Stadium: DCC caught in headlights


The Otago Daily Times (1.11.12) states:
“Dunedin city councillors are pointing fingers after some were blindsided by a $3.2 million loss by the company running Forsyth Barr Stadium. Some councillors spoken to by the Otago Daily Times yesterday admitted they were unaware they had accepted reports detailing the loss at Monday’s council meeting. Other councillors were aware of the reports, but were still yet to read them properly.” ODT Link

Blissfully unaware, or deliberately avoiding and shielding knowledge of the fact, thereby keeping the public and media at arm’s length from the true state of council finances relating to the stadium project?

That is a question for all elected representatives at Dunedin City Council, the council’s chief executive, the executive management team (EMT), and the governance manager.

Sadly, the annual reports don’t tell the full story of the ‘stadium effect’ – that is, the figures that Dunedin renters and ratepayers will be facing, and unable to pay, when the whole system is called to ‘correct’.

Fire away, Dunedin public.

It’s as if the newspaper editor has suffered a blunt contusion. Sees the problem then runs away to John Wilson Ocean Drive (closed from August 2006), and ends weakly, out of steam, with the hope that those in power “will turn their full attention to making our new stadium a profitable investment of which the city can be proud”, and would they please read the annual report[s].

### ODT Online Sat, 3 Nov 2012
Editorial: Council must keep eye on the ball
Just as it seemed the Dunedin City Council was determined to focus on a different attitude towards debt, revelations that a worse-than-expected $3.2 million loss by the company running the Forsyth Barr Stadium was not even discussed at this week’s full council meeting have put it back in the firing line and raised questions about its priorities. The loss – nearly $1 million greater than forecast – was recorded in Dunedin Venues Management Ltd’s (DVML) 2011-12 annual report, which was released a day later to this newspaper. But it had flown under the radar at the council meeting, with no mention of the reports on DVML or Dunedin Venues Ltd (DVL), which owns the stadium, on the meeting’s public agenda, and no indication those reports had been circulated publicly and to media – as required under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act – ahead of the meeting. The reasons for that are unclear and convoluted.
Read more

From our Northland cuzzies, some clues for rabbit hunting…

Image: NZ Herald

### New Zealand Herald 5:30 AM Saturday Nov 3, 2012
Inside Kaipara’s ratepayers revolt
By Andrew Laxon
Many residents of a small coastal town are refusing to pay for a $58 million debt that has crippled their local council and left them with the bill.
The Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association chairman Bruce Rogan has at least 500 local residents refusing to pay an estimated $1 million in rates this year because the Kaipara District Council secretly ran up an unsustainable $58 million debt building a sewerage treatment scheme for about 2000 people who own homes here.
Read more

Dare we say, Dunedin, the amount currently owed by each city ratepayer well exceeds that owed by the good ratepayers of Mangawhai, on the Kaipara.
So, what now?

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

17 responses to “Stadium: DCC caught in headlights

  1. Anonymous

    The situation in Kaipara is disturbing and the Herald newspaper story is a stunner. It is frightening to think Dunedin’s combined debt is more than ten times greater and yet we suffer a corrupt council and its companies still hiding the whole truth.

    Why is this allowed to happen? It seems we have a stadium. And a Prime Minister who likes to play with Laurie Mains. And a National minister as arrogant and useless as the rest of them.

    There are so many similarities in the story, including guaranteed prices and the withholding of information. Yet we still have the Stadium Councillors who are responsible for the debt sitting around the council table. Now being propped up by a weak Mayor and his group of Lessers.

    We have a new chief executive though but he hasn’t had a frank discussion with the Auditor-General yet regarding the decisions that led to this mess. Or does he believe what he reads in his paper over breakfast? Maybe he doesn’t read or understand the reports like the councillors?

    That $6500 weekly pay packet probably incentive enough not to rock the boat until it’s time to jump from it.

    The Herald story needs to be read. Their forced rates rise was 19.8%. What would yours be with a debt ten times worse?

  2. Anonymous

    Well worth a look back at Kaipara page here which includes the 3 News interview with then Mayor Neil Tiller. Topic includes rapidly increasing debt, managing debt on “luck”, inappropriate use of council monies and illegal rating. The mayor looks uncomfortable, the sort of uncomfortable we saw with Peter Chin when facing questions about spending, although he is no longer alone on that front if you remember Dave Cull’s in February.

    Multimillion dollar uncertainty over final stadium cost
    By David Loughrey on Fri, 24 Feb 2012

    Kaipara Council ‘running on luck’
    Sun, 22 Jul 2012 6:18p.m.
    By Brook Sabin

  3. daseditor

    The political debate over JWD disintegrated into a blatant popularity contest without any reasoned argument on what actually would provide the greatest benefit to the city. Councillors wanting to reopen the drive only discussed their own embarrassment in the recent Council meeting. Not one of those councillors offered any clear vision for the reserve, it was always about extricating themselves from their own lack of vision. That speaks volumes not only about JWD, but many of our other problems don’t you think?.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      Wow, and Yes, daseditor – I do think so. The whole lot should be sacked.

      Thanks very much for the link to the Dunedin Amenities Society page.
      A totally worthwhile read whether or not people support vehicle access for the length of the memorial drive.

  4. Elizabeth

    Dunedin City Council “with acknowledged debt per ratepayer running close to $11,000”

    [OCR Scan]
    Letter to the editor (ODT 5.11.12, page 8)

    It is now abundantly clear to any dispassionate observer that the levels of debt incurred by the Dunedin City Council have reached levels unable to be supported by ratepayers, with acknowledged debt per ratepayer running close to $11,000.
    While deputy mayor Chris Staynes wryly observes the problem can be solved by just upping the rates, the fact remains that past decisions clearly demonstrate the councillors involved did not have what is described in the Local Government Act as “the general powers of competence”. The admissions by many current councillors that they don’t understand financial reports is not surprising and even less surprising is the admission they only skim-read reports.
    What is clear is the many promises and projections for the stadium were nothing other than puffery at best and deceit at worse – substantiated by the recent independent review by PricewaterhouseCoopers. This council and the immediate past council determined to build and support a new stadium for professional rugby, which was demonstrably unnecessary and financially unsustainable. Carisbrook still stands unused, pristine and owned and maintained by the city. Professional rugby is being subsidised to an enormous extent by the ratepayers and until this council and the dwindling rugby supporters force professional rugby to meet the costs of the stadium built for it, there will be no change to our circumstances.

    Russell Garbutt

    {Link to deputy mayor Staynes’ comment at ODT Online -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      ### Mon, 05 Nov 2012 7:00p.m.
      Source: Campbell Live
      Civil disobedience after Mangawhai rate increase
      What is happening in Mangawhai is unprecedented. It’s part of the Kaipara district – a tiny population with some big problems. The district council allowed a local wastewater scheme to double in cost to $60 million, and then kept that secret from ratepayers. It ran up $80 million worth of debt for just 20,000 residents. It has proved so dysfunctional that a team of commissioners now act as government appointed babysitters. Understandably, residents are furious. For the first time in their lives some of them are engaging in civil disobedience. Almost 600 properties are refusing to pay their rates, and they have a warning for the rest of the country: pay close attention to your elected representatives, because their mistakes could cost you your home.

      Watch the video to see Lachlan Forsyth’s report:

  5. Calvin Oaten

    The ODT turned down this ‘To the Point’: (They have absolutely no sense of the ridiculous.)

    I see in the DVML report that the Elton John Concert provide an ‘economic impact’ in excess of $14 million.
    Excellent! Of the population of 120,000, each man, woman and child gets $116. Thanks Elton.

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    Uh, Calvin, “impact” isn’t necessarily good. If I cunningly encounter you at lunchtime and pick your pocket the impact is unlikely to have you jumping for joy. I wonder if that’s why that word was used, not income, profit, windfall etc.

  7. Elizabeth

    It’s like Planet of the Apes. For more huff and puff from St Farry of St Clair on the future of the stadium (DCC booted CST off the operationals) – as well as further duplicity from Mayor Ineffectual, Dave Cull – yep, read this week’s DScene (7.11.12). Won’t bother to provide story links to the effrontery.

    Disgracefully, protractedly, Farry has it in for David Davies.

    Register to read DScene online at

    Don’t forget, St Farry needs work. Happy to lend him some “Wanted” advertising.

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    “Due to portfolio restructuring”, really? Couldn’t be “due to people realising that if it’s not dishonesty that’s been showing up, comparing stadium sales pitch with reality, then it must be down to the graph line plunging somewhere way below Diddlysquat Level on the Competence Index” could it?

  9. Anonymous

    One might ask why we as the ratepayer are providing free signage to the EzyStor van which has been parked outside the stadium in the car park facing Anzac Ave for the last week. EzyStor, which operates out of the Farry Clear office in Radio Otago House?

  10. Anonymous

    It seems Malcolm Farry is still trying to shift blame elsewhere (D Scene 7 Nov 2012). This might be humourous on April 1 but is just a sick joke any other day. On the matter of the above advert, the whole thing looks dated as though the Otago Daily Times pulled copy from one of its nineties editions and reproduced it. Not sure what that is saying about the paper or the advertiser but I’d be a little put out given how much an advert of that size costs to place today.

    Underneath that story is another cruel joke played on the citizens of Dunedin with former (thank god!) Shimrath Paul getting a $700K send off. Some would say that was fair money to remove the problem but it makes it no less palatable. Here’s hoping Clare Wilson is shown the back door as soon as possible too.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Anonymous.
      Can’t be bothered giving St Farry more press on ‘operationals’ as stated above.
      (He’s a dentist for the love of god, what does he or CST know about venue management or event management ? Remember CST [deliberately] couldn’t even organise a public meeting for Dunedin people when they were taking the stadium proposal about the province as a roadshow… that’s about the size of it.)

      Re Otago Museum:
      Sadly for DScene, their smaller stories and alerts most times carry the news other media have blasted a week or more earlier – so not wasting my time linking to regurgitation that offers nothing new. DScene are at their best when they’re breaking stories (even if when involving Cock Robbin’ Farry). Fairfax owes DScene considerably more resources.

  11. Calvin Oaten

    Malcolm, if he was honest ( a foreign concept I know ) must have secretly breathed a huge sigh of relief when the DCC (Harland, that man again) opted to set up its own independent stadium management operation. It let him off the hook, right when he must have been feeling pretty desperate with just the prospects of a few rugby matches, a Dalai Lama and Papal visit to pad out the itinerary until he could get the Ice Skating and Swimming Sports up and running.
    Now he can (and does) preen himself publicly for having been deprived of the opportunity of bringing the huge success he had dreamed of to the Stadium. A tremendous shame and a lost opportunity for the city, being deprived of his expertise. That is probably why his consultancy portfolio needed restructuring, thus making room for a limited number of new clients. So, as they say, ‘behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining’.

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    Yes, behind the dark cloud there’s a silver lining for Malcolm, and behind that there’s another dark cloud for someone else, bet yer boots.

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