Sunday Star Times: Stadium story: any sliced bread in the murk?

Major debate and valid questions remain about how the stadium was funded and built and whether the council made the right decision to throw in so much public money (originally $91m, but later $148m) as explained in the sidebars to this story.

### Last updated 05:00 03/06/2012
Dunedin’s House of Blame
By Steve Kilgallon – Sunday Star Times
The prospect of yet more glittering new stadiums being constructed by ambitious city fathers – as being debated right now in Christchurch and Auckland – is met with scorn by some in Dunedin, where the saga of the Forsyth Barr Stadium has left a city divided and its ratepayers facing vast debts.

“five years of internecine warfare in Dunedin, three High Court actions, claims of conflicts of interest, a divided council, a pile of debt and an even bigger pile of documents”

A covered stadium was a grand concept for a city of just 125,000. At various times, it was imagined that it might host international soccer, rugby league and even swimming; that penguins would frolic in a (converted) adjoining quarry, and not just that the biggest names in rock music would visit, but, perhaps, the Dalai Lama and British royalty. With significant “private finance” support, the cost to the taxpayer would be capped at a mere $91 million and the stadium delivered to the dollar at a total cost of just $188m. Now it’s been built, there remains debate on quite how much it actually cost. Its creator says it came on time, on budget. Some critics argue double that. Dunedin council engaged consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers to give them a figure, and explain any blowout.
Read more

UPDATE: Steve Kilgallon’s story reposted at Stuff Sport
Stadium plans met with scorn [05:00 03/06/2012]

In full here, the sidebar appearing in Sunday Star Times print edition:


Council wasn’t meant to bear all the weight of the stadium: a much spruiked “private sector finance” contribution was kicking in $45m.

The latest PricewaterhouseCoopers report says just $700,000 of a promised $45m had been found by last November (two months after opening day), and reported how various updates to the council scaled back the timing of that funding from 100 per cent received before completion to just three per cent. Peter Chin says when he left office in 2010, it was “on track”; however his successor, Dave Cull, dismisses the private sector finance (PSF) as “risky”.

It’s argued, perhaps validly, the PSF was really just advance operating revenue: it wasn’t philanthropic donations but long-term seat sales, sponsorships and lounges. If used to fund the build cost, it begs the question: what would offset operating costs once it was open?

In an email to Bev Butler in March 2010, Malcolm Farry said “donations, sponsorships, sales of product and funds raised all have a donations component included”.

Now he’s exasperated by the PSF question, telling the Star-Times it doesn’t matter what you call it, the point is the money was raised. As for PwC saying it wasn’t, “just because they are PwC doesn’t make them immune from inaccuracies”. After all, he argues, if the figure was only $700,000, how would you explain a substantial 10-year naming rights sponsorship with Forsyth Barr?

Farry also answers other major criticisms. He says the stadium was on time, on budget, “a remarkable achievement because stadiums aren’t known for meeting their [planned price] but this one has”; former deputy mayor Syd Brown says Farry deserves a “commendation” for that.

But others say it only met the $198m target price by excluding costs: the catering fit-out eventually cost $6.1m, some of which was demolishing newly built walls to accommodate kitchens. PwC said this over-run should have been referred back to council. Another $7m of “variations” included wi-fi, phone system, replay screens, toilets and temporary seats. Farry says the stadium came with a “particularly high standard kitchen, benchmarked against other stadia” but the tenants wanted something flasher, so had to pay for it; items like phones were always the tenant’s responsibility.

The stadium trust’s own budget of $3.7m blew out to $5.4m, a 46 per cent overspend, including $580,000 on advice from Auckland PR firm the Marketing Bureau.

Then there’s the budget-busting land purchases at Awatea St, which dissidents claim were inflated. Farry’s cousin John – also chairman of stadium donors Otago Community Trust – was a one-third shareholder in Maxton Holdings, which owned 8 Awatea St; bought for $220,000 in 2001 and sold to the trust for $1.6m in June 2008, with a clause – signed by Malcolm Farry – guaranteeing other landowners on the site wouldn’t get a better deal. In November 2008, John Farry told D-Scene: “That property is a piss in the bucket as far as I am concerned. It makes absolutely no difference to my life at all”, a quote he later asked not be used. This part of the project, says Malcolm Farry, was always going to be complex and time-consuming and ultimately, land purchases are a negotiation.

Critics claim the stadium is smaller than expected: of its 30,500 capacity, only 17,350 seats are permanent, with temporary stands either end. That might breach the old NZRU minimum standard for All Black tests of 30,000 seats, but fortunately, the union told the Star-Times they’re now more flexible. Farry says, again, his opponents are guilty of wilful misinterpretation: the seats aren’t temporary, but “relocatable” to enable the venue to host rock concerts.

[Note: We prefer that Sunday Star Times and Stuff provide a link to the sidebar, rather than have us run the text. No link is available. -Eds]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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

50 responses to “Sunday Star Times: Stadium story: any sliced bread in the murk?

  1. Anonymous

    ‘Pro-stadium councillor Syd Brown also says the stadium can be profitable: “It will work, it is an asset.”‘

    Now that this stadium councillor has agreed to it being an “asset”, he can finally add it to the list of assets they are stripping from Dunedin elsewhere. It must surely be at the top of their unperforming list and its sale more than vible of breaking even on the valuation? It’s the same valuation after all they agreed to, of which this councillor has supported committing generations of his constituents to paying for.

    I think that original list of “habitual investors” is a smoking gun still waiting to happen. The council has gone to incredible lengths to delay and obfuscate the information from the moment knowledge of those high yields went public.

  2. Anonymous

    ‘Since it opened last August, only two major non-rugby events have been held: a gig by Elton John, and the 150th birthday celebrations for Otago Daily Times publishers Allied Press. Neither paid a stadium hire fee.’

    In there from the start and people still buying what they’re selling.

  3. Amanda

    At last, someone in the media has dared to name one of the councillors who pushed through the stadium fiscal nightmare, “…pro stadium councillor Syd Brown…” . Thank you. None of our local media ever, ever (ever!) mentions the councillors on council whose fiscal ineptitude have caused this city’s massive debt. We are supposed to believe that the stadium mess is caused by magic or aliens. It is especially important to name the councillors responsible so that voters can vote next year with informed information. Good one Sunday Star Times, shame on you Dunedin media.

  4. Amanda

    And take a bow Bev, Russell, and Elizabeth. Thank you.

  5. Anonymous

    Both Fairfax and the Otago Daily Times are members of the APNZ wire news so this story should be appearing on ODT Online any minute now and in tomorrow’s print edition. I’m sure the ODT will be keeping its subscribers and readership informed on stadium developments, even if the national media has trumped their news team. Again.

  6. Peter

    The big worry is that we still have Brown in the pivotal role as Chairman of Finance, Strategy and Development Committee. He still calls the stadium an ‘asset’ and sings the praises of Malcolm Farry who has been so throughly discredited, by what he says, over this whole sorry affair.
    If Dave Cull wants to restore some confidence in his council he should offload Brown… pronto. He did say Chairmanship positions would be up for review after one year into this council’s term and we are well overdue on this promise.
    Interesting how Farry has been perceived, by an outsider, as a hate figure in the community. It is quite clear Farry will believe, to the day he dies, that he is always right and everyone else is always wrong. I think he probably sees himself as some kind of tragic Greek figure (well, Lebanon isn’t that far from Greece) terribly wronged and misunderstood in his time, but ultimately to be vindicated by the annals of history. Well… let him believe that delusion, I say. What else can he say to explain/justify his absurd claims and inconsistencies? He should be feeling a right fool by now if he could just self reflect… for a brief moment… which he can’t.

    • Elizabeth

      Frankly Peter, I see Farry as another puppet like Chin was. He’s not been astute as a media commentator while occupying the various official roles he has. Quite a deplorable series of inanities are his reputation, as is a repugnant ability to offer gloss, conflict, and no substance.

      When does so called good-natured hype for a project turn into deceit and blatant dishonesty directed at the council and general public? We discover that it’s early in the piece; that hype and deceit are simultaneously wrought together. Furthermore, sheep are always looking for a ‘leader’ and are willing to exercise blind faith in mistaking the depth of the river and the height of the cliff.

      The boys ‘in behind’ are the cunning heading dogs who innocently fail to warn of hazards – nothing like a mass smothering and pile of broken limbs to work over, carcasses for the picking (the regression to wolves).

      These ripper yarns and wicked tales are quietly trotted out and restated today by Steve Kilgallon before thunder and lightning forms. Everybody should tap the barometer: low air pressure.

  7. Amanda

    And Brown and stadium muppet pals get to decide whether we sell our assets to pay for the debt that Brown and mates created. Golly wonder which way they will vote.

  8. Peter

    Yes, Elizabeth, boyish enthusiasm for a new toy, and a few fibs told along the way to get it, just doesn’t cut the mustard. There is still plenty of mouth washing in soap to be done before we put these boys to bed.

  9. Anonymous

    The story has been reposted on Stuff and is currently headlining. It has attracted a couple of comments including the familiar “get in behind it” message (the scripted pose is familiar):

  10. Peter

    Funny how you get pro stadium people for a while now saying ‘let’s make the stadium work’ when at the outset there was the forthright assumption that it would work. Hence phrases like ‘Build It and They will Come’ etc etc etc which even they now acknowledge is bullshit.Oh yes, remember how the stadium alone would attract up to 1000 students to Otago University. Soooo long ago, but not forgotten.

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    Unlike art galleries, libraries and museums that are available every day, a stadium is only of interest when something interesting is happening in it, and mostly there isn’t. So who would choose which university to come to based on a big shed? How did that excuse ever grow legs? Willing suspension of disbelief, by the bucketload, allied with innate stupidity (certain councillors) and old-boys clubbiness, and an eye for the main chance – hmm, lovely free money for me ‘n’ me mates, yum yum yum.

  12. Phil

    Good to see that they have followed this site. Well done to those noted. It’s nice not to have the ODT censorship for a change. Nice to read that they at least “hinted” at the fact that the Council’s own commissioned report stated very clearly that the stadium was first and foremost a rugby stadium and that in order for the stadium to succeed, rugby at the stadium would have to generate a profit for the stadium. It was always that simple and that’s why it was always wrong to build.

    I hate that desperate comparison with the library, art gallery, etc. As you say, Hype O’Thermia, those facilites are available for public use every day of the year. The key difference, which is what makes those facilites Community Assets, and the stadium not, is that every person in the city can make full use of those facilities in the same way. Whether they do or not is irrelevant, the fact is that they have an equal oportunity to do so. Only 15 part-time residents of the city can make full use of the facilities at the stadium, once every couple of weeks, for 6 months of the year.

    Multi Purpose, my a***. My back yard is multi purpose. Carisbrook was multi purpose. Any piece of grass is multi purpose. That was nothing more than a red herring to divert the criticism away from the building of a new rugby stadium.

    • Elizabeth

      Updated post
      Sidebar added, from Sunday Star Times print edition (text not yet available online at Sunday Star Times or Stuff).

  13. Peter

    By the way, are the uni students going down to the stadium to eat their packed lunches… as envisaged? For that matter, could I go down and eat my packed lunch in the middle of the turf of our ‘community, multi purpose stadium’…. if I felt inclined? Or would the security guards order me off.. for something to do? Did they ever build those ‘plethora of cafes’ that Malcy spoke of on his CST tour of the provinces promoting the stadium concept?

  14. Anonymous

    Comparisons to Moana Pool, libaries and museums was scripted by the stakeholders for their Stadium Soldiers. Goes back to Eion Edgar and his haters story on NBR. They clearly have no understanding but fervently spread the Stadium Word for their rugby masters. I want to wake these followers because they’ve been screwed like the rest of us. Even followers like Max desperately believe the stakeholders will share a bit of the pie with others.

  15. Phil

    So now we have confirmation that no venue hire fee was paid for the staging of the Elton John concert. Yet, on the 5th of February 2011, Max Burns (remember our old friend and self appointed stadium expert, Max ?) of Capital C Concerts wrote in the ODT: “We are paying a handsome % for hiring the venue (can’t be more specific than this as detail is commercially confidential). We pay for everything….. The venue pays for nothing.”

    I guess that 0% is a handsome percentage. If you’re the person hiring the venue, that is. Talk about getting well and truly caught out.

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    “That’s dashed handsome of you, old chap,” exclaimed Maxie Burnout with heartfelt gratitude, shaking Fubar Malcolmson’s hand vigorously.
    [excerpt from forthcoming novel, The Roofed And The Ruthless]

    • Elizabeth

      Hype, you’re way too smart for this blog :D

      • Elizabeth

        David Skegg strikes me as someone who should believe in transparency and accountability when the public has been wronged. Perhaps if he asked some questions of the people seeking this, where the stadium, the council, and professional rugby are concerned, he would be more tolerant – he might even assist the cause. Research is one of his strengths, we expect him to apply it for public good rather than accept everything fed to him on a spoon by prostadia. Dunedin will change for the better once the closets are properly rattled and key individuals are made to explain their actions and their crimes. That’s humanity, David. That’s yours and our common ground, but you personally have to see that. The arguments are necessary for now, and we expect results.

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    Prostadia – sounds like something medical & serious for which treatment should be sought urgently until a vaccine is developed to contain the impact on the wider population. Presenting symptoms are varied but the most florid manifestation is compulsive pissing in other people’s pockets.

  18. Amanda

    “…Then there’s the budget-busting land purchases at Awatea St, which dissidents claim were inflated. Farry’s cousin John – also chairman of stadium donors Otago Community Trust – was a one-third shareholder in Maxton Holdings, which owned 8 Awatea St; bought for $220,000 in 2001 and sold to the trust for $1.6m in June 2008, with a clause – signed by Malcolm Farry – guaranteeing other landowners on the site wouldn’t get a better deal…” Thank you Sunday Star Times, somehow our local media forgets to mention this in articles about the massive overinflated costs the DCC paid for the stadium land. I wonder why?

    {A couple of processes including DCC’s redesignation for the SH88 realignment will bring more information about historic property deals into the public arena. -Eds}

  19. gaz

    Guess this a small issue compared to the “big story”. I’ve always had a particular issue with the promoted capacity considering the cost to hire and erect seats and pay consents (the DCC would not allow 5000 temporary seats to be installed without a permit). So the capacity for the world cup games was 27000, for the upcoming SA test it will be 28000. Please tell me either 3000 seats disappeared or they can’t count. This stadium should have cost 10% less, not to mention the original permanent stand at one end that was deleted to cut costs. There is a need to know the final cost but do we really know exactly what we got!

  20. Phil

    Some of the temporary seating was purchased directly by the DCC, outside of the construction contract. I say “some” as they originally stated that they would buy the seating for one stand, and that temporary seating for the other stand, if needed, would be hired from external suppliers on an “as neeeded” basis. Which naturally was yet another stupid statement from the start. Of course, that was also around the same time that CST were convincing everyone that the kitchen contractors were going to be paying for their own kitchen fitout, so it all got a bit murky. You may well find that the true cost for purchasing the temporary seating has slipped through the audit, under the heading that they weren’t stadium specific and that the DCC could use the seating elsewhere such as at the University Oval. Yeah, right. At one point the stadium operators were touting that “they” owned all the temporary seating, but that’s possibly the Royal “we”. Which would imply that DCC has purchased all of the temporary seating in the stadium. I think that you are right in saying that capacity was reduced for the RWC matches, from memory that had to do with the extra signage used for the tournament.

    The permit issue from DCC I think relates to the amount of permanent toilets in the stadium. They were reduced in quantity to meet only the requirements for the occupancy density from the permanent stands. When they erect the temporary stands, they have to bring in temporary toilets to cater for the extra occupancy. An additional operating cost which should have been included in the capital project.

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    Three little boys who not unwary…….

  22. Anonymous

    I believe that the situation is that DVML owns the “temporary” seating that was installed in the West stand for RWC 2011 and currently forms the Zoo area.

    The seating that was at the East stand for RWC 2011 was dismantled and has been used as temporary seating at the University Oval for the recent cricket Test match. Whether this is owned by DCC or DVML directly is not clear.

    Erecting the temporary seating at the East end is estimated to cost around $30K and there has been no large event since RWC 2011 (stop laughing at the back) that would justify it. If the seating were in place, it would eliminate the fig-leaf of “multi-purpose” as that is the only large area under the roof that can be used by the public (the grass is some sort of sacred turf to be used only by rugby players and the lounges and seminar rooms are available at existing venues).

  23. Russell Garbutt

    Professor Sir David Skegg’s piece has a strange twist. How well I recall him standing alongside Malcolm Farry in a lecture theatre addressing University staff about the stadium when Farry said “this is not anything other than a University project”. Professor Skegg said repeatedly that the stadium would attract somewhere between 500 and 1000 extra students a year. Something which didn’t seem to be able to be supported by any research or facts at all – strange for a person so supportive of quality research.

    I’m puzzled that some sort of link is drawn between the lack of community commitment to worthwhile projects which of course needs financial support, and the decision to build a stadium that was budgeted to make a profit by its proponents while decent research showed that it was built by deceit and plain BS.

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, this is the second time I’ve been astonished by David Skegg’s imperious claims against stadium opponents. This is a man who in his other walks of life stands up for social equity. Clearly, he’s been living a privileged and charmed life as a topfight academic, researcher, man of medicine, and briefly, vice chancellor of the University of Otago. You always hope this sort of man has the grounded egalitarian ability to see – outside matters medical – the plight of the city and its people. It’s my experience that David Skegg is an approachable, genial and generous man. However, in regard to the rugby stadium he has chosen to look down his nose at those who rail against poor decision making, political apathy, greed and avarice, deceit and incompetence, and finally, white collar crime.

      David Skegg has above average ability to inform himself as various agencies and authorities begin their investigations, and the media steps up public scrutiny. These processes are in play only because people have had the will and independence to volunteer their time and considerable efforts to calling out the less than honourable persons living amongst us who rort for millions and hundreds of millions of dollars. They’ll do it again if we do nothing. Simple as that.

  24. MD

    A big thank you to the Sunday Star Times for telling us what our paper has missed. In particular, I was interested in the negative guarantee given by Farry to his cousin that “other landowners wouldn’t get a better deal”. They had between them already achieved a value increase of 627% (ie from $220,000 to $1.6m) which is an impressive tax bill indeed, hope IRD have a big bucket. But what were they thinking with this clause. Did they think that an even higher price might be possible or was it just an ego thing – no one is going to do better than us. Guess we will never know. I am thinking that it may affect DCC’s current negotiations with Mr Hall as it seems to set a maximum price.

  25. ormk

    Give Mr Hall the same valuation per m2 as Farry’s cousin plus one cent?

    Also I’m sure Prof Skegg is well meaning but I suspect it is hard for him to understand what losing $15k from your assets means to most ratepayers. It’s not about being negative. It’s like Elizabeth says – they have to be stopped from doing it again. To get growth we need real investment. For that we need stable non-corrupt local government. That is being positive. We just need to deal with the corruption. The stadium itself doesn’t matter that much.

  26. Amanda

    Exactly Elizabeth, the stakeholders and politicians on council will keep on taking from Dunedin if we do as Cull, the local media and Important Personages demand, namely shut up, smile and pay the money. We have the best reason possible to keep on fighting the Stadium con; survival. If Cull and Hudson and his stadium cabal return to council next year, they will sell anything and everything to make the stadium appear as if it is ‘working’. This is why it is funny when Cull asks us to shut up, why would we? We will only get conned some more.

    • Elizabeth

      Opinion: Your Say: Why Prof Skegg is wrong
      By farsighted on Tue, 5 Jun 2012

      • Elizabeth

        Peter Attwooll, a vociferous critic of the Forsyth Barr stadium, takes issue with Prof Sir David Skegg’s views about negativity in the city.

        ### ODT Online Mon, 11 Jun 2012
        Negativity cannot undermine a good plan that achieves its goals
        By Peter Attwooll
        Developing Dunedin’s hi-tech sector. Where to go? How to get there?
        Former Otago University vice-chancellor, Prof Sir David Skegg’s opinion piece “Dunedin lags in high tech” (ODT, 4.6.12) was very informative in backgrounding Dunedin’s position compared to other smaller cities in developing its hi-tech basis for future economic development. Negativity cannot undermine a good plan that achieves its goals.[…]Prof Skegg finally bases his argument on the reason for Dunedin’s lag in this area on a negativity perception here that drives people away. Such an argument cannot be quantified or verified. This can only be a subjective view. He gives, as an example of this negativity, the Forsyth Barr Stadium, which he supported as vice-chancellor, and describes as a “bold step” that encountered “a seemingly endless torrent of negativity”. He goes on to say that “some of our citizens would actually rather see it fail”.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Today’s ODT editorial references David Skegg’s opinion piece at the newspaper but thankfully only briefly in passing. However, the editorial writer hasn’t researched too far into what it’ll take for the city to remove barriers to the innovative and entrepreneurial for business startup. Anonymous, in a comment on the What if? thread concerning Dunedin’s draft economic development strategy, nails it via a link to David Quinn’s blog. And yes, it’s a must read.

        • Elizabeth

          Philip Temple’s letter to the editor, ‘City’s hi-tech funding lost to stadium debt’ (ODT 19.6.12), finally flushes out David Skegg in reply. Have to love the last sentence of Skegg’s diatribe, “Catastrophising and wringing hands about the (entirely manageable) borrowing of the DCC has the opposite effect.” Here he refers to finding venture capital from “other sources”, not council. He has thoroughly exposed his ignorance of the impact of the stadium project on council, council companies, local business, renters and ratepayers – has obviously read no council-generated reports or media stories in the last six months, at the very least. Guess that’s what happens in the course of well-cushioned private retirement.

  27. Phil

    The further clarification about the temporary seating sounds right. They were removed from the construction project very early on and became “client purchased” items. Which likely means that the 11,000 temporary seats and their bespoke support structure do not feature within the project costs. It sounds as though around half of those seats have since been transferred to DVML, avoiding a cost to DVML, while inflating the asset value for DVML.

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    Unlike John Farry and other land owners whose land was bought before any local disruption, Doug Hall has been jerked around, has had considerable interference to the normal operation of his business, has had expenses associated with that and with action to get things put right.
    Ormk’s suggestion “Give Mr Hall the same valuation per m2 as Farry’s cousin plus one cent?” does not reflect the damage he has had inflicted upon him by the incompetence and intransigence of the DCC.

  29. ormk

    Hype O’Thermia – you’re quite right. I didn’t mean this would compensate for the interference to his business. I was just thinking about the land value. In fact it could be argued that Mr Hall’s land was worth substantially more than Farry’s cousin’s as it is better located – but the price paid by the DCC to Farry’s cousin was obviously grossly inflated. So I suggested the 1c extra simply as a point of principal.

  30. Hype O'Thermia

    ormk – agreed. Two parts are involved – land price plus recompense for being inconvenienced and jerked around by jerksperts

  31. Amanda

    An excellent question from farsighted for Sir Skegg to answer “…Can Prof Skegg front up and justify, in light of his comments in the article, why the University chose to pursue this project, rather than plowing $40 million into the development of innovation, as he highlights as being badly needed?..”. I would also like to know this, I have posted this to the ODT so will see if it gets through its love of stakeholders and ‘all things corporate bludgers’ lens. I am finding it amusing how stakeholders feel entitled to admonish people for not being ‘positive’, I think ormk said it best when he said it is not about being anti rugby, but being anti corruption and gross fiscal mismanagement. Surely its not that difficult to grasp?

  32. Peter

    Actually the so-called bickering that is given as an excuse for Dunedin lagging is not quite relevant. There is already a majority on council for whatever path it wants to take. This has been proved time and time again.

  33. Amanda

    But notice he does not go on to tell who these mystery ‘sources’ are? Well he can’t of course, there are none. Has he heard of the term ‘opportunity costs’? This is one of the reason why many people did not support the stadium being ratefunded, myself included. Funny that a professional of Skegg’s standing could not figure out that the stadium spend would effect the fiscal future of the city. But too late now, he made his decision and he has to live with it. His support of the stadium is now in print and there for all to see.

  34. Amanda

    But to be fair, at least Skegg has had the guts to put his fiscal decision out there in the public arena for all to see, now the stadium councillors? Noone, Hudson, Bezett and mates? When was the last time they shared with voters that they are responsible for the stadium spend? If they really are proud and pleased with their hand in the stadium why do we hear nothing about their responsibility for the stadium? Stadium councillors’ spinelessness is the proof that they know if they speak to their support for the stadium spend they will go bye byes at next year’s election.

  35. Hype O'Thermia

    It was that “(entirely manageable) borrowing of the DCC” that got me. Obvious conclusion, ONE of us had wandered through the looking glass to where everything was the same, only reversed.
    I’m almost sure it’s not me.

  36. Anonymous

    He was on the side of the glass where the salary is half a million dollars. It’s a small clique in Dunedin. The sort of clique that can afford those changes to their cost of living.

    (Yes, yes, I know the usual rich boy shite – they pay higher taxes *cough*, have all those extra houses to maintain, that big boat or two, the mistresses and all the blow to pay for, but that doesn’t change my point. When you’re on fixed income like most and facing an uncertain future of income, an extra $5 per week from here, there and everywhere only adds further hardship and suffering.)

  37. Anonymous

    Has anyone noticed there are an increasing number of happy posts about rugby and all things stadium on ODT Online? Some of them I’d put down to that Facebook page and Farry’s Soldiers but there are a few classic names I’m calling the spooks at DCC Communications Department on.

    Short and sweet with a typo for authenticity (because that shows “genuine enthusiasm for the discussion” [comms. pt. 23]). They’re so cute when they try really hard to please.

    • Elizabeth

      I never read those type comments. Sure it’s not DVML/ORFU’s Guy Hedderwick – last reincarnated as skirtwearer Tori, ruggergal.

  38. Anonymous

    It is possible. There is a curious number of thugby types like that like to dress up as women. The accent would probably be the tricky bit to pass off though.

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