DVML chief executive recruitment

Updated Post 4.9.12 (added ‘Related Posts’)

### ODT Online Fri, 22 Jun 2012
Stadium boss wanted: Good pay, must have thick skin
The job of running one of Dunedin’s most controversial companies is officially available. The position of chief executive of council-owned company Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) is being advertised internationally following the resignation last month of incumbent David Davies. DVML manages the Dunedin Centre, the Edgar Centre and the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

“A pragmatic and strategic ethos combined with advanced interpersonal skills, including effectively managing public relations and competing stakeholders interests are critical aspects of this challenging role.” -Advertisements

Read more

Related Posts:
22.8.12 DVML: North vs South game profit/loss [email]
5.8.12 Stadium deathwatch
26.7.12 Cull’s council thinks $750,000 pa to DVML represents good value?
24.7.12 Mayor Cull limp biscuit on North-South match
29.6.12 DCC recruitment process: DVML chief executive position
15.6.12 Tighten your girthstraps, boys!
19.5.12 Total ratepayer impact: 6-month stadium operation estimated at $10.2m
9.5.12 DVML report: $1.9 million loss
7.5.12 ODT: “the cupboard has been bare” [still is]
4.5.12 Cull’s rosy future, at stadium…
3.5.12 Davies gave it a shot, next…

9.10.09 New CE for Dunedin Venues Management Ltd

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, DVML, Economics, ORFU, People, Project management, Stadiums

81 responses to “DVML chief executive recruitment

  1. Anonymous


    The scammers behind employment agencies will be getting excited too – lots of international business class trips to “interview the right candidate” or whatever corporate bullshit they are selling to mindless council management.

    Save another $50-$70K by throwing the agency out with the garbage, drop the salary to $150K and give the job to Max Power. I’d rather have him than another smarmy Stakeholder, Soldier of Farry or ORFU Dropkick pretending to care while lining their pockets with public dosh.

    • Elizabeth

      Applications close July – will that be time for DCHL to review the DCC companies structure and the stadium operating model, nope. So any candidates for the position have the incentive (ahem) of DVML’s current state of accounts and loss-making projections, then stand to be ‘used’ or coerced to help re-shape it all. Later, the Highlanders franchise might be lost. Position sounds unhappy before it starts – no pay (with a ski pass thrown in) is probably enough.

  2. Anonymous

    It is the Oddity in the story. Timeframe doesn’t make a lot of sense for a position like this and Mr Davies’ departure is not for some time yet. I’m guessing someone has already been tapped from the Big Salaries for Great Mates Job Scheme run out of council.

    Media management will be due to kick off in the Rugby Times soon then? If it turns out to be the Smiling Man himself then best expect some stage management too.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    The really really right one for the job still lives in Dunedin. “Trumpets sound” Da Da, I give you, “JIIMMMM HARRR-LAND!!!!”

  4. Calvin Oaten

    Jeeez? will it?

    • Elizabeth

      Calvin, I don’t think DCC would have a strong stomach for it and your law of averages might not meet it. Roads are possibly more interesting than sharing an office with ORFU.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    It would take a monstrous amount of nerve. And personal safety, self-interest – can’t be far from the minds of the most influential now that shitstorms loom on the horizon. The dark clouds won’t blow away harmlessly forever, a person would be rreeaall thick to bank on that.

  6. Phil

    Or they could seize the opportunity to reduce their future financial losses and NOT employ a replacement. That’s a typical attitude, they want everything to change, as long as they don’t have to change anything.

  7. D Smith

    D Smith – we apologise that your original comment here has dropped out of the thread due to a malfunction between mobile phone admin and pc admin. This is the second time this month where this has occurred without ability for retrieval. If you kept a copy of your comment (well thought and argued) before posting we would welcome you re-sending it. Again, our sincere apologies.

    Site Admin.

  8. Peter

    I don’t think it will make a jot of difference what outfit employs the new CEO. The job is a dog, an impossible mission for anyone to succeed at given the stadium’s inherent unviability as a venue.
    David Davies was ‘head hunted’ by Sheffield. This was despite his stint at Queens Park Rangers which was less than successful – to say the least.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    Some things just ain’t gonna work. Nobody, however highly paid by the head-hunters who recruit them, is going to teach ravens to fly underwater, nor attract high-flying acts to the stadium WHO WILL PAY ENOUGH TO STOP OUR DEBT INCREASING and that’s the only thing that would make an expensive recruit better than Joe or Joanna Cheapaschips from down the road, recruitable through a small classified advt in the oddity.

  10. Anonymous

    The obvious best candidate for this position is Annemarie Mains.

    She’s got it all:
    – extensive network of contacts in the industries (rugby, hospitality and event management)
    – proven ability to attract high-profile events
    – outstanding performance in collection of fees
    – not an old boy

  11. D Smith

    Site Admin – have a look at ‘How to restore your lost WordPress post or page content:’

    Thanks, tried that (doesn’t bring back history of the comment) and more earlier, via forums. Unresolved. The comment at the time it dropped out was replaced by (rewritten as) the comment posted immediately before, received on another thread at the site. The problem seems localised to mobile phone access to Dashboard. Still working on this one.
    Site Admin

  12. D Smith

    I will try and recap my initial thoughts that disappeared into cyber space…

    Clearly the CEO role is a critical position that will help decided the success / failure of the stadium and the corresponding debt burden to Dunedin. Mr Davies was brought on not only due to his venue management experience but also his international contacts and networks to help put the stadium on the world event map. Trying to sell a stadium which was not built or even tested would have been no mean feat (it would pose significant risk to any promoter) and from my perspective he has done a good job in attracting credible events but more importantly it appears has opened up the right communication lines and relationships with promoters. With a credible and now open stadium / event space we should be in an even better position to attract more events to lovely old Dunedin. This position needs someone who can bring not only the management and leadership skills but the ability to bring events into the stadium nationally and internationally.

    From my understanding Mr Davies was recruited through an established and proven specialist firm Sheffield who have recruited these senior roles for 30 plus years. They did an international search which included not only advertising but researching the events sector, using their contacts and headhunting appropriate people to ensure the best person for the job could be found (as per ODT article http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/61724/finding-ceo-could-take-6-months). You see people like Sheffield and EQI continually advertising and recruiting these CEO type jobs nationally (ie the recent DCC CEO role).

    It is surprising to see the current position is being advertised by a fairly unknown organisation which is part of a local blue collar recruiter. Looking at their website it doesn’t provide a strong background of delivering in this sector, how far do their contacts go, is it just Dunedin, has anyone seen them advertise roles before? Simply posting an advert will only attract people looking at the adverts, it’s a gamble to hope that the right person is looking, as opposed to someone finding the right person and then approaching them. Does this organisation have the networks and experience to research the international market like Sheffield did to find us the best possible person? In the ODT article it said it could take 6 months to find the first CEO, however the current role has a closing date of mid July?

    When they are spending $50-85,000 (as per last time) on someone to find the right person is this money being spent in the right place? Did this go to open tender and were Sheffield considered as they have already researched this role 3 years ago and also maybe offer a discount as their first person is now leaving the job?

    In a time when the council says they are watching consultants fees and spending one wonders if a key role for the city has been put in the right hands.

    With the right CEO who knows what this could mean – positive cashflow? With the wrong person we all know what it will mean….

  13. Peter

    D Smith. I take it you have no concern for selecting the best man for the job…. as done by Sheffield last time. Given the history before that appointment.

  14. Pingback: DCC recruitment process: DVML chief executive position | What if? Dunedin…

    • Elizabeth

      Given the mess Malcolm left, or is leaving, at the Stadium… on balance you have to hope DVML chief executive David Davies has been given some encouragement to provide advice on the recruitment process Dunedin City Council (via the DVML board?) is undertaking currently. Although, by inference, D Smith’s comment suggests not.
      Since his appointment, Mr Davies has exhibited logic and the ability to deliver a straight message, with the chips rather badly stacked against him. Then too, he has delivered some benchmarks that Council certainly has not, which inform the continuing debate on operational viability. (After all, DCC was required to hire PwC to clear up outstanding matters on the GMP – this audit process has led to other revelations which have yet to enter public domain.)
      I wouldn’t be David Davies for anything. Or his replacement. Not with DCC and DCHL in the picture.

      • Elizabeth

        The advertisement at http://jobs.odt.co.nz/displayjob.php?JobID=259192&occupation%5B%5D=14

        Displaying Job: #259192 Posted: 20 Jun 2012 Closing: 19 Jul 2012

        -> ORIGINAL AD


        Dunedin Venues Management Ltd is a strategically positioned entity accountable for managing the leading venues in Dunedin. These facilities attract international and domestic events in the areas of the sport, conference and entertainment markets.

        The asset management function of the role includes Forsyth Barr Stadium, New Zealand’s only roofed outdoor stadium. Completed in 2011, the venue has already gained a reputation as a ‘world class facility’, hosting international sports i.e. All Blacks vs South Africa, and international performing stars such as Elton John. The Dunedin Centre hosts a broad range of conferences and events with an impressive domestic and international client base.

        This high profile, strategic role demands strong leadership capabilities, combined with an in-depth understanding of facilities management and content acquisition. Proven delivery of financial performance, business growth and effective relationship management, across a broad range of stakeholders are key criteria for this role.

        A pragmatic and strategic ethos combined with advanced interpersonal skills, including effectively managing public relations and competing stakeholder interests are critical aspects of this challenging role.

        Expressions of interest or enquiries can be made to Karen Bardwell or George Friedlander on
        03 474 9468, or to apply for this position please forward a current CV and covering letter to enquiries@optima.co.nz. Applications for this role close 19/07/12.

        All applications and enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

        • Elizabeth

          Amanda kindly let us know it was Karen Bardwell (Select/Optima recruitment agency) that spoke at the recent public forum on Dunedin’s Draft Economic Development Strategy. Didn’t appear too bright (in that setting), judging from informal accounts received since. So, nope, not holding out high hopes that the replacement for David Davies, if obtained through her company’s services will be an answer to p(r)ayers… She might fluke it, or as others have suggested at What if? there’s already someone lined up locally, to explain the incredibly naive closing date for applications.

          See comments on this thread, prompted by Amanda:

          My own past (lowly) experience of Optima was nothing to write home about – inexperienced unconnected staff was my thought.

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    Out of all involved I reckon David Davies is the one who can move on with his head held high.

  16. D Smith

    Peter – my comments are about ensuring a process that is broad and all encompassing, and yet robust and detailed so DVML is led by the best possible person as the stadium isn’t going anywhere. I’m not suggesting Sheffield should do the job necessarily (yet am sure they did checks and balances on Mr Davies) and personally feel that he has done well considered. I am intrigued about if we have the right experienced people doing the job, I guess we will find out in early August.

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    It ain’t going noplace, its conceivable uses all involve paying nothing or s.f.a. for using it compared with keeping the doors shut, so what difference does it make whether an expensive recruiter is used or a card on Countdown’s noticeboard? What difference whether the appointee is someone on a salary of multi-hundreds of thousands of dollars, or on $15 an hour plus free carpark?
    It’s a job where having events in the blasted place makes our debt grow bigger faster. The less competent the new person is at attracting events the better for ratepayers.

  18. Phil

    I would think that they have learnt the lesson from the exercise with Sheffield. Sheffield did nothing wrong, and neither did David Davies. Sheffield were instructed to find a top candidate with experience in managing top level international venues. Which they did. David Davies biggest crime since he arrived was to recognise the venue for what it actually was, and not try and paint it as something which it wasn’t. He has probably been the only practical person in the whole process and it’s a shame that we couldn’t find a place for him within the region.

    The problem was that the recruitment brief was wrong. We recruited way beyond the actual means and requirements of the position. This isn’t a stadium in Manchester sitting in the middle of a population base of 10s of millions of potential customers. It’s a rugby stadium sitting in the lower half of an island with a population of 500,000 and a realistic target population of just over 100,000. It never required, nor could it sustain, a European type management structure. Worlds apart. In terms of global sporting venues, this is a blue collar venture, and can be perfectly adequately serviced by the right person within that group. Let’s not make the same mistake as before, and forget who we are.

  19. Peter

    Phil. David Davies applied for and accepted the position. Isn’t it irrelevant that, in your view, he was overqualified for this ‘blue collar’ venue? You have to ask yourself, why did he apply for the position in the first place? Presumably, he did some homework on the position, before he applied, and it was good enough for him.
    I have no doubt he is now leaving because he has had a guts full of the position and the hopeless situation the stadium is in, and why should he waste his life, and that of his family, fighting to keep this debacle afloat? For him, there will be no place better than Wales.
    No doubt they will find some new mug to take the position on, someone prepared to gain a great salary for a miserable life in the meantime till they, in turn, have had a guts full.

  20. Calvin Oaten

    Phil; you say David Davies biggest crime since he arrived was to recognise the venue for what it was. Two points: What about the debacle he left at QPR? And second, “he has done a grand job of hiding the situation you say he recognised.” Balderdash! Its been a gravy train milked to its utmost and now it’s time to move on. Your’s and D Smith’s admiration for the man seems misplaced, the honourable thing for him to have done would have been to tell it like it really was, as soon as he realised it., in the first two days. Face it, the stadium is a financial dog, no-one on the planet can/could make it viable. The only man who ever believed it could work is right here in Dunedin/Queenstown, just itching to be approached. In the end, we are saddled with it, like it or lump it. It won’t go away, it just needs a handyman/caretaker at around $20/$30 bucks an hour and that’s that. Arguably, he will produce a better result than all these high flying ‘wannabes’ sucking on the hind teat of this city, including all manner of professional consultants, legal offices, accountancy offices, knights of the realm, financial advisers, local body staff and elected members, both the DCC and the ORC, and uncle Tom Cobbly and all. You really ought to get out a bit and breath in some oxygen.

  21. Peter

    Succinctly stated, Calvin. Playing the’ find the right recruitment agency game’ is nonsense, a- going- around- in circles game that ultimately will do none of us any good.
    That ‘What If’ thread title, ‘Next please….’ on DD’s departure sums it up.
    Going for the stadium top job is a bit like going for some shit job in a Godforsaken mining place in Western Australia… with the only solace being that it is well paid. The same goes for some teaching job in the Middle East where corruption is rife and real education is neither here nor there.
    Any future CEO will recognise that you go in, make a packet while you can stand it, and get out again, pretending you have made a difference, and put it on your CV.

    • Elizabeth

      I feel no particular angst against David Davies – I don’t know the man, but I have appreciated his comments in the media and in reports to council. And also through comments of contract workers (taken on for events, who work hard), made to me personally. I think Phil’s comment is practical and rational; it swung my view. That’s what educated debate does. My view may swing again as debate ensues. Neverthless, I continue to think Select Recruitment might not dish the goods, along the lines of D Smith’s argument. I doubt DCHL’s overview of the stadium operating model will be all that enabling – given the project, the location, and the population… the three things, in particular, that Phil has been arguing around in the time he’s been contributing here. A mistake to underestimate Phil’s grasp of matters! (regional and international) Has a good deal of horse sense!

      The advertised position, I might add, is open to women and men.

      • Elizabeth

        Believe it or not…

        ### ODT Online Sat, 30 Jun 2012
        Fans flock to new stadium
        By Steve Hepburn
        It has been built, they have come, but unfortunately – last night anyway – they went away sad. The Highlanders might be out of the running of the Super 15 playoffs, after losing 27-21 to the Chiefs last night, but that has not stopped them having a stellar year through the turnstiles. More than 120,000 tickets have been bought at Forsyth Barr Stadium this year, with the average crowd more than 7000 above last year’s. Last year in six games, just over 60,000 tickets were sold for Highlanders games at Carisbrook. This year, more than 120,000 tickets were sold for seven games at the new stadium, with an average crowd of 17,654.
        Read more

        The gates (via ODT)
        Crowds at Highlanders matches in 2012 at Forsyth Barr Stadium
        v Crusaders: 22,500
        v Waratahs: 17,670
        v Stormers: 14,217
        v Blues: 18,417
        v Hurricanes: 18,407
        v Bulls: 14,967
        v Chiefs: 17,401
        2012 total: (7 games) 123,579
        Average: 17,654
        2011 total: (6 games) 60,760
        Average: 10,127

  22. Peter

    Elizabeth. I’m afraid to say that DD has not always been helpful with Official Information requests to establish what is going on. That is not appreciated.
    He may very well have been a decent chap to contractors and credit to him if this is the case. (I know he does at least try to be civil when you meet him.) But that is how we should all try to be when someone is doing a job for you. Nice.
    I recognise he has had to work with difficult people on his own side of the stadium fence and to contend with the stadium opponents. All part of the job though.
    His job is to promote something that is impossible. I think he now knows that and he is doing the sensible thing by reclaiming his life in the UK with his family. (Hopefully, he is not tempted to go on to venue management in ‘Timbuktu’ which would cast doubt on his reasons for going.)
    I personally don’t feel in the mood for phoney mutual back slapping. The whole thing is sad. I don’t wish him ill will. I hope he gets out of this crazy business he has been involved in for years and smells the roses.

    • Elizabeth

      Fair enough, Peter. My negative thoughts mainly accrue to the stadium project initiators (outside council and within) – as Russell says, the Tartan Mafia, qualified by our working shortlist of perpetrators. And of course, the current Mayor and Councillors whom I struggle daily to identify with or recognise as worthy of the job, such as it is.

  23. D Smith

    Roll up, one more day for applications before closing!

    Reading the posts it’s easy to put people down in any high profile jobs. It makes interesting reading Calvin that you have historically been so critical of Mr Harland and now he is the saviour. My question is not about who the right person is, but how DVML are going about defining and finding who the right person is. You don’t appear concerned with the right recruitment process, but clearly feel there is a prime candidate out there who needs to ‘be approached’, my question is will someone bother to do this, it appears a very good suggestion? Or will they just charge $50k for reviewing advert responses and hope for a lucky fit?

    As someone who has entrenched themselves in the local political scene I would have thought you would have given due consideration to the RWC effect, when Mr Davies started it was questioned whether the stadium would be built in time and the potential embarrassment for Dunedin this could cause on a world level. So you suggest that would have been the right time and platform for Mr Davies to “tell it like it really was, as soon as he realised it, in the first two days”. I am sure all the local businesses, rugby fans etc would have welcomed this with the RWC games then being moved to another location due to the uncertainty being created, leaving us with a big fancy cow paddock. (maybe that could be a new revenue stream??)

    I recognise he’s not been perfect, who is? On balance he appears to have given it a good effort, hopefully everyone has learned from this and the next person can step it up another notch.

    • Elizabeth

      I suppose, D Smith, your thoughts aren’t far away from how David Davies might see it on a good day.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 20 Jul 2012
      DVML job hunt deadline reached
      By Chris Morris
      An international search for candidates to replace Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive David Davies has reached a deadline, leaving the company with a crucial choice to make. Applications for the post of DVML chief executive closed yesterday after a month-long recruitment drive by Optima Global Talent, on behalf of the DVML board. However, the level of interest in the high-profile role – amid concerns over the company’s finances and continuing finger-pointing over the Forsyth Barr Stadium – remained a mystery yesterday.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Sat, 21 Jul 2012
        No comment on DVML job
        By Chris Morris
        The number of applications for the role to be vacated by Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive David Davies remains a closely guarded secret. Applications closed on Thursday, after a month-long search by recruitment company Optima Global Talent on behalf of the DVML board. Repeated requests for information by the Otago Daily Times went unanswered for a second day yesterday, with board members refusing to comment or say how many applications had been received. Board chairman Sir John Hansen could not be reached for comment.

        [DVML] The company and the operating of Forsyth Barr Stadium were being reviewed by Dunedin City Holdings Ltd, and that group’s chairman, Denham Shale, yesterday confirmed the chief executive’s role was “certainly” one area under the microscope.[…]Mr Shale said he remained confident of turning around DVML’s financial fortunes, but would not say why.
        Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ch9.co.nz September 3, 2012 – 5:53pm
        Dunedin Venues Management Ltd replacement CEO chosen
        Dunedin Venues Management Ltd has chosen from within for its replacement of chief executive David Davies. It has just been announced Operations Director Darren Burden, who has been with the company since it began, will take the role. DVML says more than 100 people applied for the job, 90 of whom were from overseas.
        Ch9 Link [no video available]

        Jobs for the boys.

  24. Calvin Oaten

    If Mr Denham Shale is confident of turning around (to face which way?) DVML’s financial fortunes, why don’t the powers to be just simply appoint him to the DVML CEO position and see if he can walk the walk, or just talk the talk.

    • Elizabeth

      Mr Shale will find himself in the too hard basket, he just hasn’t identified his whereabouts yet.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Sat, 21 Jul 2012
        Opinion – Anna Chinn’s Blog
        In which the author applies to be CEO at DVML
        By Anna Chinn
        A facsimile of the author’s application for the role of chief executive for Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, submitted to recruitment firm Optima Global Talent yesterday. Yes, really.
        To whom it may concern,
        Please accept my belated application for the position of Chief Executive Officer with Dunedin Venues Management Ltd. I am highly confident of my leadership and asset management capabilities in relation to this role. The information given in the job advertisement notes that the facilities managed by DVML “attract international and domestic events in the areas of the sport, conference and entertainment markets”. This should make my job much easier.
        Read more

  25. Anonymous

    Love it!

  26. Calvin Oaten

    Anna Chinn might just be onto something. If she could just sideline the ‘wannabe self entitlement wankers’, that in itself would be a huge step forward. The savings there would be very considerable. And anyway, who thinks we need a knight of the realm to front the silly directors? Come to think of it, who thinks the place needs silly directors, full stop? Her offer of ‘blood sweat and tears’ for eighty grand is a very hard act to follow. David Davies must be cringing in his mercenary little burrow. But in all seriousness, I still think Malcolm Farry is the man for the job. He it is whose dream was the stadium. Indeed, he right from the start, proclaimed that, not only would the stadium be of enormous benefit to the city (not to mention rugby) but that it would produce a regional economic benefit of $20 million per year. Further, it would assure a further 500 students per year would come to the University because of the stadium. Already we hear of a likely visit of the Dalai Lama (just as he predicted) so it is now highly likely, if he takes the job his other ‘star,’ the “Pope” could well be next. And of course, don’t forget the possibility of the ‘world swimming championships’ (did he actually say that?) and ‘international ice skating’.
    I can even see the headline banners now: “On Time On Budget, All Shows Sold Out, Come One come All.” With all due respect, I doubt Anna could top all that. And Malcolm, being such an astute businessman (as he will tell you himself) he will have sufficient investment income, and ‘ego’, to enable a full philanthropical bent here and do the job for nothing. All he would seek would be full kudos and recognition (preferably a knighthood, to offset the loss of the directorial one) for his social magnanimity.
    What do you say Malcolm?

    • Elizabeth

      Ohhh, CALVIN… not sure we can support Believers here.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 30 Jul 2012
      Opinion >> Blog
      Letter of rejection, tube of humour
      By Anna Chinn
      I went into the office on Monday having already been sent a letter of rejection by the recruitment firm that is seeking a new chief executive to run Forsyth Barr Stadium. That was quick! I had only sent in my application a few days earlier. Upon entering the Otago Daily Times editorial suite, I was greeted first by a tube of toothpaste.

      My sore sense of woe at having been denied chiefdom, on grounds not at all clear to me, was brushed away like a day’s plaque and replaced with a newly minted delight in life.

      Read more

  27. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth; Why not? You got a better idea?

  28. Calvin Oaten

    OK Elizabeth, what about this? I sent this to Dave Cull recently. Needless to say he didn’t reply. I copied it to a lot of people, including Julian Smith and department heads at the University. Strange, but none of those replied either. I just don’t know why.

    I would take this opportunity to put forward a possible partial solution to the seemingly ongoing problem of the stadium burden as bestowed upon the citizens of Dunedin by initially an unelected body, namely, the Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST).

    It is a somewhat radical suggestion which I believe has some support from some influential quarters among the possible recipient parties. I am suggesting that the stadium could be adapted for use as an extension of the university’s Zoology and Botany departments in conjunction with the Marine Biology department, and possibly the government Department of Conservation. It would involve the converting of built areas into
    research/lecture facilities, and installing aquatic areas similar to that installed at Portobello. Sea water could be supplied via flow and return pipes installed from the harbour along the Leith river causeway. The lower Leith itself could be deepened up to the facility thus providing access for research vessels. This would obviate the distance problem between the campus and Portobello. The main arena could be converted into an indoor sanctuary, extensively planted with NZ native flora, and populated with rare and indigenous fauna. Rare birds such as Kiwi, Takahe, Kakapo, Saddlebacks, Tuis, Bellbirds, Wood Pigeons, Robins etc, plus reptiles such as the Tuatara Lizard, Jewel Geckos, Skinks and the Giant Weta. This would provide the university Zoology and Botany departments an excellent on campus living research laboratory. It could also be an exciting revenue producing addition to Dunedin as a Nature Destination. It would compliment the Orokonui Sanctuary, the Albatross and Penguin colonies.

    It would mean selling the complex to the university at a price to cover the DCC/ratepayers’ debt, but still be attractive to the university. If a satisfactory deal could be arranged, then Carisbrook could be gifted back to the ORFU and the DCC be divested from rugby altogether. After all, it was never in the
    realms of responsibility for the DCC to be involved. There would still be costs to be absorbed, but they would just have to be treated as sunk costs. Even so, if the university/DOC saw sufficient merit then a deal might be possible which would obviate even those costs.

    Who knows? But would it not be an exercise worth investigating? Face it, the ongoing costs of the place as a stadium are too horrific to contemplate. I leave you all with these thoughts trusting they will be treated with the seriousness with which they are presented.

    • Elizabeth

      Calvin, one day the stadium visionaries will have to concede there was no merit whatsoever in building the edifice for a ‘tenant’ that has so little life left in Dunedin.

      So yes, other uses should be considered – I prefer your vision to that of rugby and Malcolm’s hot pie student lunches – although I’m not sure the university would want it unless for a $1. The university is still wondering how to afford redevelopment of the dental school at $200m plus or minus… and a host of other projects to meet its space programme. –

      Dunedin is going to have a population and distance problem for years to come. The university is going to struggle. The city will always face steep competition from other centres while it’s not developing an export driven business model as its chief aim. Until this happens the stadium building will be non sustainable for whatever goes in it.

      Economically, as a city, we have to reduce DCC debt (compounded by the stadium capital build project and its operating model that isn’t…) and find the means to ensure Dunedin can drive, service and lead the Otago Southland regional economy – in this equation the stadium is a complete irrelevance, but then so are each and every one of the Dunedin City Councillors currently ‘in power’ (joke).

  29. Anonymous

    Did you send it that day when there was a power outage around campus? Or maybe their anti-spam protection share common definitions and detected some of the included names as suspicious? A large amount of information similar to phishing or spam originates from the Dunedin City Council so the inclusion of those addresses probably popped the thresholds.

  30. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth, think about it. If the Botany and Zoology Dept’s relocated to the stadium that would free up the existing buildings for other University uses. The nearly new Zoology building right near the Dental school could be retrofitted to suit the DS. Couldn’t it? The Botany buildings adjacent to the Museum is centrally located within campus. Then again we recently read where the Portobello research building is up for replacement due to earthquake requirements. Then, if the Dept of Conservation was involved, and the set up was correct, the sanctuary part (the main arena) could have paths meandering through it thus lending it to revenue paying visitors on educative tours. This would bring in handsome annual revenue, I am sure. Way more than 10 or 12 rugby fixtures per annum would ever do.
    All I am doing is making some suggestions which might well require some thinking outside the box. Is that so wrong? Or should we just all shrug and live with the debt incurred by some very weird thinking people forever?

    • Elizabeth

      Calvin, not saying your suggestion is off the planet at all – quite the reverse. I would submit it to ODT Opinion for publication. If say Port Otago and friends get their ‘islands’ into the harbour off Portsmouth Drive, then a large eco-house near the Otago Yacht Club, accessible to boats (by short canal), on the cycle trail, connected into the Leith walking trail etc, makes for an interesting harbourside, at last… with engineering and related service industries left intact in their zone. The ‘glasshouse’ would need several revenue streams. But it could be step one.

      Airline issues, airport issues, tourist trade volume issues – (NZ) how to be the productive (and cleverly attractive) island paradise, held up by shipping, jet fuel and smart cables… there’s some of the problem!

  31. Calvin Oaten

    Anon, I don’t give a ‘tinker’s cuss’ about the technological possibility of my message getting through or not. All I am seeking is some debate about alternative options. Mayor Dave Cull’s repeated ‘mantra’, “we have this stadium, let’s all put shoulders to the wheel and make it work”. Crap! of the first order. Anyone with half a brain could have seen it would never work. The last 12 months have, without doubt shown this to be true. ‘Gabfests’ around council table, with some very intellectually impaired participants won’t alter the facts. Meanwhile it just gets deeper and deeper in the financial mire. We now have the unedifying spectacle of council producing Annual Plans which, because of the manipulations and the financial ‘jiggery/pokery’ are essentially fraudulent documents. Where to next? Insolvency?

  32. pat adamson

    Calvin, what a great idea, it solves what to do with Carisbrook, our Historic rugby home will rise again in all its glory and the University will get its much needed space either as a tenant or owner of what at the moment is a huge drag on this city and ratepayers. The Rugby Union and Followers could of course put their hands in their own pockets and buy it themselves, that’s of course if they can get their hands out of the poor old ratepayers’ pocket for a change !!!

  33. Tomo

    And after all that ladies and gentlemen we could rename Carisbrook “Phoenix Stadium”.

  34. Anonymous

    No doubt Mr Burden gets a $100K payrise, plus inflation ($25-$50K) and bonuses unrelated to relevant performance markers. But this is good for the Stakeholders and their Performing Mayor. It pays a guy already in the mix who knows where to keep stomping down that bit of turf they’ve been brushing everything under.

  35. Phil

    So what this tells us is that there were only 10 people in NZ who hadn’t read about the stadium’s current mess.

  36. Hype O'Thermia

    There’s something so weird about bonuses given irrespective of performance. Doesn’t happen down the baked-beans end of the salary pyramid.

  37. Peter

    Though this smacks of jobs for the boys, by rewarding a faithful servant for his loyalty, there is the advantage for us in that he can’t claim to be a new boy unaware of all the stadium skeletons in the closet ‘before his time’. Darren Burden has been there right from the beginning and has always been in a pivotal position to know what was going on.
    Interesting how he got appointed, as a local; when they made all the fanfare when they appointed David Davies. Here the announcement is made, without much comment, except for the expected mutual back slapping by the incoming and outgoing CEO. No one else wished to comment and face questions from the media about the nature of the appointment.
    David Davies was allegedly ‘head hunted’ from overseas for his expertise in stadium venue management and his valuable contacts in attracting entertainment acts to these venues. Now we have a CEO who has worked his way up the ranks, initially as a project manager for Arrow International, and has now found himself with a new job description, working in an area where 99 other applicants were found not to be as suitable for the job as him.
    At least we don’t have to pay removal costs for an overseas applicant!

  38. Hype O'Thermia

    Good points, Peter. For a change he hasn’t had to be recruited at great expense and even greater salary, relocation expenses etc on the grounds that it’s a worldwide marketplace and if you pay peanuts (or employ known people) you get monkeys. Time will tell if he turns out to be a monkey like some recruits from way off places.
    Instead of promising bonuses I’d like to see the recruiting balance swing in ratepayers’ favour: tendering for the job. We’ve seen enough examples NZ-wide that the highest pay doesn’t guarantee the most able, or even the most honest monkey. By paying less there’d be more money left in the jar for fixing their ballsups when they leave for “new challenges” or “more family time”.

  39. Calvin Oaten

    An excellent choice. He, better than anyone will be able to inculcate the ethos surrounding the stadium, having been with it from the outset, including design and construction phases. He will know exactly how long the financial charade will/can last and therefore be in the best position to know precisely when to jump ship. Meanwhile, the “lumpen investors” around the council table will be satisfied with the selection. After all, he is a BSc with an MBA. Should do the trick.

    • Elizabeth

      Trouble is, appointing a new chief executive does tend to mean someone thinks the stadium (and other council venues for management and events) has a life!

  40. Calvin Oaten

    Right Elizabeth. Like everything it has a life until it hasn’t.

  41. Peter

    Place your bets, folks, for how long this one will stay in the job before ‘moving on to a fresh, new challenge’ after leaving the stadium ‘in good heart, with solid foundations to move forward’. These kind of guys have got an immense capacity for self belief despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Almost feel sorry for the phoney lives they lead and how empty they must feel in their quieter moments.

  42. Mike

    Well think about it – he’s already had years of chances to help do it right – I’d love to know what great idea he suggested to make the stadium work that Davies didn’t do.

    He’s been in there as CEO of the CST from the beginning, as I tried to say in the ODT it’s a bit like putting a fox in charge of the henhouse after a series of unfortunate chicken related incidents.

  43. Peter

    Well put, Mike. Yes, indeed, you’d think they would have ‘head hunted’ someone with brilliance with NEW, innovative ideas to get us out of the stadium crap. Darren( Durwood) might prove to be as effectual as the Darren in Bewitched!

  44. Anonymous

    I’d suggest it’s all about keeping the truth under wraps while the professional rugby bludgers and Stakeholders continue to get what ever they can, for as long as they can. Davies is just jumping ship while he can. Darren has stepped into to take take the fall but then it’s a very well paid fall at that.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ch9.co.nz September 4, 2012 – 5:36pm
      New DVML CEO mysteriously quiet
      The new leader of the company that runs Forsyth Barr Stadium is being mysteriously quiet. Despite his new role in charge of the most expensive public facility ratepayers have shelled out for in recent times, Darren Burden is not talking to the media. So in lieu of an interview, 9 Local News has dug into the past for an insight into the man charged with turning around million dollar losses.

  45. Peter

    Maybe DVML didn’t want to answer questions from the media about Darren Burden’s contract ie salary and other benefits, length of contract etc. In that way the job is announced ahead of time and DVML can hope the media will have forgotten to ask later on when he finally sees fit to be interviewed by them. Any media worth their salt wouldn’t want to be ‘managed’ liked this.

    • Elizabeth

      The contract has a special clause which stipulates the Otago Daily Times sponsored stand at the stadium must be put to frequent high profile use to qualify the sponsor’s initial and ongoing investment. Poor Darren. How careers are forged, fought and lost.

  46. Anonymous

    Bev just caused New Our Stadium Mayor Dave Cull to slip up:

    “It just seems to me that this is a case of the anti-stadium brigade descending to personality attacks again, but, worse than that, using yesterday’s battles to do it.”

    Using “anti-stadium brigade” reaffirms his ignorance and who he’s really working for. No wonder he continues to waste millions on rugby while the city’s finances and maintenance collapse.

    Dave Cull is not working in the best interests of Dunedin.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 7 Sep 2012
    Timing of claims infuriates mayor
    By Chris Morris

  47. Russell Garbutt

    Look at the facts of this story.

    The CST have steadfastly refused to abide by a number of rulings that have determined that they were acting as an agent of the DCC and were therefore subject to LGOIMA requests. Farry has consistently tried to hide the activities of the CST from the ratepayer who were paying him and his “Board”. It has taken 14 months to get information which should have been provided within 20 working days. That is not in dispute.

    The CST entered into this contract with The Marketing Bureau Ltd and the payments were signed off by ex-CEO Harland. The contract was completely tilted in the the Bureau’s favour. That is not in dispute.

    The figures in the press release are not disputed. Put simply the Bureau was paid 2/3 of a million to tell us things that weren’t believeable, and to sell a few products that any marketing graduate could have done.

    No believable reasons are given for the cancellation of the contract other than the inferred non-performance by the Bureau. Also not in dispute.

    It is not at all in dispute that the money raised by the Bureau was nothing other than advance revenue. This has been confirmed by the PWC report.

    As normal, the emphasis of the story has been slanted to personalities when what we should all be asking is “why were the foxes left in charge of the henhouse?”

  48. Peter

    This is a classic case of attacking the messenger and not delivering the substance of the message. The ODT has sunk to a new low with this very skewed news report and done great damage to its credibility. Other media will see for themselves, with the press release, how the information contained there has been brushed over and how the paper has rallied to its masters.

    Cull’s response is amazing. He is clearly not interested in seeking the final truth behind this stadium scandal, so it can be dealt with, and we can then truly heal as a community with this appalling travesty finally put behind us. I now seriously question his previous anti stadium stance. His slight against ‘the anti stadium brigade’ didn’t stop him crawling to Stop The Stadium for its membership list before the last election so he could do a political mail out to another sizeable group of people. He is now offside with so many people who just see him as a flip flopper with no compass. He is a man who utters empty cliches, to win people over, before dumping them after they have outlived their usefulness. No wonder he always looks so uncomfortable in his own skin.

  49. Tomo

    Peter. It is not only Cull that you are describing here, but 90% of those elected. It is probably us, the joe public that is to blame. We keep being sucked in by the same old crap each election. What joe public needs to do is not listen to the crap at election time, but do a little homework on the candidates to see what they have actually done in the past that would make you vote for them. Cull’s rise to fame should be a lesson to all of us. As the old song goes “When will they ever learn?”

  50. amanda

    Cull is just a typical weak politician. He pays careful attention to who he must bow down to and it is the stakeholders and stadium wonks and not Dunedin people; the ‘media’ can control how the people vote by vetting and gatekeeping information. The print media controls who gets elected, that’s the reality when they do not hold politicians to account for their debt creation. So no doubt Cull feels he can get away with his quietly supporting funds flowing to the stadium. You are right Tomo. Citizen’s political apathy is ultimately to blame. It is simply not enough to read the ODT (without challenging it) and think they will keep us politically informed. The local media is a big part of the whole con.

  51. Peter

    In this world, there are men (and women)…. and then there are the real men (and women). Here they can be readily identified in our local councils and their assorted hangers on, and in the media. The stadium fiasco has at least provided us with a vivid picture of who stands where. Fascinating.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, “real” is an unreal word… where would Kereyn Smith sit I wonder, given her CST and other board appointments, including the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport (aka professional rugby). Must have balls!

  52. Hype O'Thermia

    Peter, when Cull “looks so uncomfortable in his own skin” you’re looking at the wrong side. Being 2-faced turncoat, he’s a box o’ fluffies on Face II.

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