What’s Syd really up to at DCC, given the history, forgetting Cull

Haha, Syd’s preaching there’s a lot in it for Dunedin if offshore drilling for oil and gas proceeds. We would say, matter-of-factly, only a minor few businessmen will ‘profiteer’, the rest of us won’t see a cent, ever. He’s a simple guy. It’s more about who he knows and how he can be used by them. He’s THE ONE to force out of Council in 2013, IF he decides to stand again. His age is working against him plus he’s got the Taieri subdivisions to keep him busy. Dependably, the mob will find someone to fill his boots. Like nothing happened.

[However, What if? troops, fact-finding has never been so much fun.]

Cr Syd Brown, chairman of the Dunedin City Council’s finance, strategy and development committee, said it did not matter when drilling occurred, and the “real positive” was Dunedin remained on the company’s radar. “It’s really a matter of when it does happen that we make every post a winner, so that that opportunity can be spread over the economy of Dunedin.”

### ODT Online Thu, 2 Aug 2012
Oil drilling off Oamaru postponed
By Chris Morris and Simon Hartley
Dunedin remains in the running to become an oil base, despite the decision by oil giant Anadarko Petroleum to delay bringing a drilling rig into southern waters, a Dunedin city councillor says. It was confirmed yesterday Anadarko had deferred bringing a rig to the Canterbury Basin, offshore from Oamaru, until the summer of 2013. The company had planned to start drilling off the coasts of Raglan, Canterbury and Otago last summer, but that was delayed to October this year because of a global shortage of rigs. Yesterday’s news of a further delay prompted mixed reactions in Dunedin, which could benefit from becoming an oil base if drilling proceeded.
Read more

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28.7.12 Pokie fraud: ODT fails to notice own backyard

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

115 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

115 responses to “What’s Syd really up to at DCC, given the history, forgetting Cull

  1. amanda

    Well, all you need to say is “it will create jobs!’ in a loud voice, in the ODT, wearing an official stakeholder suit and many people’s brains fall out of their heads and they buy the lies. That was one of the porkies that Syd and his stadium pals sold to us to push their agenda and no doubt Cull the Ineffectual will sing the same old song.

  2. amanda

    Dear Syd, get down on your bended knee and thank the gentle local media who do not breathe a word about your stadium support, your fiscal pinheadedness, and who still do not hold you or your fiscal nincompoop fellow councillors accountable for your porkies and negligence. Without that, you would not have your feet around the council table.

  3. tomo

    That statement of Syd’s sounds like it has just rolled out of the new communication unit. Syd wouldn’t be clever enough to think of that, would he?

    • Elizabeth

      How does the named sit with the General Manager, Finance & Corporate Support.
      Don’t answer that. Treat it as rhetorical for now.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    No, Tomo, it’s “Rodders” who has just “rolled” out of the communications unit.

  5. Russell Garbutt

    People just need to remnded of Syd’s dealings with the DCC – Dave Witherow has previously written in great detail of what Syd did. Brown is a person that I would not vote for even if he was the only person standing. One could ask some interestiing questions about his horsey connections which I’m sure would reveal some other stuff he would prefer not to have raised….

  6. Anonymous

    Calvin, Rodder’s piece is a well considered and tactful retreat from a department corrupted by Stakeholders desperate for any vehicle to drive their vision of the public building them an entertainment centre and maintaining it.

    I don’t buy it though, nor the paper it was printed on.

  7. Peter

    I have read, some time back, what Dave Witherow wrote about Syd Brown in the ODT in his former column, Open Season. It would be good to have a refresher. The trouble with some of these characters is that they weather the storm… and continue on.No higher authority brings them to account and demands immediate resignation. They chicken out and say, ‘let the voters decide’. The trouble is the voters forget or still don’t know the full story. It takes a hell of a long time for the eventual trickle down effect to take place until they are finally booted out.Death or retiring often happens first without the full shame being apparent.It makes you sick, doesn’t it.No wonder people lose faith in justice being done.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, as it happens, we thought to revisit something Dave wrote for the now defunct Deadline magazine.

      More DCC shenanigans.

      In December 2001, “after lengthy negotiations”, the Dunedin City Council reached an agreement with Cr Syd Brown, permitting him to rezone his 10ha property in Mosgiel from rural to residential. The rezoning would be permitted, the council said, but with a three-year delay to allow for the installation of appropriate infrastructure. (Cr Brown’s original application for rezoning had been declined, so this decision represented a major change of mind by the council.)

      The infrastructure included a stormwater drain with an estimated cost of $940,000. But, fortunately for Cr Brown, this drain was able to be incorporated in a more general stormwater upgrade the council was investigating at the time. By connecting to this system, staff calculated, Cr Brown would save $580,000. It was recommended, therefore, that he contribute $360,000 for the right to connect to the council-provided system, thereby reducing his saving to a mere $220,000.

      Shortly after the council’s rezoning turnaround, in January 2002, Cr Brown had taken part in a discussion of this stormwater system, and had moved and voted for its construction, an initiative which resulted in a complaint to the Audit Office, since, the complainant argued, Cr Brown, as chair of the council’s planning and environment committee, and a person likely to gain financially, had a manifest conflict of interest.

      The Audit Office, in due course, found these misgivings were justified and that Cr Brown was “remiss and made an error of judgement”, but it decided not to prosecute, or take the case any further.

      This was Cr Brown’s second brush with the Audit Office. In June, 2001, following a complaint from a member of the public, the office found that he had breached the Members’ Interest Act by discussing and voting on an issue involving Hagart Alexander Drive, the road bordering his property. On this occasion, Cr Brown had moved that Hagart Alexander Drive be excluded from further consideration as a bypass route for heavy traffic.

      The complaint was upheld, the Audit Office confirming that Cr Brown had a conflict of interest because he was trying to rezone his property from rural to residential and might be perceived to have something to gain by the bypass going elsewhere. But in this case, as in the later one, the Office decided not to take further action.

      Cr Brown’s subdivision, however, was to encounter further difficulties. The matter was appealed again to the Environment Court where, in a decision described as “unusual”, the judges decided that Cr Brown’s property should stay in the rural zone until a detailed analysis of Mosgiel’s expansion options was completed. There were several unresolved issues, the judges considered, including the presence of high-class soils on Cr Brown’s land and the possible merits of alternative areas.

      Investigations were then set in train by the council. Soils were examined in greater detail and the planners identified two additional possibilities for rezoning. And by the middle of 2004, the Council felt ready to try again.

      This time, however, there was an additional problem. The council was by now widely perceived as being somewhat less than totally objective. The Audit Office business did not look good, and the prospect of Cr Brown getting the go-ahead from a panel of his fellow-councillors was politically unacceptable.

      The council bit the bullet and took the only possible escape-route. It appointed an independent commissioner, David Collins, to assess the available evidence, and, within the parameters of the district plan, advise the council on how to proceed. The court was duly convened, with numerous expert witnesses, and the issue of high-class soils (protected in the district plan) figured prominently.

      Commissioner Collins’ recommendations were released in December 2004, and were accepted (“reluctantly”, we are now told) by the council. Cr Brown’s land, part of “East A” block, would remain in the rural zone: no residential subdivision permitted. Two other blocks (“West B” and “East C”) were more suitable for housing development, the commissioner found, and would be rezoned accordingly.

      The saga, however, was not over. Cr Brown, still determined to subdivide, appealed (together with two other interested parties) against what was now, in legal terms, a council planning decision. (Which, of course, is nothing unusual. People routinely take cases like this to the Environment Court.) But then it was revealed, quite remarkably, that the council itself would be siding with Cr Brown, and joining him in appealing against the decision it had previously adopted.

      I believe this behaviour is unprecedented. Never before, surely, has the city council spent public money in opposing the outcome of its own due public process. And the first time it happens is when a fellow councillor stands to make a considerable financial gain. Is this the conduct of an impartial council, mindful of its duty not to seem to be favouring one of its own?

      Perhaps Peter Brown, strategy and development manager at the council, should be allowed the last word.

      “Councillor Brown,” he said, “has absolutely no involvement with this, [or] in our thinking about this.
      “He has been completely distanced from the council decision-making process.
      “I think the public can have complete confidence in council’s handling of this matter.”

      Dave Witherow



      {This opinion column also appeared at ODT (30.9.05) – see following. The editing style of the ODT has been selected for use here. -Eds}

  8. Russell Garbutt

    Syd Brown has much to hang his head in shame about and so did the Council of the day. But it seems to me that if anyone gets away with something, then the likelihood is that they will try to repeat it. I wonder of Syd Brown was not a Councillor, would he have had the same result? What do others think?

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    Thanks for putting the Witherow piece up, Elizabeth. It’s already been copied and emailed to some people who probably wouldn’t have clicked a link, resulting in one comment so far with thanks for the refresher. How about we all spread the word in that manner, it seems to work, and having read that the recipients may be inspired to follow this blog and find out more about what’s what here in Rortsburg.

    {The view numbers show it works. We’re most happy to take ‘the word’ and share it. -Eds}

  10. Anonymous

    A lot of money must have been spent on the subdivision plan over the years and you would have to assume there may be others who have made significant contributions. There will be expectations on those investments and consequences because of them. Financial pressures like these have caused many to take risks they may not have under normal circumstances. Government and media may play down the term millions in public but it is given and taken very seriously in private.

  11. Judy

    Dave Witherow’s comments were interesting, but he appears to have left out, or did not know that when council decided to appeal against the decision it had already made, that one of their own, yes the chair of the hearings committee who appointed commissioner Collins, actually took part in the decision to appeal. Included in the appeal was to add Syd’s patch.

  12. Anonymous

    The Otago Daily Times of that era was a different newspaper to the thing masquerading as one today.

  13. Anonymous

    So along with Stadium Councillor Syd Brown, we can add Otago Chamber of Commerce president Peter McIntyre to the list of Stakeholder chums who put money ahead brains (*).

    Oil won’t save Dunedin. It will make a few very rich, these minions fairly well off and a few lucky people made an example of to show “Yes, look, these people are doing well.”

    When the oil runs out, they up and leave. And what’s left is a dependency on for something no longer available.

    * Other terms, like reality and intelligence are too tricky for most business people sucking on the public teat. Indeed, that latter part could be constructed better and rationalised out with a more thorough argument but the reality is these people who think corporations are their friend can’t, don’t or won’t read big words. Long sentences with numbers and risks are too hard. Just look at the stadium for proof of those who want the shiny things.

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    Old timers may remember a very good antique shop in upper Stuart St, owned by interesting and bitingly funny John McKinlay. He routinely referred to the Pisspot of Commerce: old timers will have no difficulty with the etymology.

  15. amanda

    A DCC representative himself told us all at the economic plan for the city held at the library several weeks ago that oil drilling will not bring jobs, the industry brings its own highly skilled people, so the ‘it will bring jobs! so shut up!” argument is just another smokescreen for a few stakeholders to make a killing at the expense of the whole city; don’t let’s forget that most of these business geniuses thought the stadium would bring fiscal nirvana to the city, we can brush aside their insights into how to create a viable economy because for them the bottom line is short term profit for a few, and to heck with the rest.

  16. Phil Cole

    It’s good to read some intelligent debate about this issue (oil drilling). The recent comments from the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce and other bodies, linking the council’s comments about ‘Fracking’ as to whether the council is serious about oil exploration of the coast are very wide of the mark and frankly insulting. These are two completely separate issues and should be debated as such.

    Oil companies now have expert public relations departments and large budgets to undertake this side of operations. Indeed they would have you believe Dunedin could become a more prosperous city and be a boon for the area in much the same way as the ‘Otago Gold Rush’ was for Dunedin in the 1860s.

    In espousing the benefits of what the oil industry may bring to a city – quoting Aberdeen from 1970-2010 – what conveniently gets forgotten is the fact that it wasn’t all roses. Even basic research can be revealing by balancing both sides of the argument.

    Because Aberdeen’s population increased by around 25,000 during this period (mainly through a rise in university numbers) and residents began to earn ‘above average’ household incomes one must assume that Aberdeen must have struck gold rather than oil. However, closer inspection reveals things aren’t quite what they appear.

    From an early date local companies became involved in basic activities such as catering or providing basic materials, but usually did not get involved in the much higher, value-added technically demanding activities within the industry; these were dominated by the major oil companies. All their major suppliers in terms of technical equipment, knowledge and expertise came from abroad.

    The inherent characteristic of price volatility in the oil industry means dramatic fluctuations in employment and the local economy for cities involved. Aberdeen suffered two oil price collapses during this period – 1986 and 1991 – with the first price collapse resulting in considerable loss of employment both directly and indirectly associated with oil. The second collapse had less of an effect as there were relatively fewer workers employed in the oil industry.

    New Zealand may not see or use any of the oil that is extracted from its seabed. The taxes it imposes on the oil companies will be used to help pay off the national debt but not any local debt.

    As soon as oil extraction is allowed, say ‘goodbye’ to our clean green image that still persists abroad. What effect will this have on our major export markets of food and produce abroad, worth around $10 billion? Once damaged, these markets will never recover.

    If people in these ‘higher positions’ of authority think an ‘oil boom’ of the 1960s and 1970s will happen in Dunedin, please think again…and if they are basing their findings on these events of thirty-forty years ago then one can only be very afraid…

  17. amanda

    I’m waiting for Syd Brown and mates to start whining about how terriby sad it is that we have such a lot of unfortunate debt and so we have no choice but to go for the oil dollar, as we simply must pay off the debt that came from somewhere or fell out of the sky. This was always going to happen, the stadium created massive debt, resulting in putting massive pressure on the city to wring dollars from the environment. I suspect this was how they were always going to pay for their debt. This and water. Will be interesting to see how the environmentally alert segment of the community respond to this agenda.

  18. amanda

    Actually massive pressure on the city to wring dollars out of anything it can to pay for Farry’s Folly, social spending, transport, rates, DCC services, heritage, the environment, anything just so long as the pinheads responsible for the debt do not end up with egg on their faces. I am looking at you local media. As usual, hang your head in shame.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Tue, 7 Aug 2012
      Casting vote papers over cracks
      By Chris Morris
      A casting vote by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull was needed to settle renewed divisions over fracking at a Dunedin City Council meeting yesterday. The issue re-emerged at yesterday’s full council meeting, after councillors last month voted 7-6 in favour of adding Dunedin’s voice to calls for a national moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. The controversial oil and gas extraction process was already being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and a report is due by November.

      Cr Syd Brown told yesterday’s meeting he did not understand why the council would join others in calling for a moratorium ahead of the results of that investigation.

      Read more

  19. Where the hell does he think this money will be spent?

  20. Janet Gebbie

    Further to Phil Cole’s post, as a visitor to Aberdeen I have a completely different impression of the changes wrought by the oil industry on Aberdeen. I would be interested to know from where you derived your figures of population increase over that time period of 1970 to 2010 and therefore continue an intelligent debate on this issue.

  21. laddie labourer

    Scrolling through your blogging post just makes me want to leave our fair city and go somewhere where the people are positive, welcoming and have better stuff to do than sit here and dream up angry, negative remarks about any new proposal for Dunedin – and nasty stuff about the individuals who are brave enough to propose anything. The latest plan to have the dogs set upon it is a remote possibility that Dunedin will be used as a base while drilling takes place off our coast – with Invercargill and Timaru also in the mix as I understand. Dunedin is utterly doomed if every new plan gets jumped on like this. All I’ve seen so far are arguments about other places, not as they pertain to the facts of any proposal for here, and any technology that may be used. And what if it is gas that we have in abundant supply? Tell me the “huge” risks and catastrophes that will arise if we drill for that? For pity’s sake, Dunedin and people like me need jobs here. We have precious little enough to raise our kids as it is. “What if Dunedin”, you actually cared about people in your city and whether the city can prosper? Or are you happy enough in your lonely little houses tapping away on your coffee-stained laptops because you actually have precious little else to do? Let Dunedin actually grow – for a change.

    • Elizabeth

      When we have low life politicians like Syd Brown running the city, having committed the residents and ratepayers to unsustainable levels of debt after a witless decade of imprudent spending, including millions of dollars of ratepayer dollars committed to professional rugby’s already failing fortunes, then we happily look to better times ahead which will require the community’s full commitment to an export led economic recovery for the region. We welcome smart industry and professional services (read employment gains, and the performance of a two-tier economy) that have long term export potential given the resources available in Otago Southland, including development of educational and training facilities geared to these ends. It’s a big ask, one that doesn’t mean wholesale destruction of our landscape or marinescape by overseas based exploitive corporations with their outlook to short term gains. Dunedin’s future cannot depend on the university as the single major employer (as it is now); New Zealand can’t depend on only one global dairy giant (Fonterra)… We have to diversify business, our potential strength lies in the coordinated strength and innovation of small businesses and processing value added exports. We know that most businesses in the immediate Dunedin catchment do not think export or figure it as an aim or objective. That’s serious; it means very little new money flowing in. It also means not enough private sector research and development is happening, although it’s increasing slowly. A major culture shift is necessary and it should involve Dunedin asserting itself and leading that change for all communities and districts south of the Waitaki River.

  22. laddie labourer

    But he’s not a “low-life” is he? I would usually reserve that term for criminals. Why do you have to write like this? Are you a low life? Also, what gives you the right, Elizabeth, to tell the rest of us what is smart industry? Please can you say what “smart industry” constitutes with academic credibility and proof in spades. So far, I see none.

  23. Phil Cole

    Thanks for your comments, Janet. So that you know where I am coming from I am actually ‘neutral’ when it comes to oil exploration off the Otago coast at the moment. As many people on here know, I am a Member of Sustainable Dunedin but my reasons for joining were from the position of being more sceptical about all things sustainable and I wished to find out more about the various components that make up ‘sustainablility’ – that lovely word that everyone hijacks for all sorts of reasons! I am now more fully informed on certain subjects I knew very little about and can make a more valued judgement on the various issues. Some issues I agree with and some issues I don’t – but the debate is alwyas good and honest. As always, please don’t assume that because someone is part of an orgainsation that that person agrees 100% with what they are doing. I am proud to be a member of Sustainable Dunedin and whilst not always agreeing with what is decided I appreciate the honesty and integrity of those involved and my understanding of such issues is more ’rounded’.

    As background, I have actually visited Aberdeen 4 times whilst I was in England (emigrated to NZ in 2002). My uncle worked on one of the rigs in the north Sea and was based up there with my Aunt for 7 years. I visited in 1980, 1984, 1987 and then once again in 1996. So I have actualy been to the place and have a little interest in Aberdeen. We all have perceptions and experiences of every place we visit and mine obviously differ from yours.

    The main sources I derived the information from was a paper written by Professor Alexander Kemp Feb 2003 titled ‘North Sea Oil – Both in Retrospect and Prospect’; various newspapers (Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph) etc and The Norwegian Oil Industry Association. What I mentioned in this blog is only a small microcosm of a larger document I am compiling.

    As I say, I am ‘neutral’ on the position of oil exploration as I am willing to listen to both sides of the debate on this important matter. But what must be paramount is for the debate not to get ‘hijacked’ by spin doctors on both sides.

    One thing I do realise is that ‘If’ there is any oil found off the coast of Otago (or anywhere else in NZ for that matter) then there will not be a repeat of Aberdeen happening anywhere. Technology has progressed so much that you will be looking at a fraction of the numbers in whichever city the oil people come to and everything can be done by by-passing Dunedin. My money (and I’m not much of a gambler) would be on Christchurch being used as the fly-in fly out base for the rig workers…and the corporate HQ’s of Shell and Anadarko in their ‘registered’ countries doing all the necessary designs. The majority of engineering components will be imported into NZ.

    I’m sorry if you think I’m one of the harbingers of doom in Dunedin ‘Laddie Labourer’ – nothing could be further from the truth. I actually think you raise a very good point too regarding gas. From my limited knowledge of Geology, from the actual data received from the surveys already undertaken – both in the 1970’s and recently of the Great South Basin – it seems there is more likely to be gas discovered in huge quantities rather than oil. And, as you allude to, drilling for gas is far less riskier – in terms of the environment – than drilling for oil. Gas can be extracted from under the sea by rigs and piped straight into massive LNG tankers that can then ship gas to gas terminals all around the world without actually having to touch New Zealand shores. If there was to be a gas leakage of any kind it would escape into the air (with gas having far less CO2 content and far less damaging envrionmentally than oil). However, a gas explosion on a rig will have the same disasterous effect on human life for those working on the rig as would an explosion on an oil rig.

    No, I don’t have all the answers – I probably don’t have any of the answers – but am keen not to announce judgement on anything until I have studied both sides of the argument. Gas and oil bring their own advantages and disadvantages – as long as the debate doesn’t get hijacked by people who have their own interests to look out for then the debate should be an informative and robust one, but one where unltimately the right decsion – whatever that decison is – is taken.

    We live in interesting times where technology and lifestyles are changing all the time. What may have worked in the past doesn’t mean that it will work again in the future.

  24. Phil raises a good point about fly-in-fly-out workers. Even if oil or gas is found off Dunedin, there is little reason for the staff to live here. The rigs are increasingly automated; with more and more tasks being completed by robots and remote-operated submersibles. Working month-on-month-off, as long as it is only a few hours flight away, staff can and will live anywhere. In Europe, people city hop every six months or so. Why live close to the rig, when you can fly to Spain each month, and when you get bored of Spain head for Italy? Here, the staff are as likely to live on the Gold Coast or Bali or Waiheke as Dunedin. In fact, given the extensive use of remote control, probably the only reason for having them on the platform as opposed to in an office somewhere is that it makes sure that they’re not working drunk or otherwise impaired.

  25. Calvin Oaten

    Bravo Phil! That is the most concise, reasonable assessment of the oil/gas debate so far. It again goes to prove that there is no substitute for reason when it comes thinking (as opposed to ranting) about any new technology/science. The global warming debate is a classic example.

  26. amanda

    Laddie Labourer. The DCC itself (through a DCC representative) at the Dunedin economic strategy meeting held at the library told us all that there will be no jobs from oil drilling, Big Oil bring their own people. No jobs for Dunedin people except in service industry roles. Listen to your own advice and try to be a bit more positive? All doom and gloom from you and nothing positive to say about people who challenge the trickle down lie in this town. Just like the stadium lie, the money is not ‘trickling’ down to all of us at the bottom, but flowing ‘up’ into a few already very rich hands. So it will be the same with Big Oil and drilling. If there is one thing the stadium con taught the city, it is to beware of men in suits who promise ‘Trust us, there will be jobs!’ and expect that to silence all questioning. That is the silver lining in the stadium rort. Thank the stadium councillors Brown, Hudson, Noone and mates for the precarious fiscal situation the city is in, and if you are fine with their debt for their stadium? then what is the problem?

  27. Janet Gebbie

    Amanda, who was the DCC representative who said there were no jobs from oil drilling?

  28. Janet Gebbie

    Elizabeth, ” an export led economic recovery” exporting what exactly?

  29. Janet Gebbie

    Phil, I cannot find this article. Professor Alexander Kemp Feb 2003 titled ‘North Sea Oil – Both in Retrospect and Prospect’; Can you send me a link?

  30. amanda

    From memory his name was a Mr Harris. Paul Orders was supposed to be at the forum but was not. I wrote on this site a couple of months ago pointing out that this individual made the remarkable commment at the forum. It was at the same public forum where a representative from a recruitment agency speaking at the meeting was very keen for oil drilling to come to Dunedin because it would create the fastest amount of jobs in the short term. Obviously she meant service jobs. The forum was the one that deemed only the university, polytech and the chamber of commerce (and the employers assoc.?) ought to be stakeholders in Dunedin’s economic future.

  31. amanda

    Peter Harris to be precise.

  32. Janet Gebbie

    Thank you Amanda

  33. Edward McGraw

    Ref Laddie Labourer – thanks for that post. There’s way too much negativity here, a city full of naysayers, anti everything and when a proposal comes to use resources available, in this case oil and gas, there’s all doom and gloom and just wait for the oil spill.
    Contrary to the information given to Amanda (see post above) there are well paid jobs in a base that supplies goods and services to the oil/gas industry, such as specialised manufacturing for repairs and maintenance, helicopter and shipping services and electronic technicians etc. These are not minimum wage jobs such as can be found in the tourism industry. My friends in Taranaki are doing very nicely thanks and are well paid.
    Our entire family, tertiary educated with science degrees and well qualified, has left Dunedin to seek work elsewhere in NZ and overseas. They would love to return if jobs were available.

    • Elizabeth

      Contributors demonstrate a willingness, and always have done, to see futures as well as consider combinations of economic development possibilities – ones that lie well outside the poor standard of ‘investment’, read debt funding, that DCC has made on capital projects that cumulatively have little or no ability to produce financial returns; and bearing in mind the very limited ratepayer base of the city.

      • Elizabeth

        If Christchurch isn’t going to do it, WHAT IF Dunedin ?!
        “…the city could attract scientists and investment if it set out to create a world-leading nutrigenomics institute in the dairy sector. This would help push our existing farming and medical skills into very sophisticated, very high- value foods and pharmaceuticals.”
        Rod Oram on the Christchurch rebuild (Link)

  34. Hype O'Thermia

    Hush yo’ mouth, Miz Elizabeth. We’re attracting a visit from the All Blacks. Why would we want to spend even more money to attract scientific types who do little to add jobs in the low paid servant, I mean hospitality service, sector.

  35. Peter (not the regular one)

    “Contributors demonstrate a willingness, and always have done, to see futures as well as consider combinations of economic development possibilities ” Elizabeth, what complete and utter piffle. A causal reader to this site would struggle to find anything other than repeated conspiracy theories about “stakeholders”, the “tartan mafia” and alleged corrupt officialdom. Discussion of issues is repeatedly overshadowed by nasty personal attacks and constructive solutions are limited to a tired mantra about export led smart businesses and adaptive re-use of heritage (so long as it doesn’t involve any connection real or perceived to the DCC’s planning department). All very well in abstract but lacking any pragmatism or detail when Dunedin has no obvious niche advantage in those areas. In all honestly, there is nothing to inspire on this site’s postings; it’s predominantly mean-minded and mean-spirited.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter (not the regular one), if you were to set up your own blog we would follow it with interest. I’m glad you’ve read all 1,851 posts and the 18,895 associated comments so you know what you’re saying about What if? and are firmly convinced. We won’t mention satire if you don’t.

  36. Anonymous

    Don’t forget the Spooks. They’re really real. Paid for by you and me.

  37. amanda

    Peter (not the regular one) if the site really is foolish why even take the time to read let alone post on this site? No. You don’t convince. It is just another variation of the ‘you do not agree with me, so you are negative so shut up’ argument. You bothering to write at all shows that you disagree, that’s allowed, so why not just say that instead of hiding behind the ‘naysayers’ diatribe? Edward, you would have to speak to Mr Harris about your ideas around jobs and Big Oil, I was repeating what a DCC person (who ought to know a thing or to about the issue) said at a public meeting. My logic is simple, Cr Brown is fiscally incompetent (My proof? A multimillion stadium that has saddled this city with unsustainable debt) making the fact that he is pushing for Big Oil very suspect. Brown mistakenly believed that the stadium would deliver jobs to the city, he was mistaken (because of the aforementioned incompetence) the fact that he is pushing this Big Oil drilling is a warning signal that we are going to once again pay for his negligence. The most important thing for me in pondering this fact is that Brown and fellow fiscally challenged councillors all want to be returned to council at next year’s election, with a local media disinterested in politicians’ accountability for past fiscal mistakes; it is a very useful thing to try and remind anyone who wants to hear that the people responsible for the city’s precarious position want to be elected at next year’s election.

  38. Peter

    Funny how we constantly try to find ‘the silver bullet’ that will ensure Dunedin’s economic survival and prevent us from further falling down the ladder of all socio-economic indices available. The stadium of course is the most recent epitome of this thinking. That somehow a ‘wow’ facility will kickstart other developments that build on from it with people being attracted to the city to settle… and so on. As if that ‘solution’ hadn’t been tried-and failed- elsewhere.
    The same kind of thing seems to be apparent with the lure of black gold (oil) which poses as many risks as opposed to advantages in terms of employment.
    I can understand the feelings of Laddie Labourer, Peter and Edward wanting to grasp these solutions when there seems to be precious little else going on here or, when good things do happen that employ people, we don’t hear enough about them. I can also understand the doubt expressed by Laddie Labourer with the loose talk about attracting ‘smart industries’ to Dunedin. Whatever that means in terms of mopping up available labour that is not ‘high end’ in terms of skills. I too got kind of irritated by candidates in the last election (local and general) who seemed to glibly talk along these lines. Once again, you’d think we were ‘smarter’ than other cities/countries who also are thinking along the same lines now that their traditional industries are stuffed. Remember the high tech ‘Celtic Tiger’- Ireland, for example? I think the Left will have to spell out the real alternatives for employing a lot more people as voters will not relate to this loose ‘smart industries’ talk.
    I’m willing to say I don’t have an armour of silver bullets in mind to make a more prosperous Dunedin. (Aside from that, I’m not in a position to do anything unfortunately.) I think Dunedin will at least hold on though through hard slog by those genuine industry leaders out there, who are younger, more energetic and smarter than myself. (Not hard!) I salute them.
    My last rave is the comment about ‘negativity’ on this site by some recent posters. There is certainly a place to celebrate more that is good about Dunedin and maybe we need to take this perception of negativity on board and highlight those good things more. I make no excuses, however, for criticising, through mockery if necessary, those self-serving individuals in our community who continue to masquerade as good citizens, acting in our interests, while simultaneously raping the city of public funds to support their own welfare. These people deserve the lack of respect I understand they have received on the streets of Dunedin. I prefer, when my ire is raised, to express this rage on a blog site. Call it therapy if you like!

  39. Calvin Oaten

    Wow Peter!! What are you taking? Don’t you understand that the stadium was/is the trigger to economic benefits hitherto undreamed of for the region? Malcolm Farry said so himself that it would bring at least $20 million economic benefit per annum to the region. Then there was former Cr Michael Guest (defrocked, debarred, delisted crooked lawyer) who told us all that if we didn’t grasp the nettle and build this facility that Dunedin would die. He even, at one stage told us that within six weeks it would be revealed that funding would come through so no ratepayer contribution would be required. Yes, that’s right, all very confidential of course, he admitted that he had heard it through a ‘jam jar’ pressed against the wall. Yes, even Mayor Peter Chin managed to stay awake long enough to help push the decision to proceed through, aided and abetted by the fact that there would be a minimum of $45 million of private funding plus $10 million from the University of Otago, all directly to fund construction. He even cajoled central government into providing $15 million towards the cause, on the premise that the PF and University funds were confirmed. Never mind that the (belated) PwC report stated categorically that the PF was definitely, at best only operational revenue, and that the university was really only spending on its own adjacent facility. Then there was the former CEO’s stated reason for purchasing Carisbrook from the ORFU for $7 million was to secure a tenant for the new stadium, and more importantly, to secure much needed industrial land for Dunedin’s future. Never mind all the industrial land set aside for the new stadium and State Highway 88 realignment. Then Peter Chin claimed all the extra jobs created to build the structure were a boost for Dunedin. The fact that most of the fabrication of steel and precast concrete all took place elsewhere in the country seem to have eluded him. Now that the edifice is complete and has celebrated its first birthday with a huge (but undeclared) deficit and a less than satisfactory occupation rate we all should celebrate and rejoice in the fact that Dunedin is on the map for having the first fully roofed stadium in the country. A precedent aspired to by other centres which will ape the stupidity of Dunedin anytime soon. Yes Peter, Dunedin will survive, no doubt, but the question is, in what form? My guess is a semi-bankrupt secondary city shunned by the politicians as a basket case, utterly consumed for the next five or more decades attempting to recover from the financial morass into which our enlightened City Fathers plunged us. We really do owe a great deal to the foresight of some of our unelected ‘social aspirants’ for their tenacity in securing some very good deals for themselves over a relatively short period of time before departing for places where they can relax and enjoy their ill-gotten gains. To add insult to injury, they skip without paying their bills to the tune of $480,000 and then have the temerity to prod two of their ‘brightest’ (about 10 watts bright actually) to sue our Mayoral institution for $1 million.
    No Peter, this is all true. I couldn’t possibly make it up.

  40. Peter

    Looks like you are having a bit of therapy yourself, Calvin. A tidy little overview of some of our old friends and their funny little ways that have let us down so badly without even a murmur of the word, ‘Sorry’.

  41. Calvin Oaten

    Peter, it doesn’t hurt to vent one’s spleen now and again, if only to remind ourselves (and others who may be interested ) as to who it is/was responsible for getting Dunedin into the terrible financial mess it is. Some would even say criminal.

  42. Russell Garbutt

    What an excellent summary Calvin. I had the very good fortune this morning to listen to an extended interview on National Radio with Jim Flynn of the University of Otago. In it, Jim pointed out that because many today live in what he called the “bubble of the present” that they were destined to repeat the foolishness and mistakes of the past. He used the folly of Afghanistan as one example, but the point he was making was that because people today have no knowledge of the past then they will believe politicians and “leaders” when they give us solutions that history tells us are worthless. The same “bubble of the future” exists with the media. Indeed I was told of one TVNZ reporter that hadn’t heard of either the Wahine or Erebus disasters – both events were unknown because they had happened before she was born. How could she possibly put any current event into context? Obviously she couldn’t. Nor could she ask any hard questions.

    With this climate and a willingness for the masses to accept, or be cajoled into acceptance, that the current crop of politicians, fraudsters, thieves and other low-lifes that prey on the public purse know best, there is little real hope for major change in our society.

    I think Calvin that you have highlighted superbly the litany of events that have helped cement our City into an inexorable decline and you could have added a few others such as the Chinese Garden and the complete lack of any vision by any local national politicians. There are significant pockets of creativity and genius within our ranks and I have the good fortune to work with, or be aware of many of them, but surrounding them are hordes of people who are dedicated to ripping society off.

    We all know many of the names of those that are guilty and I include those that are so stupid and lazy that they don’t even know what is going on when it is in front of them.

    It is really hard to be positive sometimes but I do note that the posters that decry those that point out the crimes of the rortists are usually bereft of any positive news themselves.

    • Elizabeth

      ### radionz.co.nz Sunday 12 August 2012
      Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday

      10:06 Ideas: Jim Flynn
      Jim Flynn is arguably New Zealand’s foremost moral philosopher. His pioneering work on IQs has changed the way we think about intelligence. Professor Flynn reflects on his life and influences and talks about some of the individuals and thinkers who have shaped his unique outlook on the world – a list which includes such diverse figures as Plato and the American socialist organiser Eugene Debes.
      Recent books by Jim Flynn include: Are We Getting Smarter (Cambridge University Press); Fate and Philosophy (Awa Press); and The Torchlight List (Awa Press).
      Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed (48′11″)

  43. amanda

    The other important thing the stadium provided is employment for Councillor Collins’ son, he told those of us who attended the South Dunedin meeting about the stadium, that he was fine with the stadium because his son was hoping to get employment there. Let’s hope that he did, that would make it all worth while. Come to think about it aren’t we due for a story in D Scene or the ORT about how Collins interviewed the Rolling Stones (or was it the Beatles?) a hundred years ago about now? This usually pops up around the time of a run-up to elections so maybe too early, now that I think about it. This is Councillor ‘Glass half full’ Collins, one of Dunedin’s perpetual councillors.

  44. Peter

    My eyes seemed to glaze over some news item the other day about possible local government changes with extending the electoral term to four years and giving Mayors greater executive powers. Thinking of the Dunedin political situation, I was not happy about this prospect. What would be the point of cementing in what we have to contend with now?
    I really think the number of terms a councillor serves in office should be limited. If it is good enough for the American Presidency, among others, surely it is good enough for local government. If we have four term cycles, two terms is enough. Three terms for three year cycles?
    Let’s face it. Most politicians’ best years are near the beginning/middle of their careers (for some). The odd one might still be effective beyond this time limit, but indispensability is never a real factor in politics. I admired Nandor Tanzcos, the former Green MP, who called it a day while he was still young enough to do other worthwhile things in his life for others. Sadly, too many politicians don’t have the grace to move over and give others a go. There are local government politicians who either have an indispensability complex or just don’t want to be bothered to find another job. These are the ones Russell mentions in his second to last paragraph. They are too comfortable, and believe they are still ‘wanted’, when we all know too many voters vote on name recognition rather than recognising their ability to do a good job.
    Interesting comments, Russell, on the Jim Flynn interview. He is a great thinker that man. Not sure what they are teaching in the way of Social Studies in schools these days. No doubt a lot of trite stuff to keep the kids tuned in. Or so they think.

  45. Edward McGraw

    I note with interest all the posters who are fixated on the stadium and the follies of the DCC (you know what they are). I gave my mates in Taranaki a call and it was private enterprise investment that is boosting the region. They kept out the local council to the betterment of the region. No DCC investment is needed here for the proposed supply base. So forget the stadium and all the history, get over it and let’s look forward to some real external investment that will supply all kinds of jobs, unlike the stadium which was always going to make a loss and not supply many jobs post construction. Don’t go yeah, right and this is not a Tui ad.

  46. amanda

    “..So forget the stadium and all the history, get over it and let’s look forward ..”. This is pretty straightforward; the people responsible for massive fiscal negligence are still sitting around the council table or are still stakeholders in this town cronying up to those councillors. They hold power and will continue their incompetence with Dunedin people being the fall guys for it. These individuals need to be removed from council. How can Hudson, Brown and Collins help the city? They are responsible for the fiscal mess in the first place? Looking to stadium councillors Hudson and mates for leadership is like looking to the fox to protect the chickens. With these fiscal dunderheads still in positions of power, we will be led even deeper into debt. I note that just like these councillors and the local media you wish to forget the stadium blunder and those responsible. Fine. So what is the problem? The stadium is built, where is your faith in the ‘trust me’ men? Farry said we should trust him and wait for those jobs to trickle on down. They will arrive anytime soon. Farry said so.

  47. Janet

    So the councillors are still there. It’s called democracy. And anyway what does your rant about the pro-stadium faction have to do with the comment about looking forward?

  48. Russell Garbutt

    Those that can’t or won’t learn from their mistakes will be forever destined to repeat them in the future. That comment equally applies to the likes of Collins, Brown, Hudson, Bezett and all those that voted for them. It also applies to the majority that didn’t vote at all.

  49. Anonymous

    Oh my. Some cage somewhere has been rattled. I don’t plan to “get over it” until the people responsible for creating “it” are thrown out and brought to accountability. Too many people with self-serving interests still telling others how to think and act in this city while they go about their business. As per the heading of this page, myself and others will be fully engaged in ensuring the likes of Syd Brown do not continue to be part of its future. You can keep voting for the oil vision if you want but don’t fall for the hype again.

  50. Peter

    Edward. The New Plymouth District Council was behind the amazing 6 km seaside walkway they have there that is a drawcard for tourists and residents alike. From what I gather NP has been fortunate in having councils with solid priorities the last few years, largely achieving community buy-in for its various innovative projects – the wind wand aside – but which is now accepted, and admired, along with Len Lye’s other contributions to the Govett Brewster Gallery.
    A wise council can be an asset for a region when it works well with private enterprise. I don’t see councils, per se, as being detrimental to development.
    We lived in Taranaki from 1981-93, the last eight years in NP. As people know, Taranaki is well known as an energy province with gas/oil deposits that have been extracted there over the years. In reference to Phil’s comments on Aberdeen, this industry has not been without its ups and downs in that province. During our time there it was very much a boom and bust economy. Another industry there was Ivan Watkins Dow which produced, among other things, Agent Orange. This was a reasonably major employer, from memory, but the trouble is that I understand there have been concerns about the health effects on people in the local suburb of Moturoa over the years. My point, of course, is that we can readily accept, without question, ‘dirty’ industries….because they employ people… but do we want this kind of development?

  51. amanda

    Political context is everything, Janet, without this voters are blind. Political accountability is not possible when the media does not hold councillors accountable for their incompetence; when the media’s explanation for the city’s unsustainable debt is that it was created by aliens or just appeared out of the blue with no human influence whatsoever. On the run up to the last election Hudson, Noone and Brown did not breathe a word of their stadium support, odd don’t you think? If they thought the public loved the stadium why not crow about their support? The media did not hint at Hudson and mates’ support either, but funnily enough AFTER the election the media suddenly remembered that Hudson and mates voted for the stadium debt and suggested that re-election proved that citizens weren’t bothered by Hudson and mates’ stadium debt. So it is now, on the run up to this election we hear nothing from the media about Brown’s responsibilty for the city’s debt, his fiscal incompetence, and so we are being steered to vote the man back in. Relevance for the future? How hard is Brown going to fight to keep assets (water) or to protect the environment if these can be routes to cover up his fiscal whoopsies? Also, how can we trust individuals to be capable of helping the city when their incompetence is proven?

  52. Anonymous

    He won’t fight, Amanda. We know it, so does the so-called independent media in Dunedin. But that’s the way the media likes it. Got business to do and that business is enabled by the egotistical, arrogant and or ignorant that warm the council seats. And after dropping $5M in the Rich List there’s a lot of to-do boxes still to be ticked on the Rort List before it’s time to sell up and join those mates in Queenstown.

  53. Anonymous

    It appears that other Stadium Councillor Andrew My-Constituents-Wish-There-Were-Six-Of-Me Noone looks like he’s preparing the Sakeholders’ asset stripping plan. Looks like the Delta chief has his piece of the pie agreed upon with his shite vision supporting change. Good old Stadium Times for being so investigative, so deep and so thorough on this madness as usual.

    It’s all rush to get these things sorted before the next election, isn’t it? A bit like John Key who obviously inspires them. The whole lot of them have failed their constituents and failed to act in the best interests of this city. They’re a pack of evil bastards, desperate and stupid who are still digging themselves deeper into a hole while a small group of filthy bastards are watching with glee to plunder the dying beast.

    Have you noticed Paul Orders has gone to ground lately too? Reckon he’s finally enlightened on how backward and corrupt both councils and their companies are. Probably quietly weighing up that tricky balance of continuing to receiving a sweet salary and choosing the opportune time to get the hell out of here.

    We need Paul to step up and take the Stadium Councillors by their withered disgusting balls and stop them in their tracks. We need him to throw the corrupt and flawed interests of those “key stakeholders” out the door.

    We also need a media who gives a damn.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/221761/dcc-prepares-unveil-water-plan

  54. amanda

    ‘a media who gives a damn’ and is not sleepy eyed and dreamy in Rugby land? That would be nice indeed!

  55. Judy

    Looks like Syd’s picking a fight on his own patch on Riccarton Road in this week’s Taieri Herald.

  56. Anonymous

    Agreed Judy, the road widening has nothing to do with safety. It’s about enabling larger, heavier, uglier trucks to carry logs stripped from forests to help some businessmen somewhere grow their personal wealth. Just like this Stadium Councillor is doing to Dunedin assets.

    The story referred to above is available here: http://fairfaxmedia.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=63BSMUQ7HW53

    Syd Brown must be removed from council now.

    The corruption in this city is beyond belief.

  57. Lindsay

    Lets get a grip people. Firstly, the maximum size of trucks on the road is set by legislation, not by the width of the road so whatever trucks are using Riccarton Rd are as big as they are going to get under the current rules.
    Secondly, plantation forests are supposed to be stripped. It is like complaining about market gardeners stripping cabbages.
    Like it or not Riccarton Road has become a defacto heavy traffic bypass. The residents don’t like it, but the alternative is through the centre of Mosgiel. I’m not sure you can blame Sydney for that.

  58. Hype O'Thermia

    Every time roads are widened and straightened to accommodate the larger trucks that have come into use since the road was built/rebuilt, it’s a very short time before even larger trucks & trailers are brought into use. When I was a kid a big truck was not a lot bigger than a long wheelbase tradesman-type van (though they had the storybook truck shape). I’ve been observing the too-big, improved-road, new-even-bigger sequence for a long time now.
    The maximum size of trucks on the road is indeed set by legislation. Legislation has been changed many times, otherwise they’d still all be no bigger than LWB tradey vans

  59. Rob Hamlin

    The economics of large long haul trucks and why rail is not used instead has always fascinated me. Let’s imagine a 50-container train heading out of Dunedin. It has one driver, one engine and one transmission. The bearings and brakes on the wagons are all far more massive than their road borne equivalents. The wheels, lacking pneumatic tyres, are far easier to turn, as any vehicle with pneumatics is always ‘climbing’ onto its own tyres. This is why mountain bikes – especially with ‘nobblies’ are harder to peddle than road bikes. The rail system is also much more easily graded that its road equivalent, with Mt Cargill and the Kilmog on the road.

    To move the equivalent fifty containers out of Dunedin by truck requires fifty drivers, fifty engines, fifty transmissions, 500+ delicate inefficient and puncturable tyres carried on far longer travel and more delicate suspension systems. The stop/start nature of their movements wears everything out much faster and they have to climb up 1/10 gradients to over a 1000 feet twice. Perhaps this is why when I last shifted something heavy down this country I shifted it by rail – because it was less than half the price of its lowest road transport equivalent.

    A rail system that handles its cargoes like a set of container ports, with rail carrying over the long haul and a local truck fleet covering a range of appropriate sizes and capabilities doing the shorter hauls out of these rail terminals is a potent transport solution, as even the American are now finally finding out. Door to door delivery is often touted as the ‘killer advantage’ of the road haulier. However, a long haul truck, when it picks up or delivers at its destination, enjoys no real advantage over an integrated rail freight system regardless of its load.

    With the rail system, container loads can be transshipped at and delivered by local full-load trucks that are specifically equipped for pick up and drop off of containers – thereby increasing the utilisation rate of this expensive (and bulky and heavy) extra equipment – which otherwise spends most of its time being hauled up and down the SH1. Split loads can be transferred onto smaller trucks for delivery to local destinations that the larger trucks cannot easily reach, and are a damn nuisance if they do – George St for instance.

    Oh, and you don’t get your road and underground infrastructure smashed up either. The most telling illustration of this are the two eight lane highways that link New York and the Baltimore/Philadelphia/Washington conurbation. In the eighties and nineties I used both of these highways regularly. The Garden State Parkway was immaculate – the New Jersey Turnpike was a suspension smashing obstacle course. Yet far less was spent on the GSP each year. The difference? Trucks were not allowed on the GSP.

  60. Bev Butler

    In 1979 I was employed in the freight transport section of the Ministry of Transport. On 1 April 1979 road user charges were introduced. The philosophy behind the policy was that the road user charges would cover the costs of the damage done by freight trucks to the roads. I don’t know if the road user charges presently cover all the costs or not.
    I understand that the local decision a few years ago for logs to be transported by road rather than rail had nothing to do with costs it was more to do with behind the scene dealings by a few. There are others in the community who know more than me about what went on.

  61. Calvin Oaten

    Rob: All that you say makes perfectly good sense to anyone with half a thought to the subject. The manpower factor is very potent, never mind the difference in capital costs in plant and infrastructure required of the road transport system. Not only as a freight mover there is also the people mover factor. If a fraction of the capital expenditure being spent on roads, (both national and urban) was spent on upgrading rail, I believe the tracks from North Cape to the Bluff could be replaced. Then with the modern running gear available today, your 50 container loads could become 80 to 100 containers, still with the same manpower involved.
    Missing of course, is the major factor; the power of political lobbyists and the flatulent response to that. The classic example of this was the contract to move logs from Mt Allen (in the Taieri Gorge) to Port Chalmers. Rail went past their gate with a downhill run to Wingatui, meaning the only power required was that for braking. Thence level run through to the Port. But no, road prevailed, despite the fact that it was, for a large part over secondary County roads, the upkeep of which was the ratepayers’ cost. No Rob, whenever you come face to face with politics (both national and local) common sense goes out the window and it comes down purely to vote catching. Rail, already a SOE carries the prospects of only a percentage the votes of the employees, whilst the road transport industry carries thousands of potential vote with the added fact of the agendas. And last but not least, how many deaths and injuries are as a result of rail as compared to road?

  62. Hype O'Thermia

    On these pages we often mention the lack of news media that is prepared to tackle the uncomfortable stories. This may be a longed-for alternative to the crime – PR-releases – celebgossip fare in mainstream print but it is going to rely on people willing and able to put some money into it.

    “Introducing the first version of Journalism.org.nz
    By Bernard Hickey
    Journalism.org.nz is a not-for-profit trust dedicated to supporting and building public interest news, analysis, comment and debate….” http://journalism.org.nz/

  63. amanda

    Bernard Hickey says ‘…New Zealand needs a strong and vibrant fourth estate that challenges, probes, questions and holds to account those people, institutions and forces that affect the lives of all New Zealanders…” We sure do; the fabulous lesson the stadium con has taught me is the crucial role the media plays in democracy. If the media supports corruption by not challenging it, then it makes itself useless to citizens and positions itself against democracy. As we can still see with our local media continuing to be silent on Hudson, Brown, Noone and mates’ negligence that has created the city’s massive debt. With a silent media negligent politicians feel safe to continue to work toward selling assets and spending millions on the stadium blackhole. And they also have a very good chance of being re-elected next year. Every time the ODT has a photo of Noone, Acklin or Brown it helps their recognition and is like free advertisement.

    • Elizabeth

      amanda and Hype
      now see Cull surging on the warehouse district with his pimps in tow… in ODT’s weekend edition
      I’m not even going to provide the link, throw material
      like we’re supposed to see them as the Good and Just (via this little ‘good news’ distraction)
      well, until Mr Cull gets honest on the ORFU and refuses to settle defamation proceedings out of court, thereby opening the ORFU books to scrutiny at the High Court, this is NO MAYOR FOR US

  64. Hype O'Thermia

    Time for the old grey mayor to prepare for the last round-up – the lonesome trail that ends at the knacker’s yard.

  65. Calvin Oaten

    Hype: Not much point in this Mayor going to the knackers yard. He hasn’t got any.

  66. Peter

    Personally, I see this warehouse district development as positive for Dunedin amid all the gloom of professional rugby and how it has immensely harmed the city. Those developers who are putting their own money in, plus the work of the council through Glen Hazelton and sympathetic councillors to make it happen,is what gives me some hope that something good can still happen here. My beef about the council’s continued propping up of the rugby fraternity and the cursed stadium is another matter I prefer to keep separate.

  67. Rob Hamlin

    One needs to be fair here. Having made a few inquiries recently, it seems according to what I have been told that if one is defending a defamation case that is covered by insurance, how – or if – it is fought in court is not your decision. The insurance company calls the shots, and if it feels that it will cost them less to settle out of court and make you eat s**t as part of that process, then that is what they will do. If you don’t like that, then you are free to refuse to settle and to go to court – but at your expense. Not abiding by their legal direction can/will void the policy.

    One could reasonably assume that this voiding action could also include the defendant/insured not abiding by any gagging clauses that they might be stuck with as part of said settlement in order to stop them subsequently qualifying any apology that they may be forced to personally make to the plaintiff. Not much of a decision is it?

  68. Peter

    The consoling thing is that while the rich and powerful wield power they themselves are not immune from being worn down by the opposition… if it is united. They yearn for outward respectability and when they don’t get respect from the minions they are vulnerable. There is more than one way to skin a cat. I’m sure that ultimately these gentlemen will pay a price even if they do win a partial victory in the court.

  69. Calvin Oaten

    Rob; that is precisely the reason I was given when I questioned as to why Mayor Cull was in negotiations behind closed doors. My response was, why didn’t he say, “forget the insurance, let’s go to court and have this out once and for all. That way the truth will be tabled under oath and the citizens’ will then be able to make their own decision as to the merits of the case. It would be a small price to pay (even if the judgement were unfavourable) for justice to be seen to be done.” It might even expose the ORFU’s dirty linen regarding the alleged ‘pokies’ doings.

  70. Russell Garbutt

    Calvin, I think that there is no real “alleged” aspect to what the ORFU have been exposed as doing by the large number of stories written in the ODT, the Sunday Star Times and the NZ Herald.

    What is totally incomprehensible is how the Board members of the ORFU still refuse to comment on these matters. Or do they really think that we believe that one of their employees entered into all of the 3 Jokers arrangements unbeknown to the Board? Every application for pokie fund money has to have an attached resolution of the Board attached to it. So any one of these Board members – particularly the Board Chairs – must have known about all these applications – including those coming from the Centre of Excellence. There really is no believable reason to either withold information unless it is to save their skins from public exposure, embarrasment and censure.

    I believe that these two litigants would crawl over broken glass rather than have to explain under oath the complete stories of the various trusts, associated companies and the activities involved in the running of the 3 Jokers and the associated grants via TTCF. Or do they believe that none of this happened? Maybe the near liquidation of the ORFU was just a bad dream that was made right by the good old ratepayer waking them up with a nice cuppa and a fat cheque?

  71. Calvin Oaten

    Russell, thanks for that. It only emphasises the reasons why Mayor Cull has a fiduciary obligation to the citizens to defend the defamation in the law courts. To opt out saying he was bound by insurance dictate, is at best wimpish, at worst, it is ‘kowtowing’ to the appellants. What loyalty the DCC has to the ORFU is a very good question. Particularly in this ‘defamation’ scandal. One can only wonder where he gets his advice from. We, the citizens are not well served by this man.

    • Elizabeth

      Calvin, I sure hope Cull isn’t relying on financial advice inside council (Athol Stephens) for cost assessment of legal options offered via his/council’s counsel and council insurers. That would be in the realm of the truly grotesque.

  72. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth, I think AS is yesterday’s man. No, I think it is the insurance causing the direction, as Rob says. The point is, a secret settlement is politically of no value to Mayor Cull whatsoever. He is missing a giant opportunity to gather some serious ‘brownie points’ with the public here, and at the same time putting the ORFU on the spot to come clean. The man has a seriously bent political antenna. He needs a technician to advise him. I wonder if he knows such a person? Maybe CEO Orders could guide him. But then it is not his function to ‘wet nurse’ the ‘duds’ around him.

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Calvin, I didn’t miss your earlier points, however it’s my view that whatever ‘technical’ solution (tactical) is arrived at legally and politically (these are why you use expert lawyers, right) it will be with financial massage of message for voting constituents. After all, the defamation suit defended or not stands to expose in some way both DCC and ORFU, their dealings and or cover-ups. Nature of the beast.

  73. ormk

    Anyone know who the insurers are? Its hard to see how it could be cheaper to settle. Premiums for their other clients will be pressured up.

  74. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth, I will be very interested to see how the Mayor can “financially massage” his way around this one. Anyone with even the smallest of understanding will see the demeaning message for the ‘mayoralty’ in all of this. It can only bleed votes as well as the money. And the weird part of it all is that he didn’t have to do it. Just stand up and call their bluff.

  75. Russell Garbutt

    The problem is that the real winners in this mess will be the legal beagles. We all know damn well whether we agree with Dave Cull’s comments or not. The real issue is whether “we” represent any sort of cross-section of the voting public.

    I would say that “we” are generally more informed than most. But “we” take the time to read, digest and contribute, which is one hell of a lot more than many are either capable of, or able to, or whatever. Mother of 4 from inner Caversham is more worried about the here and now, than what she sees she has little control or influence over. And mainstream media will not always be able to inform or communicate.

    Rest assured that any insurer doesn’t give a hoot over the rights or wrongs of anything – all they want to do is to settle at the least cost to them. They know that full well – and in this case Mains and Graham know that. So they bung in some spurious round figure sum like a million dollars which they wave over the City like a club, knowing that the insurers will fold at the first possible step.

    What are the consequences?

    If they get ANY financial settlement from the City’s insurers it will really piss people off, they themselves will be brought into public ridicule and odium, but they know that they can bear that from their comfortable bases out of town. Dave Cull must lose a great deal of face – even though he may very well be forced into some sort of settlement penned by the insurers. After all, if Dave Cull put a vote to the current Council along the lines of “will you back me on taking this to Court?”, can you imagine just where the current lot would pitch their lines? Not behind Cull, but firmly behind their mates at the ORFU – and the nincompoops would be right behind the main stadium ringleaders.

    What I’d be interested in knowing would be the results of a public poll along these lines.

    1 Knowing that the ORFU have been reported to have been involved in a number of activities including the operation of pubs in Auckland in order to obtain pokie funds contrary to the requirements of the Gambling Act,
    2 Knowing that the ORFU had been warned for some years by their own auditors that they were living well beyond their means,
    3 Knowing that they were incurring debts with local creditors in the knowledge that they couldn’t repay those creditors – including close to half a million dollars to the ratepayers,
    4 Knowing that the ORFU treated the DCC and its ratepayers with disdain and contempt by holding a fund raising dinner but left the City to pay for the booze, food, hire of the venue and cleaning of the venue while retaining the income,
    5 Do you feel that the comments made by the Mayor on National Radio where he said that the ORFU had acted in bad faith, dishonestly and in an incompetent manner, are justified or not justified?

    Now that would be an interesting poll for a newspaper to run, or perhaps get some really good pollsters involved.

  76. Rob Hamlin

    I agree that it would be better to have this out in court. However, if I were in Cull’s shoes I would not be bucking the instructions of the insurance company. Once they are off the hook, they are off the hook – and over the hills and far away. This could leave Cull to face proceedings on his own – if the council can wriggle away from liability relating to Cull’s statements, and I would not be absolutely confident that they can’t.

    Defamation litigation costs rapidly rise into the hundreds of thousands of dollars – win or lose. I do not know how much Cull is worth, but if he’s a normal bloke merely fighting this on his own could financially destroy him – and losing it would be much more likely too. Remember in the criminal law you’re guilty if you did it. In the civil law you’re guilty if you’re the first one to run out of money – And that is likely to be DC in this instance if he’s on his own.

    There is a difference between courage and foolhardiness – and getting yourself financially destroyed on the off chance of creating outrage in this City seems to me to be the latter. This community seems to have an astonishingly high outrage threshold in my experience. Being financially annihilated is no joke, and the older you get the less funny it becomes.

    No, if I were Cull I would not buck the insurance company – unless of course I had a Council motion agreeing to pay the costs of fighting and potentially losing this case in the courts. Because that’s the issue – will the Council back him up? He was after all speaking as the Mayor. Now, if I had that mandate in my pocket, then I would tell the insurance company to get lost tomorrow – But if asked for that mandate, would the other councillors give it to him? – Now there’s an interesting question. If it’s legal for them to issue a guarantee of this nature, then Council would thus appear to be the logical next stop.

    As a ratepayer, I would personally consider it to be money well spent.
    A layman’s view – Any illumination via lawyers’ comments welcome.

  77. Calvin Oaten

    Rob, you are right on the money here. But the way I see it, the issue was between Council / ORFU. Therefore I believe Dave Cull was wearing his Mayoral cap when he said what he said on National radio. On this basis, I can’t see but that council “MUST” support him to a man on this. The question here is: is the City or the ORFU the party running things? No contest, I would have thought. In fact, it is a very poor reflection on all councillors that they have not been loudly, and publicly supportive of Mayor Cull on this. Probably ‘cowed’ by the insurance’s ‘legal boys’. The money is almost a side issue here. Compared with what this council has squandered over recent years on the ORFU, any judgment for costs against would be small beans.

  78. amanda

    Cull is most definitely on his own. The stadium snakes have shown who their masters are and it ain’t Cull. And Greater Dunedin isn’t interested in supporting Cull and pitting themselves against the Seven snakes who are the majority on council. They each have their own agendas they wish to fulfil (the most important of which is being re-elected, of course). Because of this it is the stadium cabal of Hudson, Noone and Brown who control Cull and the council.

  79. Peter

    One thing is for sure the national media is interested in the bizarre nature of this case. I know at the time they were incredulous that the DCC bailed out the ORFU and then the ungrateful ****s go and slap a defamation writ on Dave Cull. Such a bad move by the DCC to let the ORFU off the hook…. and all in the vain hope of saving the stadium. Or so they said. This should hopefully turn ugly.

  80. Anonymous

    It’s egg on the grinning face for John Campbell too. He was their boy, especially for hyping that “fundraising”.

  81. Peter

    Yes, John Campbell made a dick of himself, and his show, for doing that fundraising. They should have done a thorough background check on the ORFU and some of its key players, but, no, they thought it would be a good publicity stunt for ‘Campbell Live’ to play on Kiwis love of rugby and do their bit to save the lovely, old institution called the ORFU. We couldn’t see it go to the wall, with all that tradition behind it, they believed. The fact that the buggers had run the organisation into the ground, to the point of liquidation, showed how much they thought of that tradition by putting it in such peril in the first place.

  82. Hype O'Thermia

    John Campbell used to have enough mongrel to ask hard questions and the charm not to come across as an out of control pitbull. Excessive popularity has done what an early trip to the vet does. He’s turned into one of those slobbery dogs who licks sloppy love over even the most unworthy.
    Interesting factette – prosthetic dogs’ balls are available (not sure about in NZ) and used dishonestly for show dogs where the animal being shown is supposed to be “entire”.

  83. Peter

    Yes, an interesting contrast to Kim Hill, featured in the latest Listener, who has lost none of her verve and bite over the years. Particularly struck a cord with comments she made about multi millionaire and philanthropist Owen Glenn whom she challenged on air about the discrepancy between giving to charity and doing the odd bit of tax avoidance. Not many journalists would have the guts to do that with some of our local ‘revered’ citizenry.

  84. Rodger

    I see that Syd was smart and got all that drainage put in to assist his development, while Mosgiel’s main street still suffers from flooding because of a lack of money to solve its drainage problems.

  85. Martin Legge

    It was Syd Brown, as Deputy Mayor, who endorsed the $500k pokie grant paid by TTCF to the Taieri Pony Club in 2010. The money was used for a new drainage system on the land adjacent to Wingatui owned by the Otago Racing Club. At that time TTCF had been legally prevented from making grants to horse racing and so the partnership with the Pony Club (as the applicant) was convenient timing.

    Perhaps it’s time the Taieri Pony Club extended its show jumping activities into the Mosgiel Shopping Centre and apply for another pokie grant for some drainage !!!

    • Elizabeth

      The point is well made by Roger and Martin; and if the Taieri community thinks it has been well served by Cr Syd Brown it should seriously think again, and be prepared to vote him out in the 2013 local body elections.

  86. Martin Legge

    My staff processed the Taieri Pony Club grant application and it became obvious to them what was behind this as the club could have bought their own piece of well drained land complete with clubrooms for $500k.

    The grant was driven by trustee Murray Acklin and others from the Otago Racing Club (ORC). TTCF even went so far as to seek and pay for an expensive legal opinion as to whether the grant could be considered a “charitable purpose”. How many other worthy grant applicants get that kind of service from a pokie trust?

    We began delving into the application and saw plans indicating that the ORC intended doing its own commercial subdivision of land around the course but we were advised this was in no way related to the grant. We also saw several versions of the agreement drawn up between the Pony Club and ORC which appeared heavily weighted in favour of ORC.

    Even the DIA smelt a rat and requested a full copy of the application from TTCF long before the story broke in the ODT. DIA completed their investigation without speaking to any of my staff.

  87. Lindsay

    Martin, to what use is that land currently being put?

  88. Martin Legge

    The $500k was paid to drain a portion of land that was to be used by the Taieri Pony Club on a limited number of days as per the club’s events calendar agreed to between ORC and the Pony Club.

  89. Martin Legge

    http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/GamblingComplianceAuditReports2011-2012/$file/TheTrustsCommunityFoundation.pdf

    For those interested the attached is TTCF’s latest DIA Audit Report and the Taieri Pony Club gets a mention on page 5, not for being a worthy grant but because TTCF Director Murray Acklin, the man who pushed the grant through, attended the official opening day and claimed all his costs back from TTCF which meant community funds paid for his outing. He is also member of Otago Racing Club but resigned as a Director of TTCF shortly before DIA released this report.

    Its exactly the same type of expenditure that these same Directors were punished for in 2010 by the Gambling Commission – albeit that the punishment was a pathetic 6 day suspension with no financial penalty to the Directors.

  90. Peter

    Revolting people. The lot of them.

  91. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 22 Nov 2012
    Beautification blamed for Mosgiel flooding
    By Chris Morris
    Attempts to make Mosgiel’s main street more beautiful are again being blamed for sending flash flooding washing into Gordon Rd shops. About a dozen shops were affected by a sudden downpour of 25mm of rain on Saturday afternoon, overwhelming Mosgiel’s limited stormwater system and sending floodwater into main street shops.
    Read more

  92. Anonymous

    There are so many things wrong with this Stadium Councillor and his support of oil interests. He certainly has no place saying protesters “don’t have the right to impose their will on anyone or the city of Dunedin” because THAT’S WHAT HE DID PUSHING THROUGH HIS BLOODY STADIUM and the hundreds of millions in debt it has created.

    The wider Dunedin community needs more Taieri citizens to participate in the next election and vote in new representative. Syd Brown gets voted back in by the racing and professional rugby community, a group of nefarious self-interested wealthy folk who are happy with Syd getting his pipes enlarged and don’t care whether you get that pool or not.

    By the way Mosgiel – that’s calling hanging a carrot to lead you. You should have realised that after the last two elections. Strewth.

    Thank you to Wolf who posted the ODT forum comment and ODT for only abridging some of it. It’s a miracle they let it through.

    Above, Peter sums the cabal up best.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 23 Nov 2012
    Greenpeace to campaign
    By Shawn McAvinue
    The new Rainbow Warrior is sailing towards Dunedin to campaign but a Dunedin city councillor says residents should decide on the future of deep-sea drilling in Otago.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/236109/greenpeace-campaign#comment-36062

  93. Anonymous

    AS IF this self important Stakeholders’ tool would allow you and me to decide on something that affects their interests.

    What a load of crap.

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