Keeping ORFU sweet [email]

● The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF Inc) ● The Trusts Community Foundation Ltd (TTCF Ltd) ● Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) ● Professional Rugby ● Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport ● Harness Racing ● Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) ● Gambling Commission ● Pokies ● Rorts ● Organised Crime ● Serious Fraud ● Political Interference

Comment received.

Martin Legge
Submitted on 2012/08/15 at 4:35 pm

Below is an email dated June 2005 between TTCF Inc’s General Manager, Warwick Hodder, and the TTCF Trustees. It is one of many documents I was asked to provide DIA along with my 30-page signed statement shortly before Politicians intervened for TTCF and the truth became inconvenient.

Since then DIA have continued to give the public a list of reasons why they can’t act which include – the Gambling Act has a 2-year time frame for prosecution and TTCF Inc no longer exists as an entity.

Firstly, there are no such time frames for taking historical matters to the Gambling Commission or cancelling and suspending a gaming licence.

Secondly, DIA allowed TTCF Inc to remorph itself into TTCF Ltd and in doing so also allowed it to transfer all its pokie pubs which included Jokers Manurewa, the last remaining Jokers venue controlled by ORFU, over to the new entity TTCF Ltd.

So even under TTCF Ltd the unlawful arrangements and a further $800,000 was fleeced from the poorest part of South Auckland into the ORFU. It only stopped when Jokers Manurewa was closed down for commercial reasons.

So you see, DIA still have a 2-year window of opportunity in which to prosecute TTCF Ltd and until June 2013 to do it.

From: Warwick Hodder [mailto:WarwickHodder@xtra.co.nz]
Sent: Tuesday, 28 June 2005 12:00 p.m.
To: Doug Burt; John Wyeth; Murray Acklin; Roger Smaill; Ron Turner (Home); Ross Dallow; Tom Jones
Cc: Modus Group
Subject: JOKERS VENUES

Dear All

There have been some significant developments regarding the ownership of the Jokers venues, to the extent that those now in control have extensive racing (mainly harness) interests. All this has been done between ORFU and Harness so the Union has been in the loop. There are some risks for TTCF Trustees and Modus Group that need to be addressed and I guess if the frying pan gets too hot then we may have to be prepared to walk away from these venues. I do not think it has become quite that drastic but it would be unfair of me not to fully acquaint you of developments. For the time being the current Directors will remain in place but that will change in months to come when financial matters have all been officially dealt with. I am not party to exactly what these arrangements are but have been assured that the current Directors will sign a 3 year venue agreement and we will be officially notified of any changes when they happen and all appropriate forms and other paperwork will be submitted to us for actioning with DIA.

The new owners intend to emulate what the racing codes are already doing in relation to the TAB funds i.e. submitting a quarterly schedule of grants to go to racing.

Their expectation is that racing will receive $2.6m in a year. ORFU are still expecting up to $1m a year and there is supposedly going to be at least 20% available to the rest of the community, which I am guessing is approximately another $1m per year. Extrapolating these expectations out to a turnover figure, using a 45% return to A/P as a means of doing so, basically these venues need to be doing $10m a year, which is what they were doing when they first joined the fray. But things have changed slightly, partly due to a reduction in turnover at Commerce St because the new owners did not work the place as hard as previous management did.

There are two issues that I am uncomfortable with and we need to deal with them sooner rather than later i.e.

1. I am not sure that there will be enough money to make things work for all parties, especially the community

2. The current authorised purpose statement is inadequate to cope with these sorts of initiatives

I have asked their representative to meet with me again today to discuss some more realistic expectations. I suspect they have budgeted for Commerce where it used to be not where it is now. They have moved the operation to a 24 hr one again and so it will certainly improve but whether it meets their expectations is another matter.

We need to probably discuss this whole matter in committee at the upcoming Board meeting.

Warm regards

Warwick Hodder

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

49 Comments

Filed under Business, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport

49 responses to “Keeping ORFU sweet [email]

  1. Martin Legge

    I am very interested to note that Russell Garbutt actually met with Senior DIA Managers, Maarten Quivooy and Debbie Despard. Ms Despard was the same Senior Manager who oversaw a number of serious investigations into TTCF between 2008-10 in which she and her investigators both required and encouraged my cooperation. She knows full well from her investigators, the position these countless investigations into serious wrongdoing by TTCF placed me and my staff in. The fact that we were credible and reliable and the information we provided has been validated is also a matter of internal DIA reports.

    I only became aware of Russell’s involvement with DIA during the Sunday Star Times investigation by Steve Kilgallon when he started joining all the dots between ORFU and the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport (COE) and it was at that time I recognised Russell as the member of the Dunedin public who lodged a formal complaint to TTCF about grants to COE in 2008 and he was asking hard questions.

    Recently, Quivooy has given Russell a variety of reasons why DIA did not or could not act on his complaint. The testimony and documents I provided to Despard and her team as a whistleblower talked specifically about ORFU and TTCF’s relationship/knowledge and the fact that if TTCF did not give money to ORFU and Harness racing from Jokers Bars they would lose those venues to another pokie trust. Those arrangements were still in place when I finished working for TTCF (Inc) as late as September 2010.

    In my statement I made no reference to the Centre of Excellence but did provide investigators with emails where the COE is mentioned. We were all well aware it was set up and run by ORFU. It had all the same staff and we dealt with ORFU’s Business Manager, Neville Frost, regarding grants to the Centre of Excellence. We were advised it was set up as a contingency whilst DIA were investigating ORFU’s interest in Jokers, the outcome of which had the potential to prevent ORFU from accessing grant money from the Jokers bars which it had already committed to purchase from two Auckland businessmen for millions of dollars.

    TTCF General Manager, Warwick Hodder was clearly in the loop because he advised grants staff to expect a $500,000 grant from the COE and that the Auckland businessmen were still owed $2 million dollars and that payment was contingent upon this large grant.

    When that $500k grant arrived in the mail from the COE it had Neville Frost’s name all over it and Hodder advised grants staff that we should ensure that Neville Frost’s name was removed from the application to hide any connection between ORFU and COE at that critical time. DIA have not spoken to me or my staff about any of this.

    If you are not satisfied with the manner in which DIA have handled your complaint then pursuant to Section 81, there is the opportunity to make a formal complaint to the Gambling Commissioner.

  2. Russell Garbutt

    Martin’s post is exactly on the mark.

    As far as I’m concerned, this matter is still active no matter what some people at DIA or elswehere may think. More to come.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 18 Aug 2012
      Whistle blower wants inquiry
      By Hamish McNeilly
      A whistleblower is calling for an independent inquiry after the alleged involvement of a senior minister in a major pokies investigation. The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF) was informed by Internal Affairs in September 2010 it could no longer distribute grants because of an investigation, which included the trust’s relationship with the Otago Rugby Football Union. That investigation was largely based on documents and information supplied by former TTCF contractor-turned-whistleblower Martin Legge, who was told by officials the case would be a “slam dunk” for the department. However, two months later, an investigator told him “all hell has broken loose”, after the involvement of United Future leader Peter Dunne. Mr Legge said that shortly afterwards, the TTCF was able to grant funds and the investigation was placed on the back burner. Frustrated by the lack of progress in the case, he was calling for an independent inquiry into the handling of the investigation.
      Read more

  3. Anonymous

    Eds – ODT appears to have change the URL? The Read More link has had a hyphen removed. Probably nothing to do with sticking to you ;)

    {Thanks for that, changed the url, damn sneaky but their initial typo – since, the story has sunk off ODT Online home page – find it here. Properly, it’s in National news category! Good on Hamish for getting it out. Have heard more slime today from our good source on the political wheels doing cover-up. More anon. -Eds}

  4. Anonymous

    It doesn’t take much to question interference from the top when John Key’s asset stripping of New Zealand is dependent upon the likes of Peter Dunne and John Banks warming a seat in parliament. Of course, once these two have played their part then John won’t give a shit who does what to his puppets. That will be about the same time when Bill English jumps ship for Wellingston, shuts up office in Balclutha and stops pretending he’s still got some sort of valid association with Otago and Southland. Pity those trusting buggers. Anyone want to make a call on National clone Michael Woodhouse? Queenstown? Somewhere where oil isn’t going to ruin his coastline? Bureaucrats are such an expensive waste of space.

  5. Stu

    I notice that EmbroidMe (sometime creditor of the ORFU) is announcing a move to new premises down on Portsmouth Drive. Into a site formerly occupied by G J Gardener, franchise owned by Laurie Mains, formerly of ORFU Board. Just goes to show how much of a village Dunedin really is (six degrees? more like 0.5).

    • Elizabeth

      Intricate/blatant webs.

      • Elizabeth

        [Aside]

        ### nz.news.yahoo.com August 19, 2012, 11:33 am
        Pokies trust thief facing jail time
        By Nina Burton – Newstalk ZB
        A man who admitted stealing nearly $365,000 from a pokies trust is facing up to seven years in jail. Shane Alvin Cosgrave switched his plea to guilty three days into his trial. He admitted taking money from the South Auckland Community Trust which should have gone into community projects and organisations. The money was used to run his own pub, lease a car, and give himself personal loans. Link

        This story originally appears in Sunday Star Times today, ‘Pokie fraudster faces time in jail’ (page A7). It’s by Steve Kilgallon, and carries more detail. DIA’s gambling compliance director Debbie Despard features. No link available.

        • Elizabeth

          ### dia.govt.nz 19 August 2012

          Department of Internal Affairs
          Press Release

          Gaming machine trustee convicted for theft

          19 August 2012

          A former South Auckland gaming machine society trustee has been convicted of stealing almost $364,000 of pokie machine money that should have gone to the community.

          Alvin Shane Cosgrave, 66, of Hunua, a former trustee of the defunct South Auckland Charitable Trust (SACT), changed his plea to guilty on seven charges of theft on day three of his trial (15 Aug) in the Manukau District Court. He will be sentenced on 28 September.

          In September 2007 the Department of Internal Affairs decided not to renew SACT’s gambling operator’s licence because the trust’s financial viability was doubtful and Mr Cosgrave was conflicted by managing the trust’s day-to-day activities while maintaining his role as a trustee. The trust sold its operation to the Lion Foundation and said it would stop operating on 30 June 2008. On 30 November 2007, aware that its gambling licence was not going to be renewed, the trust entered into a management agreement with Mr Cosgrave’s company, Integrated Commercial Solutions Ltd (ICS). The agreement was drawn up, under Mr Cosgrave’s instructions, on favourable terms to ICS providing for compensation of $681,584.10 should the trust cease gambling operations.

          An Internal Affairs’ forensic accountant reviewed the trust’s financial statements for the last 13 months of its gaming activities and found that many of the costs paid to Mr Cosgrave and ICS were not actual, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in conducting gambling, the court was told. They also included costs for Mr Cosgrave’s pub and restaurant, the Clendon Inn in Manukau City, and the lease of a vehicle by ICS.

          Internal Affairs’ Gambling Compliance Director, Debbie Despard, welcomed the conviction:
          “Gaming machine society trustees are responsible for ensuring that the maximum amount possible is returned to the community. The money involved in this case should have been distributed as grants to the community. The Gambling Act makes it clear that the purpose of gambling is to benefit communities and those involved with running gaming machines in pubs and clubs are entitled only to costs that are actual, reasonable and necessary.”

          In April 2011 a High Court Judge ordered Mr Cosgrave and ICS to repay to the Secretary for Internal Affairs $975,629.39 after the Department took a civil action under section 112 of the Gambling Act 2003 to recover money improperly paid.

          Media contact:
          Trevor Henry, senior communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
          Ph 04 495 7211; cell 021 245 8642

          DIA Link

  6. Martin Legge

    I am very concerned about what Gambling Director, Maarten Quivooy is representing to the Dunedin Community.

    Mr Quivooy claims to have no jurisdiction to investigate ORFU and the Centre of Excellence. He is playing you for fools – making you all believe that those two groups were your standard grant applicants just like Plunket, a local Kindergarten or some other worthy community group entitled to apply to TTCF for grants. Nothing is further from the truth.

    The DIA have over many years, spent countless investigation hours, watching the abnormal money flow from South Auckland to Otago, always trying to prove ORFU’s interest in the Jokers Bars and hold those accountable. As was told to me, my testimony and documents provided the missing link for DIA.

    The internal TTCF 2005 email between Hodder and the TTCF Trustees (in previous post) is pretty clear about the deal with Jokers. It refers to changes with the Jokers bars and that ORFU and Harness racing now each have a share in those bars and what each groups expectation is from the bars. There are more emails and DIA were provided with them in 2010.

    This email makes it reasonably clear that ORFU did indeed have an “ownership” or “interest” in Jokers but it now seems DIA are the only ones who chose to ignore their previous concerns. Why you may ask?

    Because any proof of “ownership” or “interest” in the Jokers pokie bars significantly changes things – it elevates ORFU into the legal definition of being a class 4 Venue Operator, over which DIA does have jurisdiction and a statutory obligation to act.

    Even if TTCF Inc and Centre of Excellence no longer exist as entities it does not prevent DIA from holding TTCF’s Trustees to account for allowing what has occurred.

    But it’s not just down to a few documents and emails, I also told DIA that ORFU, along with Harness Racing, had an interest in Jokers and that ORFU through Roseburn Holdings Ltd signed up those venues with TTCF on the ongoing proviso that TTCF Trustees agreed to and continued to return the money from those bars as grants to ORFU.

    We also provided DIA with full details of the handwritten budget provided to the grants office by TTCF Trustee, Murray Acklin on how that budget had been fully executed which also corroborates Hodder’s 2005 email. Those expectations and arrangements remained in place well after TTCF remorphed into a new entity with the same Trustees (all under DIA’s nose). I don’t know how much clearer it could be.

    If there weren’t such an arrangements why then would TTCF’s supposedly community-minded Trustees (some of whom are JP’s) continue to approve $millions from the poorest community of South Auckland to the coffers of Otago rugby.

    If you are still in doubt then see further emails below. Note that $2 million was owed to the sellers of the 3 Jokers bars but a grant was needed for the payment to occur. At the time DIA were all over ORFU and so ORFU needed another entity/conduit to receive charitable grant money. Hodder advised me and everyone within TTCF about COE and that the running costs associated with ORFU were being transferred to this group to free up ORFU funds to pay for the bars.

    I am also aware Quivooy is claiming that Martin Legge didn’t specifically mention the Centre of Excellence issue in his interviews. I look at it another way – I had already provided DIA with the relevant documents, so as the investigators, I could have expected them to ask the relevant questions arising from such evidence –they have not. Martin Legge can’t be expected to cover off on everything.

    The irony is that Mr Quivooy’s investigation team took absolutely no action over the matters Martin Legge did happen to mention in his statements – serious issues such as fake contracts being presented to DIA, Trustees giving out grants for the promise of bringing bars to TTCF, unlawful expenditure of $1.2 million paid by TTCF to a private company owned by the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts etc etc.

    From: Warwick Hodder [mailto:WarwickHodder@xtra.co.nz]
    Sent: Wednesday, 30 June 2004 10:00 p.m.
    To: info@modus.net.nz
    Subject: Re: MODUS GROUP

    You never cease to astound me Marty – you seem to think that I am prepared to take everyone at face value? You may think I am a soft touch but at the end of the day I am hurting just as much as you are and in many respects probably a whole lot more.

    I was hoping that he would hint that this was contingent upon a grant to ORFU and believe it or not I still think he is saying that.

    I talked with Mike today and we both think the best thing to do is go down and front these guys face to face. Confidentially, Paddy and himself are still owed $2m and guess what their payment is contingent upon – a grant!

    If the Institute of Sport or whatever it is meets criteria and does not contradict the undertaking given to DIA then perhaps we need to make sure it goes through and then start getting heavy handed?

    Happy to talk about it Marty but please be assured that I am as aware of what business means as the rest of us are. I may try and seed business in a slightly different fashion to you but I still like getting paid for what I do!

    Let’s not forget that until Forshaw stepped up to the plate and started making things difficult for everyone, you were counting the pennies just like I was!

    Get Shooter to delete this particular email forever.

    From: Warwick Hodder [mailto:WarwickHodder@xtra.co.nz]
    Sent: Thursday, 15 July 2004 10:10 a.m.
    To: info@modus.net.nz
    Subject: Re: Jokers Group grants

    Hi Liz

    You make a valid point and that is the dilemma I pointed out to the Board about 3 meetings ago with respect to TAB and Jokers Grants. The new Authorised Purpose Statement will be worded to try and reflect what actually happens and that is why in my draft I used the word “generally” will be returned to the area from where it was derived.

    Re the Centre of Excellence I did ask you if it was a good idea or not to remove all documentation that has Neville Frost’s name on it and replace it with documentation signed and arranged by someone else. It is dumb of ORFC to even contemplate putting their name to any application at the moment. I suggest that we ensure the documentation is amended to remove all evidence.

    Re the compliant applications, putting LT related ones to one side for a minute, I suggest that it is a very wise move to support as many “other” applications as we can. I think there is one coming from a school up that way for a computer suite?

    From: Warwick Hodder [mailto:WarwickHodder@xtra.co.nz]
    Sent: Friday, 26 August 2005 11:41 a.m.
    To: Modus Group
    Cc: Roger Smaill; John Wyeth
    Subject: DIA AUDIT

    Marty

    DIA have asked, as part of the pre audit report letter, for details of the Foundations current policies and procedures in relation to grants. I am in the fog as to what that may be and so could you cobble something together for Roger by Tuesday a.m. please?

    Also ORFU rang about 3 grants. Centre of Excellence which is a priority. Harbour Rugby Club which is next priority and Valley Rugby Club in North Otago if possible can it be moved from the Oamaru list and put against the Auckland list – if OLT are not going to support it.

    Cheers
    Warwick

  7. Martin Legge

    Before Mayor Dave Cull, the DCC, decide how they should deal with this defamation case, they may wish to explore the fact that all grant applications made to pokie trusts require signed minutes of board meetings and resolutions as proof that the governing board of the organisation agrees to apply for the funds and therefore be held accountable for those funds and the purposes for which they are spent.

    Essentially it is a written record that prevents the board from later claiming that they were unaware of these funds but also protects that board from potentially rogue employees making applications without the board’s full knowledge and authority.

    DIA recently reported they’d audited all TTCF Inc and TTCF Ltd grants to ORFU so those records must have been correct and available.

  8. Bev Butler

    Hi Martin,
    Further to your comments above, it is stated in the Venue Hire Agreement signed (4.:55pm on 5/2/09) by CST Chair, Malcolm Farry (agent of DCC) and the Chairman of the ORFU board the following:

    1.2 Due Diligence
    The Licensee (namely ORFU) will cooperate with the Licensor (CST agent of DCC) and provide the Licensor with such information as is necessary to facilitate the due diligence and feasibility investigation of the Licensor and with a view to the establishment by the Licensor to the full satisfaction of the funders of the Licensor of the viability and performance of the Licensee and user of the stadium.

    Questions which need to be asked:
    1. What information did the ORFU provide to the DCC which convinced them that the ORFU were viable?
    2. How is it that if the information supplied by the ORFU showed the ORFU to be viable that they (the ORFU) were unable to pay any of their bills. They have not paid one cent for hireage of the stadium since it opened, they have run up over $400,000 worth of bills to the DCC, they have run up over $80,000 in bills to DVML. They have paid nothing. They haven’t even had the decency to pay their $25,352 DVML black-tie dinner bill for food, booze and cleaning instead electing to put $52,000 in their own ‘pot’. They also ran up over $680,000 in bills around town to other creditors. The President of the ORFU, Sir Eion Edgar, then heads a public fundraising campaign to partly pay back some of the creditors. According to media reports, the money raised from this public fundraising campaign is deposited into a private Trust, namely the Eion and Jan Edgar Trust, and as far as I am aware, there has been no public declaration of the accounts of this Trust. I have emailed Eion Edgar requesting he release full detailed audited accounts of this Trust but have had no response from him.

    As for the defamation case, it is not just a personal case against one person, it is a challenge to the Office of the Mayoralty and as such should be of interest and concern to every Dunedin citizen.
    My opinion is that it should be vehemently fought in the court. Forget all the legal foreplay, cut to the chase, refuse an apology and elect to have the case heard before a jury. If the insurance company refuses to pay all the costs associated with this line of action then the councillors should defend the Mayoralty by agreeing to foot the bill, if required. This is a matter of principle. The Rugby Mafia do not rule this town. They should be told this loud and clear. The best way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them.

    Below is a copy of the email I sent to Eion Edgar.

    Tuesday 21st August 2012

    Dear Eion

    It is now many months since the public fundraising campaign to raise funds to partly pay off some of the ORFU creditors.
    According to media reports this money raised was held in your private Trust, namely the Eion and Jan Edgar Trust.
    However there has been no public disclosure, as far as I am aware, of the full amount received and the full amount paid out by this Trust.
    Nor has there been any public disclosure as to whether this Trust has retained any of these funds, nor any public disclosure whether this Trust has now been wound up.
    In the interests of transparency of disclosure of public monies I am requesting that you publicly release audited accounts of this public money.
    I am uncomfortable with public money being held in a private Trust when there is no public disclosure.

    I sincerely hope that you do decide to release detailed audited accounts of the Eion and Jan Edgar Trust in the the interests of transparency of public monies.

    Yours sincerely
    Bev Butler

  9. Russell Garbutt

    Well written Bev. The pervasion of professional rugby into all strata of society is beyond belief. As another example, have a look at the composition of the Board of Sport NZ – the body designed and charged with getting everyone, everyday involved in some form of physical activity. The whole Board is stacked with rugby heads, lawyers and accountants and, as we know to our cost, this deadly mix means nothing but trouble and grief and untold community cost for the benefit of the few.

  10. Anon

    The Eion and Jan Edgar Trust’s financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2011 are available on the Charities Commission website.

  11. Elizabeth

    The two previous posts and emails by Martin best demonstrate that ORFU and TTCF were both acting in contravention of the Gambling Act (criminal legislation) – and Department of Internal Affairs knows this but has done nothing about it.

    His last post shows that it’s impossible for the likes of Mains, Graham, and other ORFU Board members to disconnect from what was going on regarding Jokers and the $6 million or so that flowed into their coffers and their arrangements with TTCF.

    In the situation, if DIA had done its job then Mains and Co would not be so cocky and Cull’s comments would be the truth – ORFU have acted dishonestly in breach of the gambling laws of NZ.

    Bingo.

  12. ormk

    The content of these emails is flabbergasting. I can’t see how the DIA can bury its head in the sand. Just what is the raison d’etre for the department? Why aren’t the police investigating this criminality? Why do I have to pay rates to the DCC if they are just going to use them to support criminals?

  13. amanda

    Why? Because nobody holds the DCC accountable. The local media is not interested in any of the above information, nor reporting about Mains and Graham’s wrangle to get $1 million out of ratepayers via Cull. So most voters are uninformed and Rugby Mafia councillors feels safe and cosy to continue on with the agenda to strip the city of assets, wealth and in the process increase inequality in the city. Hudson, Brown and co must feel like Crowned Kings, with the election next year just a formality.

  14. Anonymous

    The media is another of those parties in this town who keep scrubbing away at their hands but it just won’t wash away the grease.

  15. Martin Legge

    On 23 February 2012, 18 months after providing these emails etc, I received the final investigation report from DIA. Here’s the results of their investigation under the heading:

    ORFU and Horse racing

    “These issues have now been incorporated into a larger investigation and therefore will not be commented on further at this point.”

    In terms of DIA’s statutory obligation to the community and the Gambling Act it is difficult to imagine a “larger investigation” or rort than what has occurred over TTCF/ORFU/Harness racing/Jokers. I do note however that DIA recently charged Michael O’Brien of Harness Racing with a relatively minor matter and I am aware of his links with TTCF and Jokers but I have not been interviewed about that either.

    It is my experience that the comment “incorporated into a much larger investigation” probably means DIA don’t want to address the evidence and the task in front of them right here and now so prefer to kick the can down the road.

    • Elizabeth

      We’re now in the golden age! The ORFU’s PR machine is cranking up! Parochial displays of fond affection and mateship for the ‘provincial’ – not entirely due to budget cuts (joke). Open your hearts, people… this is stirring stuff.

      ### radionz.co.nz Friday 24 August 2012
      Morning Report with Geoff Robinson & Simon Mercep
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport

      08:40 Otago rugby goes back to basics for NPC
      The Otago rugby union says it is going back to basics for its national provincial team which is about to take to the field for the first time since the union was saved from liquidation. (3′38″)
      Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

  16. Anonymous

    Pokies are a very serious threat to the fabric of society and wellbeing of its people. Another very public identity has acknowledged the harm it has done to him, his family and friends. Yet the professional rugby stakeholders are happy to ‘misappropriate’ its funding and thrive on it, while the rugby crowd continue to see no wrong as long as their club can feed on the leftovers. Especially if its means no one has do any suffer any genuine fundraising and hardship like other non-rugby groups.

    Remember the likes of ORFU and similiar businesses are groups who market to and use children for their stadium and rugby agendas. Their message is clear: “Gambling is okay as long as it helps pay for [grassroots] rugby.”

    (Grassroots is in brackets because I don’t buy into the bullshit. It’s just another form of the “trickle-down” corruption.)

  17. Russell Garbutt

    This story is not going to go away.

    I see that Hamish McNeilly in this morning’s ODT reveals yet again that the great cover-up by all parties including those that are charged with sorting out rorts, frauds and theft continues unabated.

    The DIA continues to say that they are after much bigger fish than those connected with the ORFU, the Centre of Excellence, Harness Racing and the like. BUT, I say to the DIA that unless ALL the details are released then the big fish will melt away. The suspicion is that well-connected people have applied political pressure on the DIA to “forget” or not to try to hard to expose their rorts, and have no fear, that many of these people are very well connected indeed.

    As I have pointed out to a few people, any application for pokie funds HAS to be accompanied by a minute from the governing body that authorises the application for funds. We have heard Wayne Graham in the past profess to have no knowledge of trusts when the purchase of Carisbrook was being discussed, and it seems somewhat miraculous that he, and other Board members of the ORFU and the Centre of Excellence either refuse to speak, or were completely unaware of applications for pokie funds. What does that tell you?

    And then he and Laurie Mains take umbrage at the comments of our Mayor?

    Time for the DIA to actually do their job with no reference to political or other pressures.

  18. ormk

    Lack of response increasingly makes the DIA look like a bunch of chumps. Just keeping a public awareness of this puts pressure on them. Russell, can you suggest any other practical ways they can be encouraged to actually do their jobs?

  19. ormk

    Interesting to read the ODT article. Could it be that the paper is becoming aware that it has been losing local relevance by being mindlessly pro-stadium / pro ORFU? I’ve been using this blog and other sources in preference as a first port of call for local news recently.

  20. Robert Hamlin

    Note that this ODT article, while making lots of noise about how hard they have been investigating, and presenting an image of acting tough on the rugby boys, actually says nothing new about their activities. It just infers how good ‘it’s gunner be’ when it gets the stuff off the Ombudsman (Maybe, perhaps never). It carries no significant payload.

    Effective Investigative journalists tend to keep quiet until they have got the material that they need to create a complete case. Blowing off about what you are up to during the investigation just frightens the horses before you are ready to shoot them – If that is your actual intention.

    It will be interesting to see if any payload eventually does appear. In the interim, while the Ombudsman makes up his mind, perhaps they could consider publishing some genuinely useful payload on the Rugby boys using readily available information that they have to this point not effectively picked up on as a starting point. For instance detailed articles about:

    1) Otago 1st XV Ltd. and the $10 million paid to them by the ORFU over the last few years (publicly available), what this money was used for and how much of it is left in the Company (not publicly available).

    2) How the ORFU apparently ended up being in a position to make blanket policy decisions on how large sums of money raised by third parties (the public) to pay to other third parties (the ORFU’s creditors) would be allocated – to whom, in what amounts and under what conditions.

    3) Decent development of the material posted by Martin Legge on this website and available elsewhere relating to TTCF and Otago sports entities and personalities various.

    4) An investigation of why Carisbrook has been kept in immaculate ‘rugby ready’ condition at our expense for over a year, even though it has no identified rugby user, and according to the ODT’s own reports its sale for demolition and redevelopment is imminent.

    I posted a polite non accusatory comment on this very matter on the ODT webpage relating the recent article on new turf for the FB Stadium. This comment was submitted on Saturday morning and it has not yet appeared on the ODT website in any place that I can find it – I now doubt if it ever will appear.

    I wonder why not? – I invite you to wonder too.

  21. Calvin Oaten

    No bonus points for guessing that the ODT Online editor is a rugby nut. Try and find reference to the front page article. Talk about ‘censoring’ of the public content. Question? How did it get onto the front page of the hard copy? Slipped through in the dead of the night I suspect.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 27 Aug 2012
      ORFU pokie papers withheld
      By Hamish McNeilly
      Confidential documents relating to the Otago Rugby Football Union’s involvement with pokies are being withheld by the Department of Internal Affairs. The department declined an Official Information Act request to release the New Zealand Rugby Union-supplied documents on the grounds it “would be likely to prejudice the supply of similar information”. The Otago Daily Times has lodged a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsmen seeking the release of the information, citing public interest.
      Read more

  22. Hype O'Thermia

    I don’t think there is “an” ODT Online editor. The way it seems to work is that when someone of sufficient seniority, or with that as one of their tasks, is at work the comments get sorted and posted. When not, not. Weekends there’s often nothing new for hours, or only one or 2 dribbling through as if the person allowing them is being very cautious, plus reading each one 3 times for hints of subversion before clicking “OK to go to the online site” then perhaps another job comes up. Probably not many staff on duty at the time. Then all of a sudden – next day, or perhaps when someone else starts their shift – a whole lot turns up online at once.

  23. Mike

    They put the Saturday paper to bed late Friday and don’t start on the (news part) of the Monday paper until midday Sunday; it’s not surprising that not much happens on the ODT site when there’s no-one there.

  24. Calvin Oaten

    The ‘website’ did have one Peter O’Flaherty as editor. Whether he still is, I don’t know.

    • Elizabeth

      Always impressed by ODT reporter Hamish McNeilly’s understanding of issues with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

      It will take a concerted effort from all of us, and all interested media, to get past the political interference that sees DIA ‘conveniently incapacitated’… ie DIA deliberately not carrying out its statutory duty under the legislation it is empowered by.

      Note some stories that appear in the Saturday print edition of Otago Daily Times are now held over for ODT Online on Sunday, which is helping to keep their views up on the weekend. Fair enough. And a batch of Comments are published on Saturday morning at Online. ODT management hasn’t quite clicked to the 24-hour force of social networking services, or put their dollars to staffing it.

      Martin Legge forwarded this link last night:
      http://thestandard.org.nz/evolving-online-media-in-nz/

  25. Robert Hamlin

    Well waddya know, my posting’s up – c 12.30 What If comment 11.40

  26. Robert Hamlin

    Waddya know, it was posted ….

    However, as so many other comments that came in later (since 8.30 am Saturday) were moderated and posted before this one (I wonder why), you now have to go back several pages in readers comments to find it even though it was only posted an hour or so ago.

    This happens because readers’ comments are posted in the home page ‘reader comments’ list in order of submission for moderation, not order of posting by the moderator. The article to which they are attached usually drops off the home page of the website too if listing is delayed for a couple of days.

    Thus if a comment is ‘sat on’ for a couple of days before posting it while plenty of others are posted in the interim, the comment concerned is effectively eliminated from the current/topical commentary ‘gene pool’ – but it can still be accurately described as ‘listed’ if anybody asks.

    However, I am quite sure that this is just an entirely incidental feature of the system as it is set up and administered by Allied Press, and that the effective burial of this comment is just an unfortunate coincidence.

    {Link added. -Eds}

  27. Phil

    The turf issue at the stadium is clearly the reason behind the recent Extreme Makeover of Carisbrook. In a couple of weeks there’s an All Blacks test match being played. Both teams will require an international level surface to train on. It seems clear that the stadium turf can’t cope today with being used more than once a fortnight, so there’s no way it’s going to be able to stand up to 2 teams training for several hours for a couple of days and then host a full match. The cost for preparing and maintaining the Carisbrook surface should be put directly back onto the stadium. It’s the stadium which has given rise to the need, and it will also mean that those costs will have to be reported by the stadium. As it stands at the moment, those stadium specific costs are being hidden inside the general DCC costs under the pretence of “asset maintenance”.

  28. Anonymous

    Gerry Brownlee is repeating the stadium nightmare. He is saying that everybody – over 500,000 people – want a stadium.

    Here is another multi-millionaire National Minister talking up spending public money when there are still people suffering, still homes to be finished, homes to be found. He hasn’t finished the essential job of recovering Christchurch but he wants a bloody half billion dollar stadium now because it’s big and pretty and has a roof. The government is asset stripping, tearing apart social services, cutting back emergency and health, and God only knows what else, because of its take on the current financial state (we all know it is to make Jonkey’s multi-billionaire international friends richer). If Gerry is so bloody smug about building a bloody stadium, then run a referendum and stop bullshitting the people.

    This stadium is only about the Stakeholders in Christchurch and we all know that that council was just as corrupt as ours before tragedy struck its people.

  29. Anonymous

    The Carisbrook pitch has been maintained up to the current standard since the “Last Test (Official)”. While some of that was required for RWC2011 (remember that?), the ground maintenance was kept up after that.

  30. Anonymous

    The people who actually do the real work in the Cera offices would tell you its sausage rolls, not pies. The aroma of a fresh batch of sausage rolls is a prelude to the stink of Power and Money that rolls in after it.

    {Pie-munching is a very old in-joke between NZ Twitter-users, when discussing Brownlee. -Eds}

  31. Anonymous

    Back to Jack’s Point, questions were raised about Delta’s purchase of 100 sections at Jack’s Point on page 5 of [D Scene] November 2nd (think it was 2011 but can’t find the edition yet to confirm). Delta chief Grady Cameron responded by demanding $76 per hour from D Scene before the company would further review the questions, and no surprise, they went unanswered.

    This was a similar tactic used by then DCC chief executive Jim Harland to delay uncomfortable questions regarding a contamination report.

  32. Phil

    The question then has to be Why the playing surface has been maintained in match condition since that time. Council has been very clear that the ground was not available for purchase as a sporting venue (competing directly against the stadium) and was to be sold for industrial use. For some strange reason. Anyway, its sole purpose since has been to provide pre-match training facilities for teams who are playing in the stadium. Therefore all costs in maintaining the surface, changing facilities etc in match condition should be linked directly to the stadium. The warm-up track beside the Olympic stadium in London is linked directly to the main stadium, as that is its purpose. This should be as well.

  33. Rob Hamlin

    One wonders whether the Foobar pitch is becoming increasingly tender with use – it certainly seems so. This seems somewhat counter-intuitive. One would expect it to get stronger as the grass established itself fully. However, some did predict this process of slow but accelerating deterioration. Why?

    Well, far from being ‘stitched in’ or stitched together’, the Desso is merely ‘poked in’ by the machine that lays it. Each ‘tuft’ is separate and is not attached to its neighbour. The positioning of each tuft is, I believe, critical to its performance. For this reason, Desso relies on the grass for its matrix to hold it in place as much as the grass relies on the individual Desso tufts for their tensile strength, depth and holding capacity. Thus while it has a good track record at holding together heavily used and sometimes marginal pitches, it is possible that Desso will not be able to salvage a chronically unplayable surface such as the Foobar pitch appears to be at least over the long term.

    Remember, nobody has developed a remotely playable grass pitch under a fixed roof before – what Farry and the CST asked Desso to do was to turn an unplayable surface into a playable one – that’s a big ask over the long term and the first time that it’s been asked of this system. This is what the turf and ETFE field trials should have established with Desso in place and played on – also over a long period of time, before the hundreds of millions were committed to building a Stadium around the system. You can’t blame Desso for this situation; these ‘turf trials’, such as they were, were over before the name Desso was even mentioned in public.

    Over the short term (Rugby World Cup 2011 and first season), it may appear that it can achieve a miracle, but unlike grass Desso cannot repair itself. If the grass matrix is too weak to hold the Desso tufts in place, then, while the Desso will prevent the most severe and visible divoting under play to begin with (remember Cardiff Arms Park?), the grass and Desso will ‘smear’ progressively on a smaller scale. This will eventually lead to weak patches in the pitch as the tops of the individual Desso tufts are progressively moved out of their correct position and alignment. As this process continues, these small patches of weakness will spread and coalesce, and the pitch becomes progressively more tender; becoming more prone to damage and needing longer recovery periods for the areas where the reinforcing is compromised – a process that is impossible to prevent or even to slow, except by reducing playing hours. If this is so, then the grass surface in the Foobar may well have a life expectancy of a not very high number of games – and we may be approaching that life expectancy already.

    If this is so, and I am not completely full of s**t, those who manage and those who use the Foobar must know this already. The installation of a fully artificial pitch would be inevitable under such circumstances – and soon. The natural grass surface would be both irreparable and irreplaceable. It would just be the politics and PR of announcing this fact that would need to be considered (cue Lee’s ill-advised campaign – boy, isn’t he just getting the red carpet treatment from McPravda with it? not what he’s used to at all) and then managing the opportunities that the demise of the grass in the Foobar would represent: the boys in blue & green bailing out to the astonishingly-immaculate-but-not-yet-upgraded-at-our-expense (yet) Carisbrook.

  34. Phil

    I think you are exactly right, Rob. It’s the natural grass fibres binding together which hold/held the artificial tufts in the ground. The whole process hinges on the natural grass being able to bind together with sufficient strength and at a sufficient rate. If the natural grass can’t sustain a bind around the artificial, then the artificial tufts will simply begin to fall out. If this is the case then you’ve got 2 problems. Firstly, you have to poke the artificial tufts back in again. Secondly, and this seems to be the critical issue, you have to replace the existing tired natural grass with new grass which still has the strength to bind. Again and again and again. It seems like we are about to arrive at the first “again”. The trials with EFTE were never completed to a satisfactory level. Due diligence was ignored. A few weeks with a small canopy and no side shading in the middle of summer was almost criminally negligent. The biodomes in England don’t grow sports turf. I don’t care what else they grow, they don’t grow sports turf and that’s what we needed to know. The Beijing pool grows water, not grass. Sufficient and appropriate testing was deliberately bypassed when it was vital for a previously untested product combination. The so called “shading models” were fundamentally flawed and gave an incorrect view of the amount of direct sunlight (read daylight) received by the playing surface of the stadium. They were simple models working on a completely flat plane with no allowance for the surrounding topography. They are the type of models that one uses to try and push through a dodgy Resource Consent application. They also focused purely on daylight quantity and not on quality. Personally, I believe this was deliberately done in order to tick another public scrutiny box.

    It’s worth remembering that way back in the beginning this was supposed to be an artificial turf playing surface. On the advice of the designers. It was Malcolm who made the decision to go with a natural turf option in order to reduce the construction costs to a level where he could get approval to build. What happened later on was someone else’s problem. Professional technical recommendations were vetoed by a dentist.

  35. Calvin Oaten

    All the turf problems aside, exactly who told the TV1 person that the ‘Foobar’ will break into surplus by 2015? Also, did you all notice the old clip of former Wellington Mayor Fran Wilde saying that the Westpac Stadium would produce $Xmillion economic benefits to Wellington with every event. Standard tactics to sell the public on these extravaganzas just like happened here. God it’s sickening. You would have to wonder why our councillors aren’t up in arms in support of Lee Vandervis. In reality there will be nothing but stunned silence from them all, Mayor included.

    {What Close Up reporter Abby Scott said was “Dunedin stadium will run at a loss until at least 2015” (see video). -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      Frankly Calvin, on the basis of Brownlee’s stodgy lack of accountability, and on the basis of DCC’s crippled lack of accountability, if I was to move into the sniper profession I could make a killing right now… there would be lots of grassy knolls to form. How to treat the New Zealand public with utter contempt is the ‘political’ fashion of the fat and bewildered dickheads – even Jonkey’s head on TVNZ News tonight looked fatter and thicker explaining delayed asset sales (I don’t think it was the lens). What a tragic day this has turned into.

      Cr Vandervis, though, can probably get a good run at the Dunedin mayoralty on the basis of his latest media dealings. If that’s his wish.

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