Extraordinary editorials

The ODT bellows: “They should be more open.” Their editorial today is a form of tirade directed at the Southern District Health Board (SDHB); with a wrist slap to the University of Otago. The message, however, has sticky parallels.

### ODT Online Fri, 3 Aug 2012
Editorial: Open communication
It is natural organisations want to control news about themselves. They want “good news” to spread and bad news to remain as hidden as possible. No-one wants their dirty linen flapping in the breeze. Thus, public relations firms and communications specialists are paid to develop strategies and to help massage and control information. Of course, it pays to be upfront and open because the consequences of not doing so could well be much worse publicity. Often, public relations advisers will, sensibly, advise openness, recognising the longer-term benefits. But no-one should be fooled into thinking that they are operating for wider altruistic reasons. They are serving their clients or bosses.
Read more

We’re in NO DOUBT the ODT editor has chosen their words very carefully, but in so doing perhaps they should pause to reflect on their own production of what constitutes local news in the Southern Region. We use the plural.

And here’s the thing, it’s hard for the ‘average reader’ to work out who is ‘speaking’ in each of the newspaper’s editorials these days, since there’s a discernible movement and variance of principle, voice and direction, or so it appears.

The anonymity of the editor – or the actions and beliefs of the team producing editorial material – erodes believability and reader confidence; in much the same way as when the newspaper’s ownership comes to bear (do we detect?) on the printed editorial stance.

‘Open communication’ is the headline. It’s something we expect from the independent newspaper, owing to the less than edifying antics and misdeeds that riddle city power structures and business, tied to in-your-face indiscriminate spending of public funds for little or no perceptible public gain.

In an effective democracy, and particularly when public money at stake, however, transparency should be fundamental. Not only does this diminish the opportunity for the cancer of corruption, but it also – as noted last week by the Law Commission in its report on the Official Information Act – promotes accountability. -ODT

ODT itself should be in no doubt that if it wants to play ‘dumb blonde’ or ‘dull brunette’ then the community’s quest for transparency, exposure and lack of newspaper bias will simply change gear – we’ll slip quietly to other news sources for the information we seek, some published, some underground. Motivated people get what they need, where they can. The work-arounds: internet and web sources are all-powerful for constant/instant messaging and exchange of visual data. The underground news economy.

The newspaper – while the physical paper appeals to the eye and hand – is ‘maybe’ something we’ll continue to buy, as a habit. For the most part, Southern news (and morality) is coming to us via social networking services, phone calls and person-to-person meetings – it’s fast and unabridged. People are taking charge of their information sharing. It’s exciting, it’s risky, it works for good and bad. It’s addictive.

We know that lumbering institutions have trouble sending the ‘real news’ by official means – there’s a lot to hide, wheelings, dealings, and slights.

Watch the silence of city councillors. Most are scared of communicating with their constituents by media; god forbid that social media should come between them and their council paychecks or, for some at least, the kickbacks and advantages received from private interests to propel decisions through council committee and departmental processes.

It’s a small world and the Otago Daily Times could adopt a neutral independent newspaper stance to capture most of the undercurrents. Does it? No. Especially not, if when things get too close.

Why are letters to the editor not printed? Why are online comments deleted, rewritten or abridged without explanation on certain topics? Frankly, it’s not all about bad grammar or actionable comments.

Most of the time we’re allowed to read ‘what is safe’, things guaranteed to not upset the Applecart of Order established by the Otago Daily Times in conjunction with (we suspect…) Dunedin City Council and the old boy networks. Intelligent networked people watch for what’s NOT being printed by the patriarchy.


The Catholic Bishop of Dunedin has come out as a misogynist… that ODT won’t allow comments at the online post in the interests of widening the debate for female and male subscribers is a sad indictment on the newspaper. Loudly, it shows the inability of All to participate in ‘open communication’ through the newspaper at yet another critical moment for the great ink-blackened unwashed.

Related Post:
28.7.12 Pokie fraud: ODT fails to notice own backyard

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, People, Politics

78 responses to “Extraordinary editorials

  1. Elizabeth

    ### ch9.co.nz August 3, 2012 – 5:59pm
    North Otago Times launched this week
    Allied Press has launched a new tabloid publication this week, for readers north of Palmerston. The first edition of the North Otago Times is hot off the press, and the editor says it will cover more local news for the region.

    • Elizabeth

      Oh. Comments allowed today. But everyone too scared to broach it, maybe – or better things to do on Saturday including watching the Olympics after NZ Gold(s). Hopefully the latter.

  2. Anonymous

    Are they wanting to build a rugby stadium there too?

    • Elizabeth

      Maybe… the local model for stadium building – as we understand it to date – is dependent on a low population area, with many earning $20,000 or less per annum.

  3. Anonymous

    Oh well, if not hyping someone’s agenda to build a multi-purpose stadium or community centre then maybe the province meets the appropriate threshold of rugby news to start another paper.

    • Elizabeth

      ODT is holding back today’s Otago stadium story, ‘The challenge: make it pay‘ (page 28 in the print edition), to provide Sunday news. Tomorrow is the bleeding stadium’s first birthday – the faults are well known. The building design, business model and management go from bad to worse as projects go, that’s not counting the EXTRAORDINARY DEBT.

      Unfortunately, Chris Morris cites the usual commentators in his story. What’s needed is an independent review that goes critically beyond anything stated to date on the DCC and ORC’s incredibly IMPRUDENT and facile decision to fund a new stadium for Dunedin – dependent as it was on the highly suspect vehicle, Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust (CST) headed by Malcolm Farry. The books of which trust remain invisible to public scrutiny. You might well guess why that is. The stadium operation was NEVER a business – all the slight of hand in the world does not turn manifest rorting of public funds into ‘gold’.

      I expect Cull (spoken by Syd) has some imaginary tale of rescue planned via the Spooks massage clinic for Wild November, when the city council’s review of the stadium business model and the associated companies structure comes to light, to further endanger and extort – by public theft – Dunedin ratepayers and residents.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    I put the following to Chris Morris today:
    Hello Chris,
    A good rundown on the situation of the Stadium after one year of operation. Interesting facts and details as per David Davies and Mayor Dave Cull, emphasising the positives, tempered somewhat by Bev Butler and Cr Lee Vandervis. In order to sort the two sides of the situation you now need to do your own in-depth research into the history and financial background of the project in order to come up with your own assessment of the viability. Anything less would be a disservice to the public by denying them all the details, both for and against.
    It would be a very good exercise for your journalistic career.

    Calvin Oaten

  5. Calvin Oaten

    This is a piece I submitted to the Editor of the ODT. Publication was declined.

    Subject: Defamation

    It is a very sad state of affairs when we find the Mayor of our city of Dunedin being sued for defamation. This action is being brought by two persons involved in the business of the Otago Rugby Union, for the combined sum of $1 million, reputedly on the grounds that they feel that their integrity and business acumen has been publicly besmirched by a public utterance on national radio by our mayor Mr Dave Cull.

    Now the ORFU has been the subject of concern to the citizens of Dunedin for a considerable period of time, namely concerning the new Stadium. Controversy surrounds this edifice, particularly the cost of construction and the debt incurred in the citizens’ name. Then, in the extreme concessions being made by the DCC to the ORFU and the Highlanders Franchise, in order to confirm their use of this stadium. This situation is somewhat exacerbated by the fact that the ORFU is in dire financial straits, and is arguably on financial life support provided by the good graces of the citizenry of Dunedin. When Mayor Dave Cull made reference to the fact that he felt poor judgment and management failures had contributed in large part to the predicament the ORFU finds itself in, these two gentlemen took umbrage. This, notwithstanding the fact that the DCC was in the process of forgiving some $480,000 of unpaid debt owing by the ORFU to the DCC. The reason for this action was to secure the ORFU and the Highlanders Franchise as tenants of the stadium, with a firm commitment to stage all rugby events of significance in the stadium. That in itself, could be construed as a form of blackmail.

    So why the umbrage by these two gentlemen? Could it be just ‘hubris’ due to the ‘macho’ image that rugby portrays? Could it be that it is because of the constant rumours surrounding the ORFU and ‘pokie’ charity trust funds amounting to several $millions being misapplied? Whatever, it seems like this aggressive move might well be seen as an intimidatory maneuvre to divert attention from the possibility of these insinuations being investigated. This of course could well jeopardise the arrangement between the ORFU and the DCC. Whatever, it is a serious situation in as much as it is just as much the institute of the Mayoralty as the mayor himself on trial here.

    This situation is made even worse with the the defendant and the appellants negotiating a settlement behind closed doors, presumably with a commercially sensitive outcome, denying the public the facts of the matter. This, surely is a matter which ought to be aired in the law court, thereby bringing all of the facts into the light of day. In fact, in this case it seems to be doubly important as there are two courts involved here. There is the law court and the court of public opinion, and the process being followed denies the court of public opinion (the people) the opportunity to form their own conclusions re the justice of the outcome. So why should this behind closed doors action be followed? I find it difficult to believe that Mayor Cull would willingly concede to these tactics. After all, it was he who campaigned on open books and transparency in his mayoral tenure. Could it be that the defendant’s insurance company is exerting pressure in order to avoid publicity? If so, why? Indeed, why would our Mayor accede to these conditions in the knowledge that his constituents would be deprived of crucial information concerning their welfare. Is this justice? In my opinion most definitely not.

    It is time for our Mayor to step up to the plate and put the citizens’ interests first. If the costs increase, so be it. Any cost would pale into insignificance compared to the citizens’ loss of trust and faith in this administration.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    This is a piece I submitted to Philip Somerville, editor of the Opinion Page. It was also declined.

    Subject: An Opinion

    The long running saga of the Stadium project has arrived at the interesting stage where the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report commissioned by the Dunedin City Council has been received. This was requested in order to determine the true costs of the stadium, to ascertain what burden the city – and by extension – the ratepayers would be carrying. It has [been] revealed that the full cost of the project, including interest, amounts to $224.4 million. An increase in the actual build of $8.4m over the projected $198m. This in itself is no surprise to those who have followed this project, and indeed, is in line with some of those estimating the real costs. It does not of course include “collateral’ costs such as the Carisbrook purchase nor the city cost of the State Highway 88 diversion, nor ongoing operational losses. None of which were part of the PwC brief.

    However, the revelation of most interest is the confirmation that the Private Funding was not construction funding, but could only be treated as ongoing operating revenue. Likewise the University of Otago’s investment was largely used for its own development purposes with, at best, only $2.3m contributing to the stadium build. This is hugely important as it was clearly stated at the outset that the stadium budget included Private Funding over $40m and the University’s as $10m. This was reiterated in three consecutive Long Term Annual Plans, 2007/08 through 2009/10. It vindicates long held opinions by many people.

    Now it is quite clear that if the original budget to council presented, showed a shortfall of over $50m, it is highly unlikely that the stadium would have been approved for construction. That would have been the end of it. So what can be deduced from this?

    It is difficult not to come to the conclusion that it was a plan conceived and perpetrated by the proponents of the stadium, in order to get approval and commencement of the project. This would have needed the tacit support of significant senior people within the DCC, as it was the deciding body. Why would they do this? Could it be that pressure was being brought to bear from influential quarters, not least the rugby fraternity? It was rugby which stood to benefit the most with the new stadium.

    If this is true, then it could only be construed as fraud. Fraud, as in the use of false representation in order to deceive. Fraud, which was perpetuated over a long period during which sworn affidavits and legal presentations were submitted in a court of law which may well now be seen as perjurious. A very serious state indeed. That our mayors and councillors have accepted this potentially ugly situation, either knowingly or in ignorance, is no credit to them.

    The most telling outcome of all this is loss of trust and respect. Trust in, and respect for, all the persons and groups involved, the CST, ORFU, ORC, substantial financial institutions, accounting and law organisations, knights of the realm, professional directors, and worst of all, our civic administrators and elected mayors and councillors. The fact that none of these people – with the exception of a minority of councillors – spoke up when it became obvious that all was not above board speaks volumes.

    Meanwhile we are witness to the unedifying spectacle of two of those prominent people suing our Mayor for defamation in the form of obscene amounts of citizens’ treasure. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice would say: “It just gets awfuler and awfuler.”

  7. Calvin Oaten

    This is a suggestion I put to Mayor Dave Cull. Needless to say, it went down like a lead balloon. I didn’t bother to send it to the ODT for obvious reasons. I did however, facetiously copy it to the respective departments at the University. Again, they must also have a stock of lead balloons. Debating issues seems to be nobody’s forté.

    Subject: Stadium Solution???

    Hello all,
    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 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.

    {This item was previously published here on another thread. -Eds}

  8. Anonymous

    Thank you Calvin.

    I hope we are not going to see a repeat of the Peter Chin vs. Teresa Stevenson debacle. Those were dark days in journalism and Chris has noticably lifted his game of late. But this stadium story, alongwith the Saint Farry lead-in a few pages earlier, makes you want to spit up a little and question whether lighting the fire with it is still enough justification for the two dollars.

    I am surprised the paper knocked it off the usual front page position, even for Olympic gold medal news.

  9. Peter

    Thank God we didn’t hear from Saint Malcolm for the first birthday article on the stadium. Needless to say we would undoubtedly have been subjected to his false claims that the stadium was ‘exceeding expectations financially’ etc etc etc.
    Unfortunately, we still got to see his mug with the Otago Festival of Arts programme being unveiled…with Malcolm fronting as Chairman of the Arts Festival Board. Here we have Malcolm, this time, as our primo culture vulture. Is there nothing this little man hasn’t got his stubby fingers on/in?

  10. Peter

    Yep, that seems to be the right ‘synergy’, Elizabeth.
    I figure even the journalists at the ODT are sick of hearing his crap. No-one wants their intelligence insulted.

  11. Calvin Oaten

    Hi all,
    There are currently two threads running on the ‘Whatif’ website, both highlighting the Stadium disaster with the financial implications for the DCC / ratepayers, the ORFU and its parlous state, depending on the ratepayers funding their excesses. I implore you all to read and digest all that is on these threads and respond by commenting. It is essential that this issue doesn’t fade away as the two regular media people, namely the ODT and ‘D Scene’ do not seem disposed to highlight the extreme seriousness of the city’s debt position which is almost totally the result of wanton recklessness by our Mayors and Councillors.
    If ever there was a time for concerted action it is now or never. It is, in my opinion, just that serious. If you are happy to see Dunedin fall into insolvency just do nothing.

    Good Luck and go for it.

  12. Peter

    It’s interesting how you get another perspective when you go away. I have just got back from two weeks in Melbourne, mainly, and Sydney. Admittedly, I wasn’t based in bleak outer suburbs, and we are talking about two big, bustling cities, but coming back to Dunedin I am struck by the drabness/lack of vitality of the city at the moment. In my two weeks away we do now have some smart new bus shelters, which is good, but is it my imagination as there seem to be yet more empty shops? Also struck by the paucity of street vegetation. Very bare streets indeed. Maybe it’s the winter?
    So much for our ‘investment’ in the stadium to bring vitality to the city.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, coming back to Dunedin does come with a jolt. The city has been in the doldrums for quite a number of years now. Anywhere else this tendency to ‘flatness and grunge’ would result in hard work: streetscape improvements, plantings, citizen pride, enthusiasm, busyness, fighting spirit, and a good deal of coordinated volunteerism to fend off environmental gloom, staleness and social despondency – but in Dunedin it’s like everybody has given up, the inner city is grubby, clinging on, just… but look at the sense of private stewardship AND collective responsibility in the residential streets located well outside the campus area, it’s not about poor and rich, it’s about trying your best with what you’ve got in the circumstances.

      This city is tired because of the erosive actions of the Dunedin City Council. The lack of council nous in putting a strong agenda forward for long-term sustainable economic development that simultaneously pulls on, nourishes and creatively elevates the established smarts of Otago Southland business, becoming fully geared to export production (refined products and services). Trade and enterprise – being far and above anything the University of Otago can visualise for the provincial community it largely ignores for the dross of unfocused undergraduate learning.

      The stupid council has completely forgotten what its fiscal responsibility is to All citizens. A stadium (shame on the Council!) does not buy environmental care and protection for the central metropolitan area, suburbs, townships or the broad rural hinterland. People are left to rot while the council raises our debts and takes our jobs away.

      Recession is an ugly austerity right here, the sort Winter sunshine cannot mitigate. Nor will Spring Summer.

  13. Calvin Oaten

    Of further dramatic impact to me, is the complete lack of interest on the part of the ODT in investigating the defamation suit against our Mayor Dave Cull. This, to me, is staggering. Here we have our Mayor being sued for collectively $1 million!!! Yes, that’s right, our Mayor and $1 million!!! of citizens’ treasure.
    The case has been brought by two ORFU folk, namely Laurie Mains and Wayne Graham. Why? Because Mayor Dave Cull made what they deem as derogatory remarks concerning the management of the ORFU, on national radio, implying that this was the reason it was in the predicament it was in. Was he wrong? I don’t think so. After all, the ORFU’s financial plight speaks for itself. Nevertheless, these two people saw fit to take umbrage, notwithstanding the fact that the DCC, led by our Mayor, had just concluded a decision for council (the citizens) to forgive debts owing by the ORFU to the tune of over $480,000. Further, it has since moved to shore up DVML to the tune of an additional $750,000 per annum. This is required as the stadium cannot carry the burden of accommodating the ORFU – including taking over some of its administration expenses. We ratepayers not only are providing a very heavily subsidised facility to the ORFU for their purposes, but we are putting it on life support for no other reason than to plead with it to use our stadium for all significant rugby matches. That will amount to between ten and twelve fixtures per year. Brilliant!!! And now these two gentlemen feel affronted!!! Meanwhile our Mayor has been brow beaten into agreeing to negotiate a settlement behind closed doors. This, it would seem, will not only suit the insurance company, but also avoid any undesirable ORFU ‘dirty linen’ being aired. Just why Mayor Cull agreed to this is anybody’s guess. He thinks he is doing the right thing by the ratepayers, but in doing so denies them any chance of seeing the full situation for what it is. A very sad and bad case of community blackmail. We all know of the alleged ‘pokies’ frauds indulged in by the ORFU. Should there be any substance to these allegations, surely, by taking these appellants through the court system this would bring out (under oath) details clarifying the matter once and for all. But no, our illustrious Mayor Mr Dave Cull (who campaigned on open books and transparent actions if elected) chooses instead, to take the coward’s way out and toss the ratepayers’ interests to the winds.
    Meanwhile, what do we read of these aspects in the ODT? That’s right, “Sweet Fannie Adams”. It is almost as if the ODT is oblivious to the importance of this matter. Face it, it now seems obvious that there has been brought to bear heavy influences to stifle all criticism of this matter, even to the extent where the institution of our ‘Civic Mayoralty’ is prepared to be sacrificed. And that folks, is my take on the situation. Anyone disagree?

    • Elizabeth

      Difficult to disagree, Calvin. Precisely on the mark. Our revered local newspaper – I still enjoy reading ODT – is not without journalists who would have a field day with all this if given the chance. However, business of the paper is too close to DCC and too close to ORFU, and too close to more besides when you’ve been to OBHS together.

  14. daseditor

    Hi Elizabeth
    I caught up with your last comment on the condition and “look” of the city. The Society recently submitted on the Council’s Draft Economic Development Strategy http://wp.me/pv7k2-uB. While the intent of the strategy was rather optimistic, there were areas that the Society felt were treated ephemerally. In particular the promotion and condition of the City’s heritage, landscape and recreational assets. The Society believes we are missing out economically and letting ourselves down by not doing more to promote and interpret our landscape, heritage recreational and ecological assets. We need to create vibrance and interest in these areas for locals and visitors alike. The draft strategy looked at other cities around the world and what was noticeable was that all highlighted their built and natural environment as assets to draw visitors, investors and immigrants to their communities. If you read the article the Society has been arguing this point for the last 124 years.


    • Elizabeth

      Love it, Daseditor. 124 years… if I’d been alive that long I would’ve felt the synergy, for 124 years…
      How can these things not be important enough in the minds of our local body politicians, rrrrrrr.

  15. Peter

    As an exercise, I was thinking about what urban renewal/rejuvenation has taken place in Dunedin during the past 19 years I have lived here.
    George St and the Octagon had already been ‘done’ when I arrived with renewed paving, plantings etc under Mayor Walls…. or was it Skeggs? These areas look much the same… except the ‘new’ gallery in the Octagon has been there for a while now, which has made an improvement to the area. (The bar scene in the Octagon is open to debate as to whether that is a social improvement. At least it has brought people/life there even if they are in the form of drunks late at night!)
    Princes St seems improved up to Dowling St. The Scenic Circle Hotel (old IRD offices) has helped anchor the street with more foot traffic, I think. New paving and lighting(?) has tarted the street up a bit. A few good cafes and restaurants are there now. Princes St was really dead when I arrived here and largely remains so as you go south from Dowling St.
    Lower Stuart St is better… at least up to Moray Place… with renewed paving. Still bare with little in the way of vegetation.
    Anzac Square looks improved, but could be better integrated leading into Stuart St. One way system doesn’t help, I guess.
    The suburbs like South Dunedin, St Kilda, Mornington are still marginal. NEV shopping precinct seems better, from memory, except for the dirty and empty shops next to the supermarket on North Rd.
    Rattray St and lower High St seem to have gone backwards. Dead zones from buildings left neglected. Hotch potch big box development has been thrown in that has added nothing to the area.
    The Exchange / Queens Gardens remain much the same. Hopefully the Warehouse precinct redevelopment will add to this area. I know there have been a fair number of apartment buildings added to the area which usually brings more vitality, but strangely I still don’t see that much life around there. Do these people still largely drive to and fro and not walk?
    So all in all maybe not as dismal as I earlier felt today, but still there is room for improvement.

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    “Coordinated volunteerism”, Elizabeth? You can’t do much of anything without the DCC either compliancing it out of contention, or setting up its own busy-bod$$ officer(s) to “coordinate” it. Volunteerism, little acts of anarchic enlivenment, are outlawed or corralled. This ensures quality – like the teeth sculptures, hah! – and safety, and a generalised feeling of jeez why bother trying.

  17. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth; do you get the feeling that some nooses might be tightening? That despite Mayor Cull’s pathetic handling of the defamation case brought against him by ‘Laurie Mains and Wayne Graham’.
    The SFO might be getting into the way of things. Are they really investigating Stuart McLauchlan?

    • Elizabeth

      Search engine terms, Calvin, are most usually just a mix of journalistic backgrounders and genuine if not straightforwardly bland queries from the public – at other times they’re complete fictions, a kind of peck and stab to see what comes up, or designed to foil the moderators who are known to watch their stats closely. A few days later, or weeks, we often figure out which term has fit with which category. We watch and wait. Or we chase down leads.

      There are several nooses about. I think today’s story at ODT about DCC and DCHL (see post), to give the newspaper and reporter Chris Morris full credit here, heralds news to come on the true state of DCHL that will give further cause for despondency, and ALARM. Syd and Lesser Dunedin can’t, as we’ve always maintained, hide large MESS within the council’s consolidated accounts for very long. Things are getting very interesting.

  18. Anonymous

    Makes you wonder where Earl would stand on a risk like that.

  19. Elizabeth

    It is very possible that recent job losses about town will be followed by more in the weeks ahead. What we didn’t expect to hear is that two to twelve jobs could be shed at the local newspaper. We hope it’s not true, and no livelihoods will be lost at ODT.

    It is a far better thing to read an editorial telling us staff and management have fought off possible redundancies by working up a smart set of business plans together that explore opportunities (flexibility) for innovation and entrepreneurship as advances in media technology, information delivery and product development run apace.

    Public Good.
    And with that potential ‘stepping up’ at ODT/Allied Press comes the best opportunity to commit to investigative journalism by smart means. Since the public sorely deserve to know what has been happening inside Dunedin City Council, the DCHL group of companies, and related entities including CST and ORFU. That is the work of an independent unbiased “newspaper” (news media) whether it happens on paper, television or the inter-webs. That’s what we expect to get when we pay our Allied Press subscriptions and buy our commercial advertising. There is so much information available, the company should be falling over itself to use it, and use it well to rid this district of corruption and fraud by formal means. Of necessity, we will need a good court reporter to stay!

    Let’s turn Otago business ‘straight’.
    Go to it, ODT/Allied Press.

    {EK, was that a spoof? -Eds}

  20. Peter

    There is a very interesting article in the latest Listener, September 15-21, where the NZ Herald editor-in-chief, Tim Murphy, is interviewed on current trends in print media. He explains the Herald’s move to tabloid form, a trend already underway in Britain and Australia.
    Guyon Espiner says, ‘under his stewardship the Herald and Weekend Herald have won a slew of industry awards for investigations’ and goes on to name them. Reading this article you sense Tim Murphy has a good grip on his business and will ride the trends that have come about in a digital age by being adaptable.
    Can the ODT? Somehow I think they will struggle because the paper has morphed into trivia when reporting locally and lost its sense of mission. People are cancelling their subscriptions not just because of cost savings, but because the paper is just not worth buying any more. You can’t rely on the news given, that it won’t be filtered and skewed. It has lost its credibility.
    Also, it would seem promotion in the ODT is not based on merit, but on seniority and ‘reliability’ to follow directions.
    As an aside, there is an interesting description of Tim Murphy. ‘Now 48, he is impeccably dressed but not flashy, articulate but not smarmy, and serious without taking himself too seriously.’ Espiner goes on to say how he is a private man who often turns down interviews and people who have worked with him recall one of his favourite sayings, ‘Why have a dog and bark yourself?’ Let the paper speak for itself.
    The man comes across as a professional and ethical newspaper man.

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    The ODT’s value is its coverage of local news, local issues. World news is already well covered by other papers, TV and innumerable online sources. There is only one place we can (I wish) catch up on what’s happening here. When that one special advantage is lost the paper itself becomes more and more irrelevant, except for its secondary uses such as garden mulch, lining pet cages, wrapping broken glass to put in the rubbish sack.
    Lately even the obituaries have been nearly all “outsiders” – famous people whose obits were bought in from the Obit Warehouse. You’d think interesting Otago people seldom died, people whose lives had been rich in many ways that deserve to be noted and celebrated.
    In the past I saw complaints that the ODT was too light on international news. In my opinion, since they could only report bought-in news that was readily available elsewhere from more than one viewpoint, usually, they should specialise in what nobody else was doing. That was pre-DScene, but since it is a weekly publication the situation is still much the same, the ODT’s potential strength is uncringing coverage of what’s going on here.

  22. Russell Garbutt

    Media Watch on RNZ also had a bit to say on Peter’s subject which was very interesting. Certainly the whole area of print media has changed – not by what it has done, but by what others are doing. “Social media” (I hate that term!) has overturned how many people receive news and comments and the role of print media has been, in the main, slow to foresee and even slower to react. You only have to visit the ODT to get a sense that it is still hovering in the 1960s and needs a huge injection of capital – of which the Smith brothers have bucketloads – to change the whole environment.

    Look at today’s Fairfax expose of Banks as an example. They call him for what he is. A convenient liar with not a shred of value being clung on to by Key who can’t afford at the moment to lose his vote. A corrupt nest of vipers. Now ask yourself whether the ODT would have, could have, run a similar story on some of the dear little souls amidst our community who have been indulging in the same activities. Some of the Fairfax journalists have been encouraged to extend their investigations into books – the really good read on that Ozzie drug-runner Corby is but one example.

    The print media has relevance, but it is in quality investigative work populated by people who are honest, straightforward and fearless. Then the papers like The Star midweeker can start to step up and provide something more than something to light the fire with.

    (Links added. -Eds}

    More on John Banks at Sunday Star Times today:
    [opinion] http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/7686169/Remember-this-now-Mr-Banks

  23. Peter

    It’s not just capital the Smith Bros have to inject, Russell, but also to let a new culture of real journalism to flower. You’d think the Smith Bros, being so wealthy, wouldn’t have to cavort with their pals, keeping them sweet, and being part of their club. They have a got a business, for God’s sake, and if they are not allowing their employees off the leash, and giving them a free run, the business’s future is in danger. Once the paper’s vibrancy is lost, they are stuffed.
    They do the world news, gardening features, arts features, and the like, quite well, but they are safe havens to report on. (I particularly like the World Focus supplement)
    Just bought the ‘Sunday Star Times’. On the front page, the lead story is on the CTV building engineer, plus a story on the death of Don Binney, the artist. There is a photo lead-in only, to the sports pages, on the All Blacks versus South Africa match in Dunedin.
    I’d be surprised if we don’t get a full page report, full of hyperbole, of an event held here two days ago, in Monday’s paper.

    {Link added. -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      This is true…

      John Armstrong, New Zealand Herald political correspondent, adds to the debate around Press gallery journalists and bloggers (utilising social networking services to broadcast opinion) as he trolls over the real work in covering John Key’s official visit to Vladivostok and Tokyo.

      He says: ‘Press gallery journalists generally treat the bile and invective directed at them by portions of the blog-a-tariat as an unwelcome and unfortunate byproduct of an otherwise exciting and intellectually challenging job.’


      ‘[Bryce] Edwards’ blog is the extreme example of the fact that most blog sites rely on the mainstream media for their information and then use that information to criticise the media for not stressing something enough or deliberately hiding it. Unlike the mainstream media, the blogs are not subject to accuracy or taste, and sometimes even the law. It is the ultimate parasitical relationship. And it will not change until the media start charging for use of their material.’

      Opinion: And don’t criticise what you don’t understand

  24. amanda

    It is really interesting how the ODT does indeed report well on the international scene, and sometimes even the national political scene, but when it comes to political accountability for local politicians? – forget about it, they go “…rejoice! there’s a rugby game over there people!…’. I view the ODT as useful to get a signal on what the pseudo business people have in mind for the city; the next little scrounge around for ratefunds from Crs Brown, Hudson and Cull. After the massive success Farry has had in this area it seems to be the new ‘Dunedin way’. And mention Smith injecting funds into the ODT quietly! Next thing he will go to Cull asking for rates relief because the ODT is ‘crucial to the life of the community’! And Cull will give it to him, just like we funded the ODT’s party for free at the stadium.

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    The ODT is still stuck with a timid, don’t frighten the horses, don’t offend anyone attitude. Have they considered who needs them and who they need? Is nicey-nicey mateship worth the cost? We had a paper we could be proud of in Robin Charteris’s heyday, a real independent, independently-owned paper. horses frightened when necessary.
    Russell, re “Fairfax expose of Banks as an example. They call him for what he is.” Did you catch this morning’s Down The LIst (National radio)?

    11.05 Down the List
    Where does the real power in New Zealand lie? That’s right, with a bunch of bureaucrats, underlings, officials, and lowly-ranked list MPs that you and I have never heard of. …. Written by Dave Armstrong ….. Today, Ezekiel and his devoted wife have decided to take advantage of the government’s charter schools initiative.
    [Thanks to Banksy]
    Talk about no holds barred!

    {Links added. -Eds}

    ### radionz.co.nz Sunday 16 September 2012
    Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw

    11:05 Down the List for Sun 16th Sept 2012 (7′04″)
    Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

  26. Anonymous

    What do you expect from a paper infatuated with Rugby Porn.

    I used to be a loyal subscriber to the newspaper until it changed editor and rolled off the tracks waiting around for the council’s advertising budget or hauling unsafe loads for Stakeholders. The paper has appeared to support interests which have led to non-essential projects, increased corruption and massive debt. Jobs and livelihoods are crashing down around the decisions which has led to the decimation of finances and doing business in Dunedin. The paper no longer ranks on my list of essential costs of living and it is now more affordable to wait for its Star paper to do the things Hype O’Thermia refers. Even if it improved, I can no longer afford to subscribe to it because of static income falling well behind the increased and increasing costs of living.

    But like Elizabeth and others that have suffered this madness know, there are genuine and highly capable people still at the Otago Daily Times who have been made to sit in the corner while its idiotic management ran around after their damned stadium.

  27. amanda

    Yes. No accountability for corruption, breeds more corruption. Roll on next year’s election the same old faces returned to council, business as usual. We will have such luminary business brains around council again, return Crs Collins, Hudson, Brown, Noone and the rest of the brainless seven. Just the way the stakeholders and the media likes it.

    • Elizabeth

      From about now we have a year to summon political willpower to do as ormk urges – that’s find keen, honest, accountable, wise and believable candidates for the next local body elections (2013).

      We’ve seen the ego freaks, the downright imbecilic, the frauds, and the fudging. Outrageously, they’ve left the foundations, the business, and the reputation of the Dunedin City Council in ruins, then proceeded to pile more astounding crap on top with each twisty, sordid council meeting across the calendar.

      Instead of genuinely looking after the health and wealth of the Dunedin community, thereby extending council’s duty of care to our most vulnerable citizens, the councillors and senior managers have stolen the people’s “safety and opportunity”. The vulnerable include local employers and small businesses. Undermine the good people and what’s left? We’re finding out, daily, weekly (not by reading the ODT)… that our collective resilience is being plundered by unethical, paternalistic, greedy local men – white collar criminals dressed to treat “You” as sacrificial rats in the maze they’ve contrived to launder your money.

  28. Peter

    Robin Charteris was a great supporter of the stadium. He chaired the public meeting, held by the CST in late February 2007 in the Clifford Skeggs Room at the Municipal Chambers, to launch the CST Feasibility Report which recommeded the ‘only possible’ option of a new stadium. At that meeting Charteris fielded tricky questions from the audience and quickly shut the questions down as ‘Mr Farry’ had to go to a meeting with the ORFU. Funnily enough, Farry was still there half an hour later mixing with like minds.

    {Robin Charteris was quick to use the term (in print via his opinion pieces) “Naysayers” against those protesting the evtent of public funds going into the stadium project. Nevertheless, on other topics here and there he performed well, editorially. -Eds}

  29. Peter

    I’m somewhat pessimistic about the possibility of a bright, new council. Undoubtedly some of the deadwood will go through either retirement, death or defeat, but not in the numbers required. There is no guarantee that their replacements will not, in turn, become captive to powerful interests. Local body government (not just in Dunedin) is renowned for not attracting exceptional people who know and respect the value of public money and are prepared to safeguard the ratepayers’ interests, without descending into the egoism of supporting financially unsustainable pet projects. Why would good candidates forgo worthwhile careers for the cesspit of local body politics, especially when the pay is not that attractive? (Not that attractive pay, itself, is a guarantee of good quality candidates coming on board.)
    We have been promised a greater Dunedin, but the results have been very very mixed. A few good things have happened the last two years, compared to the Chin Dynasty, but overall the council report card is in debit, in my opinion. This council, like the last one, is not facing the financial demons ahead of it. For example, the mind game of ‘repositioning’ of the stadium debt, as suggested by Darren Burden in Saturday’s ODT, does not engender confidence, does it.
    At best, we can hope for an improvement in the DCC bureaucracy to fill in the gaps left by hopeless politicians. I think there has been an improvement in the DCC Admin side since the Dark, Old Harland Days.
    I think eventually we could/should have a Commissioner to clear away the dross, and reform the current financial malaise, before direct representation is possible once again. Not an ideal choice for democracy, but what is the alternative?

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, politics isn’t easy, granted. People can’t afford to be pessimistic if they surely want change of representation – one 3-year term at a time.
      Although Rome was lost in a day (it appears) at Dunedin, unseating then rebuilding the council is everyone’s responsibility – although many individuals (the usual sheep) would rather not know.
      I agree with Anonymous, Brown has to go. Who amongst his business cronies would want to stand for council, on a councillor’s ‘pittance’, no longer embellished by professional directors fees (DCHL and subsidiaries) – see Cr Hudson’s sordid gains, now terminated – thanks to Larsen’s Report.

  30. amanda

    i suspect that is true. Any ‘rabble-rouser’ candidate spouting ‘transparency’ will be silenced once they get in office and realise it is much, much easier to just keep the status quo. Being elected makes candidates immediately conservative. Look at Cull, the fast turnaround once he got in charge, though his council is hamstrung by a majority of brainless ninnies who created the debt the city has, to be fair to him. I hate to say it but the old saying ‘the price of democracy is vigilance’ seems to be the only way to prevent new people being captured by vested interests who want our ratesfunds. People have got to be angry and challenge, with real consequences, these politicians, if they think they risk being dumped at the next election, that will make politicians rethink their positions, nothing else will, but citizens do not make their voices heard, so politicians listen to ‘vested interests’ who are not shy about making their thoughts known.

  31. Anonymous

    Yes, Amanda, if you’re not one of the Stakeholder Wonder Boys then your photo seems to get washed out further and a pinch of cyan added to give you that bluish look. It immediately causes the reader to look past or question the associated blurb. Possibly too many are overlooked this way. But it doesn’t stop there. Oh hell no, if you’re not one of the Stadium Wonder Boys then your position on council is personally attacked. Remember that “tardiness” crap when Cr Teresa Stevenson dared challenge Stadium Mayor Peter Chin? And, oh my, watch out if you dare question the Our Stadium Mayor in public – you get slammed with the “anti-stadium heckler” title. I’m pretty sure that editorial policy has not changed with New Our Stadium Mayor, assuming you make it past the uncomfortably friendly Customer Services Team and their Anti-Ratepayer Fortifications. I haven’t seen the button under the desk but I’m guessing it’s big and has Hit For Irate Bill Payer stamped on it and the staff trained to keep smiling at you when they press it in. This council is as corrupt as it gets but every effort must be made to get rid of Syd’s Army and find candidates who owe the Stakeholders nothing and do not fear them. Remove Stadium Councillor Syd Brown and you remove a lot of their support structure.

  32. ormk

    It would be nice to have a representative council (good that Jinty is there). Our best chance for good candidates will be people in or nearing retirement. I think with a bit of hard work it would be possible to achieve a complete sea change at the next local election. Stamp out corruption. If we start trying to push particular political agendas – however passionate the feeling – we’ll end up fragmenting the support. We just need a strategy that doesn’t push a complicated agenda. Keep local council simple and working for ratepayers.

    • Elizabeth

      A council is responsible for its community, which includes residents and ratepayers. The various roles of local councils – and the roles of an individual councillor – are increasingly complicated. No dreamers need apply! People considering standing should make themselves familiar with the council’s lead documents and the type and array of reports to council standing committees, at the very least. It’s surprising how many candidates in the past haven’t even bothered to sit in on annual plan meetings or other formal meetings held by DCC. Observing these candidates’ greenness is excruciating. It’s not helped by DCC refusing to video record meetings for release at its website and youtube. God forbid existing councillors might become public property this way, and be seen to be transparent and accountable!

  33. Mike

    Doesn’t Brown still hold at least one nonDHCL directorship appointment (the Golden Centre I think)?

  34. Rob Hamlin

    McPravda sensitivity test

    As you may recall I have put two articles up here in the last week. I simultaneously posted both on the McPravda readers comments site too. To date not one word of either has been posted by the McPravda ‘editorial’ team. An interesting outcome to an intriguing experiment to test their ‘editorial’ style and policy.

  35. Hype O'Thermia

    Perhaps you should post here 2nd, giving them a day’s opportunity. “Letters that have appeared in other publications” and all that, you know.

  36. amanda

    We need more young people like Jinty on council. it is their generation that has to keep on paying Hudson and Brown’s debt so they will be motivated to not support the stakeholders interests and hand over ratefunds. Surely the university or polytech has people who can step forward and resist the powerful temptations of the dark side? – which are considerable, look how stakeholder devoted Burden has won big time with his stadium support? Hundreds of thousands of dollars and that guaranteed into the near future. These new candidates will have to be clear on who their responsibility is to, the rich at the top hungering for more assets to take, or community at the bottom, who want to live in a city with a good economy and a representative democracy? It is time that stadium debt proponents still clinging to power go next year; Brown and Hudson at the very least. But people of the Mosgiel electorate seem to be wedded to Brown as their representative and don’t seem to think anybody else can possibly represent them.

  37. amanda

    It is important to ascertain where the councillors stand on the political spectrum. They hate this as it potentially divides and conquers and it suits the useless ones to let us just think that council is ‘outside of politics’ once they are safely elected. But the stadium councillors clearly believe the trickle down con, which is what the stadium is, and they are in love with helping out those at the top, at the expense of those at the bottom. They are rabid tories.

  38. Hype O'Thermia

    I strongly disagree about needing younger people. I have met an enormous number of young nitwits, some of whom eventually turn out sensible. Some don’t, and that’s what we need to avoid, people of all ages who are already a bit bent or easily corruptible given opportunity. Smart enough to understand the issues, smart enough to know they don’t know everything. Open minded enough to take in information from all sources, even from people they don’t like, but not so open minded their brains fall out. Curious people who being told/sold a story of “put Dunedin on the map” or somesuch, can’t help wondering “Really? How? Why? Who will really benefit? Are the costs and benefits we’ve been quoted realistic? Is there a better way of doing it / is there something better we could be doing / would we be better off not doing anything new at this stage?”

    • Elizabeth

      Youth in local body politics scares the pants off me, to be honest. Incumbent ‘youth’ on Dunedin City Council included. Life experience, experience in governance, knowledge and understanding of community, finance and infrastructure, proven expertise in critical thinking and prudent decision-making, well developed networking ability etc – are rarely available to a young brain in the way they must be for responsible representation.
      The old boys inside and outside council can pulp the young, and the inadequate of any age, in very short time.

  39. Peter

    It’s not so much a question of youth versus age or ‘gender balance’ or ‘racial balance’ that matters, but strength of character and ‘intellect with a common touch’. Not some marginal person who bends with the wind, especially if their self interest can so easily be tweaked by flattery…or worse.
    Also, beware of short men with huge egos and ‘something’ to prove. They are trouble. I’ve seen this phenomenon, time and time again.

  40. Calvin Oaten

    Peter, your criteria of eligibility pretty much distills down to an All Black scrum. But even that falls short on the ‘intellect with a common touch.’ No, I suspect we will just get more of the same regardless. It’s called democracy.

  41. Peter

    You are probably right, Calvin. The best we can hope for is incremental change for the better.

  42. amanda

    Excellent point made by rogernz on the ODT site, that the ODT have a conflict of interest when they have ‘happy clappy’ articles about all things rugby and stadium related due to them having a commercial arrangement with the stadium.

  43. ormk

    This is why I’m advocating we keep local government simple. Many readers and commenters here will have different political views. The Tartan Mafia are united in their aim and we need a united aim too if we are going to beat them.

    1) Stamp out corruption

    but maybe we can also unite on …
    2) Protect provision of basic infrastructure – 3 waters and roads.

    If we start campaigning on platforms such as safeguarding the venerable and other political aims we will fragment support. We can win an important victory if we unite on simple aims that the majority will readily agree with – Stamp Out Corruption. A clean up is the first necessary step towards creating a healthy local body politic – other substantial political issues should be put aside until then.

    Most people are disgusted by issues like the land purchase for the stadium – it is very easy to campaign on this.

    Our biggest local problem is the Tartan Mafia who while small in number themselves have some obsequious hangers on and some who have just been hood winked through media control. The Tartan Mafia are united in their aim to fleece ratepayers. If we don’t unite we will lose. Unite behind this simple issue and we will win.

    • Elizabeth

      ormk, that’s wise counsel re being united.
      Possibly, this will require dropping any reference to the Tartans, since many people dislike negative campaigning.
      Candidates strongly focused on streamlining council, concentrating on essential infrastructure and services… have to be determined to reduce council debt and get the most out of the least (financial) investment – for the greatest possible benefit to the community… The measure of good governance going forward? Something like that.
      Others know how to say it better, than I’m attempting by phone as I walk.

  44. amanda

    The land and what was paid for it for the stadium is eyewateringly. I think the land cost the lucky owners hundreds of thousands, and when Hudson, Brown and their stadium dimwit dominated council bought the land off them they paid out $32 million. The land owners made millions. Millions. And they held out for more too. The council is still dominated by seven of the same cabal, so not too much has changed. They still hold the majority on council. No surprise the city is still fiscally challenged; we can’t expect the clowns who got us in this mess to get us out.

  45. Calvin Oaten

    Amanda; I think you will find that the price paid for the stadium land was about $36 million. A portion was subsequently on sold to the University for around $6m. The original budget presented at the time of the stadium announcement was $15m for land purchases. It was only the fact that the central government’s intervention with $15m allowed the blowout to be understated. It was only the first of a long litany of egregious lies and misrepresentations which took a “not a cent more than $188 million, and with a roof,” Farry fantasy to disaster. The $188m morphed into a PwC verified figure of $224.4m not including the extras incurred by DVML. The promised DCC/ratepayer contribution of $98m also proved to be extremely elastic to reach an official $146.6m. This can be easily added to from DVML to reach a conservative $170m. Amanda, you will be able to tell your grand kids that you were present when Dunedin hit a huge obstacle, went down with the city’s treasure and left many destitute. You will be able to tell them that the first into the lifeboats were the city ‘fat cats’ who by and large survived and left for other parts. The grand kids will be able to go see the rusting remains of the skeletal framework of the obstacle down near the harbour and ponder over what sort of people could do this.

  46. amanda

    So that $15 million from Key was then handed over to the lucky, genius stadium landowners. Giving them even more millions in profit. it did not go to offset the debt the rest of us are paying. Oh no. The most important thing to remember is that the fiscal ‘geniuses’ who decided this are still sitting at the council table making decisions about our economic future. Do they care about the average person struggling with increasing costs? No way. They have proven their priority is getting good deals for steakholders. And those at the bottom, the lowly minceholders? They just have to hope and pray and ‘trust’ that eventually the stadium love will trickle down on them.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 20 Sep 2012
      Editorial review under way at ODT
      Dunedin-based Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times and its sister community newspapers, is reviewing its editorial operations with a view to streamlining and improving work practices. The review process, formally presented to staff yesterday, was likely to result in some job losses, either through attrition or redundancy, Otago Daily Times editor Murray Kirkness said.
      ODT Link

      • Elizabeth

        Today, ODT reports the loss of 3.5 fulltime equivalent subediting positions at Allied Press. The final number of redundancies was confirmed this week. A review of editorial operations was continuing but no further job losses were expected. (In brief, page 3) editorial operations was continuing but no further job osses were expected. (In brief, page 3)

  47. Anonymous

    Classic case of the person who should be accountable for the damage past still in the position dealing with it. This is the story of the Stadium Councillors and clearly the Otago Daily Times is going to stumble down that same broken path. Julian and Nick should throw out the project and change managers and do something so many big businesses have lost sight of today: Stop treating your staff like idiots, trust in their skills and let them help grow the business.

    Send the Editor on an overseas jaunt and get back to the business of writing news that is in the best interests of readers and the city that supports you.

    Will someone PLEASE pass the message along to Julian.

  48. Calvin Oaten

    Anon, email ‘Julian’ yourself. You will get a reply I promise you.

  49. Anonymous

    Was there anything in the Otago Daily Times today about its planned redundancies? It appears there was just that two paragraph statement made yesterday. The paper still has an obligation to report the news, even about itself, given the disturbing trend of a downwards spiral in financial security and employment opportunities here at home. Julian and Nick might have their collections of Rolls Royces and Stadium Councillors to amuse them but many live with the reality of worrying about getting through tomorrow.

    • Elizabeth

      Nope, nothing on Channel 9 news either. Hope it’s not going to be a ‘Saturday special’, wherein anything stated by the owners and management doesn’t allow staff and union(s) right of reply until next week.

    • Elizabeth

      Today’s ODT editorial opines: “the coffee culture exposed by this newspaper’s scrutiny of the use of council credit cards…became a symbol of a profligate period in the DCC’s history”.

      Notice the editorial refrains from mentioning the HYPERsymbol – the ‘whoflungdung’ stadium.

      However, in most things the editorial is correct and respectfully pays DCC chief executive Paul Orders proper dues.


  50. Anonymous

    Agreed Elizabeth. Many observe the Otago Daily Times as having a conflict of interest on the stadium with its parent company Allied Press sponsoring the damned thing and being so generous with its Stadium Councillors. Ignoring the stadium and the financial harm it continues to perpetrate in this city only increases that annoyance.

    I would like to see Mr Orders disband the Spooks (communications department) and remove the self-invested egos from senior management positions. It is time to get rid of the ineffectual upper management and executive, especially those employed via Harland’s Great Jobs for Good Mates Program, and return productive staff to front-line positions (excluding parking wardens which seem to be well staffed).

    This is something our city council should be leading at and will do more for directing good business management than its communications department could even do with their million dollar band-aids.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ch9.co.nz September 27, 2012 – 5:56pm
      Decommissioned printing press proving to be a challenge
      A decommissioned printing press, which spent only eight years in circulation before being overturned by technology, is about to be turned into scrap. And its removal from the Allied Press Building has been something of a tricky business – in more ways than one.

  51. Elizabeth

    This is worth an ODT editorial one day soon, with the example of the huggable Dunedin City Council, the newly dignified ORFU, and the measured yet trite Department of Internal Affairs, each illuminated in their own way(s).

    ### ODT Online Sat, 29 Sep 2012
    Alarm at moves to increase secrecy
    By Isaac Davison – NZ Herald
    The Ombudsmen’s Office has warned of “highly dangerous” moves by the Government to keep information secret by drafting laws to avoid the Official Information Act. Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverly Wakem said she was concerned at the increasing number of officials in government agencies who failed to understand the constitutional importance of the Act. She pointed to several “reprehensible” attempts in the past year by officials to disallow Official Information Act requests for drafts of legislation, in particular on partial state asset sales, charter schools and changes to mining permits.[…]A Law Commission review of the Official Information Act said the refusal of information on the grounds of commercial sensitivity needed to be tightened.
    Read more

  52. Elizabeth

    I wonder if this editorial from ‘Allied Press’ isn’t a little self-serving if you’re tied up with ‘Arthur Barnett family’ stuff; and Timothy, in his own right, who may have sold to those ‘after’ foreign capital for 41 Wharf St. Nope, not quite the same as Crafar Farms by a very long shot, or the F&P takeover bid. Still, “xenophobia”? On yer bike, Ed.


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