Monthly Archives: May 2012

Dunedin shootout: mafia bosses

This city is a warm, tender-hearted place. It attracts honeymoon hotels.


Cull on tape yesterday
“The financial funding and operating model of the stadium was put in place to convince people to build it,” he said. “Clearly, it was optimistic.”

Farry on tape last night

Farry today at ODT
Mr Farry said the mayor “is quite entitled to his opinion and to be critical. What angers me is that he has stooped to innuendo and baseless allegations”.

Mr Farry said the CST’s integrity had been “impinged” by the mayor’s criticism. […] Asked if he was considering taking legal action against the mayor, Mr Farry said he was not. “But this should not be interpreted by Mr Cull as a free licence. There is a limit to anybody’s patience and tolerance.”



Today at ODT (Link)
Mr Cull yesterday issued a statement in response to the ODT article which detailed the statement of claim of Otago Rugby Football Union board members Wayne Graham and Laurie Mains, who are each seeking more than $500,000 in damages from the mayor over allegations of defamation.

Yesterday at ODT

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Events, Hot air, Media, ORFU, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

SUNK Stadium: TOO MUCH ratepayer money going west STOP

Garrick Tremain – 11 May 2012

The point is $224 million is not the TRUE COST. It is FAR HIGHER. Dunedin City Council must stop all OBFUSCATION. Open the books to a full independent forensic audit of the council and related entities NOW.

Meantime, close the stadium to stem the losses.

### ODT Online Fri, 11 May 2012
Budget blowout pushes stadium cost to $224m
By Chris Morris
The final cost of the Forsyth Barr Stadium has risen to $224 million, after independent auditors uncovered a budget blow-out of more than $8 million, it has been confirmed. The findings showed the stadium’s capital cost had risen by $8.4 million, from $198 million to $206.4 million. Interest accrued during the stadium’s entire construction period, as loans began to be drawn down, also hadn’t been included in costs.

The $8.4 million overspend meant costs exceeded budgets by 4.2%.

The PWC review did not seek to apportion blame, but findings had been passed to council chief executive Paul Orders, who told reporters he would study them “coolly and calmly”.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Events, Hot air, Media, ORC, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, STS, Town planning, Urban design

Submission to DCC draft long term plan (1)

Copy of submission received from Jeff Dickie, Dunedin
Date: Wednesday, 9 May 2012, 11:22 AM

I have in the past made numerous submissions calling for Council to “recognize a problem before we have a crisis”. We now have that crisis.

I have invested substantially in Dunedin. I now hold very grave fears for the city’s future and that of my 5 children, for whom I’d like to at least have an option of choosing to live here.

Under the previous Chin/Harland administration we saw financial incompetence on an unprecedented scale, coupled with a cynical disregard for democracy and the submission process. Secrecy and preset agendas marked this Bejing-style excuse for democracy. It was precisely this that allowed the stadium project to proceed. Had ratepayers been honestly informed from the outset, as to the true cost, as to the outrageous land/lease purchases and to the negligence in contracting an anchor tenant, it is highly unlikely indeed we would be faced with the now ludicrous possibility of ratepayers directly funding professional rugby.

In the last election I, along with many others, voted for a change to openness and honesty.

Dave Cull has inherited a very difficult situation and unfortunately has also inherited several of the “old guard” who have created the current mess. The lunacy of the stadium project was all too obvious from the outset. It has been an enormous flop and all the spin and smoke and mirrors cannot hide the fact that it has had zero income and is by any standards, a failure.
Continue reading


Filed under DCC, Economics, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Stadiums

DVML report: $1.9 million loss

### ODT Online Wed, 9 May 2012
Dunedin stadium posts $19m loss
By Chris Morris
The size of the financial hole occupied by Dunedin Venues Management Ltd – the company tasked with running the Forsyth Barr Stadium – has been confirmed. Figures released at a media conference this afternoon showed the company had lost $1.9 million in the first six months of the 2011-12 financial year. Projected full-year results were yet to be released, but were expected to be worse.

Losses were now also expected for the following two financial years, and expected to be confirmed when DVML released an updated statement of intent later today.

Read more + Video

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Concerts, DCC, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

D Scene: fubar, another revelation

“Forsyth Barr have had the advantage of over two-and-a-half years of advertising locally, nationally and internationally without digging into their own pockets.” -Bev Butler

### D Scene 9.5.12
Up in lights – you paid (page 5)
By Wilma McCorkindale
Dunedin ratepayers borrowed money to cover naming rights funding while waiting for Forsyth Barr to stump up for Dunedin’s stadium. The revelation comes from stadium critic Bev Butler who said official documented forecasts showed under the original deal with the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, Forsyth Barr’s payments were ‘‘effectively two years overdue’’ by the time of its first single monthly payment towards naming rights in September 1, 2011. Details gleaned under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act showed Forsyth Barr made no payments until September 1, 2011, Butler said. “It is now plain that the much heralded millions of dollars promised upfront in 2009 by Forsyth Barr for the naming rights to the new Dunedin stadium just never happened.”
{continues} #bookmark


Losing friends (page 6)
By Mike Houlahan – Editor
As biting the hand that feeds you goes, the lawsuit members of the Otago Rugby Football Union are proposing to take against Mayor Dave Cull takes some beating. The merits of the case are for the court to decide, but there is a different burden of proof in the court of public opinion. With its very existence hanging on the good grace of the Dunedin City Council – which decided, against strong public sentiment, to forgive half a million dollars of ORFU debt ratepayers could ill-afford to write off – the rugby union needed to be apologetic, and forthright in dealing with the circumstances which got it in trouble.
{conmtinues} #bookmark

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Moneytalks : Business News
Dunedin extends helping hand (page 9)
By Paul Gorman and Mike Houlahan
Dunedin is gearing up to play a major role in the rebuild of Christchurch but is aware of the risks of losing tradespeople and future business further north. The South Island’s second city is positioning itself to supply materials and services to Christchurch while recognising the Canterbury earthquakes have also affected its economy. There is also a proposal to provide special train services to carry workers between the two cities. The Dunedin City Council has calculated that the expected $20 billion to $30b cost of the rebuild is up to 6.6 times Dunedin’s total annual gross domestic product. Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said Dunedin was not eyeing up Christchurch opportunities in any ‘‘predatory manner’’, but having a strong Christchurch was good for the South Island.
{continues} #bookmark

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under #eqnz, Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DVML, Economics, Geography, Media, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

Owners of neglected buildings

[Thumbnails: ODT Files]

There are no surprises about the requirements on the separate owners of the Barron Building, N. & E.S. Paterson Building and Brocklebanks Building. Following the structural failure of parts of their buildings, for which the owners are responsible, the owners have been fully informed of their obligations. Further, had they acted earlier, as good stewards, to have their buildings structurally assessed and strengthened all that has passed since could have been avoided. All three buildings are located in District Plan listed townscape precincts. The Brocklebanks Building has a District Plan protected facade to King Edward St.

### ODT Online Tue, 8 May 2012
A ‘nightmare’ waiting to have collapsed buildings demolished
By Allison Rudd
The owners of two unstable 19th-century Dunedin buildings say they cannot believe how long it is taking to demolish them. Lincoln Darling, owner of the Barron Building in Rattray St, which partly collapsed in January last year, said yesterday he “didn’t realise there was so much red tape involved” in demolishing a building. Norma Brocklebank, co-owner of the Brocklebank Dry Cleaners building in King Edward St, South Dunedin, said yesterday waiting so long to demolish her building when its facade was ruled almost a year ago to be in immediate danger of collapsing and the building condemned had been a “nightmare”.

Mr Darling and Scenic Circle Hotel Group director Stuart McLauchlan said yesterday the demolition of their buildings was imminent. A contractor had been given the go-ahead to proceed and demolition could not happen soon enough, Mr McLauchlan said.

Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Heritage, NZHPT, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

ODT: “the cupboard has been bare” [still is]

The most oblique of editorials, seemingly written without a business brain or any sense of economics. What do you do with a multimillion dollar debt-funded loss-making multipurpose RUGBY stadium? Let’s see, bring in the children? (the very ones saddled with the ongoing cost of DCC’s criminally damaging foresight, this grand vision of the future)…

### ODT Online Mon, 7 May 2012
Editorial: The stadium shake-up
Dunedin City Council’s decision to instigate a review of Forsyth Barr Stadium and the company tasked with running it, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, is the correct one. The review, announced by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull last week, was sparked by the resignation of DVML chief executive David Davies, who intends to leave the position in March after being appointed to the role in October 2009. Mr Cull has indicated the review will look at the financial, operating and governance models of the stadium and says it may result in changes for DVML and the role of its future chief executive. Much appears to depend on the findings of the Pricewaterhouse Coopers audit of stadium costs, as well as DVML’s six-month financial results, both of which are due to be made public later this month.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Concerts, DCC, Design, DVML, Economics, Events, Hot air, Media, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Urban design

Dunedin and the southern region’s business future

(we’re sluggish, indebted and unproductive, working long hours for unremarkable results, there’s little or no ability to pay all our living expenses even if we can afford a mortgage — few Dunedin businesses are on the global map, very few of our citizens invest in ‘research and development’ or know what export truly involves — there is splendid isolation, no cohesion, and a striking absence of astute regional leadership)

Our economy is drifting in very dangerous shoals. The only plausible avenue to sustained growth will be export-led. The high value of the dollar precludes this. Unless we act now the painful process of rebalancing our economy will be forced upon us at some future stage. At that point the pain will be even greater.

### ODT Online Fri, 4 May 2012
Boosting export sector only way out of malaise
By Peter Lyons
We are living in a world of zombie economies including our own. These economies are characterised by high debt levels, stagnant or shrinking economies and policies of austerity that offer no solution. Finance Minister Bill English is promising a budget of little hope. He offers austerity almost with relish. It fits his ideological bent towards smaller government. A further unexpected $1 billion budget shortfall precludes any positive spending initiatives. Meanwhile the governor of the Reserve Bank wrings his hands over the high New Zealand dollar which is shredding our export sector. He has maintained this ineffective stance for a number of years.

Positive economic management appears beyond the scope of our policy makers.

New Zealand has been in or on the verge of recession since 2007. Most of the Western world has followed a similar path.
Read more


(where the ad hoc stadium spend has crippled the council, all the time missing the bigger outlook of how to serve the South Island’s contribution to export-led economic recovery — oh hey, the council’s junior bureaucrats and mayor say let’s play dress-ups with a few central city warehouses and six suburban amenity centres — the Dunedin City Council has to undergo major attitudinal and structural change)

Apart from the ongoing clusters, there has never seemed to be any straightforward strategy to push economic growth in the city or the region.

### ODT Online Sat, 5 May 2012
Planning for future of Dunedin Inc
By Dene Mackenzie
Dunedin’s economic development draft strategy will be released on Monday. For the first time, the document will be signed off by stakeholders representing diverse areas of the city. There are several things business editor Dene Mackenzie hopes will be included in the new 10-year plan. For about 25 years, Dunedin’s economic strategy has doddered along. Past plans have included Dunedin City Council officers travelling to visit large-scale manufacturing enterprises in a bid to persuade them to establish themselves within the city boundaries, through to catchy slogans and billboards at airports. During that time, the city has seen its large-scale manufacturing base shrink with the loss of thousands of jobs.

Reviews of city council funding strategies need to be undertaken and the strategy must be inclusive of the needs of the business community. It seems that, often, funding decisions are applied on an ad hoc basis, when better value could be extracted from ratepayer funds.

More than 90% of Dunedin businesses are said to have no intention of exporting in the future and the city captured only 2.5% of the country’s recent migrants. That must change for the city to grow and prosper.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Innovation, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

Who was it — Malcolm Farry? Peter Brown?…

Or the previous property manager, whose staff member had a husband that….

### ODT Online Fri, 4 May 2012
DCC seeking buyer for Taieri land
By Allison Rudd
The Dunedin City Council is trying to sell a 4ha parcel of vacant industrial land it owns on the Taieri Plain. The Dukes Rd land had been on the market for some time but had been freshly advertised and its sale was now being “aggressively pushed”, council property manager Robert Clark said yesterday. It is up for tender, along with an adjoining privately owned parcel of industrial land of 15.6ha.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

1 Comment

Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Geography, Media, People, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning

Cull’s rosy future, at stadium…

Attempts to question Mr Davies about his working relationship with the Dunedin City Council and Carisbrook Stadium Trust were initially blocked by a communications contractor working for DVML, who interjected to stop the question at yesterday’s press conference.

### ODT Online Fri, 4 May 2012
Mayor promises stadium shake-up
By Chris Morris
Forsyth Barr Stadium and the company running it are in for a reorganisation, after the shock announcement chief executive David Davies plans to quit Dunedin. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull yesterday confirmed a review of the stadium and the company that ran it, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, would be unveiled within weeks and completed later this year. The review would look at the financial, operating and governance models of the stadium. It was expected to spell changes for DVML and whoever replaced Mr Davies as chief executive, Mr Cull confirmed.
Read more

The David Davies era (via ODT)
• Appointed chief executive of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd in October 2009.
• Selected from 92 candidates after an international recruitment drive that cost Dunedin City Council about $66,000.
• Role includes running Forsyth Barr Stadium and other council venues under DVML umbrella, including Dunedin Town Hall once reopened.
• Plans to quit confirmed on Wednesday, citing family reasons.
• Will continue until March next year to prepare succession plan.


### ODT Online Fri, 4 May 2012
Stadium hits a few speed bumps
By Chris Morris
The fans have flocked in, but the road has been rocky for David Davies since the opening of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Chris Morris looks back. David Davies says his sense of humour has proved invaluable. It perhaps explains why he smiles when asked about criticism of the Forsyth Barr Stadium project, and himself personally, after two and a-half years in Dunedin. The questions came at yesterday’s press conference, as Mr Davies explained the reasons behind his shock decision to quit his post and return to England next year.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, CST, DCC, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

Davies gave it a shot, next…

### ODT Online Thu, 3 May 2012
Stadium boss in shock resignation
By Chris Morris
The man tasked with making a success of Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium is resigning and will return to England. David Davies, the chief executive of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, yesterday confirmed he had given notice of his intention to resign, citing family reasons. He plans to continue in his DVML role until March next year, when he will follow his family back to England. The shock decision was confirmed in a written statement issued by DVML board chairman Sir John Hansen late yesterday, prompted by Otago Daily Times questions earlier in the day.
Read more


### ODT Online Thu, 3 May 2012
Emotional Davies explains stadium exit
By Chris Morris
An emotional David Davies says he is returning to England to keep his family together. Mr Davies, the chief executive of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, was speaking at a hastily-arranged press conference at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin this morning. […] He paid tribute to his DVML staff and acknowledged the role did not come without challenges, but insisted his “conscience was clear” when it came to his performance and that of the stadium.
Read more

[More tomorrow]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DVML, Economics, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

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).”
{continues} #bookmark

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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

ORFU’s draft constitution

ODT released a copy of the ORFU draft constitution today, see link.

Comment received.

2012/05/01 at 3:11 pm

Far too much wiggle room in this: “at the discretion of the Board in the event that the Board considers it in the best interests of ORFU either generally or in respect of specific items under discussion or to be addressed in the course of ordinary or special business to be or being considered by the Board, the Board shall or may, as the case may be, permit an Observer or Observers to attend”.

This should say SHALL, no exception.
It should specifically mention a DCC/DVML Observer as a special case who SHALL attend ALL Board meetings.

See other comments on the draft constitution at this thread.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, DVML, Media, ORFU, Politics, Sport