Ratepayers pay for ORFU black-tie dinner at stadium

In March, a letter to the editor (ODT, 24.3.12) by Cr Lee Vandervis raised questions to which ORFU’s Wayne Graham gave a nothing reply. Indeed, we’d all been wondering what ORFU’s extra debt of $80,000 to DCC stood for, to be written off in the bailout package. We had heard an ORFU party at the stadium was part responsible (comment). It was not long before an official information request went to Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) from one of our readers. Related comments on the thread start here.


This is totally inappropriate spending of public money. -Bev Butler

### D Scene 2.5.12 (page 3)
Stadium booze tab picked up by ratepayers
By Wilma McCorkindale
An Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) party and booze bill in excess of $25,000 is among debts written off in a bailout of the cash-strapped organisation by Dunedin Venues Management (DVML) and the Dunedin City Council (DCC), according to stadium opponent Bev Butler […] she obtained copies of the offending invoices through an official information request. “[I was] shocked to learn that [an] ORFU party was part of the ORFU bailout. On August 5 last year the ORFU held a Black Tie dinner at the stadium. The expenses, including thousands of dollars on booze was put on hock.” Butler said among the paperwork obtained was a response from DVML showing the ORFU owed DVML $73,164 excluding GST or $84,140 including GST. “This was for the black tie dinner on August 5, 2011. All the figures are blacked out but I do know from DVML that the Black Tie dinner was $25,352 (incl GST).”
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May 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm
UPDATE- See this thread for news and reaction to the defamation action taken against the Mayor of Dunedin by two members of the ORFU Board, acting on their own account. We think the ‘dinner tab’ story puts the defamation action in a handsome light. God only knows what the action does to the ORFU bailout deal, supposedly to be wrapped up by 16 May.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, ORFU, People, Politics, Sport, Stadiums

138 responses to “Ratepayers pay for ORFU black-tie dinner at stadium

  1. Don’t worry Elizabeth, we’re Dunedin ratepayers, we’ll take it on the chin, up the arse, just whatever council says we should do. And we’ll be happy while they do it.

    • Elizabeth

      wirehunt, my rent’s been rising above the rate of inflation for how many years, long will it continue, evidently.

  2. Anonymous

    DCC should pull out of the conditional agreement before 16th May and let liquidation take its course.

  3. Russell Garbutt

    There is something about negotiating in good faith. The ORFU have clearly demonstrated that they are incapable of acting in good faith and I agree with Anonymous. Cut these shysters loose.

  4. Anonymous

    The ORFU proved the Mayor right: they were incapable of organizing a piss-up. A fundraising dinner that loses money? That the Chairman was of the opinion had made money? Send in the auditors.

  5. Mike

    He’s probably right though …. it’s easy to make money if you don’t pay the bills

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    Otago Rugby Fagans United: “You’ve gotta pick a pocket or two.”

  7. Peter

    I wonder if they could run a fee paying public loo system, at a profit, with a citizenry struck down in a dysentery epidemic?

  8. Ro

    Wayne Graham says he was chairman of the board and didn’t know about these sorts of things – financial things. How can anyone who owns this of himself sue anyone else for saying it? Not knowing about these sorts of things when signing contracts for food or drink or for the hire of a stadium amounts exactly to what he is suing the mayor for saying

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    But Ro – isn’t that what’s so delicious about this? Unless Mayor Cull retains the thickest lawyer on the planet, this should be a court case fit for the Billy T James award for comedy.

  10. Mike

    I look forwards to the Mayor’s use of his new found subpoena powers …..

  11. Calvin Oaten

    Watch this space. Dave Cull might he playing a blinder here. Circumventing his councillors (particularly those favouring the deal) to undercut the deal. Poking the ORFU with a stick on radio and getting a defamation response would just about be enough to get council’s back up. They will, by now be aware of the blog feed back from the public over this issue and to confirm the deal would be about the most stupid thing they could do, if they have any aspirations towards re-election. Put the ORFU back into liquidation mode and watch the NZRU. It will then have to put up or risk the chance of it being game over. Face it, the game couldn’t survive without the Southern region, the Highlanders,the ITM Cup and the Stadium. The whole structure would fall over. The DCC/DVML should just set the Stadium terms on a take it or leave it basis, eyeball the NZRU (the ORFU are irrelevant) and see who blinks first. What’s to lose? The game from the South and known fixed costs for the Stadium in a shut down state, or a Stadium open but constantly bleeding additional costs as the game limps on to a sad end with the ratepayers taken to the cleaners?

    {Also published at ODT Online. -Eds}

  12. Russell Garbutt

    Mike, so do I. I listened very carefully to the Morning Report interview with Dave Cull – it is still available on the RNZ site and is labelled mnr-20120315-0815-otago_rugby_deal_good_for_taxpayers_says_mayor-048

    The interesting remarks are about 2’10” into the interview.

    My suggestion is that this action now enables the DCC lawyers to show exactly why Cull’s comments were justified and I, for one, will be contacting Cull and Paul Orders, with examples that I’m aware of, that justify the comments.

    I don’t think there is any alternative now but to cancel any agreement with the ORFU and force them into liquidation. By doing so ALL the evidence that shows how the ORFU operates will become known – including the total incompetence of the Board and management.

  13. Ro

    I think the words were incompetent and stupid – is that right? And was it the contract, the management of the contract, or something else being thus described? The morning report interview is untraceable now.

  14. Russell Garbutt

    No, the word stupid was used to describe the so-called private funding of the stadium.

    The Morning Report interview is not untraceable at all. Go to this URL and look down a few entries and there are two interviews still there. It is the one that is labelled as I have said a couple of posts up.


    The reaction I’ve had this morning is one of incredulity – do Graham and Mains really believe that they are other than as described?

  15. Anonymous

    You never ever rush into defamation action. It is so hard to prove. Nobody is mentioned by name in the offending comments. You only go into an action like this “apologise or we will sue you” if you are a bully. I’ve been on the receiving end of this from the OBN in town, not recently. My reply was to helpfully provide my lawyer’s details. Once one lawyer talks to another lawyer, the problem usually goes away. To defend a defamation as Russell points out, you only have to show evidence that backs up what you said.

    The Chairman’s reported comments with respect to the $25K outstanding account are beyond belief.
    2009 ORFU sells Carisbrook that leads to a huge book loss
    2010 ORFU books a loss
    2011 ORFU both projects and books a loss

    There was obviously no cost-cutting in 2010 or 2011 as administration expenses stayed at about the same level as previous years.

    At what point did the Chairman become aware of the dire financial situation? If it was after August 2011, then there is a governance problem and the Mayor is correct. If before August 2011, then the spend could be deemed reckless and the Mayor is correct. In both cases, the Chairman could have more to worry about than a few harsh words.

    A Director has no escape – if they make decisions based on wrong information, they are on the hook for lack of diligence. If they did not have the information, they are on the hook for not asking the right questions of their management team.

    I note from the 2011 results that ORFU has an ongoing financial commitment to Otago First XV Ltd. This relationship should be probed further.

    • Elizabeth

      Previous comment with audio, repeated here:

      ### ODT Online Sat, 28 Apr 2012
      Mayor’s ORFU remarks draw legal threat
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has been threatened with legal action by members of the Otago Rugby Football Union board over comments he made after the bail-out of the union. Individual members of the board have contacted Mr Cull, seeking an apology and threatening legal action if he does not provide one, the Otago Daily Times has learned. That followed critical comments made by Mr Cull during an interview with Radio New Zealand the day after the council agreed to wipe the $480,000 owed to it and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd by the ORFU.
      Read more


      {Audio file is your best bet. -Eds}

      ### radionz.co.nz Thursday 15 March 2012
      Morning Report with Geoff Robinson & Simon Mercep
      08:15 Otago Rugby deal ‘good for taxpayers’ says Mayor
      Joining us is the Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull. (4′33″)
      Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed


      [on the 8:5 split vote on the ORFU bailout package]
      Cull: “I think it would be fair to say that there are a number of my councillors who simply cannot stomach dealing with the ORFU that has shown such bad faith, dishonesty and incompetence up til now, and they continue to have no faith in them.”

      [on Wayne Graham’s comment about the “best business brains” on the ORFU board]
      Cull: “The results of those business brains so-called would speak for themselves, wouldn’t they.”

      Truth hurts.
      Strong opinion? Defamatory?

      Or has ‘ORFU’ (by individuals…) taken umbridge at something else in the interview?

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Wed, 2 May 2012
        ORFU unpaid bill ‘obscene’
        By Chris Morris
        An unpaid bill for $25,000 worth of food and drink, accrued at an Otago Rugby Football Union black-tie dinner just months before the union admitted facing liquidation, has been labelled “scandalous” and “obscene”. It is understood Dunedin Venues Management Ltd was left with a $25,352 unpaid bill for food and drink after the ORFU’s Legends of Carisbrook fundraising dinner.

        ORFU chairman Wayne Graham defended the event when contacted yesterday, insisting it was organised before the union’s financial predicament was known.

        Read more


        Like I say, who are the lawyers? How come their client doesn’t know anything…

        ### ODT Online Wed, 2 May 2012
        Graham and Mains sue Cull
        By Chris Morris
        Otago Rugby Football Union members Wayne Graham and Laurie Mains are taking legal action against Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull over claims of defamation, it has been confirmed. Legal representatives acting for Mr Graham and Mr Mains, union chairman and deputy chairman respectively, yesterday filed paperwork with the High Court at Dunedin and served papers on Mr Cull.

        “What I told you the other day – I don’t know any more.” -Wayne Graham

        Read more


        ### radionz.co.nz Updated at 12:48 pm today
        Former Otago rugby union board members sue mayor
        Two former board members of the Otago rugby union are suing Dunedin’s mayor Dave Cull for defamation. Wayne Graham and Laurie Mains began the action on Tuesday in response to comments made six weeks ago at the time the union was rescued from liquidation. In comments aired on Radio New Zealand National Dave Cull questioned the board members’ ability and appeared to echo criticism by councillors of the board’s past actions.
        Read more


        Oh yeah! Fawning by the stoopid.

        ### 3news.co.nz Tue, 01 May 2012 7:00p.m.
        Campbell Live
        Otago rugby brought back from its knees
        Two months ago Otago Rugby was on its knees. With debts of over $2 million, the 131 year old club was on the edge of extinction. Then the council decided to forgive a $400,000 debt, and suddenly the club was back in business. But the deal did nothing to help the 180 small creditors still owed money.
        Read more + Video

        • Elizabeth

          As mentioned by others at What if?, Cr Richard Thomson had a letter to the editor published (ODT, 4.5.12). But let us reproduce it in full:

          Fallout continues from rugby union’s financial collapse
          What am I missing here? The ratepayers of the city have absorbed hundreds of thousands of dollars of debts run up by the ORFU. Now the chairman and deputy chairman responsible for the governance of the ORFU want to take tens of thousands of dollars more from those same ratepayers’ pockets. They are apparently concerned about “reputational damage”. Do they understand the concept of irony?
          Cr Richard Thomson

          Frankly Richard, they do not. Something about two planks.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Sat, 5 May 2012
          Rugby: Time for accountability over ORFU saga, Oliver says
          By Steve Hepburn
          Former All Black captain Anton Oliver has described the events involving Otago Rugby Football Union over the past two months as a “zoo”, saying what has happened is diabolical.

          “You hear of people suing for defamation and that is not the Otago values I was brought up on by the likes of Gordon Hunter, Dave Latta, Dick Knight and Arran Pene.”

          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Jeremy Curragh replies to Ian Smith, ‘ORFU explains its creditor payments’ (ODT, 5.5.12) – given Jeremy is not the ORFU board of trading-while-technically-insolvent chums, I hear what he’s saying. Sort of. But the letter that follows by G. Donaldson is more of the hypocrisy that we saw the Board hide behind with the Campbell Live/Edgar charity exercise.

          It is unacceptable that the ORFU and followers are conveniently in denial about longstanding attraction and misuse of council or ratepayer funds and resources, and what may have been corrupt practices that include among strands, the illicit use of charitable funds.

          A forensic audit of ORFU and related entities is entirely necessary. Since it would be too terrible to malign something that’s squeaky clean.

  16. Robert Hamlin

    If you probe that particular relationship any further Anonymous, then you could get sacked as a regular commentator by this website. Not only will your comments not be posted, but all your previous postings may well be deleted – A sort of ‘damnataio memoriae’ – Not so much ‘sacked’ as ‘sackedywackedy’. Ask me how I know.

    However, this year’s contribution takes the amount transferred by the ORFU to [Otago Rugby First XV Limited] to around $10 million since 2006. No accounts are available for Otago 1st XV, but Wayne Graham is a Director – I think that I can say that much without getting sued. I don’t like G.J. Gardner houses much either – but that’s just a personal opinion – so hopefully I’m OK with that too.

    The name of this company was changed a couple of years ago to Otago 1st XV from ‘Remanet’, a name that it had held since it was set up in the mid 1990s. I am fascinated by this name change – Why did they do it? Does ‘Remanet’ mean something? Does it ring any bells for anybody out there?

    • Elizabeth

      Details for Otago Rugby First XV Limited (formerly known as Remanet Limited – 04 May 2010) via the New Zealand Companies Office:


      Incorporation Date: 27 Jul 1995
      Company Status: Registered
      Entity type: NZ Limited Company

      Full legal name: David Kenneth CALLON
      Residential Address: 11 Napier Street, Bellknowes, Dunedin, 9011 , New Zealand
      Appointment Date: 05 Jul 2010

      Full legal name: Wayne GRAHAM
      Residential Address: 39 Glengyle Street, Vauxhall, Dunedin, 9013 , New Zealand
      Appointment Date: 05 Jul 2010

      Full legal name: John James SPICER
      Residential Address: 5 Brown Street, Waikouaiti, 9510 , New Zealand
      Appointment Date: 09 Sep 1996

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    Can you defame an organisation? “ORFU that has shown such bad faith…” doesn’t say the Board let alone any particular member(s) of it.

  18. Peter

    What a wonderful juxtaposition of stories on the ODT front page today. This is real journalism at its best. Maybe Wayne might be clearer with his answers now that he has had some wee time to ‘investigate’ how much the guests paid and where the proceeds from the ‘fundraiser’ went to. Tomorrow’s news? This kind of story sells papers.

  19. Ro

    Thanks Russell. I listened to the RNZ report and heard, in the report of the reasons some councillors had voted against the rescue, the words bad faith, dishonesty & incompetence used of the body. The private funding model was described as extraordinarily risky, imprudent, and difficult to make work.

    Is the putatively defamatory utterance this report of the views of those opposed councillors? I suppose the law demands more than those people’s confirmation that this was their view. Or is it that the model was risky the putatively defamatory remark? The model was not the plaintiffs’ creature, was it? Odd this.

  20. Anonymous

    Ostensibly, Remanet/Otago First XV provides players to ORFU for the ITM Cup.

    I will state some facts.

    Up to the end of 2011, the ITM Cup was considered a professional competition. Lately we have seen noises that it can only be thought of as “semi-professional”.
    The ORFU attracted/attracts grant funding from gaming trusts.
    Funding from gaming trusts cannot be used for professional sport.
    The ORFU is a non-profit organization as an Incorporated Society.
    An Incorporated Society cannot be operated for pecuniary gain.
    An Incorporated Society has to publish its annual results.
    A Limited Liability Company does not have to publish its annual results.

    And that’s as far as we can go.

  21. Mike

    It may be that this is an attempt to obfuscate how much they pay players – mind you they would have to be very careful if all the unions do the same thing to keep national salaries down they might run afoul of anti-trust laws

  22. Russell Garbutt

    So, it seems that of the entire ORFU Board, two members of that Board, the Chair, and the Deputy Chair, have taken it upon themselves to be affronted by the comments made by Cull. In taking this action and serving these papers they have now opened themselves personally to be examined by any defence – the obvious angle being that Cull’s comments represented the truth.

    It is the duty of anyone that wishes these actions to be dismissed without causing any further costs to be put upon the ratepayers, and who knows ANYTHING at all that shows that the ORFU acted in the ways described in the radio interview, to bring to the attention of Mayor Cull any such evidence.

    My understanding also is that it is entirely possible that as a result of this action taken by Graham and Mains that counter-action could be taken ranging from vexatious behaviour to something a great deal more serious. However, it is clear that the DCC must, based now on the ORFU friendly conditions round the DCC observer and the selection process, and the continued revelations of cynical spending of the ORFU that the draft agreement MUST be ripped up and the ORFU put into liquidation by the DCC as a major creditor.

  23. Robert Hamlin

    The name of the company is Otago 1st XV, not Otago Rugby 1st. XV for those searching for info on it.

    See belowOtago Rugby First XV Limited and Otago First XV get search results at NZ Companies Office. -Eds

    • Elizabeth

      A reminder. Who is the ORFU Board?

      Staff List & Office Holders

      Office Holders
      President Sir Eion Edgar
      Vice President Adrian Read

      Board Of Directors
      Chairman Wayne Graham
      Deputy Chairman Laurie Mains
      Director Richard Bunton
      Director Dave Callon
      Director John Faulks
      Director Willis Paterson
      Director Russell Cassidy
      Director Andrew Rooney
      Director John Hammer

  24. Anonymous

    Graham says the dinner made $52K “profit”. Taking out the $25K debt to DVML, that would be $25K…or $80/head. Also says that management paid other creditors. But still didn’t know there was a financial crisis.

  25. Mike

    Of course he knew they were in financial trouble – why else was he holding a fundraiser?

    • Elizabeth

      ### 3news.co.nz Wed, 02 May 2012 9:58a.m.
      Mains and Graham sue Dunedin mayor
      Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) members Laurie Mains and Wayne Graham are suing Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull for alleged defamatory comments made during a radio interview. Papers were filed by legal representatives of Mains and Graham, the union chairman and deputy chairman respectively, in the High Court in Dunedin on Tuesday. The two parties are set to appear in court on June 25, a court representative told NZ Newswire. Mr Cull on Wednesday confirmed to NZ Newswire that papers had been served against him but would not comment further. He does not know why he is being sued, he says. A council spokesman says papers filed against Mr Cull allege defamation.
      Read more

      Seems 3News is providing On Demand viewing of the whole 6:00 pm bulletin only

      • Elizabeth

        Novel search engine term used at What if? today, is it prophetic?

        otago rugby liquidation dinner

        • Elizabeth

          At ODT Online, some arrogance in the guise of helpfulness to the dumb sods in Dunedin. For he was one, once.

          Rather than complain amongst yourselves …
          Submitted by Barch67 on Wed, 02/05/2012 – 5:24pm.

          Contact your councillor and register your opinion here:

          All you have to do is register your opinion with a Councillor, it will take you a minute or two and may be one of the most important e-mails that you write this year.

          A retort, at moderation over there.

          At a remove
          Submitted by ej kerr on Wed, 02/05/2012 – 9:23pm.
          Australia was it. Barch67 possibly has little idea about who posts at ODT Online, what their networks and influences are. Believe me, an email to ‘democracy’ won’t get you far. It’s a tiny tool with which to screw on your mirror.

  26. From where I’m sitting Mains should hang his head in shame. FFS. Yes Cull is a lying pos (yes I have the proof somewhere) but Mains should man up. They’ve made a mess of it.

    Harden up you nana’s (sorry to all nana’s)

  27. Peter

    I actually do think it is significant what the nature of the debt to DVML by the ORFU is about…….booze and food…and not just that it is ‘debt’ as Dave Cull says. The symbolism of well off people going to a dinner, at our expense, gorging themselves on food and alcohol is so vivid and speaks volumes about the depth of the malaise in this town where public money is used so liberally. When many people are struggling to pay their own food bills…and those people are at the same time paying for a rugby crowd to feast among themselves like Romans…. is a depravity.

  28. Well done Bev Butler. Thanks for exposing the Black Tie Dinner scammers.

  29. Hype O'Thermia

    Bev rocks!

  30. Anonymous

    Agreed Elizabeth, they’ve been wining and dining at our expense, laughing at us and slapping each others’ backs since day one. Today’s update gets even more ridiculous with everyone involved slithering under cover and repeating the mantra “I know nothing!”.

    Their guilt is too big even for media management now. The ODT is appearing to accept the facts, dust off their knees and get on with the job of reporting in the best interests of their readers.

  31. Mike

    I love the way that the ODT tiptoed around the question of “did Mains’ wife get paid ahead of the other small creditors?” this morning, it’s a hard case to make if they wont say if she was paid at all

  32. Russell Garbutt

    If you listen to Dave Cull’s Morning Report remarks and line them up alongside just the things that have been revealed from Bev Butler’s press release alone, then I would imagine any lawyer acting for Mains and Graham would be wanting out – unless of course there is a good line of payment coming through. Or is the ORFU picking up the legal fees?

    I agree with Mike – the strength of questioning from the ODT is not good enough. Not knowing will be no defence when all is finally revealed.

  33. Russell Garbutt

    Speaking of the ODT I submitted the following early on yesterday – seems to me that not a lot of posts have been put up on the ORFU dinner debacle – not a lot received or not a lot getting past the gatekeeper?

    “I know nothing Colonel Klink

    Assuming that Mr Wayne Graham was correctly quoted when he said that “I’m a chairman of a board. I don’t know those sort of things”, I can only suggest that our Mayor, Dave Cull will have a pretty easy job in proving that his comments regarding the ORFU which were widely reported in the ODT were then, and are now, completely justified. It would be entirely reasonable to view this legal proceedings as a gambit to stifle further criticism and comment of anyone associated with the ORFU. Oscar Wilde ended up in Reading Gaol.”

  34. Mike

    Russell I was more thinking that the ODT were tiptoeing around because of Mains’ recently expressed penchant for sueing people

  35. Anonymous

    If the wife of the Deputy Chairman received payment for services, then there should be a conflict of interest statement before the Board. You may not operate an Incorporated Society for pecuniary gain.

  36. Mike

    Yeah I have a missing post in that thread too – but I did attempt to point out that a common business practice of giving ‘terms’ if abused can be compared to cheque kiting and results in a game of musical chairs with the person left standing when the music stops left holding the debt.

    For some people this is standard business practice, it’s quite dangerous if you are sailing as close to the financial wind as the ORFU was. If you hold a fundraiser to pay off some of your creditors you effectively restart the clock on financial terms with the new creditors, if you don’t actually have the funds to back those new debts you are effectively doing the same thing as cheque kiting (using the 60 day terms rather than the 2-3 day bank settlement time).

    I suspect that whoever calls up deadbeats at the DCC isn’t as aggressive as his or her private sector counterpart which is one reason we got stuck with most of the debt.

  37. Peter

    There was no fee for hiring the stadium in the invoices for the Black Tie Dinner. That’s one major ‘cost’ that the ORFU didn’t have to fork out. Not that they fork out if they don’t have to. What were the other ‘costs’?

  38. Hype O'Thermia

    “Mr Davies was appointed DVML’s chief executive on an open-ended contract in October 2009, with an annual salary of up to $250,000 a year.
    His appointment followed a four-month international search involving 92 candidates, which cost the Dunedin City Council about $66,000.” …
    …”Finding a replacement of equal calibre would be a challenge, given the size of the stadium management recruitment pool was not “huge”.
    “But you do tend to find that there’s significant turnover in that marketplace.” ”

    I wonder why? Could it be linked with the tendency worldwide for stadiums to bleed money till the suffering populace force the “visionary” stadiaphilics to admit it’s time to quit while they’re “only” $millions behind?

  39. Anonymous

    I had “3 years” as my estimate on when Davies would leave. I’ll be out by only a couple of months.

  40. Mike

    Maybe we could hire Sisyphus as a replacement

  41. Russell Garbutt

    In trying to understand the finances of this wonderful fundraising dinner it has been reported that the income was $75k from sale of tickets and $17.5k from the auction. Total income $92,500. Amount transferred to the Union collective pot reported to be $52,000. This leaves $40,500 “costs” that were deducted and somehow paid, but this amount did not include venue hire, food and booze. So the costs were actually $40,500 + $25,352 + venue hire = $65,852 + venue hire.

    So what on earth cost $40,500 to put on this dinner when this amount didn’t include venue hire, food and booze? The only thing that has been reported in this story is that Mrs Mains organised this as a professional event organiser and she cannot be confirmed as being paid.

    Question. Was this fundraising dinner a really good example of how the ORFU operated in good faith? Do the lack of answers from all involved in this function demonstrate that the ORFU in asking the City to be a major stakeholder in its business, continues to act in good faith and in an open, transparent and honest manner?

  42. Calvin Oaten

    I give David Davies full credit. He knows just how hard and for how long you can ‘flog a dead horse’ before it falls over. He also knows why the horse died. It was fed poison chaff.

  43. Mike

    I don’t think they are including the auction in the $52k of income – it means they still can’t add though which may be the seat of their financial problems

  44. ormk

    I stopped commenting at the ODT because I felt their editorial policy too often distorted comments. I guess I have previously made some passionate comments on stadium issues in the ODT. I’d like thank Rob Hamlin, Russell Garbutt and others for taking the time to actually research some of the issues involved and not letting the local mafia get away with painting their own picture of reality.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 3 May 2012
      Dinner profits went on day-to-day costs
      By Chris Morris
      Healthy profits from the Otago Rugby Football Union’s black-tie fundraising dinner went “into the pot” to pay the union’s day-to-day business costs, rather than to creditors left out of pocket, it has been confirmed. […] The union sold 300 tickets at $250 per head for the event, raising $75,000, and earned another $17,500 from a charity auction on the night. Once costs were covered, a profit of $52,000 was transferred to the ORFU’s working account to cover general business costs.

      The event was organised on the ORFU’s behalf by Annemarie Mains, a professional event organiser and the wife of ORFU deputy chairman Laurie Mains.

      Read more

  45. Hype O'Thermia

    There’s 2 ways these close-ties jobs can go. (1) Person is given contract at “mates rates” which, since it’s not the hirer’s money, is well above the usual charge. (2) Person knowing the business is struggling or it’s a charity, and wanting to do their bit, offers to do it for “mates rates” e.g. charge for materials but chop the profit margin to the bone.

  46. Anonymous

    I like Cabbage’s comment on ODT Online:

    “Profit is the monetary surplus left after deducting ALL the costs. Not just some of them. To talk of a $52,000 profit when you haven’t paid all the bills is a step beyond creative accounting.”


  47. Anonymous

    It’s startling how they’ve all cracked their daks in that story. It will be recorded somewhere Mrs Mains got paid this or that amount, received part or in full. Instead of just fronting up, they chose to run for cover and that reeks of something gone bad.

    • Elizabeth

      So if we said organising the Black Tie (fundraising) dinner was worth $12,000… chances are we’d need to go back to Anonymous on that conflicts of interest number at the Board table.

  48. Russell Garbutt

    I wouldn’t at all be surprised that G Donaldson is the same person as thehighlander – not for a long time have I seen or heard such sycophantic crap other than what comes out of Campbell’s mouth when discussing the ORFU. But the reality is that the ORFU have not paid their creditors, they act as though they have and they haven’t learned a thing. They are collectively not worth doing any sort of business with. No good faith, heaps of incompetence and palpable dishonesty were their described qualities and who are we to argue?

  49. Phil

    Maybe someone can clear this up for me. If the ORFU did not go into liquidation then how can they have the right to decide not to prepay some of their debts in full ? If they had gone into liquidation, I could have understood. But, as they are not currently in liquidation, they surely have to pay their bills in full. Just like you, me, and everyone else in town who isn’t in liquidation. I’m a bit confused by the casual announcement that some creditors who are owed over a certain amount will only get half of their owed money. The only way I can see that being legal is if those creditors have previously agreed to that, which would mean that the ORFU blackmailed them into accepting a deal whereby they would get some money instead of none if they didn’t agree and the ORFU went into liquidation. Either way, good job on screwing your local community.

  50. Rob Hamlin

    No they don’t Phil. They can continue to pay who they like what they like and when they like – Until someone to whom they owe money decides to go to the trouble of putting them into liquidation.

    However, my suspicion would be that any creditor could not be bought (at a discount), cajoled or intimidated, who seriously jumped through the legal hoops that I described previously, and who finally got to the point of being able to apply to the court to place the ORFU into liquidation, would be engaged in a race to the courthouse with the ORFU’s own lawyers – their behaviour to this point would suggest that the ORFU would prefer to appoint their own liquidator than have some irate creditor do it for them.

    The recently released accounts show that the ORFU made another million plus payment to Otago 1st XV Ltd this last financial year, bringing cash transfers to this entity up to pretty much the round ten million since 2006.

    If it could be demonstrated during the liquidation process that any of these payments were made when the ORFU was known to be insolvent, then it is possible that Otago 1st XV Ltd could then be required to repay the money concerned to the liquidator in order for it to be distributed to creditors in accordance with the requirements of the Companies Act. If they could not or would not do so, then they too could be placed into liquidation by the ORFU’s own creditor appointed liquidator – at which point things could get really intriguing as their hitherto untouchable accounts were opened up.

    Apart from BNZ, pretty much the only creditor that would be in a position to push matters to this point would be the DCC. It would be very interesting to see what would happen if the DCC now made serious moves to put the ORFU into liquidation. My call would be that were this to occur, the necessary 500 grand to make that particular problem go away would be produced from somewhere quick sharpish. It’s worth a try if you’re Dave Cull. God knows he’s been sufficiently provoked.

  51. Hype O'Thermia

    Provoked, yes. but has Mayor Cull run out of cheeks he’s prepared to turn, yet?

  52. Rob Hamlin

    I’m not sure Hype. – He’s got four in total if you count them carefully. Not sure which one the ORFU’s got to at the present moment.

  53. Calvin Oaten

    I think that if Dave Cull wants to come out of this with any credibility at all, then he has to convince his council that the “deal” is no good and a clearing of the decks is the only honourable course. Liquidation of the ORFU will achieve this. Either way the DCC/DVML’s $480,000 is gone, so what else is there to lose? The threat of losing rugby from the stadium is simply a diversion from the real question. Ask yourselves, if big rugby is to continue south of the Waitaki then where else can it be played? That is the question that the NZRU have to answer, not the DCC. We calls the shots here, our stadium at our price, or no deal. Take it or leave it. Can the NZRU lose this facility, the Highlanders, the ITM Cup, from its bigger picture? If it can, it’s over. If it can’t, the way forward is in their court. Think about it Dave Cull.

  54. Hype O'Thermia

    Dave Cull was clear before the election on how much more funding he was prepared to give to the stadium. “Only enough for essentials. Enough to make it work.” Well, we have seen the definition of “essentials” widen like a glutton’s waistline. And what about “making it work”? I supported him, pragmatically, because I thought he meant it about essentials only, and because I could see that it was politically impossible to leave the stadium almost completed but unusable. It had to be given the chance to prove itself an asset (yeah right) or what it has proved to be, a bloody great shameful liability. It has been given a fair trial and the “jury” of ratepayers has come to see how little of what was promised is produced for our pleasure, and how much more is taken from our pockets. yea, unto the 3rd and 4th generations until the seas shall claim it.

    It is now time for Dave Cull to man up, declare Farry’s visionary erection a proven toxin worse for the city’s health than the material under concrete in the town hall that is being so energetically removed. Pull the plug. Sell it in whole or as scrap. Or face an election where Lee Vandervis’s bluntness is at last welcomed as a change from the mealy-mouthed appeasement, peace at any price [that can be extracted with the force of law from ratepayers and users of all the council services they can charge for too] gelded representation we have had. And how we’ve been had!

    • Elizabeth

      Sun, 06/05/2012 – 5:03pm. russandbev Here is the answer

      I’ll put this simply – Total income from the black-tie dinner was $92,500 of which $52,000 went into the ORFU account to pay for “day to day costs” of the ORFU. That leaves $40,500 of “costs” which were paid by the ORFU. Problem is thehighlander that those costs that were paid didn’t include the food, booze, cleaning, venue hire. The ORFU ignored those costs and instead paid someone else, or a series of other people’s accounts that totalled $40,500. But the ORFU simply runs for the hills when asked who got paid that total of $40,500 over and above all of the other small creditors who had been waiting on their money for very long periods.

      Hopefully thehighlander you can now understand just why the majority of people in this City hold the ORFU in such contempt.


  55. Anonymous

    Is it true? Was Annemarie Mains paid a $50,000 fee for the ORFU black-tie dinner? That would be disgusting and only serve to demonstrate further how above everyone else this group of self-entitled stakeholders are at ORFU. No wonder they were all diving for cover.

    This behaviour was all going on while businesses loyal to the ORFU are sweating over how to make their own balance sheets total up. The organisation has been saying one thing and clearly doing another.

    Now let’s see how the ODT gets around THIS news tip.

  56. Going by what has been said above can we as ratepayers not get liquidation proceedings started on dmvl/the lemon ourselves?

    Council won’t man up, so why can’t we? 1.9mil loss…..

  57. After all, cull tells too many lies to be trusted.

    • Elizabeth

      I think you’ll find that many things (some surprising connections) are being privately investigated, and media plural are investigating – work is in train, watch this space.
      The results are likely to be shocking.
      In the meantime, you can all gain the sense things are coming to a head.

  58. Amanda

    We need to send an SOS to the rest of the country; we are being held hostage to a corrupt council (well half of them) intent on helping their cronies, powerful greedy stakeholders and an incompetent media. Won’t someone come save little old us? It should make a good story, all about how a nice little town can be destroyed if democracy is trashed due to citizen apathy and neoliberalism in local government. Only old Key won’t help us, this is him all over. The trickle down con. ‘Just wait and trust us, the money will flow on down to you little folk at the bottom, just wait and see…!’

  59. Amanda

    We need them. The next thing that the half the council will hand over to the stakeholders? apart from our economic future? Our assets. Those stakeholders are just itching to get hold of them and go from being wealthy stakeholders to super dooper wealthy. For us ? privatised water. Nice one. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer; little old Dunedin has had a harsh lesson in just how this is done.

  60. Russell Garbutt

    Anonymous, I entirely agree that it would be completely repugnant if Mrs Mains got $50k for organising a dinner staged by the ORFU which had, as its deputy Chair, her husband, Mr Laurie Mains. Leapfrogging over all of the small creditors would be hardly cricket would it? I’m sure that the ODT will use one of the many investigative reporters that it has to get to the bottom of this ghastly rumour, and while they are at it they might want to find out just what the “expenses” were that were met by the ORFU before they salted away the rest. But of course there is another option that is simply too much to consider. What if all the rumours were true? Oh calamity! I wish that evil thought had never crossed my mind. I’m sure that the ORFU change manager will be able to clarify things really easily by releasing their financials. He’d be happy to do this as I’m positive he has nothing whatsoever to hide.

  61. Anonymous

    Where do they teach this behaviour? Was it taught during the National party at the FORSYTH BARR stadium? Is there a course on “How to gut a country’s assets while your colleagues gut its cities: The definitive guide for stakeholders”? Is there appendices like “How to buy a flash car, big yacht, get top shelf action or blow coke to get you through that unwanted part of you called a conscience”? I believe it is the latter that catches up with them in the end but it is still so sad so much social and financial harm goes before.

  62. Amanda

    I would go further, I would say it is corrupt. Fully corrupt. That is $50,000 of ratefunds.

    • Elizabeth

      The other day we heard Mrs Mains was paid $12,000; today the figure has risen to $50,000. Maybe both are right. Was she paid a lump sum before staff or subcontractors got paid? Either way, as Russell points out Mr Change Manager Curragh has the power to make this transparent on ORFU’s behalf. Because they’re good boys – John Campbell and Eion Edgar both say so through their actions. Although the Mains guy has a history. And we should be believers, right.

  63. Hype O'Thermia

    I am heartened by Elizabeth’s tip (above) that MEDIA plural are looking under the carpet and down the back of the Fubar sofa. We have not been able to rely on our own major “independent” newspaper to investigate anything that wasn’t fed to them by stadiophiles and profiteers, ever since the beginning of this rort-fest.

  64. Russell Garbutt

    I am so looking forward to Mr Curragh getting back to me as I’m sure that his failure to answer my question in the Oddity letters today was an unfortunate oversight. After all, I’m positive he has nothing to hide has he? Seeing how important that the ORFU is to the DCC economy. Or should I say how important the DCC is to the economy of the ORFU? Oh, how could I even contemplate such an evil thought?

  65. Peter

    Jeremy Curragh could more appropriately be called the NON Change Manager of the ORFU. Who is the ‘new’ talent they have lined up for the ‘new’ ORFU? They seem to have appointed turkeys – how many years now? Is the talent pool that shallow? Funny how ‘new’ can be ‘old’ if they allow for reappointments. So they don’t lose their skill base! If the DCC does not insist on this condition, that all the Board effectively resigns, for good, their impotence will be there for all to see.
    Yes, Russell, I noticed how he avoided answering your questions. A bad look for a ‘change’ manager.

  66. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s short for “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose manager”.
    The more things change, the more they remain the same.

  67. Mike

    I see that the ODT haven’t dared enabling comments on today’s story about the lawsuits must be scared of small boys pointing out the nakedness of fat rulers

  68. Anonymous

    The council giveth – ‘Dunedin City Council says it will be forced to consider more funding’ – and the ORFU taketh away – ‘Graham and Laurie Mains are together seeking more than $1 million’.

    Can they be any more arrogant? These self-entitled boys are finally getting a taste of their own medicine and they don’t like it. They have completely lost the plot now. Or is it moving to Queenstown or Wanaka costs $500K and raiding public money the only way of getting out of Dunedin City?

    This is the epitome of professional rugby in Dunedin.


  69. Peter

    How exactly do Mains and Graham think their action will enhance their business/personal reputation, and restore it, if they win the action? Even dumb people can see the $500K (each) damages sought for what it is.
    A good reputation in business is built up over time.A perceived slight by the Mayor-lost by most people who do not listen to Radio NZ- is not enough to ‘ruin’ it. Mains and Graham run the risk of their overall business reputation going under the microscope in any court trial.
    If I was a LJ Hooker real estate agent I’d be looking very smartly for a new company to join… and say tata to Mr Graham to avoid any potential fall out.

  70. Ro

    They’ve no-one but themselves to blame for being in the stocks of public opinion.

    “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose manger”.
    (The more things change, the more they guzzle)

  71. Anonymous

    I’d like to state that my perception of the business abilities and reputations of Laurie Mains and Wayne Graham was not affected in the slightest by the Mayor’s comments.

    • Elizabeth

      Re Mains and Graham and their suit against the mayor. Would we now look to buy a used car from either of these gentlemen.

      Or a bailout package.

      [Dictionary check: incompetence is a word]

  72. Hype O'Thermia

    I’d like to state that if anything their reputations were enhanced in my opinion. I had shared the widely expressed opinions of others and was surprised by his generous assessment.

  73. Russell Garbutt

    And I’d like to say that like Anonymous, my perceptions of Mr Graham and Mr Mains have not been altered by Dave Cull’s comments. In fact their actions have confirmed and enhanced my views of them.

    I wonder if the Oddity will run an on-line poll along the lines of

    “Do you agree that Mr Graham and Mr Mains are wonderful people who have always acted in good faith and in an honest and competent manner in their dealings with the ratepayers of Dunedin?

    Strongly agree
    Strongly disagree”

  74. Calvin Oaten

    “Gang members- arrested- raid”….Police- arrest- mob-members.” Nobody told me that the ORFU was being raided. How come no-one knew? I thought the idea of the ORFU raiding the ratepayers pocket books was legit.

  75. Robert Hamlin

    In marketing terms a reputation of a person or a brand amounts to pretty much the same thing if they are being used to promote commercial offers. Brands are only worth something if they significantly enhance the value of the base offer and are also robust enough to take the occasional hit. To argue at the same time that a personal or brand reputation is worth a considerable amount in commercial terms, and that is at the same time as fragile as a wineglass may invite attack on the basis of logical inconsistency.

    The issue of brand resilience as a component of their value is why individual restaurants – however profitable at the time – are often hard to sell with a significant premium for goodwill. You are only as good as your last meal – unless you’re backed by a resilient franchise co-brand such as McDonalds – in which case punter expectations have been profitably pre-set at a certain level of delivery over the last fifity years or so.

    When dealing with co-branding situation, it may be very difficult to sort out the relative individual impact on consumer choice of the personal and franchise co-brands, for the purpose of attaching relative commercial values to each of them and thereby assessing claimed reductions thereof. A potentially tricky job if it appears before a court, but I guess that’s what judges are for.

  76. Anne Elliot

    Have just tried to find the podcast of the Morning Report interview with the offending remarks on 15 March (http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2512770/otago-rugby-deal-'good-for-taxpayers'-says-mayor.asx). I heard that ORFU had shown “bad faith, dishonesty and incompetence” and that “the so-called best business brains” were called into question with “the facts speaking for themselves”. All sounds like the truth to me. Have I missed something?

    {Covered on another thread, with all links to the audio files provided. -Eds}

  77. Hype O'Thermia

    Egos and identity confusion. Two people see themselves as indivisible from ORFU. In their minds the ORFU == themselves – therefore any criticism of the organisation == criticism of them, personally.

  78. Phil

    It’s not all bad news. Laurie (who ?) can reduce his claim by $50k by deducting the money that his wife took at a time when Laurie knew that the ORFU couldn’t pay its bills.

  79. Anonymous

    I’m guessing the lawyer invented a number, doubled it and added 30% to come up with $500K each. What I’m curious about is the hidden motives behind their public performance.

    Maybe 10-15 years ago a liability insurer may have had a few million tucked away for such events but do you think that is the case today? A quick million pulled out of their investments to satisfy the wants of a couple professional rugby heads having a sulk?

    So I’m a little curious to see how both the council and insurer respond to this. The council will put up a bit of a fight but has frequently shown itself to be soft in the head for rugby. But the insurer, well, they might be less enthusiastic to roll over for rugby, especially if it’s going to cost a truck load of cash. And if the rugby boys lose you know that insurer’s legal team is going to take them for everything and anything in response.

    But the other contender in this is the government. Will the government really want to have a precedent set where stakeholders can gut councils for millions because of a mayor speaking in public? I doubt it. Spend money on rugby and take it from health is the National way, but not give it up for a silly little backwater claim costing a million bucks. Because that precedent would mean much, much more on the national scale.

    There has been a precedent set in Australia though. A legal battle between two councillors caused a million dollar blowout – the government then stepped in and replaced the whole council with a commissioner. And I’m all for getting rid of the remaining Stadium Councillors before the next election.

    It’s a story worth reading, if the local media will print it.

  80. Mike

    Hype: but the alternative is that no-one, certainly not them, is responsible for the ORFU’s financial ineptitude – they can’t have it both ways

  81. Russell Garbutt

    Bloggers and readers of this site will recall a letter I wrote to the ODT which was published on Wednesday asking for details of the costs that were paid out in respect of the black-tie dinner. The response from Jeremy Curragh avoided answering the question but more or less said that the ORFU and rugby were great contributors to Dunedin. So I emailed Mr Curragh directly and sent him the following:

    Dear Jeremy

    I’m sure that you actually meant to fully respond to my letter to the ODT, but somehow my question didn’t seem plain enough.

    So, I’ll put it more again.

    What exactly were the costs of the black tie dinner put on by the ORFU that were paid, and who were they paid to?

    You might think for a moment that this is none of my business, but since it was the ratepayers that picked up the “real costs” of this ORFU function then it is my business. You, as a representative of the ORFU, have a duty to inform the ratepayers just exactly why you can’t pay the city what you owe.

    So, I’d be obliged if you answer the question in a straight forward manner. What were the costs and who were they paid to?

    Looking forward to your rapid response

    Russell Garbutt

    Today I got a response which you all may like to consider:


    Thanks for the e mail.
    I do not intend to provide detail of costs that have been incurred with privately owned businesses. The costs for this event that relate to DVML have been disclosed in earlier media reports.
    We regret the situation ORFU ended up in but believe we have reached the best deal possible for all concerned.
    Jeremy Curragh

    Now as far as I’m concerned there are a couple of interesting questions here. Firstly, as many have read in the ODT and elsewhere, Mrs Mains was the organiser of said dinner. She wouldn’t confirm whether she had been paid for her efforts on behalf of the ORFU, but since then there have been a number of figures bandied about in a number of places ranging from $12k to $50k being paid out. I can well imagine some degree of sensitivity from the Mains household at present especially if there are suggestions that her fee was paid out while other creditors of the ORFU including the DCC didn’t either get paid out or paid out fully. But their possible degree of sensitivity needs to be balanced against the bigger picture of the culture and actions of the ORFU – especially in regard to how they impacted on the City’s ratepayers.

    The second question is more important. Don’t you think the ORFU would be bending over backwards to be open and transparent when they owe half a million dollars to the City? Do you think that they should be showing an eagerness to show that they are acting in good faith? Do you think that they would be only too anxious to show that the “new” ORFU had nothing to hide? Don’t you think that the ORFU would be only too wiling to show what comprised the $40,500 of expenses that were deducted? Bearing in mind that the expenses of food, booze, venue cleaning hire etc were simply ignored leaving the ratepayer to pick up the bill.

    Quite clear to me what I think, but how about the Court of Public Opinion?

    • Elizabeth

      According to an irate ex ORFU member Mrs Mains took $10,000 for organising the ORFU Anniversary party (the infamous black tie dinner) held at the Stadium on 5 August 2011.

      This can be confirmed by various people including Stuart McLauchlan and Anton Oliver.

      How about that.

      Lee Vandervis believes someone heading the ORFU Board is having memory problems (how to not know a lot about):
      ● the defamation suit being brought to Mayor Cull and the ratepayers [now or last week]
      ● ORFU financial reports showing alarming levels of escalating debt over the years
      ● the state of ORFU finances when organising a black tie party last August with at least $25,000 worth of food and beverage
      ● how much guests paid for this expensive ORFU party, and
      ● where the money went that party guests paid or whether it was a profitable event.

      It is surprising because the ORFU have a track record of remarkable financing ability.

      The ORFU don’t just have business brains, according to Vandervis, they’re unprecedented business geniuses, managing to suck $5 million in pokie funds from South Auckland [rules say these funds must be spent in the area they are collected], and slurp up Dunedin ratepayer funding of:
      ● $1 million for Carisbrook lights
      ● $1,500 per week for over 10 years in reduced interest payments for their soft DCC $2 million loan
      ● $7 million bailout for Carisbrook which has since proved difficult to sell and expensive to maintain
      ● $450,000+ in rents, rates, and Stadium hire costs defaulted on, and
      ● $25,000+ for just the catering cost of their last big ORFU party at the Stadium.

      Bailouts can go on forever, Vandervis says, but ORFU bankruptcy would at least provide liquidator’s answers and the possibility of a genuinely new beginning for Otago Rugby.

      • Elizabeth

        No replies received.

        From: bevkiwi@hotmail.com
        To: jcurragh@xtra.co.nz
        CC: murray.kirkness@odt.co.nz; craig.page@odt.co.nz; chris.morris@odt.co.nz; hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz
        Subject: FW: ORFU $25,000 received from a trust for DVML
        Date: Wed, 16 May 2012 11:14:52 +1200

        Wednesday 16 May 2012

        Dear Jeremy

        You have not responded to my email below.
        Where is the $25,000 paid from a trust to the ORFU?
        It never reached DVML as was the intention.
        This is public money and needs to be accounted for.
        Would you as change manager support the call for a forensic audit of the ORFU given that now you have had many months to establish the financial situation?
        I have copied this to the ODT as they first reported about this missing $25,000 and I have blind copied other interested media.

        Yours sincerely
        Bev Butler

        From: bevkiwi@hotmail.com
        To: jcurragh@xtra.co.nz
        Subject: ORFU $25,000 received from a trust for DVML
        Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 13:26:52 +1200

        Sunday 13th May 2012

        Dear Jeremy

        You may recall I met you in the public gallery at the DCC council bailout meeting back in March.
        I asked you if you had been able to locate the $25,000 paid to the ORFU by a trust for the purposes of venue hire from DVML.
        You said you hadn’t found it yet and were still looking into it.
        My query is, have you now been able to locate it?
        As a ratepayer it is actually money owing to me so I really do have a financial interest in your finding it.
        Thank you.

        Yours sincerely
        Bev Butler

        • Elizabeth

          A further email (today).

          From: bevkiwi@hotmail.com
          To: jcurragh@xtra.co.nz
          Subject: ORFU $25,000 received from a trust/never reached the DCC
          Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 08:58:32 +1200

          Thursday 17 May 2012

          Dear Jeremy

          You still have not responded to my emails below.
          It is now reported in today’s ODT(see below) that the “TTCF’s relationship with ORFU is alleged to have been behind the more than $5m in grants given to the cash-strapped union”.
          Also in the report it states that the Office of the Auditor-General was keeping in touch with Internal Affairs over this issue.
          Added to this is the previous report in the ODT(see below) that $25,000 granted by an unnamed trust to ORFU never reached the DCC.
          And finally, the Office of the Ombudsman is investigating DVML’s part in the ORFU’S Black-tie dinner.
          As change manager you have had access to the ORFU’s books so I repeat my request: Do you support a forensic audit of the ORFU? If not, why not? And, have you found the missing $25,000?
          Why did the ORFU put $52,000 ‘in the pot’ and not pay their $25,352 bill to DVML for the Black-tie dinner?
          I have found that if one sticks to the facts and the truth then one has nothing to fear. You have been appointed as a change manager to set things right and yet you are not responding on this issue. Why?

          I have blind copied this to interested media.

          Yours sincerely
          Bev Butler

          {The full text of today’s ODT news story is attached to the email, along with another news item (ODT 9.3.12) – we provide the weblinks here. -Eds}


  82. Russell Garbutt

    I hear today on National Radio that the projected $200k income to the DCC for the North South rugby match at Farry’s Folly now turns out to be $20k.

    This is disgusting on a couple of grounds.

    Why on earth would anyone want to think that such a match would raise anything other than peanuts?

    It shows that based upon 7000 attending, the income per attendee is $3. A good basis for budgeting in the future?

    Once again, a disgusting and reprehensible out that did not deliver anything like a win-win position for the ORFU and the DCC ratepayers. As normal it was a win-lose.

    • Elizabeth

      ### radionz.co.nz 23 July 2012 Updated 25 minutes ago
      North-South rugby fundraiser financial flop
      Dunedin City Council has confirmed a North-South fundraising rugby match made one tenth of the amount originally expected. The match at the Dunedin stadium a month ago was part of a package to help save the Otago Rugby Football Union from liquidation. In March, the council and its events management company Dunedin Venues Management Ltd agreed to write off rugby union debt of $480,000, expecting the North-South match would repay at least $200,000. It was the first North-South fixture since 1995 but was scheduled in the middle of university exams, the day after an All Black test and with few well-known players. In the end, it drew a crowd of only 7,427 and the final income was just $21,412. Dunedin Venues chief executive David Davies said the city council will get 80% of the profit, and his company the rest.
      RNZ Link

  83. Anonymous

    It squares with roughly what we expect for opening costs. The North vs South game opened only the South stand. Costs for this are about $30K as opposed to $100K for opening the whole stadium (3 or 4 stands).

  84. Calvin Oaten

    So, the official score for the match was “a hiding to nothing”.
    And guess who got the hiding? Right first time, it was the ratepayers.

  85. tomo

    Come on Calvin. At least they paid for the drinks and chips. That has to be better than the black-tie freebie.

    • Calvin Oaten

      I am so so so!! over this stadium rort. The DCC have landed us with it for better or worse. So far it is all worse and getting worser by the day. I see no end until the bankers pull the plug. And then they will sit around their table, scratch their tiny little heads and say “rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb” and then all go home.

      • Elizabeth

        I put this strongly back in Cull’s court, as being weak enough to be duped – when all the signs were that the timing of the match would not draw the best players or the greatest crowds. And this guy is running your city! DVML and ORFU had nothing to lose by bolstering the ‘imaginary’ expectation of (DCC) fundraising – both entities are deep in hock.

  86. Hype O'Thermia

    When Dave Cull talked about trying to make it work before the election I assumed that he was being sensible, given the amount of wishful-thinking in the electorate. He would give it every chance, allow it to prove itself the dud scheme he so eloquently advocated against at the huge Town Hall stop-the-stadium rally, then having put the evidence of its failure in front of everyone he would be free to pull the plug. Whatever that means – payment of interest and repayment of borrowed money continues no matter what, and ratepayers are stuck with that.

    When he said before the election that only expenditure necessary for making it workable would be permitted I for one never foresaw him being rolled like a drunk staggering into a thieves’ conference, handing over our money without a care for tomorrow.

    If he were going to keep his word he would by now be saying, “We have done everything possible to make it work. You can see the evidence with your own eyes, well you could if we didn’t keep the facts and figures so carefully hidden from sight. Now we have to work out the best way to recover some of the money, either by selling the edifice as is, which will not come within coo-ee of enough $$ to pay off what it cost, or by demolishing it and flogging it off as a kitset to some other idiots (which will not… etc as above) or turning it into something else alone or in conjunction with the University, DOC – anyone! – as suggested by Calvin Oaten.”

    It’s time now for him to man up and state the bleeding obvious, well before the next local body elections. IF he has the sense to point out that he allowed the Fubar every opportunity to prove itself, to the extent of handouts and subsidies (that came out of ratepayers’ pockets, just by the way) and now it’s time to move on and find ways of minimising the damage the Chin-Farry et al Vision has done, he may have a chance of being a 2-term mayor.

    He can be sure Lee Vandervis won’t be tactfully mealy-mouthed when it comes to pointing out to voters what happened AND GOES ON HAPPENING to their ever-rising rates while this parasite is kept on life-support.

  87. Hype O'Thermia

    How to meticulously plan an own goal: “It was the first North-South fixture since 1995 but was scheduled in the middle of university exams, the day after an All Black test and with few well-known players.”

    • Elizabeth

      It’s not even a question… When will Dunedin ratepayers get the balls to act as Kaipara ratepayers are doing (legal action, non payment of rates, and shouting LOUDLY to TV media, central government, the works).

      Where are our community leaders. Y’know, leading the opposition to DCC.

  88. Amanda

    Looking forward to reading about this financial flop in the Otago Rugby Times. Yeah right. On the front page where it should be? I somehow doubt it.

  89. Amanda

    Corporate rugby are playing a game of chicken with Cull, they say he can’t afford to dump ‘beloved’ rugby, but Cull can say he cannot afford to keep Rugby drinking at the ratefund trough; but the bad news is for Cull to be able to do this he needs an outraged and active citizenry making their disgust at corporate rugby greed clear.

  90. Amanda

    Cull would be a political imbecile if he were to push for the stadium to be dumped, he has to have a clear mandate from the people, he won’t dare challenge powerful individuals sense of entitlement otherwise. Most important to Cull is re election, he is a polician let’s not forget.

  91. Amanda

    The bottom line is Cull recognises media in this town is not on Cull’s side. Cull is fighting a losing battle if he dares to remind readers the stadium is a financial flop; this puts egg on all those who said it was the thing that would bring financial nirvana to the town (Smith and his newspaper, Farry, Skeggs, not to mention the majority of councillors). Look at the rugby individuals legally attacking him presently, this is nothing to what the media and those powerful, rich stadium supporters would do – destroy him politically.

    • Elizabeth

      If the tartan mafia rugger lads (the mob) destroy Cull then that’s the best flag to the general public we could hope for. Let’s say it provides opportunity! (how sick is your council really; how corrupt is the professional rugby ‘community’ in Otago). Stand by for the bun fight.

      • Elizabeth

        Or. Dave Cull can clear his head of spider webs now, and represent his wider ratepayer and resident base against the manipulations of Rugby; take control, become a leader not a choir boy. Stop negotiating with Graham and Mains, go head to head at court. See how the thugs at ORFU feel about that, they who never look back at their “incompetence” (the word, we hear, that has riled them more than any other). We have a virtual stable of more explicit terms for the ORFU’s financial dealings; they could always open their books to prove us wrong (and the books of their known ‘rort vehicles’).

  92. Hype O'Thermia

    Being sticklers for accuracy they’d prefer “nincompoopetence”.

  93. Anonymous

    So DVML gets $4K nett? What was that again about “lunch money”?

  94. JimmyJones

    The DCC press release is here: http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/latest-news/july-2012/north-v-south-match-generates-income-for-city

    The heading is “North v South match generates income for City”. There is no mention of the $480,000 NZRFU debt.

  95. Hype O'Thermia

    JimmyJones, there’s “no mention of the $480,000 NZRFU debt” because it was generously forgiven ahead of the $20,000,000 rugby match. (Excuse me if I’m a bit out with my figures, I’m liable to get bamboozled by zeros.)

  96. Russell Garbutt

    Interesting published figures in this morning’s Oddity. Seems like each attendee at this stupid match generated a $2.87 profit – but of course this didn’t include any venue hire, so based on this alone, this thing generated a loss. Only by ignoring costs can a profit be generated and it seems like the DCC are so intent on painting this nonsense in a positive light that they will obscure reality. Time for Calvin’s good idea for the stadium to be adopted immediately.

  97. Calvin Oaten

    Hold on fellows and fellowesses, Dave Cull is enthused about the result. He had hoped for a 50c return for every dollar owed. What? Which dollar? The ones which built the stadium, or just the ones he gifted to the ORFU? But hey! he says: “This was always just an add on bonus.” Jeez, is this man in the real world, or just big on the ‘turps’? No doubt about it, that job addles the brain (assuming there was one there in the first place), just look at the former mayoral incumbent, and now look at this one. Need any more proof. Even the staff recognise that fact and freely feed it all sorts of stupifying made-up data, safe in the knowledge that when they say the word it will regurgitate exactly what it is that they want him to say. Amazing really.

  98. Hype O'Thermia

    Gawd-‘elp-us, Mayor Cull has lost the plot entirely, poor blighter. What next in his increasingly bizarre view of captaining the leaking rustbucket Dunedin? “A 10c return on every $million – golly-gosh, I’m so ecstatic it’s just as well I’m wearing incontinence protection for this special moment of phenomenal success!”
    Full steam ahead towards the rocks!

  99. Anonymous

    There was an interesting letter and response in the Otago Daily Times today regarding the losses incurred. The response noted there is a budget for debts that are written off. This is a first I’ve heard of it and so hope other ratepayers are afforded the same privilege granted to business of professional rugby.

    • Elizabeth

      Jeff Dickie is the writer of the letter to the editor at ODT today. Previously, his submission to the DCC 2012/13 draft annual plan appeared as a post at this website.

      Mr Dickie is a smart thinker and operator, as his questions and observations show. It’s for this reason the reply he received from Athol Stephens, general manager, finance and resources, is so RIDICULOUS, so far removed from the reality of true cost breakdowns as well as a consolidated cost calculation for the stadium project.

      We’ve come to expect nothing more than complete OBFUSCATION from Mr Stephens, who remarkably still has a job at the council. Until he doesn’t, the ratepayers are destructively ill served.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ch9.co.nz July 23, 2012 – 6:54pm
        Council to receive profits
        It may only be a small percentage of the money lost, but the City Council will receive more than 21 thousand dollars from last month’s North versus South rugby match.

  100. Mike

    I see that today’s ODT says that we’ll be giving DVML an extra $750k a year to prop up the stadium

  101. Anonymous

    Yes, another $750k to professional rugby in its many guises. The previous council heaped tens of millions on it and will cost us hundreds of millions more. This new council has continued to pour millions into it with their flawed version of the vision to ‘make it work at any cost’. But for the first time, in a very long time, New Our Stadium Mayor Dave Cull appears to have briefly remembered the true value of ONE MILLION DOLLARS when freaking out about the local government reforms. Even the media, that lumbering beast the Otago Rugby Times, must have momentarily thought on this number when carrying his concern to the public. But that was yesterday’s news and it’s back to the business of giving more public money to an entertainment centre, built for the Stakeholders and paid for by generations of Dunedin City Ratepayers.

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