Dunedin City Council meeting

Monday, 14 May 2012, 1.00 PM
Council Chamber, Municipal Chambers

Agenda – Council – 14/05/2012 (PDF, 108.2 KB)

Report – Council – 14/05/2012 (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Review of the Stadium Operating Model. This report was released to the media on Wednesady 9 May 2012 and will be part of the agenda for the Council’s meeting on Monday 14 May 2012.

Report – Council – 14/05/2012 (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Dunedin Economic Development Strategy

Report – Council – 14/05/2012 (PDF, 135.2 KB)
Local Government New Zealand Conference and Annual General Meeting 2012

Report – Council – 14/05/2012 (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Elected Members Remuneration 2012/2013

Report – Council – 14/05/2012 (PDF, 11.2 MB)
Plan Change 7: Dunedin Harbourside – Operative

PwC Stadium Review Documents
This link will take you to a page containing the report from PwC reviewing the Forsyth Barr stadium costs including all attachments to the report.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DVL, DVML, Economics, ORFU, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

85 responses to “Dunedin City Council meeting

  1. Pingback: RESIGN: Placard Monday’s council meeting | What if? Dunedin…

  2. Elizabeth


    A busy week looms for Dunedin city councillors, who will today participate in a full counci meeting, followed by at least three days of deliberating on the council’s draft annual and long-term budgets, during which some big decisions must be made – in the light of bad news last week about Forsyth Barr Stadium finances. news last week about Forsyth Barr Stadium finances

  3. Peter

    I notice in today’s ODT one of our illustrious councillors, Neil Collins, has won some media award. Of course this only means something for those in the media biz, but what I didn’t know is that in 2009 he was awarded a NZ Order of Merit for, among other things, ‘services to local government’. Mmmmm.

  4. Peter

    The PWC report, of course, confirms all what we said. Attending the council meeting today the clear message from Greater Dunedin Councillors is they acknowledge what has happened, but all now want to make the stadium work (despite the fact they have NO plan for it to work) and for us to not talk about ‘individuals’ who have created this mess. This was Cr Thomson’s line which engendered much head nodding around the council table. ie No accountability in other words. I have got the awful feeling they will throw more and more money in ‘to make the stadium work’ and within a short time all the anger directed at the traditional pro stadium councillors will end up being directed, with venom, towards themselves. They will only have themselves to blame.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Peter. Today isn’t the final shootout in this one horse town. Do Greater Dunedin look like high finance to any of us ? Hardly. The mayor was stupid and shallow enough to front at the Hotel announcement on Friday, with his CONFLICTS OF INTEREST gloriously on parade – for all to see, complimenting a project that undermines the integrity of the Dunedin City District Plan, a regulatory document his council must uphold on behalf of the community.

      And so back to the stadium project. This council shows its intellectual moral weakness, the fact that in its unknowingness it is prepared to support the ministrations of Mr Stephens and City Treasury like Jesus. Dullards all.

      If they can’t see the signs that things are closing in around them and they will be Made accountable whether they like it or not, they are bunnies in headlights.

      And that’s an insult to that particular form of vermin.

  5. Anonymous

    That is why he is now the New Stadium Mayor. Dave Cull’s ‘make it work at any cost’ approach is little different to the Chin and Harland & Co before him. Just look at what he did with Cr Syd Brown… he put a key driver of the stadium and parking changes in charge of the finance committee! He should have been quietly walked out the back door and it closed and locked behind him.

  6. Amanda

    The ODT does not like it when you actually name the councillors who pushed through the stadium debt. They abridged my letter and left out my naming Cr Acklin on the DCC community development committee and Cr Brown on the DCC finance, strategy and development committee. I was making the point that the stadium fiscal nimcompoops are still in positions of power. They let me leave the generic term ‘councillors’ so that people like Cr MacTavish and Cr Thomson can get counted in amongst the fiscally confused like Crs Collins, Noone and Bezett. That is unfair and false. It appears these councillors ‘must never be mentioned with the stadium’. Proof positive that the ODT is part of the whole sad debacle that the city finds itself in. I know the ODT is not interested in political accountability for the stadium debt but this is getting just a tad creepy and aren’t they worried that people will start to notice that they will do anything but remind us who signed off on the debt?

  7. Amanda

    As for Thomson and not wanting to hold other councillors accountable. He has to say that, he would be a total fool to try and hold others accountable, Hudson and cabal would crush him (as he knows) if he goes nose to nose with them. Thomson has seen that the stadium councillors will not be held accountable, and he wants to return to council and he will not risk that by lettting the ODT attack him for creating ‘devisiveness’ on council; Greater Dunedin (and Cull) will not stand by him. The stadium councillors run the show because they are strong and united.

  8. Amanda

    These are politicians here. They will only stand up for us if it will help them get re elected. If there was a huge public protest (not on the internet only unfortunately) then he would probably be willing to put himself on the line, otherwise he will keep his head down and say nothing. We get the sort of government that we demand I guess.

    • Elizabeth

      The prostadium councillors are feeling sick and tired, and I dare say dented. It’s not every day your council is told by one of the country’s leading forensic auditing and accounting firms that your internal processes have proved inadequate, such that by implication the Office of the Auditor General has failed to expose the weakness in its purview. The cream on the side is the mounting evidence of corruption that combines to rort the ratepayer dollar.

      As applied in the aftermath of the earthquake swarm at Christchurch, we’re likely to see more instances of declining health – stress induced. It’s whispered there will be a bi-election in or before October this year, with two councillors stepping down.

    • Elizabeth

      Amanda, you are right. Next protests have to be by direct confrontation, in presentation of facts and evidence, by external media, by physical and reactionary presence. Dunedin has to stop being polite. Our good neighbours in Christchurch are ahead of us in this. No more nice.

  9. Peter

    Interesting when Lee asked about why SH88 was not included as part of the stadium costs given that the realignment was a pre condition for the university’s (minimal) involvement. No definitive answer was given as far as I could understand. This could be one weakness in the PWC report and the auditor looked like he hadn’t heard about this pre condition.
    Noone and Bezett were absent. Collins and Hudson didn’t say a dickie bird in the stadium part of the meeting.

  10. Mike

    Amanda: they do seem so sensitive today – I was unable to refer to them as “old cold men” – just calling them men doesn’t have the same cachet some how

  11. Anonymous

    Wee whisper ODT may be abridging comments about the stadium councillors without noting it. Seems those councillors might not be the only ones feeling a little sensitive today. There were also quite a few letters declined in the print edition today because of actionable reasons. Want to guess? OR F.U., FORSYTH BARR stadium, Peter Chin or the Stadium Councillors?

    Yet in the same paper Garrick Tremain’s cartoon takes a crack at Chin, Farry and Harland & Co:

  12. Carol

    The ODT need Garrick Tremain’s humour to help sell their newspaper but they quickly shut up those who agree with him

    • Elizabeth

      ### ch9.co.nz May 14, 2012 – 5:37pm
      City Council meeting discusses financial bail out
      Tempers flared at today’s Dunedin City Council meeting during discussions about council bailing out Dunedin Venues Management Ltd. Within a report submitted to council by Chief Executive Paul Orders is a total budget variance – or loss – of more than $8m. The President of the Otago Chamber of Commerce believes budgeting to lose money is folly.

      • Elizabeth

        ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 14:16 14/05/2012
        Stadium row triggers calls for resignations
        By Wilma McCorkindale – Southland Times
        Dunedin city councillors are settling into their monthly meeting this afternoon amid calls for resignations because of budget blowouts on the city’s new Forsyth Barr stadium. A full public gallery has come armed with placards saying “Resign” raising them high in the air each time one of the pro-stadium city councillors stands to speak. Dunedin ratepayers were told last week they would have to stump up millions extra for the stadium. Councillors will be discussing the six-month-old stadium’s financial woes this afternoon.
        Link + Image

  13. Amanda

    I bet Hudson and Collins kept real nice and quiet in the stadium part of the discussion! They probably already believe the ODT version of the stadium debt, that it somehow just happened, by no-one in particular, not long before Hudson and mates will tell the story that they were actually against the stadium being ratefunded all along, don’t you remember?

  14. Amanda

    The men Tremain takes a crack at cannot be voted out of office though. Though may be they can be sued?

  15. Carol

    IF Mains and Graham can sue the Mayor, why can’t the ratepayers sue the Mayor and councillors who are responsible for this stadium disaster?

  16. Amanda

    Sue them to resign and hand over their hundreds of thousands in fees as Chairs of DCC committees and as councillors. That is the least they owe us. And an apology. I am waiting for Cr Collins to tell us all he is sorry he called us ‘glass half empty’ people. Unlike his magnificent self, being a glass half full sort of a guy. Yeah right. Well done the Southland Times and Wilma from D Scene. Thank you for the truth. Will be fascinating to see how the local media spins this one. And thank you to the people who held up the signs.

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    I wonder if the Sun tomorrow will have observed there was a wee bit of discontent expressed by sign-holding people

  18. Anonymous

    Thank you to D Scene for reporting on it. Oddly, there is nothing on the ODT site this evening about this news? I’ve therefore been of the mistaken view nothing happened of interest since the paper hasn’t considered events newsworthy. Now national media has trumped the local “independent” again and I wonder how it will respond. Anyone want to hazard a guess at that? Bet the “Marketing Team” at DCC are working over time.

  19. Peter

    I understand in the DVML part of the meeting, after we left, there was discussion on the new stadium model. There was a repetition of earlier reports that the stadium will now not just be seen as a commercial venture, but as a community one. Also David Davies apparently restated, what we already know, that it costs us every time they open the door for an event. Yet Dave Cull on TV1 News tonight has stated they want to make the stadium ‘profitable’. Go figure.
    They have established a sub committee that is coming back to us with our ideas of events to make the stadium work. I thought the CST’s humorous list of yesteryear was fairly full. How about Dalai Lama, Royal and Papal visits, a swimming pool, motocross, equestrian, ice sports etc? Oh right. Been there, done that. New ideas?
    The reality is they have no idea themselves and doing this will give some breathing space, to be seen to be problem solving for solutions. I’d say the council is freaking itself out and not facing the reality before us. How about that cost/benefit analysis of either keeping the stadium open or closing it… for starters?

    • Elizabeth

      Peter. What if???? Ackin is on that sub committee as entertainer of the year, he could sing and play at the stadium. That will save us. On special mates rates. We all profit.

  20. Amanda

    With the dear old ODT I have learned it’s far more important to notice what they deem NOT newsworthy than what they do.

  21. Amanda

    The people who held up the signs, you make me proud. That is the real Dunedin. The settlers who came here to escape inequality and class entitlements would be proud. You are the real Dunedin, not the Dunedin of the DCC, the dismal ORFU or the local media.

  22. Ben

    My 50 cents worth going forward

    1. Reverse the inefficient structure whereby one entity leases to the venues management company, just have the one company and have a shareholder advance from DCC to DVML for $200m or whatever the fully quantified sum is, the present setup is inefficient and I would hazard a guess played a large part in the $2m “adminstrative costs” particularly at what some lawyers charge

    2. Having quantified the debt, ringfence that amount on the DCC balance sheet and form a clear coherent strategy on how to reduce it, reasonably quickly, make some hard calls if that means selling or partially listing some DCHL assets so be it

    3. Introduce some sunlight as a disinfectant going forward, amend standing orders to allow proceedings to be broadcast, pay for a TV camera and have governance manager or whoever set it up in the corner of all council and subcommittee meetings, plug in an output for the sound desk and stream it online and also allow Ch9 to screen it during daytime (it’s not like they have anything better on) for those without broadband, if there is public excluded components push a button and mute the feed to the camera, easy

  23. Ben

    I would add to my #1 removing the pointless money go round would give a better indication of the profitability of DVML.

  24. Davies is already turning the Stadium into a “community venue” by allowing club rugby for some days in June and July with gold-coin entry. Surely rugby fans would be happy to pay $10 to help Stadium finances?
    Gold-coin entry is just devaluing the product.
    And why does a community venue need a $250,000 CEO.

    • Elizabeth

      Alistair, $10 per fan would be a kind gesture but it won’t generate enough funds to offset the operating losses generated by the debt funding put in place to meet the capital cost of construction (and other things, exclusions or not, Farry’s admin bonanza, et al). Ideas of raising ticket prices will only hurt our citizens given the limit on discretionary spending in this low income city, er across 40 years… when the sewage and water pipes must be replaced, see effects on rates and rents then. That’s now if not just around the corner.

  25. Peter

    ‘Surely rugby fans would be happy to pay $10 to help Stadium finances?’ I wish this was true, Alistair, but on past history…..NO.

  26. Anne Elliot

    The most embarrassing thing during the latter part of the meeting was Hudson finally having his pathetic say. Like Cr Brown, he asked a set of rhetorical questions to attempt to exonerate himself. The questions were completely unrelated to the topic, namely the running of the DVML. Pathetic.

  27. Hype O'Thermia

    He displays the signs of a rooster who looked in the mirror one morning recently and saw a feather duster.

  28. Mike

    It’s interesting to try and find the $2m administrative overspend in the CST’s financial reports to the Charities Commission …..

    I can’t find that much spending on ‘administration’ much less an overspend

    Where did that money go? Time for an independent audit of the CST, but you all already knew that didn’t you

  29. ormk

    Why is Cr Brown upset at the continued negativity? We have every right to be negative about the stadium. I’m negative about Justin Bieber. I’ve never given any money or supported him in any way. Yet he is still a success because many people do like his pop product. The thing is Cr. Brown…..it is just not like that with the stadium. There are too few people offering too little support. Could it be that there was never a majority in favour of blowing half a billion dollars in order to give mates a percentage?

    Actually to say I’m negative about Bieber / the stadium is just spin. I simply don’t want anything to do with these things. Making me pay for the stadium is like trying to force me to listen to Bieber. I’m not negative about it. Just repulsed by it. The people who are really negative here are the ones who want the stadium but won’t pay to support it.

  30. Peter

    This ‘group hug think’ of what ‘creative’ things we can dream up for making the stadium work is so desperate. Maybe that’s why the council latched on to the 28 storey hotel proposal as something exciting for the masses. You know, the wow factor. How ironic that they so soon forget the negative impact on the historic warehouse precinct which they also want to develop to progress the city. This monstrosity, if it’s real and not a smokescreen, would scuttle that idea.
    Dave Cull’s council is increasingly looking like a headless chook.

  31. Hype O'Thermia

    Ormk, we’re not negative. We’re positive the Fubar was wrong, wrong, wrong from the word Go, and what’s more every new revelation confirms our belief. I’m personally a skeptic. Had new information come along to alter my initial reaction to Malc’s “vision” I would have changed my mind – skeptics believe in always being open to evidence, even when it demolishes their favourite theories. If Cr Brown shows me evidence that he and his buddies DIDN’T waste an inordinate amount of money to build an unnecessary stadium I’ll change my mind. I’ll even apologise – will he match me on that one? No sign of it so far.

  32. Anonymous

    The ODT story was quite informative. As Amanda has said, it is what the ODT often excludes (or leaves to the end) which makes for interesting reading. But Chris Morris has done a good job. Reasonably centred with interesting bits for all sides. I like how he got stadium Cr Syd Brown in there and left out the ramblings of Cr Paul Hudson. Great quote by Cr Bill Acklin too – politically reckless or planning to be the fall guy, can’t decide. It would be safer to apologise than be heard to support it.

    The D Scene did a great job of getting the news out there sooner and on a national scale. It did a better job of the photo too. Its photo was about the circumstances while the ODT directed readers’ attention to a person. Wonder which sub was involved in selecting that image and caption? I see what you did there ODT.

  33. Russell Garbutt

    An interesting piece that came out of an interview on National Radio re the Kaipara mess with some rates up there going from $9k a year to over $90k. One of the spokespeople for the ratepayers pointed out that the Council there had many sessions public excluded and that the Office of the Auditor General failed in their duty to prevent the Council getting into the mess that they did. While some of the idiotic parts of general competency are in the LGA 2002 Act, this doesn’t absolve the OAG from doing their work.

    In exactly the same way that the Department of Internal Affairs has proven itself to be completely pointless in that scheming devious and corrupt individuals or organisations can get round the pokie fund legislation, incompetent councils are not able to be made to act in a conservative and prudent manner by the OAG. And do you think Jonkey is interested in sorting that out? Too busy doing behind the scenes with some more pokie machine operators.

  34. Hype O'Thermia

    News from other districts is downright depressing. It’s a big game of Snap! Information of local body doings is in a way silo’d, media don’t pick up the stuffups & rorts from e.g. Dunedin as a warning to e.g. Kaipara, so each and every ratepayer ends up embroiled in a clone of the vision/put-it-on-the-plastic/empire-builders/council employee grandiose schemes, all too often led by unelected people who are quick to spot personal advantage, and quick to spot gulllibles with the power to transfer wealth from the community to their pockets.

  35. Anonymous

    ‘The mayor’s remuneration … for Cr Cull for 2012-13 of $144,600, an increase of $4400 from this year, a report to councillors said.’ – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/209276/redirect-wages-council-vandervis.

    Bloody hell. When did that happen? No wonder he’s keeping it sweet with the Stakeholders and Stadium Councillors Club.

  36. Anonymous

    Good Morning Boys and Girls.

    Question: when is a land purchase not a land purchase? When it’s a purchase of leases and payment of ground rent at $400K p.a.

    Question: When is a District Plan not a District Plan? When it says you can’t build closer than 1m under the drip line, but you end up being 6m under and kill a 100-year old elm tree.
    Followup: Can’t we just buy a new tree?

    Question: When is a parking building not a parking building? Who owns 56 Minerva St? Who is the lessee? What are their operational activities? Who paid for the refurbishment of that building?

    Question: When is a bribe not a bribe?

    Question: What is the depth of fill under 41 Wharf St?
    Answer: 60m before you hit bedrock.
    Followup: Could you build a 28-storey hotel on that site?
    Answer: No.

    • Elizabeth

      Anonymous – you have been busy compiling your questions. Your rewards might be in heaven.

    • Elizabeth

      Further to Anonymous’ comment, D Scene provides some more detail (and a photograph of the tree):

      ### D Scene 23 May 2012
      Memorial elm tree may die (page 4)
      By Wilma McCorkindale
      One of several memorial elm trees on Anzac Ave may die after being damaged by Dunedin City Council earthworks. The elm is one of a list of the city’s significant trees, community and recreation services manager Mick Reece has confirmed. It had been planted decades ago to commemorate the Anzac spirit. He said the DCC was concerned about the tree, which was damaged by earthworks at a planned new controlled intersection on Anzac Ave. The tree had been healthy before that. Reece said earthworks at the intersection had got close to the tree than his department was comfortable with. The elm could die, he said. ‘‘Basically the roots were damaged.’’ Reece said the tree had received some treatment. ‘‘We’re waiting for spring to see how the tree responds.’’ It was hoped some new growth would occur and the tree would survive. #bookmark

  37. Amanda

    For the first time in over two years the ODT have use the phrase “stadium councillors” but not gone so far as to actually name who they are. They hilariously even have Acklin and Brown telling us all to smile and don’t ‘blame’ anyone. Would have put their suggestions into context if the ODT had told us these two men are the ones accountable for the city’s debt in the first place.

  38. Amanda

    Anything to push the responsibility of the stadium debt onto the shoulders of the public while the few have made millions and are quietly distancing themselves from the whole con. Totally predictable. Cull tells us the stadium is now our problem, as we all knew it would be.

  39. Anonymous

    ‘The unidentified man walked on to the floor of the chamber and handed his sign directly to a still-seated Cr Syd Brown, who promptly dropped it as the man left the room.’

    In my experience the Otago Daily Times would not have written that or probably edited (to save space, of course) by the subbies. Anything to inform Mosgiel and Taieri voters of this councillor’s involvement in the stadium rort is small steps in the right direction.

    It is also not lost on many who put that stadium councillor into the seat of power. Mayor Dave Cull is now intrinsically linked with this notorious Stadium Councillor and Parking Magnate and his political career will have taken a significant hit in trust because of it.

    But best of all it is stunning how many people were able to make it in to protest. Thank you.

  40. Russell Garbutt

    The NBR has a good story on the Fubar mess and names Tim Barnett as the man behind the hotel. I asked a simple question on the Oddity site – is this proposal a real one or some form of negotiation for another piece of land? Say nearer the Town Hall?

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, don’t tell me the Hotel will be built on the site of DCC’s car park, corner Filleul and Moray to run up some business for that municipal redevelopment project once completed. Oh my. (or how to prove we REALLY need a hotel, regardless of other large spends – hmmm, let’s sell the car park to Scenic and Friends)

  41. Amanda

    That man is a hero. Syd Brown. Our DCC chair of Finance, Strategy and Development. He needs to go, with his fiscal muppetness overseeing such a chairship the city will not get out of the mess it is in fast.

    {The Economic Development Committee of DCC no longer exists. For the current list of standing committees refer the DCC website. -Eds}

  42. Anonymous

    Tim Barnett is not the developer. He’s the owner of 41 Wharf St and has been for years. Had resource consent for a 3-storey office block after fighting the DCC for 3 years with respect to Harbourside. No way would he have the resources to self-fund a $100M development and no way would any bank finance the remainder on a speculative hotel development, knowing the margins in that industry.

    This is flim-flam.

    • Elizabeth

      For heaven’s sake. I know Tim, it’s possible he has an interest but you are correct Anonymous. He has the land and an existing resource consent. His status is well known due to the mess of the Harbourside Plan Change.

      • Elizabeth

        Well. DCC didn’t keep the PwC Stadium Review Documents link up for very long on the home page of their website. All gawn.

        But here it is again, for your viewing pleasure:

        Soak it Up. Send to your friendly councillors with a full translation – evidently they didn’t have time to read or comprehend it all before yesterday’s council meeting.

  43. Russell Garbutt

    So Anonymous, I come back to my question posed here and elsewhere. Is this whole hotel thing just a piece of nonsense to disguise something else that is going on like a land swap deal? Perhaps something nearer the Town Hall on any carparks for example? That would happen and the mystery group behind the hotel would mysteriously vanish back into China? And the hotel drawings would be put back into a drawer ready for the next deal to be done?

  44. Anonymous

    Russell, nothing about the proposed $100m hotel development makes sense.
    The site isn’t suitable. The height breaches the District Plan. The site owner can’t self-fund – if he is angling for a big-name franchise, that won’t pay the bills. People have already worked out the maximum income based on 90% occupancy. The airport can’t handle the required influx day-in day-out.
    There’s another possibility which is more plausible than a land swap deal. If I am correct, then Tim Barnett knows how to play a long game. 41 Wharf St is key to economic development in the city, but not in a way that involves construction of any kind.
    Apologies for being cryptic (again) but there are big things afoot. If the hotel development goes ahead, it cripples Dunedin’s economic development. To see the big picture, you have to look at the whole corridor between Andy Bay Road and Ravensbourne Road.

    • Elizabeth

      And here we get back to Don Anderson’s model for that area? Reinvented, plus or minus a siding or two. His early drawings show medium rise commercial residential and mixed use, now kerfuffled by the OIL GAS syndrome… He works for Tim Barnett on ‘occasion’, Lincoln Darling, Alistair Broad, et al. Quite the man, our PP planner. OH! We don’t want a tower we want something else(!!!), um less in your face. Much better for Dunedin (read own back pockets). The corridor (given the notices of requirement) has always been deemed a STRATEGIC corridor, for a reason. These boys do a lot of map shuffling 15-20 years in advance – with the council, Transit/NZTA, Chalmers…

  45. Phil

    Remember how that was originally part of the grand plan ? Gosh, that was a while ago now. An extension of the hotel complex over the existing DCC car park, with an enclosed footbridge connection to the Town Hall.

  46. Anonymous

    New Stadium Mayor Dave Cull is afraid to make his Stadium Councillors accountable for their actions, going so far as to question whether people are seeking “blood” in today’s D Scene. That sounds like something the council’s new marketing team came up with to quieten voices.

    The stadium councillors – unnamed in this story too – and their spendthrift behaviour, arrogance and stupidity have cost this city many millions of dollars (MILLIONS!) and put its financial security at risk. Their actions have had a detrimental effect on livelihood of its ratepayers. All of this on non-essential infrastructure and professional rugby.

    These councillors need to go and at the very least – emphasis on VERY LEAST – they must indicate now they will resign at the next election. As a ratepayer I will take nothing less than the resignation of Cr Syd Brown first and foremost. Then we will see about the future.

  47. Anonymous

    I’m all for hosting sports but the groups need to fund raise for themselves. And I know of and sympathise with many groups who feel bummed out because they work hard for their sport while watching rugby get a free ride in this town.

    But this council is up to no-good again on the U20 World Cup bid. They don’t know how much it will cost but the moment you see Sue Bidrose’s name in the story you know it will be the proposed cost, doubled and doubled again. And then we’ll be told again it is something to be proud by deputy mayor Chris Staynes.

    ‘The decisions came after council city strategy and development general manager Sue Bidrose acknowledged the $150,000 price-tag needed for next year’s budget was only the start. […] That meant the council’s total exposure could be up to half a million dollars, but “no more than that”, she confirmed.’

    Does that “no more than that” remind you of someone else?

    Sue Bidrose was involved in the RWC budget blow-out and central communications unit… “If we’d been doing [communications] well the whole time, there’s a few situations that we found ourselves in that we probably wouldn’t have.”

    Central Communications Unit… What. A. Joke.

  48. Amanda

    No Mayor Cull we want democracy, it is the coucillors you fear who have drained this city of its life blood. Dunedin is still a democracy and this does not mean that we have to be concerned about your need to tell us all to stop making life difficult for you; we know you are in difficult position stuck between a council ruled by the stadium cabal and stakeholders. That is not our concern, you and the stadium cabal are footnotes, the overriding goal is transparent democracy. You can stand in the way of that or step aside. From the way you are talking I am starting to think it might be time for you to step aside…

    • Elizabeth

      Council chief executive Paul Orders yesterday told councillors DCHL’s new reduction was one of several increasing financial pressures faced by the council. “That’s a significant constraint that we face right from the outset of these [budget] deliberations,” he said.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 16 May 2012
      $4.1m shortfall in DCC budget
      By Chris Morris
      Fresh savings would be needed to plug a $4.1 million hole in the Dunedin City Council’s budget, it was confirmed yesterday. Gloom surrounding Dunedin Venues Management Ltd’s reported losses was compounded when Dunedin City Holdings Ltd reported that tough market conditions meant it planned a second reduction in dividend payments to the council. The holding company is suggesting reducing its annual dividend by $2.5 million a year, from $18.2 million to $15.7 million, beginning in 2012-13 and continuing in following years.
      Read more


      ### ch9.co.nz May 16, 2012 – 6:10pm
      Your word on the potential rates rise
      The Dunedin City Council is scrambling to find additional funds, to cover the loss announced by the company running the Stadium. DVML’s almost $2 million shortfall could see an extra burden placed on ratepayers, so we took to the streets to get your thoughts on another potential stadium-related increase.

  49. Anonymous

    Another two million here, another million or four over there. And that’s just today. Some staff and councillors of this messed up council do not give a toss how they spend other people’s money. It’s just funny money to them and consequences a joke worth laughing about. God only knows why they can treat a public institution this way when they would do the exact opposite in their own business or home.

    Just as exasperating though are ratepayers who choose to turn a blind eye to it and raise often ridiculous counter arguments which only serve to support the agendas of the stakeholders.

    There are two of them on ODT Online currently.

    Why does it appear unbudgeted or overblown budgets seem to be a stink that follows “council general manager of city strategy development Dr Sue Bidrose” around?

  50. JimmyJones

    Sue Bidrose has difficulty producing accurate financial estimates. My guess is that the more awake councillors have noticed a tendency for low estimates from her department. On Wednesday some councillors were reluctant to provide more funding for the OSM scam: see here >> http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/209580/museum-extras-cost-council-216m
    “Ratepayers will fork out up to an extra $2.16 million to fund necessary work not included in original $39.2 million Otago Settlers Museum redevelopment project budget.” ~ “Many of the “Wow!” elements had been underfunded or not budgeted for, council general manager of city strategy development Dr Sue Bidrose and museum director Linda Wigley said.”
    Some things that Sue “forgot” to include in her estimate were the Research Centre and the Retail shop.

    Sue seems to oversee the new $5 million/year army of spin-doctors (the McKerracher Group). This team is rumoured to be behind the fake harbourside hotel proposal.

    • Elizabeth

      Jimmy Jones, I’ve been told strongly, persuasively (choke) by a councillor I least expected to hold this view, that Sue Bidrose is part of the answer to DCC’s future ‘correction’. Meaning, the so-called equitable council that ratepayers and residents can trust. I firmly see Bidrose as a MAJOR problem. Paul Orders might like to revise on this, quickly.

  51. Anonymous

    Have heard that wee rumour too. And a few other areas to boot. I’ve been following their little “communications” ploys on ODT and, well, they’re overpaid and too focussed to pretend to be anyone else (that Facebook group at least sounds sincere in their comments about the stadium being big and pretty). Their scripted tone has started appearing on several other media forums. I expect to see them rewriting Wikis and other council pap soon too. Assuming they haven’t already started. I’m waiting for one of them to screw up and leave a routable IP back to a council resource.

    I wonder if that other council manager is included in their wee world? He must be feeling a bit left out diligently posting on ODT Online during company time (does he have the support of the current CEO?), knowing the big boys and girls over the way are playing a similar game but getting paid for it.

    As for Sue Bidrose, you know there’s trouble at the top when the middle management think like this. Overlooking major parts of a project makes you inept and the wrong person for the job. Making mistakes that cost hundreds of thousands or millions would get you fired in the private sector. Makes me wonder what cards Sue is holding.

    But the frightening reality is spending other peoples’ money has never got in the way of staff at this corrupt council before and that’s a lesson they’ve all learnt well since Chin and Harland came to power.

  52. JimmyJones

    Elizabeth, irrational trust can develop between members of working parties and subcommittees etc. Also, I think the average councillor has the memory of a gold fish; Sue has discovered that even when she gets caught-out with her dodgy estimates, she can come back in a month’s time and repeat the procedure because they have forgotten and because they mostly believe what they are told without question. Sue seems willing to be unethical to ensure her pet projects get funding. I don’t trust the other general managers either.
    There seemed to be significant spin-doctoring of the presentation of the PWC report (stadium construction) and the DVL & DVML 6 monthly reports. It looks to me like this was a co-ordinated effort that would have had to involve Dave Cull, Paul Orders and Athol (and probably McKerracher’s spin-doctors and the whole EMT). For managing the stadium information, I believe that Dave, Paul and Athol are a team.
    Telling lies is their weakness and I don’t see any correction coming, with Paul deciding to spend $5 million/year on PR and this week’s attempt to hide the extent of the stadium loss (by ignoring DVL’s worse than expected loss).
    ( http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/201914/council-centralises-pr-team-head-office )

    • Elizabeth

      JimmyJones, not all GMs will last the next while. I would like to see every one of them OUT, but it will happen to only a couple, in not very comfortable stages. I agree about the lies and the dripfeed of financial information to lessen the impact on councillors’ small pea brains – and ‘ours’ (what haven’t realised how many millions went west this last fortnight, after the hundreds of millions prior to – or that all these big sums come directly from our pockets, not the council’s). Doh.
      Dunedin City Council has so many levels of corruption. It rivals the level of corruption rife amongst the Good Old Boys of Otago.
      All I get at the moment is ‘you seem to dislike Dave Cull, why??’ or ‘we should support Dave Cull’.
      The worst is ‘we have to make the stadium work’ (little Dave echoes) from people who know enough maths to be driving their recently purchased BMWs and new 4WDs for the ski season.
      NO. NEVER. I WON’T. You read it here.
      Wake up, Dunedin.

      Ah yep. Dunedin City Council has “created a new central communications unit with a potential multimillion-dollar budget” BECAUSE the council has a long-lived image problem AND a lot to hide. Moreover, it thinks nothing of spending YOUR MONEY on gloss.

  53. Yes, propaganda does seem to rule at the Dunedin City Council under Paul Orders. The Council has just agreed on a big rates rise of 5%, which will make it hard for many households and businesses. But we are being lead to believe that we should be grateful that the Council is being wonderfully frugal.
    I, too, am wondering why we have not heard about DVL. The $1 million loss of DVML is dealt with, but wasn’t DVML budgeted to have a “surplus” of $4 million to pay to DVL. How is this going to be made up? Is it going to be hidden in DCHL, as DCC financial problems usually are.

  54. ‘All of the scrimping, saving and budget-stretching done by the Dunedin City Council in the past week paid off yesterday, as it managed to keep the rates increase for the next financial year at 5%.’

    That there is classic Otago Rugby Times nonsense.

    ‘Dunedin City Council has managed to keep the next rates increase at 5%.’ Further through the (insert out-of-town newspaper name) investigates how this impacts on the family budget and reminds its readers why this situation developed and who contributed to it .

    That is a newspaper.

    This is an increase in the cost of living and decrease in the home budget. It is going to hurt people further in the community. The ODT should not be justifying and glorifying Dave Cull and his corrupt council.

    Rates increase limited to 5%
    By Debbie Porteous

  55. Hype O'Thermia

    They’ll notice when subscribers cancel their subscriptions, then advertisers see they are reaching fewer potential customers and cut back on ODT advertising. Pocket-plundering of citizens by the DCC doesn’t stop at the ratepayer’s gate.

  56. Lindsay

    More sub standard parroting from the ODT. It is simply untrue that “Dunedin Venue Management Ltd’s (DVML) annual operating deficit would be just over $1 million”. They may be able to overlook the $60 000 clear profit required each week to lease the facility, but it has to come from somewhere, and pretending that shifting responsibility for the $3+ million elsewhere somehow makes the turkey more viable is delusional at best. All the losses should be on DVML where they can be clearly seen.

  57. Hype O'Thermia

    Responses to 2 letters to the editor, headed Council finances today, one from Calvin Oaten, one from Frank Hocken : “Mayor Cull does not wish to respond to this letter”.
    Transparency in action: previously the thorough no-show ruled, as in : “…referred to X for comment but no reply has been received.”
    I’m delighted with this improvement in accountability – aren’t you?

  58. JimmyJones

    Alistair, keeping the DVL 6-month loss out of the media was a PR success for the McKerracher Group. The size of the loss ($5.2 million) is very significant and so it is inconceivable that Dave Cull and Paul Orders were unaware of it. The idea of pretending that the stadium is completely represented by DVML is DCC policy. The plan was that DVML’s finances could be manipulated to break-even and all the losses would end up in DVL. DVL was to be swept under the carpet and not talked about. This deception is the likely purpose of having both DVL and DVML. The real financial horror story is seen by simply adding the results of DVML and DVL and the DCC.
    The size of the DCC costs is undisclosed, but my guess is maybe $3 million. So we have for the total ratepayer impact for the 6 months of operation $2.0m (DVML loss – not $1.9m) + $5.2m (DVL loss) + $3m (DCC costs) = $10.2 million.
    It is a reasonable assumption that the full-year ratepayer impact will be double the 6 month result, i.e. $20 million (remember the $3m is a guess). I expect this to continue for the lifetime of the stadium. It is easy to hide this from the councillors, but the awareness and collaboration of Dave and Paul is shown by them promoting the “only $1.9m loss” spin.

    The DVML Statement of Intent predicted that DVML would make a small profit for 2012 (Profit after tax $91,660). The $4 million rent payment to DVL is a very big cost, not a surplus.
    For DVL, the 2012 forecast resulted in a ratepayer subsidy of $6.5 million (aka subvention payment). This was a fake estimate and the actual result will be a much bigger loss.

    The $20 million annual loss needs to be confirmed, but it is looking very close to what we told them when the stadium decision was being made. I think MikeStk is closest (so far).

    Also the terms of reference for the PWC report specifically excludes any investigation or comment on these things. Section 8 says:
    “Neither our review nor this report seeks to establish or comment on:
    • The viability of the project;
    • The Stadium’s future financial viability; ~”
    They are determined that we don’t discover what they have done.

  59. Hype O'Thermia

    The DCC/ODT aren’t going to put this part of PWC’s report where the general public will notice it:
    “Neither our review nor this report seeks to establish or comment on:
    • The viability of the project;
    • The Stadium’s future financial viability; ~”

    That’s the job of online, un-“massaged” social media. Find whatever sites allow comments and spread the word!

  60. Anonymous

    On page 38 the following response is received to Peter Reid’s letter questioning why the paper prints “another cartoon knocking the stadium”:

    [It is an integral part of a cartoonist’s art to focus on matters of topical matters. The ODT’s sponsorship of the stadium shows that as a company we are supportive of the facility but, as for our cartoonists, a newspaper’s role is to report accurately and fairly on items of public interest. – Ed]

    Yes it is Editor. Yes. It. Is. But, hey, better late than never to remember this.

    Another by G. I. Bartlett notes supporters of the Regent Theatre can fundraise two million in a year and questions what on-going fundraising is occurring with ORFU. There is no response. This letter is buried on the bottom of page 30.

    The kind reader seems to be unawares the ORFU is full of black-tie bludgers who guzzle on the public teat while trying to feed the cow their poisoned debts.

  61. Anonymous

    The writer was referring the cartoon printed on the 15th of May. He probably isn’t going to like today’s either…

  62. Peter

    It’s interesting this idea of a media ‘balanced’ approach to news stories as exemplified above with correspondent Peter Reid’s letter to the ODT.
    Ethically, the media believe they have to report both sides. Fair enough. I’m sure sometimes, however, they deliberately tilt one way, in order to stir the story along, and get a reaction from the other side. The media thrives on controversy/conflict because this sells papers, gains viewing/on air time.
    The stadium has been an immense boon to the ODT and D Scene. It is an issue that just won’t go away and, as the stadium scandal has unfolded, it has provided some amazing twists and turns for both sides of the debate.
    In my view, however, the time has come for the media to see the stadium scandal for what it is and blow it out of the water without any sensitivity to the views/feelings of those who have perpetrated this scandal. The PwC report has incredible fodder for the media to follow up on, plus documented material Bev has supplied, but which has not yet been reported on. This PwC excellent report is only the beginning of what needs to be exposed. The media now has to demand accountability…. even if Dave Cull and the majority of his council do not want this to occur. It is the duty of a free and democratic press to hold our rulers to account and also insist they make those responsible for dodgy stadium practices, accountable. If the media fails in this regard the corruption that already exists just gets worse.

  63. Anonymous

    The tree is dead. You can’t work inside the dripline, that’s what the District Plan says. Work is 6 METRES inside. The comment I heard repeated from a DCC Manager was: “Oh well, we’ll just have to buy a new tree then”

  64. Hype O'Thermia

    I’ve got a contact that can supply a hundred-year-old replacement tree. The DCC Manager need only email details of his bank account, including relevant passwords, to lookingforaningnong@yahoo.com. Satisfaction guaranteed. the more money the more satisfaction. I remain your obeisant savant….

    • Elizabeth

      Major back pedalling at DCC Planning? Remember this group of trees are not only part of the (illegal) designation the Council achieved for the SH88 realignment around the stadium… they are also subject to the redesignation the Council is required to carry out as a public process, and with ALL affected parties identified, this time.

      “The design of the road included careful consideration of the location of the protected trees, the relevant tree experts were consulted before and during construction, and the work was carried out in an appropriate manner.”

      ### ODT Online Wed, 23 May 2012
      Council monitoring health of two protected elms
      By Debbie Porteous
      The Dunedin City Council is monitoring the health of two protected elms to check they have not been affected by the realignment of State Highway 88 near the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Council parks and reserves team leader Lisa Wheeler said staff would not be able to tell if there was any new stress on the trees until there was some spring growth.
      Read more

  65. Hype O'Thermia

    If they can do major earthworks right under DCC trees what’s so special about other people’s trees? Why can’t we all excavate within a whisker of inconvenient tree trunks?
    Come to think of it, why can’t we all fell big mature trees when we don’t like the shade they cast?
    Yes for all or No for all. Anything else is unjust.

    • Elizabeth

      [ODT Online comment here in full]

      Wed, 23/05/2012 – 7:00am. farsighted Denials
      Denial is not a strategy. The tree is dead. It died because work was done too close to the root base. Publish the plan so we can all make an assessment. Ask where the dripline is with relation to the work. While resource consent is not required for State Highway work, you still cannot breach the District Plan. Once again, there should be a complete independent review of all aspects of the land purchases and negotiations for the SH88 realignment. While some of us have known of the background to this for some years, it is only now that it appears to be starting to stink in public. Link

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