Darren Burden plays LGOIMA game like Davies #DVML #PsychoAnswer

DVML’s attempts to deceive ratepayers continues under Burden’s control. Mayor Dull is fully complicit.

### ODT Wed, 10 Oct 2012
Letters to the editor (page 8)
Concern over attendance of rugby games
Recent national news stories regarding widespread concern over the NZRU’s ITM Cup competition, which report that the number of spectators are down in significant numbers, along with reduced ratings on Sky TV for their coverage of these matches, lead to some financial concerns for Dunedin ratepayers.
Can Darren Burden, chief executive of DVML who runs and manages the stadium used for these professional rugby matches, confirm that:
1. The average attendance at these matches at the Forsyth Barr Stadium is in the region of 5000.
2. The average ticket price for these 5000 attendees is approximately $20.
3. The gross income from ticket sales is, therefore, approximately $100,000.
4. The NZRU returns approximately 10% of gate sales revenue to the venue operator.
5. The income to DVML from gate sales is, therefore, approximately $10,000.
6. The cost of opening the stadium for a professional rugby match is approximately $100,000.
7. These matches held at the stadium therefore lose approximately $90,000 each time they are held.
If Mr Burden disputes these figures, can he supply in detail his version of the above statements, as well as an accurate profit/loss statement for the ITM matches held at the stadium?

Russell Garbutt

[Dunedin Venues chief executive Darren Burden replies: “The ITM Cup provides variety and entertainment to our event schedule and has value to the stadium beyond just financial. The cost of opening the stadium varies depending on the size of the event. However, it is nowhere near $100,000 for an ITM cup match, as suggested. The information requested by Mr Garbutt is complex. I invite him to contact Dunedin Venues directly and we’ll happily review his request for information.”]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DVML, Economics, Events, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

30 responses to “Darren Burden plays LGOIMA game like Davies #DVML #PsychoAnswer

  1. Anonymous

    That reply came across as blatantly arrogant and dismissive. It actually made people go back and read the original letter. Just like a National minister, apparently Mr Burden is now getting lots and lots of cash in his new position, enough not to give a damn about anyone else but protecting the interests of themselves instead of the public institution they front.

    Darren Burden is not working in the best interests of Dunedin and now he has his hands wrapped around millions of funding. For someone who can’t seem to return a percentage based on the size of an event after this time is clearly inept and the wrong person for the job.

  2. BillyBob

    Anonymous, could you please explain which parts of Darren Burden’s reply were arrogant and/or dismissive? Seemed pretty courteous and professional to me.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Huh? and You’wha? responses to these 2 dollops of bullfudulation – “our event schedule … value to the stadium beyond just financial”. Re the 2nd, looks like inaccurate reporting, surely he said “INSTEAD of just financial”.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    BillyBob, I’m surprised you need to ask what’s arrogant and dismissive about Darren Burden’s reply. Unless the ODT cut all the relevant parts out of his response, Burden when asked to confirm 7 clearly-phrased points answered none except that “The cost of opening the stadium varies depending on the size of the event. However, it is nowhere near $100,000 for an ITM cup match”.

    Note that he did not say how much it really is, leaving the question in readers’ minds – is it less or more, and what factors lead him to avoid giving a straight answer? All the other questions from the first where he is asked to confirm ” 1. The average attendance at these [professional rugby] matches at the Forsyth Barr Stadium is in the region of 5000.” Similar disdain about the other points he is asked to confirm OR “If Mr Burden disputes these figures, can he supply in detail his version of the above statements”.

    What’s OK about that, BillyBob, from someone whose salary comes via several disguises from the pockets of the ratepayers?

  5. amanda

    I am not sure where to put this. In this article about the current Uni president he uses this phrase “commercial interests”. This interests me. Could this individual be somehow tapping into DCC funds in some way to fund this pub? He seems to be in the ODT a lot and is very much on the same page as the stadium cabal with his disinterest in safeguarding assets. in other words, a ‘trickle down’ economics devotee. http://www.odt.co.nz/campus/university-otago/229839/ousa-committed-building-new-student-bar

  6. amanda

    Exactly Hype. Talk about having to state the absolutely obvious. Billybob, he did not answer the question. He ignored it. That is insulting. Russell is trying to get information to very real concerns, and Burden could’nt give a toss. No, he wants to privately be able to tell Russell he won’t do it. He dare not do it in the ODT. Classic deflection technique.

  7. BillyBob

    “I invite him to contact Dunedin Venues directly and we’ll happily review his request for information.”

    Doesn’t sound very dismissive to me. In fact it sounds rather accommodating.

  8. amanda

    Yes, that’s the point I rather think, Old Billy Bob. It does SOUND accommodating, doesn’t it? But it in reality it is not, because of what I mentioned above. It’s a deflection technique that politicians and powerholdesrs use because if they said ‘pi** off’ that would be very bad politics indeed! Nonetheless it means the same thing. I know, it is convoluted (why can’t they just say what they mean!), but that is the world of politics.

  9. Mike

    Yes it’s an obvious attempt to take an embarrassing subject out of a public forum so that it can be quietly avoided

  10. Anonymous

    The back of the envelope indicates that costs for ITM cup games and small events like the Phoenix game where only the South stand is opened, is around $30K, not $100K. This is why they moved the TV box to the North Stand as it gives the impression of a larger crowd, whereas if the TV coverage was from the South stand, the North stand would have to be open and occupied, which it won’t be due to lack of attendance and increased operating cost.

    5000 tickets at average $20 each = $100K, 10% from NZRU = $10K income so the loss is only $20K per game, purely on the gate revenue.

    While there may have been some efficiencies lately, it is dubious as to whether or not the $30K figure could be reduced to $10K per game as there are simply too many fixed costs associated with opening.

  11. Russell Garbutt

    I asked Burden to put into the public arena the costs associated with rugby which are met in the end by the ratepayers. In my view his response indicated that the figures he has mean an ongoing loss. He came across as arrogant and evasive but I will phone him and publish the result.

  12. Maybe a simpler way to put it is “How much does the stadium lose each game? In cold hard cash, forget about the flowery stuff”.

    In fact, what’s the email to these clowns…..

  13. anonymous

    Amanda, regarding Logan Edgar, I too have noticed the ODT painting a pretty picture of him. This is the usual ploy seen prior to an election – think Peter Chin and Dave Cull. Then think about the image presented for those who weren’t Chin, Cull or a Stadium Councillor. So it looks likely Allied Press has picked its next puppet. That must burn Cull a little since he knows how it went down for Chin as the Smiths’ political wants changed.

    What is also revealing is the OUSA announcement itself, choosing to go public in the Otago Daily Times after the final publication of its own magazine Critic went to print. That strikes me as a little petty of Logan and adds to the ominous association between him and that paper.

    I am watching for comment from Edgar on his views of the city’s assets and funding rugby. Any suggestion of selling assets and wasting more on professional rugby will see his name shit-listed with the Stadium Councillors at the next election.

  14. Phil

    So the official line is that if you contact them directly, they will happily tell you how much money their publicly owned company makes or loses with every match. They have no problem in telling you that, so obviously the information itself is not a problem. According to their head. However, they will only tell those individual people who ask them directly, and will not release that same information to people in general. Accommodating ?

  15. Who would know Phil, but I’ve asked the question and eagerly await the reply…..

  16. Just as a small side issue relating to this, I didn’t realize how easy it is to get the “Official Information Act” working for you. Well worth the read….

  17. amanda

    He is aligned with the stadium cabal, he is not bothered by asset sales, he will be with local sales too, so he is down with all the dosh going to the stadium debacle, I wonder if the OUSA president is getting any assistance from the stadium, now or in the past, I mean in pre tickets or prizes, that he used to drum up popularity? I have an idea he has been very aligned with that whole debacle. Aaron Hawkins, I hope he is starting now to prepare for the election next year.

  18. gary hughes

    And now Otago get an extra game, god forbid we get a final as well. If this season’s games are losing money which it does seem they are, it would seem the ORFU are going to lose another $100 grand unless they get three times the crowd that they have been getting this season. Icing is all very good if it’s on cake, I don’t think it’s on cake.

  19. Anonymous

    ‘Mr Burden has declined to answer detailed questions or be interviewed about the contract.’

    Really, I don’t know why they even bothered with the expensive pretense to look elsewhere for a David Davies replacement, clearly the Stakeholders had their best candidate already lined up and in line.

    The stadium farce rolls on.

    Mayor uneasy about stadium’s contract
    By Chris Morris on Fri, 26 Oct 2012

  20. Peter

    To think Dave Cull and the ODT thought the Marketing Bureau revelations, and Burden’s part in it, was all about ‘timing’ and an ‘unfair’ criticism of Darren Burden’s competency by Bev. Seems Dave might have a different view now?

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    The mayor’s unease may raise some questions about the advisability of taking ratepayers’ “investments” and “businesses” and through a maze of legal re-naming, re-board’n’committee-ing, the equivalent of spare birth certificates and passports in the overtly criminal world, remove them from control by ratepayers’ elected representatives. Good idea while it works: lovely deniability, I-see-no-evil.
    But when the time comes when the smell of rotten flesh cannot be masked by spring flowers aerosols the down-side comes up.
    “Our hands are tied” – yes. “We supplied the rope and duct tape ourselves and with rare competence demanded the binding be done thoroughly” – don’t forget to add that. The ratepayers didn’t do it to you, even though we are going to have to pay and pay and pay.

  22. Steve Lewis

    Stadiums all around NZ have lost money and will continue to do so. Jade was $45 million in the red prior to its destruction, even Eden Park is canvassing the Warriors to try and shore up its losses. The stadium will continue to bleed for as long as it is there. We have it, somehow ratepayers will have to live with it.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    And if the council is not away with the Fairries it will look at what can be done to NOT keep increasing the sunk cost.

  24. Peter

    It makes you wonder whether having a council entity, in a stand alone position where it can’t be touched, is a rather handy way of not connecting the decision makers to the misdeeds of others. Thereby they can attempt to wash their hands of anything that may go wrong, or that they already know is not right, and can play dumb. The ‘we didn’t know’ ruse has no more weight than the ‘brain fade’ ruse that now seems to be in vogue with John Key.

  25. Russell Garbutt

    The immediate effect of putting a Council Department into the structure of DCHL and Delta for example is to completely remove all responsibility and accountability. The next effect is that it changes the culture of the place. Look at the responses of the Delta CEO – he probably does believe that he isn’t accountable to the ratepayers who are his real stakeholders. He is an arrogant person who believes he does not have to respond to any public enquiries. The next thing to happen is inappropriate, immoral or illegal activities. Look at Delta’s major sponsorship of professional rugby and then the land deals at Jacks Point and Luggate. Try finding any income of Delta for the years of providing services to these developers that just happen to be connected to the Board. Next thing is that the appointments to the Boards of these companies that should be simple DCC departments becomes out of scrutiny of the public and becomes just part of the Tartan Mafia private appointments.

  26. Calvin Oaten

    The culture is one of entitlement. It has always been thus. When you are in charge of anything the importance of the position becomes, in the incumbent’s eyes, measurable by the rewards attached. What is significant to one may be seen as just a ‘piss in a bucket’ to another. In Delta’s case, the fact that the CEO has no ‘skin’ in the game, but with a salary in the $380,000 – $390,000 range would most certainly dazzle the vision. He is quite simply elevated to another plane, one removed from seeing any need to consider any so insignificant as the ‘amorphous’ stakeholders. No, it is his personal ‘fiefdom’ in which he is free to rule. The matter of accountability is for mere mortals. This is accentuated by the practice of appointing boards of directors to direct. These come from a very depleted ‘gene’ pool, being mainly in the business for personal aggrandisement, not to mention the fees. The opportunity to use the position for personal advantage is never far from their minds. In order to add ‘gravitas’ and authority, it pays to add someone of a professional former life, such as a retired high court judge, politician or military luminary. They couldn’t possibly be compromised by such trivialities as paying due diligence to the appointment in hand. Witness the ignominy of ‘Sir Douglas Graham’ to belie that thought. Here in Dunedin, it is patently manifest that in the words of an elderly Dutchman, “they are rotten to the core.”

  27. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s a difficult situation when neither the mayor nor the CEO can do anything about prudent governorship of Dunedin ratepayers’ assets. Perhaps it is time for another CEO, a Citizens’ Enforcement Organization, which would delegate to persons of suitable experience and character to make the CEO’s wishes very clear, to take the Teflon Tossers aside and enrich their life experience through hands-on education, which could be continuing education if they are not quick learners.

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