaged.

    Naturally enough the stadium spokespeople are refusing to answer genuine concerns from the people whose support they expect to be able to rely on.

    There’s a hole in the Super rugby calendar so, if they were going to have a concert, that’s the time to do it. The downside is that it will remove discretionary spending from other events, so expect there to be fewer tickets sales to the rugby in the weeks either side. As we’ve previously established, stadiums are income neutral. I had a quick glance over the tour schedule and I see that the artist (for want of a better word) is booked for one night in Brisbane and one night in Melbourne. Both venues selected, despite having populations 10+ times greater than that of Dunedin, hold between 13-15,000 concert spectators. Which is just slightly more than Vector Arena in Auckland. And they’ve only booked to play one night. Which would lead one to conclude that, in a driveable catchment area of several million, that’s the level of interest that they could expect. I would hate to see us have to start giving away seats again, just to fill the stadium.

    It’ll most likely come down to how much of a “sweetener” can be offered by DVML to the event organisers. They are not going to want to pay one dollar more than what it would cost for them to stay in Auckland for an extra night. Which means that “someone” is going to have to pick up the tab for packing up everything, moving it down to Dunedin, and then moving it back again to a major international airport.

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