Delta purchases | Vandervis OAG complaint accepted

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### ODT Online Mon, 12 Nov 2012
Councillor lodges Delta purchase complaint
By Simon Hartley
A complaint has been lodged with the Office of the Auditor-General by Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis over Central Otago subdivision purchases which soured and left the council millions of dollars out of pocket.

DCC infrastructure company Delta bought part of a subdivision in Luggate in July 2008, and another at Jacks Point, near Queenstown, in May 2009, but their value has subsequently been written down by millions of dollars.

In mid-October, the DCC announced a $9 million write-down of Delta investments, including the subdivisions, which contributed to the Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) group of companies’ booking a $5 million loss for the year to June.
Cr Vandervis claims pre-purchase details of the Jacks Point and Luggate subdivision acquisitions, plus details of City Forests’ mothballed wood-processing plant at Milburn, are being withheld from him.
Cr Vandervis contacted the Otago Daily Times yesterday, saying the Office of the Auditor-General had accepted his complaint and it had been passed on to its investigation unit, but he was yet to hear if the OAG would launch a full investigation.
Read more

A copy of the formal complaint was forwarded to What if? Dunedin on Thursday, 8 November 2012.

Fairfax | DScene publishes Cr Vandervis’ questions (page 3):

Mayor sees red over Vandervis questions (ODT, 30.10.12)

Related Posts:
31.10.12 Dunedin City Council – all reports posted, belatedly!
30.10.12 DCHL ‘run by a bunch of fools’ -agreed
26.10.12 No cloud has lifted off DCC, the sins are too great and numerous
26.10.12 DCHL: New directors for Aurora, Delta, City Forests
26.10.12 DCHL borrowed $23 million to bail DCC
17.10.12 The only thing up…. (for sale)
17.10.12 DCC on DCHL, subsidiaries and DCTL
12.10.12 DCHL, subsidiaries and DCTL
28.9.12 The End of The Golden Weather?
11.9.12 Delta Utility Services Ltd
30.8.12 DCC seen by Fairfax Business Bureau deputy editor Tim Hunter
24.8.12 Dunedin’s 3 waters, no CCO
16.8.12 Dunedin water assets
29.3.12 Dunedin City Council company sponsors Highlanders
7.3.12 DScene: Call for full inquiry into stadium project
20.12.11 Delta and the GOBs #DCHL #DCC
18.11.11 Delta rebrand
29.7.11 WE ALL SAID IT #DunedinCityCouncil #SHAME
9.2.11 DCC and DCHL, was there ever any doubt?
26.8.09 DScene: Delta, STS, DCC larks
9.7.09 Delta dawn what’s that flower…

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

196 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site

196 responses to “Delta purchases | Vandervis OAG complaint accepted

  1. Elizabeth

    “The electrical asset planning and maintenance businesses of Delta Utility Services Limited have operated well. But the demand for other infrastructure services weakened and company was forced to conduct a series of adjustments to reposition the company to match reduced demand. The land holdings of the Delta group, which have attracted media attention, are under close management.”
    Denham Shale, DCC media release 17 Oct 2012: Dunedin City Holdings Limited Annual Result for the year ended 30 June 2012

    Mr Shale was reluctant to criticise yesterday when asked if the property purchases had proven to be a mistake. “I wouldn’t call it a mistake, no. As we see it today, it could be called an unfortunate decision, but that is very much in hindsight. It’s very easy in hindsight.” He also saw no need for the new DCHL board to investigate the rationale behind the purchases, saying they were “a fact that’s there”. “We can’t do anything to change it.” He blamed the result on the world economy, which had “bailed out” and taken property values with it, but said Delta had still benefited from infrastructure work at the subdivisions secured as a result of the purchases. Delta also had a conditional deal to sell some of the properties, although Mr Shale would not divulge details yesterday. Delta’s write-downs were “significant and negative” for DCHL’s results, but reflected only the value of the properties if a sale was forced immediately, his written report said.”
    ODT: $5m loss for DCC group (18.10.12)

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    Hindsight shmindsight, did the purchase of those properties have ANY place in Delta’s reason for existence?
    An unfortunate decision, eh – compared with branching out into a touring Mime and Bagpipes Act to compete with NZ Ballet. Came down to a coin toss in the end I suppose, and property speculation won.

  3. Anonymous

    “A decision was made that was in retrospect a bad one and an extremely risky one at the time, but I’m not sure if trying to get down to whether there was an actual vote or difference of opinion of those voting is going to add much in the overall scheme of things,” Cr Thomson said.

    That was an unnecessarily worthless statement but then I think it is also quite revealing about whose side of the fence this councillor leans over.

    Lots of things weird about this story too. There’s the so called “discussions” which reads like someone’s campaign staff just realised this is a topic constituents want to know about. And then there’s that heading: Cull in talks over land deal.

    That’s what good mates are for – got your back when all that council muck starts to stick.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/234492/cull-talks-over-land-deal

  4. Anonymous

    I’m slightly mystified as to why the Mayor is talking to the OAG. One might expect the Chief Executive to be doing so, or even the Board of DCHL. The Mayor? This isn’t a political issue.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Being seen to be Doing Something? How long till the election?

    Otherwise any talking to anyone wouldn’t happen, or would be very very public-excluded.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    If nothing else, Cr Vandervis has scratched a nerve in Mayor Cull’s comfort zone. His belated actions in ‘talking’ to the Auditor General means ‘diddley squat’ unless he tells what it is that he is actually saying. It could be just asking for him to shut it down, we don’t know. Cr Vandervis, as an elected councillor is perfectly entitled to know the details of the Delta land deals. After all, he is an elected representative of the people who are the shareholders in these companies. Something Mayor Cull and his inner circle would do well to remember. In fact, it is something the executives and directors of these companies would also do well to remember. As for the comments of Cr Richard Thomson, his comments sound like another verse to his “Swann song”. (Reference intended) Monkey say, monkey do.

  7. Peter

    Cr Richard Thomson’s comments seem to follow the Greater Dunedin line of minimising the issue at hand with ill informed doubts and making excuses for those responsible. Accountability is not in their vocabulary, it seems. So much for seeking greater transparency. Dave Cull and Co need to get over the political jealousy of others, not in their inner circle, unearthing the nasty stuff and instead work, as a team, with those who have more time, energy and the will to seek the truth.

  8. Jacko

    Other than the money. Could anybody tell me what Cr Thomson is on council for ?????

  9. Calvin Oaten

    Oh Dear! Dave Cull must sometimes wonder why he gets out of bed in the morning. The Mayoralty wasn’t supposed to be like this.
    All the pomp, all the glory, why don’t the people see everything through the same ‘rose tinted glasses’ like I do. It’s just not fair.
    And just when I get my new car too. Nobody, of course knows that. Or do they?
    What’s that about the new car, I hear you say? “I know nuthink!”

    • Elizabeth

      Calvin, I find it incredible.
      Mayor Cull, we learn, has test-driven many kinds of Mayoral car and none met his requirements. Six months ago he ordered something so custom it has taken six months to get here. Apparently, he had trouble seeing over the bonnet of one of the big SUV’s he tried.

      Why ‘purchase’ a car now if you’re to be dumped as mayor in October 2013.

  10. Russell Garbutt

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/234492/cull-talks-over-land-deal#comment-35655

    I see that my comments on this story were abridged. Below is the full text and it is interesting to note that it was the last sentence of the second paragraph and the whole third paragraph that were considered unusable for the ODT – wonder why?

    “There are a few really disturbing points about this story. Firstly, it is clear from Cr Thomson’s quoted comments that he doesn’t view accountability as particularly important. I know I do, and I suspect thousands of ratepayers share my view. The Board of Delta made a whole series of decisions that have resulted in millions of dollars of losses. Dabbling in property speculation at Jack’s Point and Luggate was, and never is, part of the brief of a DCC owned company – and nor is supplying private development companies with goods or services unless they are strictly on commercial terms. The fact that there was commonality between the Directors of DCC owned companies and those connected with the development is enough in itself to ensure a dispassionate, independent and thorough investigation into all these arrangements. But Cr Thomson and anyone sharing his view should examine just what ignoring accountability leads to.

    Secondly, it seems that the way that Councillors communicate with one of their own companies is via the over-arching DCHL which is also a Council entity. This whole environment leads inevitably to a culture whereby Delta or Aurora treats Council or public inquiries with an arrogant and dismissive attitude. This gravy train funded by the ratepayers has got to be bought to a rapid halt.

    Lastly, it is abundantly clear that there is not a lot of open and transparent communication within the Council. True that some Councillors are probably not interested in sharing knowledge as witnessed by Cr Hudson’s published responses to DCHL losses recently in the ODT, but surely it is time for ALL Councillors to know that the OAG is involved in investigating what, on the surface at least, are dodgy going’s on within the Council companies.”

    {Link and emphasis added. -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      My reply to ODT Online in regards to my comment they published this morning:
      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/234492/cull-talks-over-land-deal#comment-35659

      Abridged comment
      new
      Submitted by ej kerr on Tue, 13/11/2012 – 1:07pm.
      Not good enough, ODT Online.
      You’ve abridged my comment and changed my thrust where the position of mayor is concerned. No-one is named here, I’m speaking to ‘position’ for good reason.
      This is a highly regarded newspaper, please don’t – through abridgement of honest critical comments – inadvertently assist ‘cover up’ of instances of perceived conflicts of interest and likely unethical business practice occurring in the Otago community, within the jurisdiction of the Dunedin City Council.
      Now, more than ever, it is time for the newspaper to foster and resource unstinting investigative work and reporting by senior journalists – given what appears to be growing national media interest in our local affairs, council and business networks.

      My comment in full was:
      This story, of the mayor’s being in discussion with the Office of the Auditor-general, for the past month, raises deep suspicion of the motives of the mayor and all those involved in murky property dealings and service contracts at Jacks Point and Luggate, including past and present board directors and executive staff of the council-owned companies, and likely one or two senior staff of the council itself who dabble in finance.
      A full investigation of the council company deals by the OAG – without prejudice – is strongly warranted. Clearly, there have been conflicts of interest for property acquisitions of the kind to have occurred at all between the parties concerned, such that a conclusion of corrupt practice fills the air. The accountabilities should be forced as soon as possible, without political interference or cover up.

  11. Martin Legge

    Lee Vandervis is to be congratulated for his gutsy and determined performance on behalf of Dunedin Community. A Southern Man – “good on ya mate”

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    Great news http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/7941986/Whats-the-word-of-the-year for situations where “clusterfuck” is inappropriate:
    “Britain’s media industry is in a meltdown and its government is gaffe-prone, so Oxford Dictionaries has chosen an apt Word of the Year: ‘Omnishambles.’
    Oxford University Press crowned the word – defined as “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations” – its top term of 2012.”

  13. amanda

    Gormless Cull and Greater Dunedin councillor Thomson are as predictable as clockwork. Expect them to challenge the stakeholders and challenge the status quo of big boys feeding at the rates trough? Heavens no. Their overriding agenda is not to challenge the status quo and to be re-elected at next year’s election; relying on Dunedin amnesia to see them through. We need to remind voters that Cull,Thomson and Greater Dunedin will sit back and allow ‘investors’ to suction funds out of the city if re-elected next year.

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    Lawks a’mercy, he must have shrunk a lot since last time I saw him. There are innumerable cars that people drive without apparent difficulties even though they are shorter than he used to be a few months ago.

  15. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth; you know what SUV stands for? Supremely Useful Vehicle.
    So a Supremely Useful Vehicle for a Supremely Useless Driver seems appropriate.

  16. amanda

    Good spotting there, Russell. The ODT really, really does not like it when Cr Hudson, toad of toad hall is challenged in any way or form. Though they no longer refer to him as a ‘senior councillor’ do they? Wonder why? Easier to hide behind ‘the council’ umbrella I guess.

  17. Russell Garbutt

    Yes Amanda, a very apt description of a person that not only has suffered from shoulder injuries, but has a huge issue with splinters around the anal region from sliding from one side of the fence while desperately clutching that big bag of cash thanks to all those Directorships that he can no longer have any recall about. A keen observer of Councillors observed that this Councillor tended to speak last when the lie of the land was obvious – he would only vote “the right way” when he saw his vote was not needed, according to the same observer.

  18. amanda

    So long as the rest of the stadium cabal and some of gormless Greater Dunedin councillors vote a particular way he will (safely) vote the popular way; he obscures his responsibility for Dunedin’s massive intergenerational debt while at the same time blaming all around them (as Hudson was quick to throw fellow councillors under the bus for not reading all the council material). Cheers to Hudson for the entertainment value of his jaw dropping sense of entitlement.

  19. Calvin Oaten

    The famous chocolate marshmellow fish was actually modeled on him. It’s true, he was bred to it.

  20. Rob Hamlin

    Dark Money

    I have been reading up on my astrophysics recently, and I am particularly delighted by the concept of ‘dark matter’. I am told that 80%+ of the Universe consists of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’. This is stuff that can’t be seen or measured, but nevertheless its presence is essential for making current academic sums and theories work out as predicted and in line with what (apparently little) can be seen.

    I appear to have a choice – either to accept that 80% of the chair that I am sitting on is ‘dark’ and invisible, or that the gents who are telling me this have yet to get their sums quite right. I am inclined to the latter explanation, especially as 80 years of looking since Oort first came up with the idea has yet to produce an iota of direct observational evidence of dark matter that would support the former apparently mainstream position. As such it’s very similar to the mainstream ‘land bridges’ position in geology that explained inconveniences such as related trees here and in South America, and that preceded the current theories of continental drift and plate tectonics.

    However, in one way they may have a tidy little earner here – Advising the current mob at DCC/DCHL how to articulate and disseminate the theory of ‘Dark Money’ – cash you can’t see or count – but it’s there; Honest! It could solve a lot of mathematical and PR problems for the lads, and that’s got to be worth something.

  21. Jacko

    “Dark Money” sounds like treaty money Rob.

  22. Calvin Oaten

    Rob, an esoteric argument if ever I heard one. Extrapolating further, when you get down to the atom thingy, we are told that the area the nucleus and its family of electrons occupy is 99% empty space. It has even been postulated that all the real matter of Earth if condensed (as it would in a black hole) would fit into the Forsyth Barr Stadium, with room for the spectators. Somehow, I think it puts things into perspective. Just what this has to do with the DCC/DCHL setup eludes me, except to say that their collective brain power if condensed into one mass would be a negative amount. As for the chair you sit on, it has more substance than their economics. Now that’s really dark and chaotic, deeply rooted in quantum stuff, like the fabled ‘cheshire cat’.

  23. Elizabeth

    From Cr Vandervis direct, this evening:

    The closed ranks have never been more closed or more rank Elizabeth.
    If we can not purge Dunedin of its dysfunctional directors now using the evidence from Jacks Point/Luggate, the millions will keep evaporating and Dunedin will be doomed.

  24. ormk

    Thankfully not everybody at the DCC is corrupt. Thanks Vandervis for trying to protect our interests. I really hope the OAG does a proper job – unlike the DIA.

  25. Russell Garbutt

    Ah, dark money. I can put Rob’s mind at rest regarding this wonderful dark matter and its companion, dark energy. and the huge conceptual problems of the cat that is both dead and alive. To do so, I’d suggest everyone at some stage reads a book by Lawrence Krauss (wonder if he is related to Alison Krauss of singing fame) called A Universe from Nothing.

    A superb book that explains the concepts round this mystifying state of affairs really well.

    But it is even more mysterious than Rob says. The current estimation is that 70% of the Universe is Dark Energy and 25% of the Universe is Dark Matter. Put another way, the stuff we know about and can see is only 5% of the Universe. Our knowledge is, on universe terms, quite pathetic. We don’t even know why an electron is negative, we can’t explain gravity amongst other basic things.

    But dark money is a wee bit different in that the people that create it must be able to use it so at some stage the “darkness” must turn into something that can be traded for goods such as palatial homes round Wanaka, Kelvin Heights and the like.

    These people rely on the darkness of the money in the initial phases of the creation and this is important to obscure it from those that are looking for it. Some people are actually paid to look for it, but some of these are blind or stupid or both and we know that some Councillors are amongst that group.

    But in the case of Delta etc which is the subject matter of this thread, I just wish that those who have diddled the ratepayers of their treasure are at last exposed for what they are. It would be good if some of those laid-off Delta workers were able to pursue the Directors for incompetence as well.

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    The online Opinion section of the Daily Hush-yo-mouth shows gratifying respect for Vandervis’s sustained efforts to work in the interests of ratepayers. Generally when this starts getting to dominate discussion there’s a post or two along the lines of “didn’t X Yyyy play well, he should be captain”.

    • Elizabeth

      Cull claims the high ground over Vandervis ? More to this than meets the eye. Political maneuverings! When did Cull leave all councillors out of his picture and why?

      ### ODT Online Wed, 14 Nov 2012
      Delta land purchases to be investigated
      By Chris Morris
      Delta’s decision to buy land at Jacks Point, in Queenstown, and Luggate is to be investigated by the Office of the Auditor-General, it has been confirmed. A statement from the Auditor-General, released this afternoon, confirmed an inquiry would be conducted, following a request by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull. It would examine Delta’s decision to buy land, including consideration of risks and compliance with legislation including the Local Government Act 2002 and Companies Act 1993. The probe would also scrutinise the identification and management of any conflicts of interest, consultation with, or the involvement of, the Dunedin City Council, and any other matters considered desirable to report on, the statement said. Delta, a council-controlled organisation (CCO) made the land purchases in 2008 and 2009, but last month confirmed a $7.5 million write-down in the value of the investments.
      See tomorrow’s ODT for the full story.
      [ODT Link]

  27. Anonymous

    Popping up on Stuff home page now:

    Dunedin council company investigated
    By Wilma McCorkindale • Last updated 17:03 14/11/2012
    The Office of the Auditor-General announced today it is to investigate controversial investment activity by Dunedin City Council company Delta Utility Services.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/7948879/Dunedin-council-company-investigated

  28. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth, the ‘DScene’ article will titillate the readers, but for my money, the OAG piece is more illuminating. It could – and should – open this whole thing up once and for all. I guess a few people will be seriously rehearsing their lines as we speak. I notice where it is claimed Dave Cull wrote to the OAG on the 19th October. If true, that is a very deceitful exercise in view of Cr Vandervis’s efforts to get some information, and being forced to initiate his own move to the OAG. All Cull had to do was say he had written requesting the OAG to investigate and he would keep all councillors informed of progress. Again, a case of the ‘inner cabal’ locking out our elected representatives. That must cause ‘angst’ in the ranks.

  29. Peter

    Even if the OAG does its job properly and lays everything bare, will the council follow through and let heads roll? Not on present indications. We wouldn’t want ‘to relitigate the past’ or go on a ‘witch hunt’, would we. We would want ‘to move forward’, wouldn’t we.

  30. Calvin Oaten

    Peter; moving forward, as in, “Onward Christian Soldiers” or as in “Carefully into the night, but for the grace of God there go I” ? I’m picking the latter.

    • Elizabeth

      From Lee to email recipients tonight:

      Hi All.

      Many thanks to Russell Garbutt whose carefully damning opinion piece finally forced this issue into real local prominence.
      I have been banging on about the appalling Jacks Point/Luggate decisions for over a year at the DCC, but I believe the tipping point came when Tim Hunter ‘Chalkie’ wrote his expose of DCHL lack of value to Dunedin shareholders. The catastrophic consequence that DCHL can not pay for the Stadium as planned without borrowing remains un-admitted.
      My many months of non-public calls for accountability for Jacks Point/Luggate, and for a copy of the DCHL/DELTA Conflict of Interest Register had been met with DCHL denials, mutterings about the need for continuity [the last thing we need] and DCHL refusal to let me know who was responsible for the property speculation decisions, and why they were even contemplated.
      Mayor Cull said he did not want a witch-hunt.
      I believe that Mayor Cull has belatedly come to appreciate the necessity of an investigation and that he had no choice given that I had gone public with it, but I am grateful for his OAG request as an investigation request from a Mayor and CEO comes with much more weight than a request from a Councillor.
      My only regret is that the OAG have avoided the equally monstrous and similarly vexed issue of the Milburn Wood Processing Plant decisions. Investigation of the Milburn Plant decisions as well is necessary to get a wider picture of years of questionable decisions made by directors of DCHL and its subsidiaries.

      Feel free to quote.
      Cheers,
      Lee

      { https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/dunedin-city-council-seen-by-fairfax-business-bureau-deputy-editor-tim-hunter/ -Eds}

  31. Peter

    ‘Mayor Cull said he did not want a witch-hunt.’ Why does Dave Cull not want full accountability and for those responsible to step aside? It’s not about a ‘witch hunt’. You just can’t have the same people hanging around or else they will make similar mistakes of judgement all over again. Incompetent people-or worse adjectives that may come to mind- are incapable of change. This stance, that Dave Cull seems to be in a habit of maintaining, only leads one to question his motives. No wonder people become suspicious. He leaves himself wide open for criticism.

  32. ormk

    Quite – talk of a “witch hunt” has no basis in reality – it is a spurious and emotive argument. No one is looking to burn people at the stake. This is not an ideological crusade against Communism. Particularly those people in senior positions must be held to account for negligent / fraudulent / corrupt behaviour.

    But to go back to the silly analogies……. :-) We’ve won a battle! :-)

  33. Hype O'Thermia

    “Witch hunt” seems to encompass ….. well, what DOESN’T it encompass? Dunedin gang member who got $20,000 govt funding to buy cannabis? Jailed for four years – because of a “witch hunt” – right?
    This language slippage disguising and minimising mis-doings whether criminal or exceedingly unwise must be resisted. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s no reason to treat all events with bad outcomes as if they were out-of-the-blue innocent mistakes resulting from unforeseeable circumstances. To encourage that view of them is to be complicit in misdirection of funds supplied for other purposes into pet schemes or worse.

    • Elizabeth

      Delta inquiry: Companies’ integrity on line – Cull
      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/234887/oag-delta-inquiry-companies-integrity-line-cull
      Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says the integrity of the Dunedin City Council’s companies is on the line after the Office of the Auditor-general yesterday launched an inquiry into land purchases by Delta.

      This shows up Mr Cull as late to the party:
      Mr Cull yesterday told the Otago Daily Times the inquiry came after he contacted the Auditor-general’s office in early October to discuss information he had received that was “new to me” about the company’s purchases. He would not say what the information was, other than it came from “a variety of sources”, covered “a number of things”, and “clearly” raised concerns.

      • Elizabeth

        —– Original Message —–
        From: Lee Vandervis
        To: Elizabeth Kerr
        Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:29 AM
        Subject: FW: Formal request for OAG investigation into DCHL directorship issues

        FYI Happy for you to quote.
        Cheers,
        Lee

        —— Forwarded Message
        From: Lee Vandervis
        Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2012 08:40:14 +1300
        To: Ian Lothian
        Conversation: Formal request for OAG investigation into DCHL directorship issues
        Subject: Re: Formal request for OAG investigation into DCHL directorship issues

        Thank you for your prompt reply Ian.
        Looking forward,
        Lee

        On 9/11/12 8:26 AM, “Ian Lothian” wrote:

        Dear Lee,

        Thank you for your email request for a formal enquiry.

        I have forwarded your request to the Local Government Sector Manager at the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) for consideration. It is the decision of the OAG to decide what kind of enquiry, if any, they will undertake.

        Regards,

        Ian

        Ian Lothian
        Director
        Mob: 021 222 6020

        Executive Assistant: Sarah Clark
        Mob: 021 222 8441
        Email: sarah.clark@auditnz.govt.nz

        Audit New Zealand Mana Arotake Aotearoa
        PO Box 2, Christchurch 8011
        Freephone: 0508 AUDITNZ (0508 283 4869)
        Fax: +64 3 377 0167
        http://www.auditnz.govt.nz

        ———

        From: Lee Vandervis [mailto:lee@vandervision.co.nz]
        Sent: Thursday, 8 November 2012 10:31 p.m.
        To: Ian Lothian
        Cc: Paul Orders; Sue Bidrose; Sandy Graham
        Subject: Formal request for OAG investigation into DCHL directorship issues
        Importance: High

        Dear Ian,

        Thank you for your continuing interest in DCC/DCHL finances.
        You may be aware that I have been trying to get information on who was responsible for Jacks Point/Luggate property speculation for several years now, but have been denied;
        1 – View of the DELTA/DCHL conflict of interest registers.
        2 – View of DELTA/DCHL meeting minutes relating to Jacks Point/Luggate property speculation purchase decisions
        3 – Answers for a year in non-public and more recently publicly asked answers in Dscene [attached] of directors, CEO and secretaries of DELTA/DCHL to the questions attached-

        I have received responses from A Stephens, B Dodds, and a telephone set of answers from S McLauchlan, none of which are credible.
        A Stephens claims as follows;

        Dear Athol,

        As a public representative and in the public interest I have number of questions as below for which I request information.

        1 – Did you advise against the purchase of Jacks Point/Luggate properties in which Delta/DCHL have an interest?

        A: The purchases were not discussed with me prior to being made.

        2 – Did you have any personal interest in any Jacks Point or Luggate properties?

        A: No, never have.

        3 – Have you been aware of any property being acquired by Delta/DCHL in lieu of payment for services supplied?

        A: No

        4 – Were you aware of government valuations relating to Jacks Point and Luggate properties acquired by Delta/DCHL at the times of their purchase?

        A: No

        5 – Are you aware of any gross inaccuracies in numbers presented in the following article from Fairfax Business Editor Tim Hunter?

        A: The understanding and interpretation of what is said about borrowings and debt is grossly inaccurate.

        Chalkie has interpreted the rising debt in DCHL’s consolidated financial statements as being attributable to members of the CCTO group of companies. He has claimed (see extract below) that in spite of heavy investing there has been no return.
        In fact the utilisation of the borrowed funds has been carried out largely by DCC. As we know DCC’s borrowings are from DCTL. For every dollar DCTL advances to DCC there is a matching dollar that it borrows. So, on consolidation of the DCHL group the full effect of DCC’s investing and borrowing is reflected in DCTL’s borrowing and investing. It may look like the DCHL group doing the investing and borrowing but in fact the major portion is DCTL doing it on behalf of DCC.

        In the 2010/11 Directors Report on page 5, this is made clear. “Even with improved cash generation, the term debt of the group has increased from $405.2m to $534.2m. The major contributing factor in such a large change was again the increase of $85.8m in Dunedin City Council borrowing from Dunedin City Treasury Limited ($59.4m increase last year). The Council debt of $319.8m, owed to the central treasury company, will continue to be a sizeable factor in the group’s balance sheet in the foreseeable future”.

        EXTRACT
        “Subsequently, each year DCH invested more money in various assets – $61m in 2008, $90m in 2009, $106m in 2010 and $125m in 2011.

        However, despite investing more than $430m over those five years, DCH’s profits actually shrank. And each year it had to borrow more to fund those investments: $58m in 2008, $70m in 2009, $124m in 2010 and $66m in 2011.

        As a result, DCH’s external debt ballooned from $245m to $534m over the period. That, by the way, does not include the amount it owes the council, which was $112m at last balance date, up from $103m in 2007.”

        B Dodds similarly claims;
        Lee,

        You have received a response to these questions from Athol Stephens. My response is the same.

        Regards Bevan

        And S McLauchlan claimed by phone only to have become a director after the Jack’s Point and Luggate decisions had been made.

        Given S Stephens position as DCHL secretary and director of DCTL, it seems remarkable that he was by-passed in Jack’s Point/Luggate discussion, ditto B Dodds as DCHL CEO.
        [A] McLauchlan’s claims seem similarly vexed given that –
        “Lee

        You had questions re the acquisition dates of land:

        Delta Investments Limited’s investment into the Luggate development was made in July 2008. The purchase at Jacks Point was in May 2009.

        Regards Bevan”

        And that S McLauchlan was-
        The Y/E 30th June 2010 he was listed as a director of Delta (and others) plus Parent Company
        ” ” 30th June 2009 ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ”
        ” ” 30th June 2008 ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ”
        ” ” 30th June 2007 ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” (this is the year when he replaced John Gilks who resigned in May 2007)

        I believe that it is in the public interest for all of my questions to all directors, secretaries and CEOs of DCHL/DELTA to be answered to me at least as a City Councillor, but also to the public at large, because of the sustained public concern regarding the Jacks Point/Luggate property speculations. There is similar need to know details surrounding the decisions made to build the ill-fated wood processing plant at Milburn. Similar difficulties in obtaining answers to questions re the mothballed new Milburn wood processing plant need to be addressed.

        I am formally calling on your office to launch an inquiry into all of these transactions – Jacks Point, Luggate, and Milburn, as my inquiry efforts have been systematically frustrated.

        Looking forward to your response.

        Kind regards,
        Cr. Lee Vandervis

        021-612340
        lee@vandervision.co.nz
        http://www.leevandervis.co.nz

        —— End of Forwarded Message

        { https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/dunedin-city-council-seen-by-fairfax-business-bureau-deputy-editor-tim-hunter/ -Eds}

  34. Hype O'Thermia

    Elizabeth, the excerpt from Mayor Cull’s wit & wisdom that you quote made me smile too – “new to me” about the company’s purchases. He would not say what the information was, other than it came from “a variety of sources”, covered “a number of things”, and “clearly” raised concerns.”

    I think what is meant is, sitting here with earplugs and a blindfold hasn’t worked, darn it. It’s not just that pestiferous Vandervis and his impertinent questions now. There are other busybodies popping up in areas Dunedin’s worthies can’t control, smartie-pantses asking unwelcome questions and putting out IN PUBLIC what’s more, information about where money came from and went to and naming names.
    It’s time to down a pint of Lance Brand Energy Drink, sprint to the front and try to look like a leader.

  35. Calvin Oaten

    Dave Cull has embraced the age of the ‘euphemism’. He says such things as, “a variety of sources” meaning I know, but I ain’t saying. Then “new to me” meaning I read it but didn’t understand it. Then, in the case of the stadium, “we need to incentivise it” meaning the citizens will just have to suck up and subsidise all operating losses. It all sounds a bit like the Hitler/Goebels classic; “We have the final solution” meaning we are going to murder them all.

  36. Anonymous

    Not sure what new information is required. The McLauchlan-Coburn-Ruboc Holdings axis is all that is necessary.

  37. Peter

    Calvin. I DO understand ‘the final solution’!

  38. amanda

    What does it say about our democracy when the media can describe a councillor who challenges corruption on council as a ‘rebel’ ? Well, at least we know who on council kowtow to the powerful ‘Empire’ of stakeholders; all those who keep their traps tightly shut, including both Stadium councillors and complicit Greater Dunedin councillors. Any guess who plays the evil Emperor? My money is on Cr Hudson. Is he the silent, manipulating power behind gormless Cull? I don’t know but it is fun to keep on watching The Gormless and Corrupt Show that is the DCC and find out. As usual DCC, cheers for the entertainment and I will watch avidly how the rats try and escape the sinking ship!

  39. amanda

    Cull’s ‘witchhunt’ tells us he is not interested in holding incompetent people in positions of power to account; he is fine with these individuals remaining in their positions of power resulting in rates rises and/or service cuts for Dunedin people.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 16 Nov 2012
      Cull and Vandervis at loggerheads again
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and councillor Lee Vandervis are at loggerheads again, this time over the Office of the Auditor-general’s inquiry into land purchases by Delta. Cr Vandervis contacted the Otago Daily Times on Sunday to confirm he had lodged a complaint with the Auditor-general’s office over Delta’s acquisitions at Jacks Point and Luggate. However, Mr Cull said on Wednesday he was “a bit bemused” by Cr Vandervis’ announcement.
      Read more

      ### ODT Online Fri, 16 Nov 2012
      Investigation ‘storm in teacup’
      By Chris Morris
      A former Delta board member involved in approving land purchases at Jacks Point and Luggate says an inquiry by the Office of the Auditor-general is a “storm in a teacup”. However, other key players in the land acquisitions are refusing to comment until after the Auditor-general’s inquiry is complete – a process that could take up to a year. Norman Evans yesterday told the Otago Daily Times he was confident the purchases had been handled correctly by the Delta board, no conflicts of interest existed, and there was “no issue”. He believed the Auditor-general’s inquiry would confirm this. “It’s a storm in a teacup. I’m quite relaxed about it. There’s nothing wrong been done.”
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        This is something of a non story, you could jump to the last paragraphs citing Stuart Henderson from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

        National Business Review – 9 November 2012
        P1, P8


  40. Anonymous

    PricewaterhouseCoopers…interesting.

  41. Hype O'Thermia

    Where’s the gratitude? For what they were paid wouldn’t “competent is not the word, gifted and genius spring to our minds” and “seldom have we seen seen such experienced management at all levels, under such inspired leadership”.
    Or perhaps not.

  42. Rob Hamlin

    { Dunedin City Council Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 2012 (PDF, 1.1 MB) -Eds}

    Another little gem from the DCC annual accounts. A positive little Kimberly it is. Calvin Oaten and I found this little morsel from the sewers of local government yesterday and will now share it with you.

    On page 132 it has a table of figures titled ‘Separately Disclosed Revenue’. One line entry towards the bottom is particularly interesting. The title is ‘Profit on sale of Stadium (2012)……. $8,480,000’. This profit appears in both ‘Core Council’ (DCC only) and ‘Consolidated’ (Council & DCHL) columns.

    Initially, this seems like great news. We’ve sold the bloody thing and got eight and a half million dollars for it. But, as is always the case, things are not all as they appear.

    Nearly sixty pages later, on page 188, we have the following sheet of gibberish:

    “Sale of Forsyth Barr Stadium to Dunedin Venues Limited

    On the 31 May 2012 the Council sold it’s [sic] interest in the stadium to a wholly owned subsidiary Dunedin Venues Limited. This was the culmination of a project spanning five years during which time the method of delivering the project changed and as a result there is a technical accounting surplus on disposal of $8,380,000. The following note is an explanation of these technical accounting issues.

    Book Surplus on disposal of the stadium $ ‘000
    Sale price 225,000
    Capitalised stadium cost including interest 216,520
    Surplus on sale of asset as per 2012 Annual Accounts 8,480
    Less stadium costs written off to operations in 2007-2008 5,537
    Plus stadium revenue included in operations in 2007-2008 (583)
    Surplus on disposal 3,526

    Book surplus on disposal of the stadium
    The method of undertaking the stadium project changed over the years of the project. The accounting treatment always followed the method of project delivery and was audited as being the correct treatment at the time. In 2007–2008 year it was expected that the project would be delivered by a third party and that the Council expenditure was therefore operational. This resulted in $5,537,000 being correctly expensed in 2007–2008 year. In subsequent years once the decision was made that the Council would build the stadium, the expenditure was correctly capitalised. The surplus of $3,526,000 would remain as it is the difference between all the costs incurred by the Council and the sale proceeds received.”

    Also on page 123 we have this note to one of the CCO fragmentary reports:

    CCO Property Plant and Equipment
    All CCO property, plant and equipment is stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and any accumulated impairment losses.
    The Stadium is a separate class of asset and is recorded at cost less any accumulated depreciation and any accumulated impairment losses.”

    So what happened? Well, you may remember that the total cost of the Stadium came in at around $216.5 million. Then, last year the DCC acquired a ‘valuation’ for the Stadium (God knows how and God knows from who) of $225 million. Its commercially realisable value is in fact, as we all know, the commercial value of the site minus the costs of demolition and removal, which is as near zero as makes no difference.

    However, it now appears that DVL then ‘bought’ the stadium from the DCC at this higher valuation. It is hard to see any good reason why they would do this, as the historical cost of the stadium itself was $216.5 million – this figure would have fitted well with their own policy for valuation in the note on page 123. As the structure was brand new when ‘bought’, a second valuation was unnecessary. The historical cost of construction would have been more than adequate as a transfer price.

    However, it appears that this unnecessary valuation exercise and its absurd outcome has allowed a further $8.5 million to be transferred from DCHL to the DCC this year on top of the $17.95 million handed over as a dividend, for a total of $26.45 million. It can also be claimed now with a straight face that DVL are acting in accordance with their requirement to record assets at cost as $225 million is what they ‘paid’ for it!!

    Now let’s deal with the gibberish on page 188, which covers the financial year 2007-2008 (presumably ending 1 April 2008). Apparently, this specific structure incurred over five and a half million dollars of costs and over half a million dollars of REVENUE!!! before it had been fully designed or even approved as a specific entity that the DCC was actually going to construct! The final approval came nearly a year later I seem to recall.

    I personally find this reduction in this ‘accounting profit’ to be wholly incredible. I can also find no adjustments matching this $5 million or so in the costs side of the DCC’s figures – even though the $8.5 million extra revenue appears in its entirety. Mind you, in the 200 pages plus of fragmentary and largely useless figures, I guess that I could have missed it.

    Page 13 is also interesting. It is entitled ‘Audit Report’. Properly audited accounts require a signed statement by the auditor to form part of them, stating that the auditor’s unqualified opinion that they are satisfied with the accounts – or a statement of their reservations (qualifications) if they are not.

    Page 13 is blank (surprised?)

    On page 1, we have the following statement:

    “This report asks the Council to approve and adopt the Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 2012.

    The Director of Audit New Zealand responsible for the audit and the Audit Manager will attend to discuss the audit and answer any questions from councillors.”

    In my opinion this is utterly inadequate basis upon which to approve this report. It should not have been even presented to Council, let alone approved, without a complete auditor’s report being attached to it.

    It seems that the Council will have to find $25 million plus in savings by next year just to tread water, and that’s if we don’t get any more unpleasant surprises. Interesting times.

  43. Anonymous

    They have tried hard to deceive Dunedin City ratepayers. We know Peter Chin was their boy but Dave Cull too must have an awareness of what is going on based on his continued support of their financial justifications. I am struggling to believe Paul Orders is not aware of the above corruption of accounting practices but hope he is discovering the information with growing horror.

  44. Phil

    To me, all this hangs on the conversation that Dave Cull had with Auditor General’s office. Has a deal already been reached whereby the scope of investigation will be limited to areas where the parties already know that nothing will be found ? This has been publicised so far in advance that anyone who hasn’t already moved anything incriminating to behind the back of the sofa deserves to be caught. We’re all assuming that the Office will find something but is it not equally feasible that this investigation has been carefully planned in order to gain official clean status and remove any future room for complaining ? We had a stadium investigation which was designed to do just that.

    • Elizabeth

      Phil, the full findings of the stadium audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers threw up items for further investigation, the subject of another PwC report not in public domain. We need remember PwC were commissioned by DCC to carry out the audit – something of a mongrel audit then, on the surface. The PwC partner who delivered the audit report(s) was ex SFO. I expect QUIET house cleaning and close monitoring has been underway for some time; luckily for us, not everything can be made to go away tidily or soundlessly. Once again, I say the numbers attaching to corrupt behaviour are too large to mask for much longer.

  45. Hype O'Thermia

    I think I understand, Rob and Calvin.
    What I don’t understand is why, when “On the 31 May 2012 the Council sold it’s [sic] interest in the stadium to a wholely owned subsidiary Dunedin Venues Limited” they >only< made $8.5 million on the deal. What about goodwill and buzz? Aren't they worth a few more millions on top? For a valuation pick a number between zero and infinity, write it into a couple of reports and lo! it is become real and all shall wonder at the riches with which we have been blessed.

  46. Peter

    Both the DCC and the Auditor General just need to come clean about the true state of the financial affairs of the council and all its subsidiaries. In the end, it is easier for all to acknowledge the seriousness of our financial situation and then deal with it….. instead of delaying the day of reckoning by endless creative accounting. Those responsible, for the financial mess we seem to be in, HAVE to be removed….. despite Dave Cull and Co’s best efforts to avoid accountability. Doing this will actually take a load off their minds and no longer will they have to dodge bullets by covering things up.
    Why don’t they come clean? Possibilities?

  47. Rob Hamlin

    Regrettably, Phil, you may be right. If the OAG is not vigorous and proactive (not a great track record to date) the outcome may be a whitewash that immunises the participants forever.

    From the end of the financial year to when this report was presented to council was about six months. Ample time to get these audited and signed off one would have thought. I have heard that they were shown to (and rejected by) auditors on more than one occasion. This may or may not be true. It would be interesting to know:

    1) Were they submitted for audit prior to being presented to Council for approval.

    2) If they were how many times were they presented, what were the outcomes and why were these the outcomes?

    3) Now that these accounts and the reports that contain them have been approved (if not actually read) by the Council, have they now been accepted by the auditor without condition, and has a signed report to that effect been inserted into the blank on page 13.

  48. Elizabeth

    Peter, I guess no-one wants to be responsible for court processing of colleagues, staff and former partners in crime as the good ship City of Dunedin founders on the bar (another that ORC refuses to remove by dredge?!), with the whole country watching via tabloid news. Such bad press. An ounce or less of contrition may be felt for the innocent who live here, when the bubble bursts. Unfortunately, a string of explosions will be heard to issue from the city council – starting soon, with certainty. Poor Mr Cull, and on his watch… not counting the colour and persuasion brought to the scope of the OAG investigation.

  49. Mike

    well spotted – so in essence DVML quietly borrowed an extra $8.5m and managed to transfer it to the DCC without incurring any tax because it was a ‘capital gain’ rather than a ‘dividend’

  50. Calvin Oaten

    I have been busy this morning composing my reply to Mayor Cull’s response to my letter (ODT 15/11/12) but now have caught up. Just one thought crosses my mind. Could it be Rob, that the valuer who came up with the figure of $225m for the stadium, was the same fellow who arrived at $11m for Carisbrook? If so, problem solved. It is well that the DCC has a tame lap dog in its kennels, fully trained to respond to surreptitious commands. A border collie cross perhaps?

  51. Calvin Oaten

    The Dunedin City Council Annual Report – the whole 216 pages – is an enthralling read. I think it should be in for the Booker Award. If taken in small doses before lights out it would have the same effect on sleep as a Boris Karloff thriller. If there was any further need for any departure from reality, I could seriously recommend the DVL Annual Report plus the DVML Annual Report. Still not satiated? Try the DCHL Annual Report. I guarantee by now you will have been transported to ‘La La Land’ for good and all.

    {Find the annual reports here, and the DCHL Annual Report here. -Eds}

  52. Peter

    Thank goodness for people like you, Calvin. I’m just a dumb blonde……well, grey/white actually!

  53. Anonymous

    The following Stuff article relates to tax avoidance but in reality broadly covers white-collar criminals – THINK.STAKEHOLDERS – and was refreshing to see it get a moment of front page attention, although did drop off the radar fairly quickly.

    ‘The cases were barely comparable. For example, a welfare fraudster who stole $148,000 – at the upper end of the scale – received 18 months in prison. Meanwhile, a tax cheat who failed to pay $222,000 in tax – at the lower end of the prosecution scale – got eight months’ home detention and 250 hours’ community service.’

    Dr Lisa Marriott said ‘the reasons for the differences in sentencing were not obvious’… probably a lot to do with the want-to-be-richer boys in high chairs looking after the ultra rich boys.

    Or moving them to a different highly paid position in another government office.

    Courts softer on criminals wearing suits
    By Kirsty Johnston • Last updated 05:00 18/11/2012
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/7965696/Courts-softer-on-criminals-wearing-suits

    • Elizabeth

      ### ch9.co.nz November 19, 2012 – 6:55pm
      Nightly interview: Lee Vandervis
      Last week, the Office of the Auditor-general launched an inquiry into land purchases by DCC infrastructure company Delta Utility Services. Delta bought part of a subdivision in Luggate in 2008, and another at Jacks Point, near Queenstown, in 2009. But the value of the land has subsequently been written down by millions of dollars. That contributed to the Dunedin City Holdings Ltd group of companies’ showing a $5 million loss for the year to June. Dunedin Cr Lee Vandervis has been vocal about the issue, and he joins us tonight.
      Video

  54. Elizabeth

    ### DScene 21.11.12
    Investigation request was declined a year ago (page 3)
    By Wilma McCorkindale
    Dunedin lobbyist Bev Butler says the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) declined to investigate controversial Delta land purchases when she approached it in August 2011. Last Wednesday the OAG announced it would investigate the Delta land purchases after a request from Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull. Butler said she asked for an OAG investigation a year ago, based on issues in Newtons Coachways (1993) Ltd statement of intent and annual reporting, an error in the Dunedin City Holdings Ltd annual report, and Dunedin stadium-related issues.In a response to Butler the following month the OAG declined to look at matters raised by her. Councillor Lee Vandervis had also conducted research into the Delta deals over the past two years, Butler said. She was concerned Delta was now refusing to answer official requests because of the OAG investigation.
    {continues} #bookmark

    ****

    Audit office looking at land deal (page 10)
    Pressure to front about Lakes District property investments has come to bear on Dunedin ratepayer-owned Delta Utility Services Ltd. Wilma McCorkindale recaps the Delta land grab saga. In 2008 – and again in 2009 – Dunedin City Council-owned company Delta bought land in the Central Otago Lakes District, at Luggate and Jack’s Point. The multi-million dollar investment was controversial. Many questioned why Delta – a Dunedin company whose core business is designing, constructing, and managing and maintaining infrastructure – needed to buy land in Central. Delta chiefs have remained tightlipped on matters related to the purchases since DScene broke the issue as front page news. Three years ago DScene put the following questions to then DCHL chairman Paul Hudson, Delta chief executive Grady Cameron, Delta chairman Ray Polson, and Delta director Mike Coburn (former director of the Jack’s Point development):
    – Why did Delta get into the property market? What was the catalyst?
    – Who brokered the deals, signed them, and when?
    – What are the projected returns (based on what)?
    – Why did Delta not use the money it spent on the investment returning dividends to ratepayers to offset hiking rates?
    All declined to respond, although Hudson stood by the purchases, saying they were tabled at the council. He did not see them as high risk.
    {continues} #bookmark

  55. Anonymous

    More questions:
    – what was the company vehicle that was used to hold the Jacks Point purchases?
    – how was this company set up? who was on the Board? what Council resolution enacted it?
    – where did the $8.3 million come from that capitalised this company?
    – if the $8.3 million was borrowed, where is the loan accounted for in the DCHL books?
    – what was the company vehicle that was used to hold the Luggate purchases?

    – what was done with this company when Citibus Newton was sold?

    – where are the Luggate and Jacks Point properties currently held? which company? are these assets fully under Council Control or under the control of Delta? if so, where are the transactional records that reflect the ownership?

    – what happened to the $7 million owed by Jacks Point to Delta for work done on the subdivision?

    – when did Mike Coburn start and cease being a director of Ruboc Holdings?
    – when did Mike Coburn start and cease being a director of Jacks Point?
    – when did Mike Coburn start and cease being a director of Delta?
    – when did Stuart McLauchlan start and cease being a director of Delta?
    – what conflict of interest statements exist for the relationship between Coburn and McLauchlan?

    Mayor Cull declined for a year to force an investigation of SH88 transactions. His CEO was horrified. The end result was a loss for the DCC in the High Court. The Delta transactions are an order of magnitude worse.

  56. Calvin Oaten

    http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/235736/debt-reduction-economic-development-focus {Link added. -Eds}

    This morning’s ODT features what could be best described as ‘the sermon on the mount’ from our illustrious Mayor Dave Cull. It is ‘damage control’ pure and simple. And well he might. He is now at the watershed of his mayoralty, the chickens are coming home to roost and he has run out of feed. On top of that, he now has a clutch of rotten eggs. The stadium is his number one cancer. He should have cauterized it right at the beginning of his term, bitten the bullet, shut it down and gone on a PR campaign to explain to the public exactly why this had to be done. It would have avoided all the later difficulties with the ORFU and the spineless groveling financial / defamation fallout. The costs would have been a fixed known quantity, suck up and live with it, “it was not my fault”, he could have said, “it was the previous mayor and councillors”. Put the blame fairly and squarely where it belonged. That done, he could have taken the council by the scruff of the neck and shaken them until they saw sense over the JWOD. Revert it back to what it was previously, a road, end of story. His brief to new CEO Paul Orders would be get the admin department under control as fast as you can. Lock the money box and put a stop on all capital expenditure until a full appraisal of the whole project programme with rigorous culling (pun intended) of all non essential developments, even at the risk of upsetting a few over their treasured wishes. The OSM is an absolute travesty of flamboyant excess, all driven by a few egocentric fools. The Town Hall / Conference Centre extravaganza should have been rejigged to stop at the Town Hall upgrade. All the rest is non essential. Instead it was allowed to blossom out to over $50m – probably likely to cap $60m by the time of completion. So much could, and should have been curtailed for future consideration. Had he done that, the debt position would be much lighter and he could claim the ‘kudos’. Instead, we now find him bleating in this morning’s paper about how he is fighting to contain expenditure and restrict rate increases to the minimum. He even regurgitates the old adage: “Mind the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.” Not on his bloody watch they won’t. He wouldn’t know an economy route if it was signposted in flashing neon. He even can’t get his head around the debt funding and the contortions his treasury people are exploiting in order to try and disguise the true disaster that it is. He is either in denial or just plain dopey. With the availability of advisers to educate him about the seriousness of the situation, he should, by now be fully up to speed with the dangers we are in. And by advisers I don’t mean those within the building. They are the ‘turkeys’ who facilitated all the stupid decisions we are stuck with. They are most certainly not going to tell him the truth. Turkeys don’t vote for an early Xmas.
    Sorry Dave, but your bleat today is just too little too late,time to move over and admit that you have blown it, big time.

  57. Peter

    In Ch 9 interview, Cr Lee Vandervis states that when DELTA purchased the Jacks Point land for $8.82m, the valuation then was only $2.3m.
    So why did DELTA pay nearly 4 times the valuation?

  58. Phil

    You are right about the Town Hall upgrade costs, Calvin. Although you won’t get to see them. A fair chunk of the cost is comng out of City Property’s budgets as building owners. Ditto with the Settlers Museum. Significant project costs hidden away in a departmental budget, away from prying eyes.

  59. Hype O'Thermia

    Planners, architects, engineers were working on the Town Hall plans including the Harrop St mess long before and after news was being released about what would/wouldn’t go ahead. Their time and materials won’t be included in the costings revealed.
    If the time spent on follies by people on the payroll were to be clearly revealed we’d probably find that numbers of expensive staff could be chopped radically.

  60. Peter

    Calvin. In the end, I guess money doesn’t grow on trees and they will have to source more from the ratepayers to pay for their follies. I suspect Dave Cull and his council will try to massage ‘lower rate rises’ along till October next year and then they have three more years’ breathing space. They think. I think the ones that survive the next election are in for a miserable time.
    The ratepayers are the backstop. They will find the ratepayers ever more ‘revolting’.

  61. Russell Garbutt

    Anonymous, and anyone else should ensure that all of these very valid and pertinent questions regarding Delta and their activities should be sent as fast as possible to Lyn Provost at the OAG. Put them in an email and request an acknowledgement that she has received them. That way, any future attempts at whitewashing by the GOBs will be in vain….

  62. Russell Garbutt

    The word “accountability” should form part of anyone’s vocabulary that intends to sit for Council.

  63. Peter

    Yes, Russell, ‘accountability’ has now superceded ‘transparency’ for election sloganeering. Dave Cull is presently building up quite an inventory, for change, by others, in that regard.
    The lack of accountability is truly sickening.

  64. Calvin Oaten

    Peter, as you say, money doesn’t grow on trees. But Cull only has one more Annual Plan to fudge before the next election and he will definitely be encouraging everyone involved to do just that. Then he will skite about how he has kept rates increases to an absolute minimum, cook the books for six months until Xmas 2013, by which time he sees himself reinstalled with three more years of mayhem and costs coming to account like never before. If he gets drummed out at the end of the term well, so what? That’s what happens to good people when the world’s economy is in deep “doo”. Not my fault he will say, just like Malcolm is declaiming any responsibility for the failure of the stadium. If someone else gets to beat him next year he/she will get the flak of trying to deal with an impossible situation, unless he/she can turn it around, in which case a knighthood will almost certainly be the reward.

    • Elizabeth

      Several sand castles and houses of cards will fall before October 2013, Calvin. Syd is already strategising on who the new team will be, Cull most certainly won’t get a clean run in politics for the next while.

  65. Anonymous

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/delta-undermines-dunedins-credit-rating-ch-132685
    “For example, at the time of the purchases Mike Coburn was a director of Dunedin City Holdings, Delta Utilities (where he still is on the board), Luggate Village Holdings and various other property companies related to Jack’s Point developer and friend John Darby.”

    Ruboc Holdings – Mike Coburn – Stuart McLauchlan -> indictments
    Stuart McLauchlan – Earl Hagaman -> SH88 transactions -> indictments

    • Elizabeth

      Anonymous, thanks for posting link, and your associated interpretation. The link was emailed to me earlier but I hadn’t checked messages… What a hoot. Some excellent material being forwarded to Lyn Provost at the Office of the Auditor General this week and last, this particular press item in support helps immensely. Isn’t everyone in the picture going to have a merry christmas this year and following, from Milburn? With some official robbing of the rich to help the (now) poor, in the equations ahead. There is little defence owed to the nefarious actions of the white collars. Denham Shale (joke!) and Bill Baylis (joke!), restructuring DCHL (joke!) might like to ponder that and go ever so quietly. Cull better get honest or be hung out to dry publicly (nationally) for lies and inaction, idiocy and duplicity. Although I don’t think the mayor is capable of ethical behaviour, never have. Time everyone realised this.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 24 Dec 2012
      Delta’s Luggate interests ‘sold’
      By Rebecca Fox
      Delta’s controversial Luggate Park development is under offer, the company’s chief executive says. The property’s agent – Colliers International – yesterday showed the property as being sold on its website, and its agent confirmed it had sold. Delta, which is owned by the Dunedin City Council, paid $5.3 million to buy a 50-50 stake in the residential development in 2009. Delta chief executive Grady Cameron said in a statement last night in response to Otago Daily Times questions to the company that it had received considerable buyer interest, with the result that Luggate Park was under offer. ”We will provide a further update on conclusion of the sales process.” The company was asked what the sale price was, but Mr Cameron did not answer the question in his statement. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and Dunedin City Holdings Ltd chairman Denham Shale were approached for comment about the sale yesterday afternoon and said they had no knowledge of it.
      Read more

      When did Stephen Cairns hive off from the Dunedin office of Colliers International ? (repeating the question)

  66. Peter

    I like this paragraph: ‘The directors read like a who’s who of the Dunedin businessmen’s network which has controlled many of the city’s major companies in recent years, particularly property ventures.’ In other words the Tartan Mafia – well, a few of them.
    Has anyone heard of accounts where one of them has recently been trying to distance himself from the others?

  67. Hype O'Thermia

    Cull interviewed 6.20-ish tonight about debt, credit rating etc, prob on Nat Radio’s listen agains.

    {See comments for audio and video links. -Eds}

  68. Anonymous

    It is a good story. One that has a more inquisitive and certainly more newsworthiness angle than that suck up to Eion Edgar done in 2008. Good on them.

  69. Martin Legge

    The reality is most Government Regulatory Agencies are now filled with academics (usually law graduates) who love writing endless reports but lack the capacity, desire or hard edge to conduct interviews where the hard searching questions now being demanded of the “What if” mob will ever be asked.

    The OAG have obviously held a cordial chat with the Mayor over this and I bet boundaries of the investigation have been set. AOG didn’t listen to Bev Butler, but the Mayor of Dunedin – he’s a man of importance so let’s get down there!!!!

  70. Phil

    That’s my feeling too, Martin. Based on previous history with these “investigations”, the boundaries will be predetermined to either show nothing, or to be too inconclusive to apportion any accountability or fault.

    • Elizabeth

      Fear not.
      There are spanners to undo any polite conversation Mayor Cull has had with the OAG in the month of October.

      No-one should rule out the spanners.
      What do private prosecutions look like and whence will they come.

  71. Anonymous

    The thing with the Delta transactions is that there is a fairly clear trail of what was purchased, where it was held and where the original money came from. The investigation should have Newtons Coachways and Delta Investments Ltd in its scope. If it doesn’t then it is toothless.

  72. Anonymous

    The OAG should be immediately on guard if any request is made to influence its scope. In fact, its position should be to investigate any exclusion requested and act without prejudice. For example, this position is required by a Police officer confronted with a senior officer, self-important fat-neck or name-dropper while performing his or her duty.

  73. An article in the National Business Review a week ago was headed “Delta probe unlikely to be earth-shattering” saying that [Audit Office] “reports of recent years reveals a willingness to accept the line of unelected officials”. And it seems to me that the Delta directors were careful to follow correct procedures and did nothing that they were not authorized to do. The fault is with the Council for not keeping proper control of its companies. All the Council can do now is do what any other organisation would do in this situation: not re-appoint directors who make bad decisions as directors of Council companies. Oh – they just have re-appointed them.

    It is now the Otago Regional Council which is planning to put public money into risky investments:
    Tarras Irrigation
    Blueskin Energy Project (via Port Otago)
    Is it too late to stop these ones.

  74. Anonymous

    Delta directors were not authorized to start a new company to hold the Jacks Point purchases.
    Delta directors were not authorized to use an $8 million loan raised for other purposes to make the Jacks Point purchases.

  75. Hype O'Thermia

    Yes, Anonymous, but while they may not have been directly specifically authorised – was there anything in their “terms & conditions” that clearly excluded those actions? If they are charged with the duty of in general “directing” the company and as Alistair says “Delta directors were careful to follow correct procedures” I think they will get away with it. Correct procedures… locate the loopholes… watch the common blue-collar petrol-siphoner and car converter get punishment doled out to them, that’s called “justice”.

    • Elizabeth

      Anonymous is correct.

      If a “serious conflict of interest” has governed Delta land purchases and service contracts, the implications go wide affecting the entire DCC operation.

      The saga with the Delta companies to date means no-one’s getting off the hook. The OAG investigation goes in tandem with other accountabilities not directed by the city council itself.

      City Treasury is in a mess.

      NBR rush out their stories with little investigation – they’re not the media players to watch.

  76. Anonymous

    Alistair, as you know all but one of the Stadium Councillors who voted to contribute Otago Regional Council ratepayer funds to the stadium rort are still there:

    OTAGO REGIONAL COUNCIL
    – Duncan Butcher (Dunstan)
    – Gretchen Robertson (Dunedin)
    – Doug Brown (Moeraki)
    – Sam Neill (Dunedin)
    – Louise Croot (Dunedin)
    – David Shepherd (Molyneux)
    – Stephen Woodhead (chairman, Molyneux)

    Like the Stadium Councillors of Dunedin City Council, there are one or two cunning ones while the rest are easily led. And like ward councillors Syd Brown and Andrew Noone, this infestation of regional councillors is just as bloody difficult to get rid of. ORC decisions also have a tendency to fly well under the radar of media interest in this city.

    You can guarantee any big vision money pumper that benefits a few will see these minions blustering and scuttling about in the best interests of their own rather than the constituency who blindly votes them back in.

    WHO ARE THE STADIUM COUNCILLORS?
    https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/dchl-run-by-a-bunch-of-fools-agreed/#comment-28439

  77. Anonymous

    Wasn’t there an article within the last couple of years where a director of one of the council companies used such an excuse to justify his behaviour? It is incredible that this occurs. If there is not a law that specifically forbids such an action then directors will abuse it. We call it immoral but in their minds it an acceptable means of rorting the system.

  78. Hype O'Thermia

    Moral / immoral? “I’m a company director not a vicar.” The market is the only morality……. and so on. There is no such thing as society. Doesn’t it strike you as absurd that the churches spend their energy twisting their knickers over female bishops and gay marriage, while all this is going on?

  79. Hype O'Thermia

    Is “under offer” the same as “sold”? Can’t fall over when everyone’s remembered the good news and too busy to notice further info?

  80. Elizabeth

    See comment by Anonymous:
    https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/delta-purchases-vandervis-oag-complaint-accepted/#comment-29147

    ### ODT Online Mon, 24 Dec 2012
    To head Institute of Directors
    By Dene Mackenzie
    Dunedin professional director Stuart McLauchlan has been elected national president of the Institute of Directors. He replaces Denholm [sic] Shale, who has recently played a major role in re-structuring Dunedin City Council-owned companies. Messrs McLauchlan and Shale were also appointed, together with Dunedin man Bill Baylis, to try to save South Canterbury Finance before it failed.
    Read more

    [my emphasis]

    *Denham Shale of Remuera.

  81. Peter

    We still don’t know who was the buyer, how much they paid or when settlement occurs and whether it is still conditional. After the OAG enquiry? Whoopsey, it all falls over?

  82. Russell Garbutt

    Would anyone trust any of these coots to front up and tell the truth? Most of them have shown that they can’t lie straight in bed. Possibilities are that one of the GOBs has now bought into a development at a really favourable price (to them), another is that the original owners have now full control again at another really attractive price, another is that it’s another beat up story that has no substance in fact. As I said, I wouldn’t trust any of them to front up with anything like the truth. BUT, is it action taken to prevent the OAG from referring the whole shady deal to someone like the boys in blue (waste of time) or the SFO on the basis that everything has been put right now and all that happened in the past was just a terrible misunderstanding? Hmmm.

  83. Hype O'Thermia

    Russell, you forgot about “not re-litigating the past” and “moving on” and “not scapegoating”.

  84. Peter

    How is it that the CEO of Delta says the property is ‘under offer’ yet Colliers website says it is ‘sold’?

  85. Russell Garbutt

    Peter, the CEO of Delta is one of those that fit into my previous description. I am not alone in my view that these CEO’s have these wonderful qualities. As I said, this is a wonderful example of yet another situation where the CEO says one thing, the coot that has sold the property (or not) is saying another, and the Mayor, who should have been at least informed, says he knows nothing. Really fills you with confidence that nothing untoward is happening.

    Elizabeth, I think you are correct in your suggestions, I will do so.

  86. Rob Hamlin

    Hype, you omitted the biggie – ‘Going forward’

  87. Peter

    I kind of like the idea of ‘going backwards’. That way you can pick over the entrails of possible, and likely, deceit, deal with it, and then ‘move forward’ so bad, nasty stuff doesn’t happen again – for a while – till another lot of suits, in time, attempt to bludge off public money for their private interests. Make sense?
    Russell. You’d think they could get the same storyline right, wouldn’t you?

  88. Anonymous

    Every bit of the so-called Delta’s Luggate interests ‘sold’ sale must be investigated if it goes through. We should all pick it to bits in as many ways as possible. This will be nothing short of an asset write down and sell off, another Christmas present for the Good Old Boys, signed and delivered by one of their special friends on the front-line.

    This council is corrupt. Its corruption is systemic. And in this frightening, disturbing story we have key characters returning to performing their next act – GOBs, Delta chief executive Grady Cameron and former ORC Stadium Councillor Stephen Cairns. Working the curtain will be the Oddity.

    • Elizabeth

      However, a corporate ‘Delta-distraction’ for the punters of Dunedin:

      $20m work on Dunedin cables
      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/240497/20m-work-dunedin-cables

      “The investment programme was being funded by Delta’s capital investment programme.” Surprise!

      What if? would be grateful for intelligence on the whereabouts of Stephen Cairns… he has fallen silent, why? Retirement, the need to lie low, both?
      Last heard of here:

      31.5.12 Racing: Forbury Park chief ‘sacked’
      http://www.odt.co.nz/sport/racing/211368/racing-forbury-park-chief-sacked
      Board chairman Stephen Cairns declined to comment on the alleged “sacking” of Knowles, other than to say it was “an employer, employee matter”.[…] Cairns confirmed he was due to step down from the board on July 31.

      18.8.12 Racing: Winning run on Forbury Parknow stretches out to 54 years
      http://www.odt.co.nz/sport/racing/222184/racing-winning-run-forbury-parknow-stretches-out-54-years
      Craig Paddon, a Dunedin lawyer, as been appointed to the board of management of the Forbury Park Trotting Club. He joins Stephen Cairns (chairman), John Henderson and Bruce Trainor. Mr Cairns is stepping down at the end of the month. The appointments are made with the approval of the club, Harness Racing NZ and and NZ Racing Board.

      Old News:
      30.4.10 Cairns not seeking further council term
      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/103952/cairns-not-seekingfurther-council-term

      [Cairns is former branch manager of Colliers International Dunedin office… he is no longer listed at Colliers (NZ)]
      http://www.colliers.co.nz/Offices/Dunedin/
      Colliers International’s Dunedin and Queenstown offices operate as one entity, providing market-leading commercial real estate services throughout Otago and Southland. Led by managing director Alastair Wood, the combined business takes a regional approach, while still retaining the important local, personal service provided to clients.[…]The Dunedin office is led by Dean Collins, with Wood providing strategic direction. A key focus is the Dunedin university investment division, led by Matt Morton.

      Old Profile: http://www.colliers.co.nz/SiteAssets/Public/328913/GetFile/Stephen%20v2.pdf [open as Stephen.pdf – add the pdf file extension]

      [NZ Companies Register]
      Stephen Gerard Cairns
      OTAGO COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LIMITED (2288211) – Ceased Director
      Ceased Director Resigned 01 May 2012

      Stephen Cairns
      STEPHEN CAIRNS INVESTMENTS LIMITED (931653) – Director

  89. Calvin Oaten

    Wasn’t there a ‘pending sale’ of Carisbrook mentioned a month or so ago? Perhaps the Luggate ‘sale’ fits in the same category. It’s what is colloquially known as “counting your chickens before they hatch”. Unless of course, it falls into the “an offer you can’t refuse” category. Either way, it all smells like Mafia to me.

  90. Hype O'Thermia

    On the third day of Christmas the tartans sold to me
    a harbour bridge, very shaky……

  91. Russell Garbutt

    I would just remind everyone of the process whereby Carisbrook became part of the City’s property. People will remember that for many years the ORFU, strongly supported by the late Richard Walls for one, but hovering in the background were Chin, Brown, Harland etc, desperate to get cash. Now you and I know that among the reasons that the dear old ORFU needed money was that it was paying through the nose for professional rugby players, but it was also donkey deep in debt caused by its well-known and highly inappropriate spend-up on the purchase of the 3 Jokers Bars in Auckland so it could start bleeding the South Auckland community dry and divert the cash from the pokies in these bars to the ORFU.

    Despite the ORFU auditors – just as an aside, how did they deal with their knowledge of these transactions going north and south – telling the ORFU that they were essentially bankrupt, the ORFU had Carisbrook as an “asset”. It was in their interest to value this “asset” as high as they could so that they could borrow against it, but they also argued that the business of the ORFU didn’t include the ownership of the property needed to conduct their business. Strange logic, but of course their devious mates in the Council were desperate to take over the ownership of Carisbrook so that they could pay the ORFU some more money.

    Trouble is, how much money? We should never forget that it was that giant, Harland, that told the ratepayers and his stadium mates on Council that the City desperately needed good industrial land, and that it was vital that the ORFU were in a “strong financial position so that they could be an anchor tenant of the new stadium”. Never mind that the Council could have had a swag of good industrial land adjacent to the harbour, SH88 and a railway, but chose to use it for a new rugby stadium for his dear old ORFU, and of course Harland and anyone else that could read an ORFU balance sheet knew that the ORFU needed at least $7m to clear their debts. Or at least the debts that they had in their balance sheets.

    And so guess what dear readers? A “valuation” was soon delivered to the DCC that supported what most people saw as a pre-determined plan of action and soon the DCC borrowed the necessary $7m to hand over to the ORFU (including that mysterious Property Charitable Trust that the Chair of the ORFU didn’t know anything about. He should try standing for Epsom with that track record.

    Now we were also advised that since it was such a brilliant deal that there would be no problem flicking the property on to a group of eager buyers who were just lining up outside the gates with truckloads of cash, and certainly Carisbrook would be sold before the ratepayers would be liable for the interest payments on the $7m. No-one seemed to ask the obvious question which was if Carisbrook was such a brilliant buy for a third party, then why did the DCC need to be involved at all? The suspicion is of course that the ORFU, the DCC and the valuer all knew that the needed purchase price of $7m would not be favourably tested in the open and transparent market.

    I suggest that since Carisbrook is not sold then Harland for one either misled the Council in his report that justified a purchase price of $7m, or the valuer that “apparently” supplied this valuation didn’t know what they were talking about. Either way, I believe that both these men should be held to account for the content of the report that went to Council and resulted in the decision to purchase purely on the basis that the property remains unsold and this reflects that either there are no purchasers at all, or possibly none that are willing to pay what the DCC needs to get without another major embarrassment.

    The fact remains that we are now paying hefty amounts of interest on the $7m and Carisbrook is not sold. To break even on this DCC to ORFU largesse the City now needs to get at least $7.5m and if the sale is delayed much more, then the deficit on the deal will be $8m.

    You see dear readers, it all just starts to smell exactly the same as these other purchases of land by the Council or its wholly owned entities such as Delta. But in this case, Delta paid four times GV for land. Remember all those very fortunate owners of the stadium land who apart from getting pisses in the bucket, got three times the going rate for the land they had fortuitously came to own?

    And dear readers, how many people do you know that are holding up their hands admitting responsibility? And how many being held to account?

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, I long ago saw the complacency and low expectations of ratepayers – and their more or less complete lack of interest in the ‘governance functions’ of local government – as the reason for the multi-million dollar corruption and criminality underpinning Dunedin City Council and council owned or controlled entities.
      Never take your eyes off the ball applies. Dunedin lacks a rigorous ratepayers and residents association with clued up lawyers, auditors and accountants – so meanwhile, greed and avarice have had near perfect conditions to flourish at the city council. Further, while we’ve got the likes of Shale and Baylis running DCHL we’re stuffed. Mayor Cull and Cr Brown have to go in October 2013, or sooner.

  92. Anonymous

    I have now seen documentation regarding 14 Parry St and 56 Parry St. Still not in a position to comment yet, but I can say that I am glad I am not standing downwind…

  93. Calvin Oaten

    The way things are quietly unfolding on many fronts, it is becoming more and more obvious that our DCC needs to be seriously investigated by an independent body set up by central government with full inquisitorial powers. The threads which run through the Delta land deals, the Stadium project, the Carisbrook purchase, the association between DCC and the ORFU, the ORFU ‘pokies’ rorts, the financing of the Sports Academy building etc, are altogether just too much to be allowed to go on without calling to account. The conduct of council and the administration over the last ten years or more has been grossly irresponsible to say the least. The ratepayers have been tricked, bamboozled and embezzled to the stage where the city is facing insolvency. The fact that many have seriously enriched themselves in these activities at the expense of the ratepayers adds insult to injury, and must be halted. Can it happen? It could, but is highly unlikely unless an authoritative body sits up and takes notice. I hold out great hope for the Serious Fraud Office to do the right thing with all the information which is available to it. If it would follow the ‘money’ it would see just how conflicted the DCC really is.

    • Elizabeth

      At ODT Online, on the thread ‘Dogs on St Clair Beach’ (amusingly rhetorical):

      World class city
      Submitted by Horse on Wed, 26/12/2012 – 4:07pm.

      Dunedin is that – with the Forsyth Barr Staduim, and the planned new 28-storey building along the harbour waterfront, we as Dunedinites have a new responsibility to start thinking differently – as a first class society.
      All Dunedin people should pull together to make sure that this new view of our city stays. The average citizen has a duty to get on their mobile phones and start reporting dog offenders as and when they are doing the wrong thing in town, and elsewhere. Just kicking the offenders up the behind is playing into the hands of the offenders, as it is repeating the violence [violation]. The courts have to be involved! [Abridged]

      Reply (italics show sentence deleted by ODT Online editor):

      In your dreams
      Submitted by ej kerr on Thu, 27/12/2012 – 1:26am.

      Horse has a wry sense of humour, she/he tells us Dunedin is a world class city. More correctly it is a small rural service town with a university, very few export-producing companies, and an aging population. But more than that, it’s a complete crock – local ratepayers and residents have let members of the Tartan Mafia take public funds for private gain, via mechanisms available at our city council. This place is tilting on the edge of ethical collapse and bankruptcy, without the brainpower to force transparency and full accountability. Perhaps we do need more animal control, electric fences and petfood factories.

      • Elizabeth

        Day in day out some of us appear like conspiracy theorists or complete nutters – if it weren’t for the growing dossiers of Official Information and where they’re headed – mapping and stitching…

  94. Hype O'Thermia

    Conspiracy theorists source their “evidence” from within the conspiracy encapsulated delusional belief system which is separate from external and verifiable information sources and independent commentary.

    • Elizabeth

      Quite. The test will be when the paperwork emerges to be met by which sorts of individual and corporate denials. I really liked Anonymous’ fishing story, poor Mike.

  95. Peter

    Those who accuse others of being conspiracy theorists:
    1. Those who are guilty.
    2. Those who just don’t want to know and have their views of the world upset by things that are not nice.
    3. Those journalists who are either too lazy to investigate themselves or have been schmoozed by the big guys.
    4. Those who are not interested in ‘witch hunts’ or ‘relitigating the past’ – aka seeking accountability.

  96. Mike

    Just like you’re not really paranoid if they really are out to get you it’s not a theory if it’s a real conspiracy.

    I took Horse’s posting as the ironic post it was obviously meant to be ….

    • Elizabeth

      There are those we know that “think” Dunedin is a world class city – that’s the problem (rhetorical). The bold front for fraud. Shrek had it figured.

      {What does rhetorical mean? What is rhetoric? See link. -Eds}

  97. Anonymous

    Quite often reality passes conspiracy – Internet-connected televisions with webcams, GPS-enabled mobile phones, miniature flying cameras and rapid deployment of mobile phone towers and CCTV cameras (you can play match-the-conspiracy with those but have you noticed how many cameras are now installed around the library?). There are plenty of debt-deniers in this city, some of them working for “what’s in it for me”, but reality will catch up with them too as the economic impact creeps ever so closer to home. It is sad watching people you don’t know losing their livelihood, as it is watching the people you do know, and then the people close to you… I believe there is a saying that comes close to that. Calvin is right, this council can’t keep going on as it is but while the same corrupt and corrupted people run the shop, they are not going to open up the books or do the right thing. They are compromised and their visions are flawed. They will only work harder at denying the truth until you and me are left with only the bill and formal notice to take your home as collateral.

  98. Peter

    There’s the school of thought among the corrupt that if people are stupid enough to let themselves be ripped off, they deserve it. This is, of course, a crude rationalisation for evil behaviour.
    (Hope they don’t mind being exposed!)

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, there’s a lot of people in responsible positions or with the means who haven’t honoured to step up and protect the financially vulnerable from the actions of the white-collar criminals (the seedy, craven Good Old Boys) active in Dunedin/Queenstown Lakes. I wish the dog-eat-dog mentality didn’t pertain, therefore no clean-up was needed with the force of the law behind it. But, Otago is not that fortunate.

  99. Anonymous

    Mike, it is curious where Horse is going with those posts. It is “cute” how he or she works in the stadium/hotel/international airport/super city first. That’s pretty clever for the usual bunch, even the Spooks when you think about their contributions. But is there a new slogan forming: Dunedin: It’s all that!?

    Dunedin: It’s all rort here. Regards from the Stadium Councillors.

  100. amanda

    Yes Elizabeth. People’s political complacency is part of the reason the city is in the pickle it is; we get the democracy we deserve, I guess. But some are waking up; I saw this morning some interesting graffiti on fences around Hillside works with something like “Key/Farry drive of shame” and other political digs written. Someone ought to get a photo ASAP as the powers that be, Cull’s council, will be very highly motivated to remove any hint that the peasant class are starting to realise the political environment we live in.

    • Elizabeth

      OH! amanda, might have to do a little trip to Hillside! yayyy!!

      (All welcome to contribute pics of graffiti here)

      No sign to Hillside Rd or King Edward St frontages; presumably to western boundary? Neville St?

      • Elizabeth

        ODT photographer Craig Baxter caught the graffiti to the Hillside fence that Amanda mentioned, see page 33 of today’s paper (scanned detail).

        ODT 29.12.12 Hillside (scanned detail) 1This is the Key/Farry Drive of Shame
        Merry Xmas (AP)

        Anti-Government graffiti adorns an outer wall of the Hillside Engineering workshops in South Dunedin. The Hillside Rd plant was all but closed last week when a second wave of redundant workers finished. -ODT

  101. Anonymous

    I went out and bought the Otago Daily Times because it went there.

  102. ### ODT Online Thu, 4 Apr 2013
    Tight-lipped over Delta, Carisbrook complaints
    By Chris Morris
    The Office of the Auditor-general (OAG) is remaining tight-lipped about two complaints involving the Dunedin City Council and one of its companies.
    The OAG confirmed in November last year it would investigate Delta’s decision to spend $14.12 million buying property at Jacks Point, near Queenstown, and Luggate, near Wanaka, in 2008 and 2009.
    And, earlier this year, the OAG confirmed it had also received two complaints from members of the public calling for an investigation into matters surrounding the council’s purchase and sale of Carisbrook.
    That followed confirmation the council stood to make a loss from on-selling the old stadium, after buying it and surrounding properties from the Otago Rugby Football Union for $7 million in 2009. Unlike the Delta situation, the OAG was yet to announce whether complaints relating to Carisbrook warranted a full investigation.
    Contacted this week, an OAG spokeswoman confirmed that remained the position, as no decisions had yet been made about whether to proceed with any Carisbrook investigation.
    Read more

  103. Hype O'Thermia

    This further down the article suggests whitewashing may have to be eschewed due to upcoming obligations:
    “The OAG’s Delta investigation will contribute to a broader study of council-controlled companies (CCOs), the office intends to do in the 2013-14 year.
    The office will analyse the governance and accountability of CCOs and report to Parliament on how effectively they deliver services. The Delta investigation will be one case study used.”

    • Hype, I read this as let’s lose the original quest (serious audit) in a large bureaucratic paperchasing piece of crap!

      [translation: yes, whitewash writ large]

  104. Hype O'Thermia

    Perhaps MPs will have to be reminded now and then to ask how the Delta part of the “broader study” is coming along, because as locals we have had the opportunity to observe the deals and personnel and amass group-knowledge, so we hope they have been able to fill in the few gaps……..
    Keeping the word Delta from sliding under a rock will be a mission.

  105. It looks like the OAG is from the same ‘gene pool’ as the DIA

    • Calvin, you are correct. If I were to gather anything from OAG Nicola White’s letters I would say the Auditor-General needs to find some new crew FAST.

  106. Martin Legge

    In March 2009 Audit NZ conducted their annual audit of TTCF as a public entity because of its legal association with the NZ Licensing Trust Association. As they do, Audit NZ billed TTCF about $40k for the service.

    That audit report uncovered serious expenditure problems and issued warnings. The findings were not dissimilar to what DIA Investigator, Dave Bermingham, had uncovered as part of the 2009 DIA investigation into TTCF. Upon receipt of the Audit NZ report, the TTCF accountant emailed the TTCF Board: “Audit NZ are just covering there arse in the face of DIA’s findings.” In other words don’t worry about the OAG.

    When in Oct 2010, 18 months after these audits, when I became a whistleblower, I pointed out to both OAG and DIA that they had both failed to act on any of their own findings and demanded an explanation. I never received a response.

    From then on, my information was managed and the spin issued by both DIA and OAG to date, has been about protecting the reputations of two well-funded government departments that failed. Both have been allowed to operate in a vacuum, free from any public scrutiny about what what they achieve for the public. They did not count on the fact that the people inside the industry, the same people who had assisted and alerted them to corruption over the many years of audits would finally go public.

    With regards to the Delta Complaint, I can only assume, the OAG would also receive annual payment for conducting annual DCC audits. One could have reasonably assumed the OAG would have picked up on what the public are now crying foul over DCC deals with Delta.

    Pushing the enquiry out achieves two things none of which are favourable to the public – the OAG incorporate the enquiry into another DCC audit pay day and the findings avoid the 2013 local body elections.

    • Martin, you have voiced our predominant fear/assumption rather succinctly
      (it comes back to Mayor Cull’s sweet-talking OAG – for a month, he said – before Lee Vandervis laid his formal complaint with OAG).

      This has all the damage-control hallmarks of Syd Brown and Anderson Lloyd (DCC’s Counsel).

      • And then I start to think about the cause(s) of CFO Athol Stephens’ rapid dismissal from DCC. Out of sight, out of mind? Carpets of different colours. You have to hope DCC has a carpet factory.

  107. Rob Hamlin

    From McPravda on Saturday:

    “Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, responding to an official information request by the Otago Daily Times, also refused to divulge details of the types of commercial deals used to secure their performances at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

    DVML chief executive Darren Burden said each deal was undertaken on ”a confidential and commercial basis”, and details were withheld to allow DVML to conduct commercial activities ”without prejudice or disadvantage”.”

    Now this is a bit more like it. Of course venues management sort of folks won’t be admitting the scale of any underwrites before actual liabilities have been incurred and have to be admitted somewhere in somebody’s actual financial results, and maybe not even then if the accounting becomes creative enough. At any rate it will be well after the election methinks.

    However, turning to matters more relevant to this particular thread, perhaps while they are at it and in this unusual mood, McPravda might ask why the turf at the supposedly-sold-for-demolition-and-development Carisbrook facility is still ‘pristine’ and pro-rugby ready. They may also find it worthwhile to ask why the international standard rugby posts (gone for a wee while) have now been put back in!!!!

    Gone pretty quiet about this deal after all the shouting have Y’all noticed? I would have thought if the parties were serious about it, a final deal would have been announced by now. It can’t be that bloody complicated – Assuming of course that a provisional deal of any sort actually existed in the first place – or was the whole thing just another PR mega-burp to buy a bit more undisturbed ‘pristinity’ time for our #2 (or is that shortly to be our #1) pro-rugby stadium?

  108. Hype O'Thermia

    Was Athol Stephens dismissed or had he reached the stage where he couldn’t bear to connive and conceal, to be a collaborator in matters that are no short-term measures but have become the norm in the pattern of acting for “others” against the ratepayers and residents of Dunedin?

    People writing here have expressed warm feelings towards him as a decent man.

    Martin Legge too was involved in shonky business till his spirit / conscience / decency rebelled. His choice was to point out the shonkiness to officials whose job is to investigate and when they find it is true, take action to put things right – and put sticky-fingered rip-off specialists on the spot answering questions under oath. His example is not encouraging. How long has he been trying, how long has he been ignored, fobbed off?

    It could be that Athol Stephens felt he’d spent too long immersed in more than enough crap, without then trying to push it uphill with a pointed stick.

    The interesting question to ponder is, if some real moves get started, some serious questions asked and answered demanded, no fudging, no evasions – will he come forward when Authority is prepared to hear the truth?

  109. Hype O'Thermia

    I wonder if John Key’s got any more mates looking for a good steady job.

  110. Rob: What are the odds that rugby returns to Carisbrook? About 50:50 the way I see it. The ORFU is broke, the Highlanders are pretty much the same in reality (except for the NZRU and its commercial sponsors), so if they can get some ‘TESTS’ with crowds above 35,000 without being robbed of a large part of the gate takings (because of pre-paid private funding in the stadium) at a reasonable rental (via Calder Stewart) why wouldn’t they?
    Hey! they might even get a permanent deal with CS if that party gets Carisbrook cheap enough. Then we might see tests, ITM Cup, senior club and even Saturday morning ‘littlies’ learning the game on that ‘hallowed turf’.
    What do you reckon? Loyalty to the stadium? Forget about it, that crowd wouldn’t know the meaning of the word.

  111. Tomo

    Interesting Statistic from Radio Live last night. In the USA. For every one journalist there are now 4 PR consultants operating. It didn’t take long for the DCC to follow suit.

  112. Robert Hamlin

    Do not think for one moment Calvin that the increasingly likely resurrection of Carisbrook as a pro-rugby venue means the end for our beloved Foobar and the bills that it produces.

    Just as the luxury ””public”” rugby changing rooms at Logan Park rooms are kept pristine at all times at our expense – but only seem to be open when 15 large gents in blue (or is it green) happen to be around, so the Foobar will become a ‘luxury public’ sports training facility that is likely to be open under similar conditions and for a similar small in number but large in budget high performance ‘Sportopolis’-based clientele. That is of course when it is not playing host at ‘mates rates’ to octagenarian rocker ‘has beens’ at thumping losses – also to ourselves.

    Smile – Wear a coathanger in your mouth!

  113. I hate the taste of plastic

  114. jeff dickie

    I was walking through Edinburgh’s Princes St Garden some time ago, when I spotted a drunk lying asleep on a park bench. Some unkind soul had tied his shoe laces together. I immediately thought of the DCC and its ability to tie its own laces together before painting itself into yet another corner! When you think back through the recent history of Dunedin, it just keeps getting sillier and sillier. The massive Cargo Cult, “just build it and they will come” projects, like the Chinese Garden, Wall St Mall, the Settlers Museum, and the Town Hall upgrade that anticipates 36 conferences per year, just keep coming and being rubber stamped by idiots lacking any commonsense. Then there’s the Stadium with its complete lack of Private Funding or University of Otago contribution, along with an Incentive Fund because no-one wants to pay to use it. Then there’s $20M plus that disappeared into the CST, and who knows how much hidden away propping up DVML and DVL. Also the disgraceful conduct re the purchase of Carisbrook, add the bail out of the ORFU with absolutely no mandate. Then there’s Jacks Point and Luggate…………..The list just goes on and on. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any sillier, the DCC gets ready to “roll out the red carpet, not the red tape” for a 28 storey hotel and doss house in a sensitive heritage precinct. There is potentially a huge ratepayer liability here. Just read the developer’s application.
    But it can get even sillier. The DCC may well “buy” the Highlanders franchise. Like the unsuspecting drunk, ratepayers have had their laces tied with red tape and have then been painted into a corner. Still, on the bright side, it only effects you when you wake up.

    • Splendid nutshell, Jeff…………..

    • ### ODT Online Wed, 10 Apr 2013
      Delta to sell Chch business
      By Chris Morris
      More than 40 staff working for the Dunedin City Council’s infrastructure company, Delta, face an uncertain future as more upheaval looms. Delta chief executive Grady Cameron yesterday confirmed the company planned to sell its Christchurch civil and water construction business. It has 43 staff, annual revenue of $10.4 million and assets worth $4 million. The sale was approved by councillors during the non-public part of Monday’s full council meeting, when a ”subsidiary update” was discussed.

      Delta turned a $5.4 million annual profit into a $5.8 million loss last year, largely due to a $9 million write-down in property investments at Jacks Point and Luggate, and lost another $448,000 in the six months to December 31.

      Council sources told the ODT the sale was part of a wider push for efficiencies within Delta, with more restructuring to follow, and one employee said workers were worried ”something’s going on”. ”There’s things afoot. They’re not doing as well as what they’re saying.”

      The Office of the Auditor-general was investigating the land purchases, but the company had also shed seven staff in Central Otago and 23 in Dunedin as part of restructuring last year. Mr Cameron denied the sale of the Christchurch business was connected to last year’s results, saying it was instead the result of a ”strategic review”.
      Read more

  115. Anonymous

    Can’t have a Test Match at Carisbrook without lights. No lights, no TV coverage. No afternoon Tests. Sorry this is more likely to be cockup rather than conspiracy. Deal is taking far too long to conclude, but not for the reasons suggested above.

    • Given potential loss of fields for club rugby at Kettle Park due to the effects of coastal erosion… (in the interests of ORFU) – then, there’s the chestnut of the Calder Stewart / DCC joint partnership that Mayor Cull is extremely reluctant to elaborate on…
      Anonymous might know rather more but I imagine money at DCC is in extremely short supply so what is it that Council can bring to the CS table except grief, or too late plans for a logistics centre ?

  116. Rob Hamlin

    If it’s for pro-rugby, lights, like TV screens, desso, commentary boxes and commercial kitchens, can be bought – Even if no budget apparently exists for them. Just exactly what kind of cock-up results in gleaming full-spec rugby posts being deliberately REINSTALLED in a supposedly abandoned field? Where the hell did these full-sized posts come from for that matter? Surely the Carisbrook posts were transferred to the Foobar – If they weren’t, Why not? They must be bloody expensive in mere mortals’ terms – and Big Malc told us the Foobar was a 100% cost-driven project with the ORFU chipping in.

  117. Phil

    With DELTA plastered all over their uniform, haven’t the DCC already bought the Highlanders ? The success of the team seems to match up with other recent DCC investments.

  118. Phil

    There must be some very sweaty palms out there. Every report ever published on the subject states clearly that the success of the stadium depends on the success of the Highlanders. Who would be so stupid as to take a gamble on that ? Oh wait, we were.

  119. hypeothermia

    Any more of this and the duck-shooting season will have to expand – to include “Tui” expanding faster than the credulity supply.

  120. Anonymous

    A little bird told me a story of the purchase by Delta of the ChCh-based firm that was the precursor of the civil construction business. Two fellas from Delta walked into the office and announced “We’ve been sent to buy your firm. Name your price.” The owner named his price, a ridiculous price, a price that he would not expect anyone to pay. “OK, done.” was the immediate reply.

  121. Does anyone else get the impression that Delta might be imploding? Mr Cameron, its CEO, will be looking earnestly at the ‘Employment columns’. The interesting part really is what effect all this will have on the Annual Plan Mayor Dave Cull is so effusive about. It, and by extension, subsequent Plans through to at least 2022/23 are dependent on receiving from DCHL dividend/interest payments of $10.450m, Waipori Fund dividends of $3.561m plus $12.25m from DCHL to DVL for capital debt reduction of the stadium. A total of $19.261m. As the directors of DCHL have stated that as from 1 July 2012 they would no longer borrow (increase their debt) in order to meet the DCC’s requirements. This means that if they can’t generate the monies required out of revenue then “tough titties” for the APs. Dave Cull of course would never reflect on the fact that DCHL has virtually never before paid out DCC’s demands without increasing its debt. That’s why at 30/6/12 the ‘consolidated debt’ of the city (ratepayers) stood at $620m. By 30/6/13 it is destined to be $668m. So watch this space. With the elections coming up, we need to start looking long and hard at the candidates’ offering.

  122. I think that the sale of Delta’s Christchurch business is so the payment to the DCC can be made without borrowing: the proceeds from the sale of the asset can be used instead. Borrowing to pay the DCC is replaced by selling assets to pay the DCC, but DCHL is still left with its massive debts (guaranteed by Dunedin’s ratepayers).

  123. Alistair, you may be right, but I doubt it. If Delta get a sale that means the banks lose its equivalent of collateral. With the heavy debt load DCHL/DCC are carrying, the banks will want that reduced in line with the collateral. Result, bugger all capital released at all. The same goes for any other assets that go on the block. There were rumours circulating some time ago about City Forests being put to the market. The same applies here. The simple answer is that DCHL/DCC don’t really own anything, the banks do. And banks always get first dibs.

  124. Another thing. Delta CHCH claims to have assets of $4m with revenue of $10.4m. If it could net 10% off revenue (unlikely with their overheads) a prospective purchaser seeking 8% return would likely look to buy for a max. of $13m or less. How long would that cover the DCC’s dividend/interest requirements? Sorry, it doesn’t solve any problem except Delta’s wish to get out of CHCH. That raises the question, why? Answer, because it “ain’t doin’ so good”. So a fire sale is the likely outcome.

    • Sincere? Or political rhetoric to get Cull and bimbos through the October elections ?

      Did we mention the likes of Mike Coburn and Stuart McLauchlan, oh yep we did.

      ### ODT Online Thu, 25 Apr 2013
      Delta investigation ‘major’
      By Chris Morris
      The Office of the Auditor-general considers its investigation into land purchases by Dunedin City Council-owned company Delta to be one of its major inquiries for the coming year. Results of the investigation might not be made public for some months, at the earliest. The OAG’s draft annual plan for the 2013-14 year, published last week, detailed work planned for the 12 months from July 1.
      The plan listed the Delta investigation as one of the ”major inquiries” to be reported on during the year. The investigation into Delta’s $14.12 million land purchases in 2008 and 2009 at Luggate, near Wanaka, and Jacks Point, near Queenstown, was confirmed last November.
      OAG staff have been unable to say how long the investigation might take.
      Read more

      • SFO (Serious Fraud Office) decides it can’t prosecute the Hanover Finance crew. We all know the tie up between Hanover and Delta land deals. What hope for SFO/OAG in regards to Delta?

        ### nzherald.co.nz 10:05 AM Tuesday Apr 30, 2013
        No charges against Hanover – SFO
        By Hamish Fletcher
        The Serious Fraud Office is not laying criminal charges against anyone associated with Hanover Finance following a 32-month investigation. The office has spent longer mulling over whether to lay charges in the wake of the Hanover collapse than in the case of any other finance company it has probed. The Hanover probe was ” by far the most extensive and challenging of the finance company investigations undertaken by SFO” said acting chief executive Simon McArley today. “While many may view the conduct that occurred at Hanover Finance as egregious, that alone is not sufficient for me to commence a prosecution,” McArley said. “SFO’s prosecution decisions must also be made within the context of the Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines. These require me to be satisfied that there is a reasonable prospect, based on credible and admissible evidence, that an impartial jury could be satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the person prosecuted has committed a criminal offence. On the basis of the evidence currently available, SFO is not able to reach that threshold. As a result it is unable to commence any criminal charges in relation to Hanover Finance and its related companies.”
        Today’s announcement brings an end to the SFO’s finance company investigations, which saw 23 people charged by the fraud body.
        Read more

        Despite not laying charges, the SFO believes that serious questions arose during its investigation as to the:

        * The consistency between the overall view of the nature and financial condition of the companies disclosed to investors in the period from December 2007, and the actual position of the companies.

        * The solvency of the companies at the times that dividends were paid during the six months immediately prior to the suspension of payments to depositors in July 2008.

        * The propriety of a number of transactions entered into in the three months immediately prior to the suspension of payments to depositors that appear to have provided little or no benefit to the companies, while conferring some significant benefits on the related parties;

        * The accuracy of the valuation of the companies’ assets in the financial statements supporting the Debt Repayment Proposal put to investors in November 2008.

        Separate to the SFO investigation, the Financial Markets Authority is taking civil action against six former Hanover directors and promoters over allegedly misleading or untrue statements made in offer documents.

  125. ### ODT Online Fri, 12 Apr 2013
    Jacks Point preferred site for new school
    By Tracey Roxburgh
    Additional reporting – Mountain Scene
    Four new schools may be opened in Queenstown by 2017, with backers of an independent school in the resort announcing Jacks Point as its preferred location and a potential opening date in 2015. The school, which aims to have 100 fee-paying pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 on opening, needs about 5ha of land for the first stage, including about 10 classrooms, with space for expansion.
    Read more

  126. Hype O'Thermia

    Remember Major Major from Catch 22?

  127. Hype O'Thermia

    “Despite not laying charges, the SFO believes that serious questions arose during its investigation…” yet look how guys who narrowly squeaked out of this one by a singed whisker are now acting like they’ve been cleared of all dodginess. Innocent as new-born babes, they are. Unstained reputations white as driven snow.
    Actually not being found guilty* is not the same as being found innocent.
    *Includes not prosecuted because SFO weren’t quite sure enough they’d get convictions in return for the time and cost.
    Bain and Karam are peddling the same line: not guilty verdict means innocent – no it doesn’t. How much compo will the Hanover gang demand, I wonder.

  128. chirpbird

    Elizabeth, you say:We all know the tie up between Hanover Finance and DCC company, Delta’s, land deals.
    I don’t. Could you please explain? Or give me an explanatory link?

  129. Anonymous

    The sections that Delta bought at Jacks Point and Luggate had first mortgage secured by Hanover Finance. This loan was about to be called in when Delta acquired the properties.

  130. chirpbird

    Thanks. I see.

  131. ### DScene 8 May 2013
    Inquiry prompts Serious Fraud Office offer (page 3)
    The Serious Fraud Office has offered its forensic accounting services, if needed, in an investigation of Delta property investments. Serious Fraud Office general manager of evaluation and intelligence Graham Gill confirmed the office wrote to the Office of the Auditor General offering its forensic accounting services if the the Auditor General found reasons for it in its inquiry. Last November the Auditor General decided to carry out an inquiry into decisions in 2008 and 2009 by Delta Utility Services to invest in residential development at Luggate, near Wanaka, and at Jacks Point, Queenstown.
    #bookmark

    Related Post and Comments:
    30.8.12 Dunedin City Council seen by Fairfax Business Bureau deputy editor Tim Hunter

  132. Hype O'Thermia

    ‘We enclose a response which sums up our feelings too: “Thanks for your kind offer but we’re managing just fine with our in-house review. Regards, Delta.” However your kindness in offering is much appreciated. Hope you’re keeping warm now summer’s definitely over. Best regards, OAG.’

  133. Delta plans to lay off 40 staff
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/260996/delta-plans-lay-40-staff

    See new related comments at this thread (14.6.13).

    • Delta closure confirmed
      Updated at 12:14 pm today
      Dunedin City Council’s infrastructure company, Delta, is to close its civil construction arm in Christchurch, with the loss of 40 jobs. Chief executive Grady Cameron said there were no alternatives to closure following the consultation with its employees which concluded on Tuesday. Mr Cameron said there is no viable alternative other than to close the business and exit the Christchurch rebuild market. He said Delta’s current and future workloads in Christchurch were insufficient to maintain its existing civil construction workforce and depot base in the city. Delta is a diversified infrastructure specialist which employs around 650 people in New Zealand. The company reported revenues of $108.6 million in the 2012 financial year, the largest in its 15 years.
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/business/138054/delta-closure-confirmed

  134. Bev Butler

    “Chief executive Grady Cameron said there were no alternatives to closure following the consultation with its employees which concluded on Tuesday.
    Mr Cameron said there is no viable alternative other than to close the business and exit the Christchurch rebuild market.”
    “NO ALTERNATIVES TO CLOSURE!” I don’t think so, Grady.

  135. Bev Butler

    Grady, what about the phone call you received yesterday?
    Tell Radio NZ about that!

  136. Bev Butler

    40 job losses affects 40 families.
    There is an alternative.
    Get on to it, Grady. The ratepayers are paying you $460,000.
    Get back on the phone.

    • Fill us in a little, Bev… if it doesn’t harm the chances of those affected staff.

      • It seems incredible, according to Grady Cameron, that ‘Delta’s current and future workloads in Christchurch were insufficient to maintain its existing civil construction workforce and depot base in the city’ …Christchurch…#eqnz…

  137. Bev Butler

    Elizabeth, I would like to give Grady and his little consultant time to get negotiating. If he’s not prepared to get moving smartly then I will do the negotiating on the ratepayers’ behalf.

  138. Interesting to note that in the announcement that DCC water services are to be contracted out, it was stated that there is a ‘shortlist’ of contractors who expressed interest. Strangely Delta doesn’t figure in that list. Why? too expensive? Not interested? Surely, short of losing their wheelbarrow they would be the preferred choice. After all, we own the ‘effin’ outfit. Must be a story here somewhere.

    • Quite, Calvin. I’d be happier if we saw Grady Cameron take an enormous pay cut, land the Canterbury work and get shortlisted for the local water and waste stuff (minus the valves…). Wilmaaaaa!

  139. Hey! Today’s ODT has fronted up and exposed DELTA for what it is, a great top-heavy fraud. Lee Vandervis’ opinion piece has struck the right note and put the hierarchy, plus the ‘chubby’ directors right on the griddle with plenty of grease. His story is a litany of ineptness on the part of all those ‘windbags’, and the disclosure of the earnings of 53 employees being paid from $100,000pa to $470,000pa for what is in reality a modest sized civil engineering operation.

    Just another example of a bloated beast getting high on the public teat. The question here is; where are/were the Mayor and other councillors in all of this? That’s right, asleep at the wheel, as they have been all along when it comes to doing a bit of research and reading the trends.

    This has been an unfolding series of mishaps coming down the road for the last couple of decades. Probably set in motion by the Harland regime demanding unrealistic returns to the city by way of interest and dividends, to fund his inexhaustible appetite for grand debt-funded projects. Projects which our dopey mayor and councillors were only too happy to support. The managements of the day plus the corrupt and inept directors led by Cr Hudson embarked on a policy of debt accumulation in order to meet these demands, when responsible people would have either laid it on the line that this was bad policy and refused to embrace them. But no, the ‘wimpy’ spineless sods went along and fudged reports indicating performances all out of context with reality. Result: The consolidated debt of the city is now approaching some $650 million.

    Meanwhile Dave Cull puffs out his chest and says “that with the new Annual Plan, for the first time in years we will be reducing our debt rather than adding to it”. In his bloody dreams! The new AP is predicated on DCHL bringing forward interest and dividend payments of $10.450m plus $5.25m to DVL and $3.561m from the Waipori fund, a total of $19.261m.

    Folks, Dave Cull wouldn’t have a clue. What is he going to say when DCHL doesn’t deliver? He won’t know why or how, but he will polish his necklace (assuming he is still in the job) and go off to Shanghai. Best place for him. If Lee Vandervis is not the next Mayor then it’s all over as far as I can see. Even then, he will be faced with a task that would have made the seven tasks of Hercules seem easy. So roll out your votes.

    {Link added. -Eds}

    • ### ODT Online Thu, 20 Jun 2013
      Delta criticised for shutting Christchurch branch
      By Rebecca Fox
      Infrastructure company Delta has confirmed it will be shutting its Christchurch-based civil construction operation, making 40 people redundant. The Dunedin City Council-owned company had been struggling in a competitive market during the slow build-up to the Christchurch rebuild, Delta chief executive Grady Cameron said yesterday. After consulting staff, no alternatives to closing were provided, he said.
      Mr Cameron said Delta completed a comprehensive sale process with significant interest from multiple local, national and international companies. The company would help employees find other work and had invited 20 employers to meet the workers yesterday to talk about job opportunities. Delta would continue to provide green space and electricity services to customers in Christchurch and the Canterbury region.
      Read more

      ****

      ### ODT Online Thu, 20 Jun 2013
      53 Delta employees earning $100,000-plus
      By Rebecca Fox
      Despite making 40 people redundant by closing its Christchurch civil contracting business this week, DCC-owned Delta employs 53 people on salaries of $100,000 or more. The council-owned company employs 650 people throughout New Zealand providing asset management, energy, solid waste and green space services. Delta chief executive Grady Cameron has said recently the company was grappling with a continuing economic downturn and a weakened demand for civil construction services, in part because of reduced local government spending.
      Read more

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