‘The final cost of the stadium is … unknown.’


### ODT Online Fri, 24 Feb 2012
Multimillion dollar uncertainty over final stadium cost
By David Loughrey
Six months after the project finished, the Dunedin City Council today admitted it still had questions about the figure, and would fund a $55,000 independent review of the issue. Mayor Dave Cull said the amount in question was ”in the millions” but ”not in the tens of millions”. He would not speculate on what the final cost may be. A team from the Auckland office of PricewaterhouseCoopers would arrive in the city next week to undertake the review, which the DCC says will be funded “from existing DCC budgets”.
Read more + Video


Carisbrook Stadium Trust chair Malcolm Farry declared it had been completed on time and within budget. Mr Cull says that statement is now in doubt.

### radionz.co.nz Fri, 24 Feb 2012 Updated at 12:27 pm today
Irregularities found in stadium accounts
Dunedin City Council has appointed accountants to review the costs of the city’s new stadium because of irregularities in the project’s final accounts. Mayor Dave Cull and the council’s chief executive made the announcement on Friday morning. They say the council has identified money spent that it cannot account for so it has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to independently review the whole project. Mr Cull said he did not know how much the overrun was, but indicated it was likely to be millions of dollars.
Read more


### stuff.co.nz Last updated 12:12 24/02/2012
Probe into Dunedin stadium costs
By Wilma McCorkindale
The Dunedin City Council (DCC) had called in independent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) investigators after a report tabled Monday from new council chief executive Paul Orders on the likely final cost of the stadium, Cull said. The mayor was refusing to elaborate on what aspect of Orders’ report has initiated the Council action, saying all involved with the project are under scrutiny.
Read more


Dunedin City Council media release


### ODT Online Sat, 25 Feb 2012
DCC in stadium cost bid
By David Loughrey

A “whole gamut” of parties would be interviewed. -Paul Orders

A team of independent reviewers from PricewaterhouseCoopers will arrive in Dunedin next week seeking answers to multimillion-dollar questions concerning the final cost of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull yesterday announced a $55,000 review of the stadium’s final cost, amid concerns about “questions that remain unanswered”, six months after the facility was built. The review team would arrive in Dunedin from Auckland on Wednesday, and spend three weeks studying documents and interviewing “relevant parties”, including the project delivery team, the University of Otago, Hawkins Construction, Dunedin Venues Ltd and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, quantity surveyors and others.
Read more + Video


### ODT Online Sat, 25 Feb 2012
Farry defends costs; Butler hails review
By Chris Morris

“We are in no doubt whatsoever that the [trust’s] agreed budget has been complied with, and there is no question about that.” -Farry

Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry – the man who promised the Forsyth Barr Stadium would be built “on time and on budget” – insists he has delivered. That was despite Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull announcing an independent review of the stadium’s final cost yesterday, amid concerns the budget may have been blown by millions of dollars. Confirmation of the review by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was greeted as “wonderful news” by former Stop the Stadium president Bev Butler yesterday, although she hoped the examination would eventually go further.
Read more


### ODT Online Sat, 25 Feb 2012
Editorial: Big question still to be answered
While it most surely cannot be the intention, the latest delay in revealing the final costs of building Forsyth Barr Stadium can only lead to further speculation, innuendo and adverse publicity for the venue and the Dunedin City Council. For while it is imperative to “get it right”, from the beginning the most oft-asked questions about the project were how much it was going to cost – and who would pay. Definitive answers to these questions have been slow in forthcoming and this latest postponement will only fuel responses likely to range from resignation to frustration. This, after all, is a matter pertaining to the ratepayers and their pockets. It does not help matters that, having fended off inquiries as to these very matters over some months, at a meeting supposed called finally to reveal the figures, the council yesterday yet again demurred.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Media, ORC, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

90 responses to “‘The final cost of the stadium is … unknown.’

  1. “Carisbrook Stadium Trust chair Malcolm Farry declared it had been completed on time and within budget.
    Mr Cull says that statement is now in doubt.”

    This was never ever going to be done on budget. Anyone that said it was is a lying arse, anyone that said it was done on budget is also a lying arse.

    And they haven’t finished it yet. Best they add some $$$ in for the wind breaks, new sound system etc……

  2. amanda kennedy

    If all that happens after PricewaterhouseCoopers investigate is a statement along the lines of “…golly, we actually spent more than we had anticipated…too bad huh?…we just must soldier on and get behind the debt …”. That will be dangerous for Dunedin. Crs Hudson, Brown, Bezett and mates must be held accountable if the city has any chance of survival. Accountability may mean being chucked off council at the next election or even removed from council by the government for gross negligence.

    • Elizabeth

      The word “irregularities” in relation to the accounts seems interesting. I wonder where Athol sits today. I wonder if Malcolm Farry will be able to leave home without wearing a disguise. Criminal and civil proceedings must be the result, although this review is just the start (and a very cheap one at $55,000). DCC knows Minister Nick Smith has said local councils must attempt to tidy up their mess first, or he unleashes his ministerial powers (they are not benign). Either way the current group of councillors are in the path of the blowtorch. I imagine Syd Brown is deeply uncomfortable as chair of FSD; previously he was the ‘token guy’ to re-word the recommendations to push the stadium project through the council vote. Richard Walls, former chair of FSD, will be mighty pleased he isn’t here.

  3. Mike

    Bear in mind (and abridged from what I wrote) that I didn’t include anything from 2011 including all the stuff they ‘forgot’ to include like scoreboards and turnstiles

    They also abridged my suggestion that the $16m that they gave to CST might be a good place to start

  4. Mike

    By the way anyone who questions whether or not the stadium is finished yet need only go to the fubar facebook page where Dave Davies continues to issue video missives “Live from the Forsyth Barr Stadium construction site” – the last one dated Feb 17th 2012

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    I’ve sent this to the Daily online but it must be a bit worrying because it’s spent quite a while in the moderation queue. From what Mike says I doubt if it will appear un-gelded:

    “Enquiries can only be as good as the terms of their investigation. By keeping it narrow enough it may be no more than a cosmetic exercise, a glaring example being the Ministerial Inquiry into the Peter Ellis case, by former Chief Justice the Right Honourable Sir Thomas Eichelbaum who was tasked with looking only at the material previously presented but not at evidence not presented at Ellis’s trial. I hope that Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s brief is wide enough to allow them full range through all the processes and decisions whether by the DCC staff and councillors, or by various “separate” entities such as DVL, CST, DCHL and DVML. The city’s money derived from rates and other income e.g. dividends from our investments, when shuffled from one to another, does not suddenly become irrelevant to the solvency (or otherwise) of Dunedin City, it does not become irrelevant to the debt burden loaded onto each and every one of us now and for decades to come.”

  6. But is he still accountable?

    • Elizabeth

      ### 3news.co.nz Fri, 24 Feb 2012 3:33p.m.
      Dunedin Council to investigate stadium costs
      By Dave Goosselink
      Controversy continues to follow Dunedin’s new covered stadium. The Dunedin City Council has ordered an independent review of the final cost of the Forsyth Barr Stadium, six months after it opened for business. A report given to councillors this week raised serious questions over the amount spent on the venue, with Mayor Dave Cull hinting the excess could run into millions of dollars. Forensic accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers will begin their review next week, at a cost of $55,000. They will be combing through all the contracts and bills for the stadium, which opened in August near Dunedin’s waterfront.

      Mayor Dave Cull has ruled out the likelihood of any criminal or fraud-related charges, but said the lack of clarity and certainty around some figures prompted the review.

      The results of the review are expected to be made public in late March.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### radionz.co.nz Friday 24 February 2012
        Checkpoint with Mary Wilson
        17:25 Stadium Trust rejects accounting problem claim
        Auditors are being brought in to scrutinise the accounts of Dunedin’s new stadium, after discrepancies were found – which could be unauthorised spending or cost overruns. (2′58″)
        Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

        [The report says little light has been shed on the cause for the review. Mr Farry says he doesn’t know what’s going on but fingers shouldn’t be pointed at his group – “It won’t be in our domain”. The University of Otago welcomes any review. Sir John Hansen, chair of DVL and DVML, didn’t want to say much. The Mayor has named CST, University of Otago, the builders, the quantity surveyors and DVML as part of the review. The review is likely to take three weeks and will be released in March.]

        • Elizabeth

          ### ch9.co.nz February 24, 2012 – 6:07pm
          Multi-million dollar stadium cost overrun
          The gloss may be about to come off Dunedin’s recently opened multi-million dollar stadium, after it’s been revealed it could cost up to $9m more. The council has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers at a cost of $55,000 to undertake a review, with the results due in three weeks.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    Re Walls’ accountability, this is a matter you should take up with your vicar / rabbi / minister / priest / imam.

  8. Phil

    Before everyone gets too excited, let’s not escape the fact that this is an investigation of the DCC (and associates) activities surrounding the stadium, instigated by the DCC, and paid for by the DCC. PricewaterhouseCoopers are being tasked with objectively investigating their own client. Exactly how objective can that be expected to be ?

    Sound a bit like Howard Research, anyone ?

    This is actually quite clever when you think about it. If it leaked out that there had been an $8 million cost over run (and we all know it’s more like an $80 million dollar over run), there would have been heads rolling in the press. Now they’ve put the carrot out there of $9 million. When the “independent” report comes back with a figure of $8 million, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Better than the $9 million that was expected.

    CST signed off the final accounts every month. If they didn’t understand what they were signing, they shouldn’t have signed. Buck stops there.

  9. Anonymous

    That is correct Phil. We have to assume with certain stadium councillors at the helm, and the stakeholders behind them, this surprise announcement would have involved a little media management planning before it went public. Of course if PWC as to report no such “irregularities” exist then that $55K would be a small price to pay for all the positive, front page news in the ODT liberating the stadium councillors (anything else will probably get a a page 34 story on Monday). Good timing to get this business sorted – half way between elections.

    Something else that gives me the shits though is this:

    ‘Mayor Dave Cull has ruled out the likelihood of any criminal or fraud-related charges, but said the lack of clarity and certainty around some figures prompted the review.’

    Why is Mayor Cull saying he is ruling out criminal and fraud-related charges before the “independent” audit has started? How does he know for certainty? If the audit uncovers criminal behaviour then that is going to make him look a fool for appearing to protect the parties concerned.

  10. Anonymous

    Carisbrook Stadium Trust were the agency running the project. How can this not be in their domain?
    Mind you, the Project Delivery Team did seem to be quite autonomous and we’ve already seen Coburn’s invoicing, delivered via McLauchlan’s accounting firm.

  11. Russell Garbutt

    When will the Office of the Auditor General decide to get involved?

    Everyone will recall my letter to the ODT published last Saturday when Paul Orders said that he didn’t know the cost of the stadium but the CST project delivery team would tell him, and that enough audits had been done.

    What changed?

  12. Mike

    Russell – time to ask that question again ….. maybe they did finally tell him which is why they’re now investigating

    How can you spend millions of dollars without anyone noticing? it’s not like it’s sitting in the bank somewhere and got used accidentally … did they also take out a loan for millions of dollars extra?

  13. Phil

    Shows how the ridiculous stadium costings have raised the bar when it comes to what now defines a crisis. To put in perspective, those so called “missing millions” (it’s ok because it’s not 10s of millions) could have funded either the South Dunedin Library or the Mosgiel pool upgrade. Both of which are now highly unlikely to happen.

  14. Mike

    while that’s a great political point to make (to Cr Brown of Mosgiel in particular) having $Xm less than not having spare money to spend is still not having money to spend

    I bet the real scramble going on right now is with the drafty council budget …. when are public hearings again?

  15. Anonymous

    From the last line in David Loughrey’s story:

    ‘However, the council minutes noted a resolution “a suitable rider be included in the draft long term plan advising the public of the effects of any overrun in Forsyth Barr Stadium costs in the 2011/12 year”.’

    This too should be alarming. Makes you think. What if this business is just about confirming there are “irregularities” to enable the changes required so they become regularities for the next 40 years?

    Both Mayor Dave Cull and chief executive officer Paul Orders have now said they will not be investigating criminal or fraud-related charges. That in itself should be red flagged and questioned.

    So with the report completed by PWC the next move would be to update the Long Term Plan to make these so-called overruns legal in the future. Then we are paying an extra $5M-$15M per year and the councillors can simply dismiss it.

    I’m sure the boys haven’t had a wee huddle to manage such things in the Otago Daily Times, so Dave best keep praying to the Dark Lord of Stadia and hoping its minions can keep up their interference.


  16. Russell Garbutt

    If Dunedin’s debt per ratepayer level as of June last year was over $11,000 which is about 3 times that of Kaipara, then what would another $10m of debt do? I don’t think we should forget that this whole mess was caused by less than 20 people and we should do all we can to ensure that those 20 people’s names are always in the public eye.

  17. Calvin Oaten

    In today’s ODT front page report, two things stood out. First: The list of “relevant parties” to be interviewed does NOT include the mayors and councillors in office during the decisions being made to proceed with the project, and approving, step by step, all modifications, budgets and indeed everything pertaining to the stadium and the resultant financial imbroglio created. WHY?

    Second: The mention of the issue between the university and the stadium over shared costs. In successive Annual Plans which published budgets for the stadium consistently stated that the Otago University was contributing $10m. Simple, Uni, pay the $10m and negotiate the extras.

    The real inquiry that the DCC daren’t have, is one which would start with the MWH report in 2004 into the state of affairs at the ORFU. It was this showing that the ORFU was technically bankrupt which set in motion everything that has brought us to the position the city is in now. And Dave Cull knows that, and so does all his compatriots.

    This inquiry is solely designed to deflect responsibility from the instigators onto some scapegoat yet to be disclosed. And the costs go on.

  18. Rob Hamlin

    My word haven’t we all become cynical since ’07. Nice to see. What we have been told so far tells us precisely nothing – we still don’t have a clue as to who/what will be investigated, and as several have pointed out it will be a wee little investigation for this budget. If the DCC was an elephant in the dark this would be the equivalent of about half a second with a pen torch to see what you were dealing with.

    I presume several of our elected representatives who discussed and voted on this inquiry don’t want to talk. The remainder who might be in a position to enlighen us further apparently remain firmly ‘gagged’. I had heard that the ‘gags’ were installed as a routine procedure a few days back in anticipation of an announcement by the ‘ungagged elite’ – which we thought was going to be ORFU related. Howevever, presumably this was it. We still have the ORFU to look forward to.

  19. Lindsay

    It is difficult to be less than cynical about any audit initiated from within the council. If the sole purpose is to produce a report to wave around and claim that the stadium finances have been independently audited and found to be fine, give or take a few million, then we may as well save the $55K now. I agree with the comments above that a much wider overall inquiry is needed rather than an audit of construction costs especially as the council have always taken a narrow view as to what was included in that total.
    The terms of reference, if made public, will show where Dave Cull is going with this, and by his demeanour at the press conference I am not overly confident it will be in the right direction.

  20. Hype O'Thermia

    If anyone were to suggest that Dave is cojones-wise now halfway between David and Davina I would find it hard to argue with them.

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    I don’t have any problem with this :
    “Responding to a question of whether criminal charges may follow, both men said there was no issue of that sort; rather, Mr Orders said, it was “about understanding the final quantum”, and “explaining variances” that had arisen. ”
    It would be absurd to say ahead of the investigation that they expect crimes to be discovered, and could be seen as leading the investigators to find supporting evidence. Wait till the report comes in. If crimes, charges. If not, not.

  22. Anonymous

    I can’t imagine the senior stadium councillors implicating themselves in criminal behaviour. Too much self-interest is dependent upon self-preservation for that type of foolishness. These are people who operate in the grey area and will abuse the system as long as legal clarification makes it possible. But on the matter of morality, I believe they have all failed and have long since stopped working in the best interests of Dunedin. If immoral and incompetent were criminal in politics then many involved in both of our councils would have been facing the consequences of “irregularities” well before the disaster befallen us.

  23. Rob Hamlin

    You couldn’t imagine Sir/St. Douglas Graham implicating himself in illegal stuff either – But there you go.

  24. Sir Douglas Graham, and the other directors of Lombard, have been convicted for not being diligent enough to ensure that representations made to attract investors were accurate. What they have done is little different from that done by those responsible for pushing through the Stadium.
    Unfortunately lower standards seem to apply to financial mismanagement by local bodies forcibly taking money from ratepayers, than private businesses soliciting money in the marketplace.

  25. Anonymous

    Just a few bits of interest. Notice too the question about Forsyth Barr naming rights and how much they have paid for it, and all the advertising they’ve received since, has still gone unanswered. Malcolm Farry referred to their contribution in a post to the extra $5.1m given to DVML last year. Apparently they’ve paid “dollars”.

    ‘Mr Farry said keeping costs to budget was an ongoing process but the stadium was still on time and on budget.’
    Stadium tenders over budget
    By David Loughrey on Fri, 23 Apr 2010

    “Forsyth Barr have already made a significant contribution in dollars, time and obligation.”
    How $5.1m worth of ‘exclusions’ became included
    By David Loughrey on Sat, 19 Mar 2011

    ‘Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry said controversy around funding issues that had been made public recently would be a major focus for the Dunedin City Council, but “it will be said in hindsight this was the wise and correct decision to make”.’
    Forsyth Barr Stadium officially opened
    Fri, 5 Aug 2011

    ‘The budget for the plaza was “definitely” within the stadium budget, and was not an extra cost, he said.’ {stadium councillor Syd Brown}
    Stadium plaza plans released
    By David Loughrey on Fri, 19 Aug 2011

    And who can forget the “We Did It” (aka Mission Accomplished) party for stakeholders:

    Celebration marks end of stadium construction
    By Rebecca Fox on Sat, 30 Jul 2011

    Want more from the ODT?

  26. Phil

    It think it was unfortunate that Bev raced out in print, endorsing this “independant review”. It doesn’t matter what was printed later to quantify her support or enthusiasm, the headline still indicates clearly that the review has her support. That’s forever in print now. The review is only about quantifying the actual financial expenditure surrounding the stadium project, and not about the decision-making (funding or otherwise) process which led up to the project. That’s a governance issue, not an accounting issue. Bev gave the impression of trying to paint it as something that it’s not. Intended or otherwise. The company carrying out the review will be following the brief given to them by their client who is paying for their time. They will not (and rightly so) be swayed by the words or wishes of someone who is NOT their client.

    I suspect that this report will come back in a few weeks time with no irregularities, or with an explanation for where the lost millions are. It’s possible that people within the project team know exactly where that money is and will wait for it to be “found” in a perfectly acceptable place just to ensure the official seal of approval in the form of an official independent review. Wild speculation, but all the more reason to be careful with one’s words at this stage. Council needs to finish this now and what better way to do it than to write your own review. They need to get the bulk of the national public and media back on their side against any locals who were daring to speak against. In supposedly “opening their books” they are painting a very passable picture of an honest and responsible council. More people will think they can start trusting the council again and may warm to the idea of the stadium. Some will even start to believe that buying a team or 2 for the stadium isn’t such a bad idea either. Interesting that this is timed beautifully to meet the start of the football season, and the issues surrounding the ORFU. What a great way to drum up much-needed support for both. The mainstream media will never bother them again after this. All they will print is that this is an honest council, concerned about their region and its ecomony. Absolute garbage, but national media isn’t insterested enough in Dunedin to dig any further.

    The local press will have a field day in writing how Bev got the review she asked for and if she complains further then it’s just sour grapes. Her credibility will take a massive hit in the eyes of the general public and probably in the eyes of central government who will, of course, side with their local government counterparts given half an inch. Nothing against Bev here but I think the smart action would have been to hold her nerve and not pass any comment.

  27. Peter

    Phil. We don’t know yet whether this audit is going to be a whitewash or not. Time will tell. That’s why Bev said the review was a ‘first step’. I think you need to reread her comments instead of jumping to conclusions. You sometimes have to wait and not prejudge – like the comment about fraud not being a possibility. If you ask for a forensic audit and then criticise the move you can be accused of being never happy with anything. If the audit does not include interviewing people from both sides then suspicions can be legitimately raised. Until then you cannot, as I say, prejudge before you know. By doing so, you lose credibility and become labelled as a moaner.

    • Elizabeth

      The good people are exhausted by the whole goddam awful stadium project and all its tendrils. Staying on task in getting the can-opener through it all is really important. It’s going to take a long time and many processes.

  28. Mike

    You know Dave and Bev could both be right – “not tens of millions” could mean $19m or less ….

  29. Hype O'Thermia

    I think Bev was right in her implicit warning that the audit was a “first step” and her mention of the terms of the enquiry. She has given notice that beady eyes will be focused on PWC and those who hired them, and if the terms restrict PWC’s enquiry so as to eliminate anything “difficult” a.k.a. potentially embarrassing, further loud questions will be asked over and over in public till the DCC and all who coat-tail on it learn what embarrassment REALLY means. Note that Stuff has run this story so far. I believe there will be every opportunity for comments and feedback in media outside the Otago area reminding NZ of how an enquiry can be skewed a la Ellis-Eichelbaum by ruling out buckets of relevant information.

  30. Phil

    I don’t doubt Bev’s intentions, Peter. Reading the entire article I could see what she was saying. Before I jumped to any conclusions. But I’m not the problem. I know where Bev is coming from. The majority of people in the city don’t and one can’t rely on them to read and objectively question an entire acticle in order to piece together the complete picture. It’s the media who have decided how much credibility Bev will have, and it’s the media who influence the opinions of most people more than any other source. Was their headline “Bev Butler advises caution” ? No, it was “Butler hails review” that they decided should hit people first. What message would you, without the knowledge you have, take from that ? Most people won’t remember the details of any interview, but they will remember the main message as chosen by the media. If Bev had said nothing then the press would have nothing with which to twist to any pre-determined motive. I just think it was a mistake to make a public statement without having first all the relevant details. A few days would not have hurt.

    Neither here nor there now.

  31. Phil

    That is the best news out of all of this, Hype O’Thermia. Now that it has shown up on national media sites, the ODT is no longer in control of the story. That’s the first time this has happened since the process began. Taking the ODT out of the game is the most positive aspect of the saga to date.

  32. Russell Garbutt

    Seems to me that everyone that has information that they think is relevant to this enquiry should be able to present it to PWC. If they can’t then that information needs to be reported in a place that people need access to, and know about. Wouldn’t take much to publicise a certain website for example if the ODT were not willing to publish such material. URL’s are much easier to disseminate to many people than “traditional” methods.

  33. Hype O'Thermia

    I hope there will be plenty of follow-up such as comments, letters, to media that run the story. True, the majority of Dunedin people may not be following it in detail but in the end all they can do is vote once every 3 years, and we’ve seen the contrast between what is said before election and what is done afterwards. The eyes that need to be kept on this are those of the people who can, and if it becomes expedient will, do something about it. We cannot rely on their reading this site , we cannot rely on MPs and the auditor general to make it a part of their evening routine, clicking here to see how things are going and whether anyone has come up with anything new that looks like it calls for their action. By involving media including the influential bloggers in this, and there are openings not only in this latest development but also in relation to the raft of “Another Council up to eyebrows in debt for shiny things” stories.

    {You would be very surprised by who monitors this site and our Twitter account. -Eds}

  34. Anonymous

    Good time for ratepayers, visitors and reporters to review those $1000 per day invoices to get an inkling of how Dunedin has been taken to the cleaners.


  35. Lindsay

    The term “inquiry” conjures up images of a Pike River type commisssion with a scope as wide as the investigators feel is necessary to get all the facts. What we are getting is a ‘review’ of the final cost of the stadium. This will not include the purchase of Carisbrook, as it was totally unrelated to the stadium and only a happy coincidence that it came up for sale just as the DCC were desperate to buy a stadium. It will not include moving the road, as again, this is just another coincidence – councils frequently move roads over by a few hundred metres just to make the view more interesting. How closely it will examine various payments made to the CST remains to be seen – if they are considered setup costs rather than construction costs then possibly not at all.
    I think is unlikely that PWC will be meeting with concerned members of the public to hear their views. They are being paid to carry out a specific task, nothing more.

  36. Anonymous

    It certainly appears that particular link is timing out. Maybe the digital version of public office shredding paper files before the auditors arrive? PWC associates extending its system resources doing research so their partners can start billing ahead of schedule? But it would (should) take some serious interference for the executive or senior management to issue an order for the web or db team to make it unavailable. More likely a backend system has failed on its document management suite again.


  37. anon

    Since reading here the Dunedin City ratepayer is likely getting billed $20K [IT] per year per staff member at Dunedin City Council (another tip ignored by the ODT), I have wondered about the above story too. If this department is making over $13m per year, there should be no shortage for its technology requirements yet a poster on the ODT forum suggests it is “laughably out of date”.

    Is this another example of a department’s budget not ring-fenced?

    Apology for wrong meter-profit claim
    By Chris Morris on Sat, 10 Jul 2010
    ‘However, staff could seek approval from councillors to use the money in some other way, such as helping pay for the Forsyth Barr Stadium or a new library, although any significant changes would require public consultation, he said.’

    Stakeholders have screwed Dunedin in their greed to bleed the benefits from creating this coliseum to rugby and now the damned thing is sucking money from everywhere, with people on the council running amok, inventing rediculous rules, shifting amounts around ledgers, screwing with budgets, changing debt repayment plans, and voting on topics to distract the masses, rather than face up to the truth and try to make it right.

  38. Calvin Oaten

    I looked up the DCC site, and just happened to feel like looking at the Finance, Strategy and Development 31 December 2011 report. Of particular interest is the Public Debt Summary Statement.
    Stadium balance $148.404m. Interest paid $4.222m. Now if DVL is to assume $110m of this debt, it is official, the balance of $38.40m stays on the DCC’s books. A dollar to a doughnut this is the private funding underwrite.
    The total debt of the DCC is $344.819m. Not sure what DCHL’s debt will be at 31 December but at 30 June last, it was $4.316m short term and $534.220m long, for a total of $538.54m. All up, it would seem that at New Year’s Eve we citizens are shouldering a total of $883.336m. Feel good? Split that among 54,000 ratepayers and this amounts to $16,358 per person! Still feel good? We ought to, as this earns us the title of champion most highly rated citizens in New Zealand, by a country mile. Where is the medal?
    Investment and miscellaneous property debt (excluding property operational but including Carisbrook) carries debt of $33.869m. Here is a portfolio the DCC could do without. Investments like this are for organisations having a debt/equity ratio much much healthier than the DCC’s. Sold up, this portfolio could remove that debt and release the equity for further debt reduction. I recently did an exercise on this aspect and emailed it to Dave Cull copied to Paul Orders. Response? Zilch!
    Interesting also, is that of the total debt of $344.819m, that pertaining to all Transport Network, Public Health, City Development, Museums (including OSM, and Chinese Garden), Sport Recreation & Leisure (excluding all things stadium), and Corporate Support add up to $140.881m. So, it can readily be seen just what a tremendous burden the stadium is upon the city.
    Just thought you would like to know this.

    • Elizabeth

      Yeah, thanks Calvin. It’s the stuff of Feel-good Sunday, in buckets. Also known as, an immense tragedy for Dunedin City.

      Here’s the report Calvin refers to:

      Report – FSD – 09/02/2012 (PDF, 660.0 KB)
      Financial Result – 6 Months to 31 December 2011

      See Attachment 7 – STATEMENT OF PUBLIC DEBT AS AT 31 December 2011 SUMMARY SHEET

  39. Anonymous

    Thank you Calvin.

    During the interview a reporter tries to question why the millions are missing, with emphasis on “millions”. Not hundreds, not thousands… but MILLIONS of dollars.

    Our new Mayor Dave Cull says “That’s why we are having the review” and appears to smile briefly. When the reporter questions how this could happen, he replies again “That’s why we are having the review” and smiles. People actually laughed.

    Millions of ratepayer funds are not a joke. It is a very serious matter and once again we are presented with a council who has no respect or care for spending others peoples’ money.

  40. Hype O'Thermia

    Elizabeth, I certainly hope this site is checked by people who ought to know what’s what. However as long as they only read it and are not seen to read it, not plainly seen to be in possession of information and aware of dodged questions, they can make like Ron Petriecivic and St Weeping Doug Graham et al – “we know nutheen m’lord, we frankly admit we is well innocent.”

  41. Calvin Oaten

    Dave Cull could well end up by touting cheap southern hemisphere “Greek Holidays”.
    “Why go to bankrupt Greece on the sparkling Mediterranean when you can come to an equally bankrupt city Dunedin? Portobello does a mean ‘cappuccino’ and you can indulge in deep sea fishing off the ‘Puddingstone’ on the Peninsula.
    Sunbathe on our beautiful Pilot’s Beach, oh, sorry, I forgot, you aren’t allowed to do that, it’s been declared ‘sovereign territory’ by the Penguins. But you could surf at Brighton, the fiefdom of our esteemed “elderly” councillor Weatherall. Walk the John Wilson Drive. Not sure why it is still called a drive. You could make your own mind up on that. Bring your bucket and spade, you can help rebuild our Middle Beach. Your patronage will be appreciated and with the right set of multiples we will prove the economic gain for us your visit will provide.” Hope to see you soon. The sooner the better, as soon we may not be able to host you due to lack of electricity, water and drainage. Just a small hiccup which we are busily wishing and praying to the gods to avoid. But there will always be the grand “On Time on Budget Stadium” (OTOBS) to tour and who needs more than that? We don’t have the riots on the streets that Greece has, but we are working on that, and hope to have them on our itinerary as soon as possible. Our problem here is one of apathy, but we are hoping we can dispel that. Nothing like a bit of action on the streets. We had a dress rehearsal recently by a bunch of misguided ragtags under the guise of Stop the Stadium. We never let them get any traction. Lied our way round that all along. Even did it in a court of law. Yes, we can guarantee you a holiday the citizens will never forget, or forgive.
    Your ever voluble and entertaining host and Mayor,
    Dave Cull :-)

  42. Calvin Oaten

    Hey! I just thought. The OTOBS stadium. Has a much nicer ring to it than the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Don’t you think? Yes! the OTOBS stadium, I am sure someone can set it to music.

  43. Anonymous

    ODT is importing “rugby mad” reporters to blog on the boring as shit sport. Probably warrants its own category – something to do with the Daft and Ridiculous.


    {Yes saw that, an embarrassing folly that reflects badly on the newspaper and their friends at DVML/ORFU, given the seriousness of the multimillion dollar fiasco that is ORFU, now teamed with the multimillion dollar fiasco that is DVML – both to the wall with pallor mortis (insolvency at their heels). Of course, the use of a woman writer is, we suppose, their entirely innocent trump card, the supine Tori Campbell (real or fake). Sounds like Hedderwick’s doing. Is he very bright ? -Eds}

  44. Calvin Oaten

    Hyperventilation? It wasn’t even heavy breathing.

  45. Calvin Oaten

    Wasn’t it the Tori Campbell where the “Michael Lermontov” came onto the rocks? Or was it the Tory Channel? I forget. Either way it is a disaster.

  46. Anonymous

    The thing that frightens me about the debt is: Who wins when we all lose? This has always been about greed and stakeholder interest, about what can be grabbed or stolen from the public. The actual stadium is just a by-product of all the bonds, land and construction deals. The big fish and the many bottomfeeders have suckled long and hard at the bossom of the Dunedin City ratepayer. But intuition continues to warn of a much greater threat still – we are facing asset-stripping on a previously unheard of scale and it is this which has always been the agenda.

  47. Anonymous

    Classic ODT

    It’s a blow-out but…

    Only $203.6M ($198.1M + $5.5M of “extras”)
    Nothing about 40 years of debt repayment
    Nothing about the extra $100M of interest
    Nothing about the stadium councillors
    Nothing about Peter Chin and Jim Harland
    Nothing about Cr Syd Brown and Athol Stephens
    Nothing about DCHL debt
    Nothing about Otago Regional Council

    No who, what, when, why and how.

    You are right Amanda, it is interesting how councillors are mentioned in the media. Especially the stadium councillors. If it’s to make one appear as working and useful, he gets mentioned six times by name in the story. If it’s about debt and their stadium, it’s little or nothing.

    Should we be placing an ad in the D Scene each week reminding readers who contributed to the stadium votes?

  48. Russell Garbutt

    The ODT have been given so many chances, so many opportunities to investigate, so many tips on where to go. They have had their opportunities, their tips, their stories dished up on a plate.

    They have chosen not to pursue anything of any substance and the only question really to ask is whether this is an editorial stance or an owner’s stance?

    Time for more non-partisan media to become involved.

  49. Phil

    It’s hard to know what to take out of today’s cryptic comments. Dave referred back to the hand-over date which would lead one to suspect this is primarily relating to the construction contract and not to the land/property purchases etc which would have been completed a year or more prior. Was there possibly a sweetener deal thrown in to contractors or suppliers in order to meet the desired completion date ?

  50. Hype O'Thermia

    He’s saying as much as he reasonably can: ‘…if something “untoward” is found, “there will be accountability issues”.’
    I don’t want to see the corrupt-police-cliche “investigation” that decides ahead of time there has been a crime, then has to find evidence to “fit up” the easiest person to accuse of being the perp. That would be as bad as a straitened enquiry that by limiting its terms of investigation ensures that everyone is purer than the driven snow.

  51. Russell Garbutt

    I see on Stuff that Wayne Graham is reported as talking to Radio Sport and said ‘Even if a team could be fielded this year courtesy of fresh financial support, there would be question marks over where they could play.

    They were in the dark about the cost of playing games at the $200 million Forsyth Barr Stadium which was built to primarily host games during last year’s World Cup.

    “The distressing thing now is, how are we going to afford to play in it?” Graham told Radio Sport today.

    “Nobody really knows. A lot of these things were put in place but nobody’s done a feasibility study to see if it is sustainable.

    “As the Otago Union, we’re looking at the stadium and saying we can’t afford to be there.”‘

    This shows an appalling lack of management and governance from the ORFU, the NZRU, DVML and the DCC. Do you believe it? Does this mean that when Peter Chin said that the ORFU had signed a deal for the next 35 years he was not telling the truth? How could this possibly be?

    {Link http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/provincial/6489057/Otago-crisis-casts-cloud-over-Dunedin-stadium -Eds}

  52. Anonymous

    Bev Butler and Eion Edgar appeared on 3 News tonight.
    {read full story -Eds}

    It is so arrogant and offensive of rugby executives to expect more money to be given to them.

    The bloody rugby fans haven’t raised a finger to help reduce the massive debt being faced by Dunedin yet are now getting excited about saving ORFU. At least one thinks we should all be giving another $50 to rugby via our rates.

    On the same day ORFU is wanting their followers to give them $1m to play a few more games of rugby – and no doubt pay a few ‘administrative costs’ – the rehabilitation service ISIS is facing cutting beds and staff to accommodate a further loss in funding up to $1.4m. It’s just one of the many examples community groups are facing. And in classic ODT style the ISIS story was buried on the inside of its paper.

    There are far more valuable and worthwhile needs to raise money for in our community.

    The professional rugby lot can go take a flying leap.


  53. Anonymous

    How much has Forsyth Barr paid for the naming rights? It was reported as $10m in January 2009 but then listed as “dollars, time and obligation” in a post by Malcolm Farry in March 2011. They have certainly received an enormous amount of public promotion from the naming rights.

    The whole stadium roadshow was a farce of extraordinary stakeholder excess, full of wining, dining and plenty of backslapping, all while ratepayers, and now small businesses and their staff, have been left battered and bruised in the gutter. How many of those businesses put their name to that two-page spread right at the start?

    There is so much horror unfolding in this tragedy.

    Dunedin company Forsyth Barr puts name to stadium
    By Mark Price on Fri, 30 Jan 2009

    How $5.1m worth of ‘exclusions’ became included
    By David Loughrey on Sat, 19 Mar 2011

  54. Anonymous

    It is a fitting tribute to the company that the Forsyth Barr Stadium turns into an expensive debacle. Rich people are rich because they make returns from other people’s money and don’t spend their own.

  55. Lindsay

    Some of the tv news coverage made mention of the creditors but most of it was about how terrible it is for rugby. There was much made of the community finding a million dollars to keep a team in the next competion but no mention of paying back any of the money owed. It is sickening, the ease at which these people can turn their backs on their responsibilities, and without taking a breath start asking for more money.

  56. MichaelA

    To their credit TV3 news mentioned the plight of creditors this evening. They stated that there were 180 firms owed money. They also had an interview with a couple of women whose catering company had done business with the ORFU and doubted they would ever be paid.

    Once again the little guy cops it.

  57. Peter

    John Campbell interviewed Steve Tew and Josh Kronfeld. The general gist was how terrible it was for Otago rugby, what can WE do? blah blah blah. Campbell Live has to do better than that. Both interviewees knew there were some ‘money problems’, or words to that effect, but the situation suddenly became serious the last few days. Bullshit.
    Don’t you just love it how the caterers were fed promises of being paid, so they continued to cater. Then the ORFU screwed them. And now they want the support of the community!

  58. Mike

    I think if you’re having trouble paying the caterers you start bringing a bagged lunch, not order more – I think that one of the main problems here is that they just feel so entitled, after all they’re running a rugby union, they must be important right?

    In reality what you should be doing is providing leadership, that means leading by example, that means bringing a bag lunch, or opening your own pocket to pay for the caterers

  59. Phil

    Meanwhile the poor old caterers are too afraid to complain at the time, worried that they might lose their contract. While their client knows full well that they can’t pay.

  60. Hype O'Thermia

    A brief search found many news articles around the world about the NZRU schemozzle, including sites to which comments and feedback could be submitted to keep the topic in the public eye. Here are 4 of them:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/feb/27/new-zealand-nzru-otago-rugby. Contact the Sport editor football.editor@guardianunlimited.co.uk
    Letters for publication should be sent to: letters@guardian.co.uk

  61. Hype O'Thermia

    Follow that link to find another quaint poll:
    Opinion Poll
    Who should pay for the stadium cost overrun?:
    [] Council
    [] Ratepayers
    [] Dunedin Venues Ltd

  62. Lindsay

    I liked the comment from the chap who helpfully suggested it be split between all three.

  63. Mike

    Surely it should be:

    Who should pay for the stadium cost overrun?:
    [] Ratepayers
    [] Ratepayers
    [] Ratepayers

    because that’s what it means

  64. Lindsay

    The Holy Trinity of debt repayment. Besides, those who should, are bankrupt and those who could, have never been very keen to spend their own money.
    I do notice however, a spirit of philanthropy seems to be washing over the city at the moment so anything is possible.

  65. Interesting that I’ve been sitting here drinking with a bunch of quantity surveyors and they all see of course the final cost is known…..

    I can’t see for all the wool!!!

  66. ***see=say

    I did say drinking.

  67. Elizabeth

    Dunedin City Council watchdog Calvin Oaten has analysed the costs of and contributions for the Forsyth Barr Stadium as he sees them.

    Guestimate: Total Cost … $485.47m, and then some.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 12 Apr 2012
    Watchdog does stadium sums
    By Calvin Oaten
    It is now seven months since the Forsyth Barr Stadium was completed and the Dunedin City Council felt it was incumbent upon them to spend $50,000 in order to ascertain the exact cost of the project.
    Read more

    • The council’s “independent” review examing the final cost of the stadium is now due to be made public next month.

    [The speech marks at the bullet point are ODT’s – interesting.]

  68. Anonymous

    The guy who was posting on here about alleged fraud at the University of Otago…postings removed by the moderator correctly as they were potentially actionable. My little bird says the guy checks out. Someone has walked already (well, was marched).

    • Elizabeth

      We did some checking – we also had concerns about one other matter raised through a comment from ‘Steve’.

  69. When is someone going to realize council is trying (badly) to play everyone. They are making every excuse there is not to pay up to some of the contractors, using all kinds of delay tactics.

    These arseholes need to pay their bills and tell us how much it cost. If they didn’t know now they ALL, every last one of them, should be put in jail. This is criminal what is going on.

    • Elizabeth

      wirehunt, how many not paid? Have they commenced action(s) to recover what they are owed and did they have a written contract to begin with? Of you have more detail and you can safely post it, by all means do so.

  70. Hype O'Thermia

    Ring-ring. “Hello, is that Baycorp?”

  71. Hype O'Thermia

    I’m listening to Jim Mora’s program. Topic – white water rafting facility at Manukau, currently Dick Quax vehemently anti. First was Sir Noel Robinson passionately advocating: it would be so wonderful for the disadvantaged children of the area, raise their self esteem; would cost ratepayers nothing; would be funded by sale of land that already belongs to Council; would encourage fitness. Would cost ratepayers nothing – emphasised, repeated, guaranteed. No mention of being largely taken over by hi-demand, hi-entitlement sector.
    Quax mentioned them though – training for Olympics, which would mean the ragged-trouser’d peasantry would find hours available to them severely curtailed. Listening to the eloquent public-spirited Sir I had a vivid flashback. Makes a mockery of “say no to drugs” when the memory of Farrydust being sprinkled over the populace, inducing terrible recklessness and smashing future opportunities, comes back at the sound of an interview.

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