Journalist sums up 2012, against the ‘odds’ how does it rate ?

### ODT Online Tue, 1 Jan 2013
Ups and downs, but no worries
By Nigel Benson
It was the year that had a bit of everything. A bit like most other years, really. Nigel Benson looks back on 2012… Dunedin wakes up with a New Year’s Day hangover, but feeling rather smug. The driest December since 1918 has brought the best weather in New Zealand, while heavy rain and floodwaters sweep the rest of the country.
Read more

ODT 31.1.12 (front page detail)

We always enjoy the news. We note the abridgements, deletions, non-acknowledgements and hijackings that meant the most concerning news generated within our Community never got through. No “lack of political motivation”, as ’twere.

Consolation Prize: DCC continues to ‘advertise’ with ODT, by special arrangement.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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

91 responses to “Journalist sums up 2012, against the ‘odds’ how does it rate ?

  1. Elizabeth

    I should’ve explained, about the annual Consolation Prize to the winner and the loser: Dunces’ hats will not be construed as cones of silence.


  2. Anonymous

    I think your summary of 2012 is more genuine and heartfelt Elizabeth.

  3. Mike

    I have found the continual abridgements to be almost an ongoing game but to me the most unconscionable have been the continual removal of almost any mention of suicide as an issue of the ongoing JWD argument – both in articles and online responses – silencing a group who are very passionate about an issue has made it go on and on, I doubt it’s finished as an issue

    • Elizabeth

      It occurred to me before Xmas that the height of the proposed 100m waterfront hotel is conveniently dramatic, and possibly useful for permanent stopping of the harbourside arterial (a boon to the Dunedin Hotel owners). So handy, much closer than JWD.

      superducky0 Uploaded on Nov 8, 2008

      The building seen outside the window of the hotel’s cash office on level 3 is the gulag built on land formerly owned by NZ Railways Corporation (which once traded as KiwiRail).

  4. Anonymous

    ‘Redundant anti-stadium campaigners angrily throw the blanket off their knees.’

    That is insulting. What the hell was its journalist Nigel Benson thinking when he produced that bit of crap? There is no indication at the online edition this article was an “opinion” therefore must be the position of Otago Daily Times and its parent company Allied Press.

    It’s time someone did an Onion site for the Oddity. Heck, you could even produce an equivalent community newspaper by following up the news tips ignored on its own forums.

    Domain still available:

    • Elizabeth

      There was a furore when reporter David Loughrey (now Channel 9) sold us opinion instead of fact in the ODT – or rather, the subeditors did. Another little ODT oversight, very in-character.

  5. Peter

    Mike, It’s funny how you bring up the issue of suicide re JWD. After the council’s latest decision re JWD I submitted an opinion piece to the ODT and mentioned this as an ongoing issue irrespective of the decision made and one that could force the council, again, to close the drive. I referred to the research on the issue earlier alluded to by Dr Kerrin Skegg, a local psychiatrist, who on the basis of this research, recommended the closure of the drive. Like you, I was curious that this aspect of the issue had become buried.
    Phil Sommerville, ODT Features Editor, responded to me a few days later to say that the OP would not be published because Kerrin Skegg did not want to draw attention to the suicide issue again re JWD. This left me somewhat puzzled given she had first alerted the public, in the first place, to this research and obviously considered it important at that time.

  6. Mike

    I understand the idea that talking about these issues has some associated danger but I think that not talking about it is more dangerous – it’s a tough issue.

    However it has left the public discussion in a strange place with a bunch of aggrieved hoons wanting to drive their cars on one side and seemingly no-one on the other – it means an issue that wont go away. It will come back as soon as the next poor soul takes the plunge and we still wont be able to talk about it in any sane way.

  7. Peter

    I agree, Mike. Not talking about ‘it’, won’t make ‘it’ go away.It’s how it is talked about. I was impressed with the celebrant at the funeral of one young person who said X had made a bad decision that affected so many people. In this way, the whole thing was not glamourised, for other young people there, to consider copy catting.
    It is a tough issue, as you say.

  8. Calvin Oaten

    Has there ever been an in depth study of how many Lawyers Head suicides arrived there by vehicle and how many walked, either via JWD or across the golf links? It could be relevant to the discussion.

    • Elizabeth

      It’s a fair point, Calvin.

      Admit I have little regard for suicides, generally. It’s part of life. Some find they have few other options, or it’s the best and worst option, the strongest or the quietest statement they’re capable of… whether this is the real world in full sunshine or oscillating with a shadowland that combines rational/irrational, in/formed by health issues, not coping, predisposition, who knew… unless you’re in that special place. Note all the stereotypical polarities I’m using….

      As mainstream (terrible term) society we’re pretty useless at discussing death and its place in life. Wise, sensitive discussion of suicide doesn’t stand much of a chance, particularly for the most vulnerable group, young New Zealand men.

      New Zealand’s ridiculous rate of migration to cities in the previous decades – and ‘newly’, our collective non adherence to the finer community virtues – has no small place in the (deplorable) loss of ‘neighbourly concern’ and extended family support – that’s not to say rural life or family dynamics are ‘paradise’… But whatever New Zealand has turned into lately we haven’t got much of it right where compassion, charity, selflessness, lack of avarice, positive togetherness, ethics, and boundaries might be held up as some of the worthwhile things in life to strive for.

      We’ve caused a lot of individuals and children to become vulnerable and defenseless.

  9. Russell Garbutt

    This whole thing about research determining a course of action is OK as long as the research is quality research and is peer reviewed. I know nothing whatsoever about this woman, her research, and how valid the research is. How it is presented to the Council, and to whom on the Council also seems relevant. I mean, at one end of the continuum, I can think of some people who have presented reports to the Council that have resulted in Council decisions to spend gazillions when the quality research based on facts and peer review would have indicated that the reports were worthless.

    I assume that the “research” or opinion is based upon the fact that some people who have decided to end their lives have driven to Lawyer’s Head to fulfil their wishes. But equally a large number of people decide to end their lives by gassing themselves in cars, hanging themselves from rafters in their garages, or slitting their wrists. Some may have chosen to drive to other locations, or even drive to near a cliff and then walk to their destination. Should the Council ban the purchase of piping, rope or knives? Obviously not, so when should the Council act or not?

    I would not be surprised if the “research” was presented in such a way to transfer some element of blame if the Council were to open up JWD – the issue seems to me firstly to ensure that the quality of the “research” is open, tested and quantified. At the moment, all that people seem to know is that the Police and an individual have a view. That isn’t good enough.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    I’ve tried to establish whether the suicide rate as a whole had altered, and whether jumpers went there by car. I remember on various occasions hearing about missing persons > fears are held for his/her safety > personal items found at Lawyers Head. Never once did I hear “car belonging to missing person was found parked at the end of JW Drive.
    I have also, today, to find out a bit more about the quality of the woman’s research and the extent to which conclusions were based on the most obvious factor, didn’t have access to the full paper on suicide risk in professions where means were readily available. In the introduction she pointed out that in some jobs [people who used firearms at work] firearms were the chosen method. Higher rates of suicide were observed among some where to my eye the glaring similarity was that they had high responsibility, stress and workload but less control over circumstances within their professions – nurses at higher rate than doctors for example.
    She may well have gone on to adjust for such factors, just saying they didn’t turn up in what google produced. Then a visitor arrived, might try again some time.
    Tunnel vision is not all that uncommon among researchers, nor is not seeing the owl for the wood for the trees and social science research is famous for wonky “truths” that gain currency till an emperor’s wardrobe analyst comes along.

  11. Mike

    I guess I’m mostly annoyed that the ODT’s self imposed censorship of one side of the issue has resulted in a less than honest public discourse. It puts the council in an impossible position where they will be blamed by distraught families who feel they are being ignored by the system.

  12. Peter

    The point is, as Mike says, the suicide issue and any related research on prevention has not been discussed and properly aired in public. No one can make proper judgements on its validity till then. I have not personally read this research, but from what Kerrin Skegg has said it deserves some attention.
    For me, this does not mean endless discussion on the merits of research methodology re suicide prevention when real lives are involved.If the gates are closed and lives are saved, that is good enough for me. As I have said before, put yourself in the place of a councillor making the decision whether to open or close JWD and the consequences that may follow from that decision.
    Note we are only talking about JWD in the context of suicide prevention.Not other methods, in other places, by other people. Any society has a duty to do its best to protect the vulnerable to the best of its ability. A cavalier attitude to death by suicide is a slippery slope towards barbarism.
    Many years ago I lost a close family member to suicide. It was not a surprise, in one sense, as she had tried many times before. Still, her death was a great and painful shock when it finally happened.Not for one moment would I accept suicide as an OK decision.There are always other ‘victims’. Time can and does heal and people often come to terms with what has happened,but……….

    • Elizabeth

      It’s one of many points, Peter. Otherwise, metaphorically, we’re all crushed in our plane seat next to the big guy with his god-given right to use the armrest ;)

      My view is any ‘road’ in a public reserve should not be closed on the grounds of suicide prevention, given at the northernmost terminus there are fencing options for an element of deterrence. In the same way I stop my sheep going over the ‘unstable’ cliff or bank. Humans aren’t really a higher form of life… (to add a few points, my woolly friends don’t talk about suicide either – and life is mostly irreverent according to lens and seriousness).

      This feels like Sunday.

  13. Tomo

    Peter. Do you really believe that a person heading to Lawyers Head to commit suicide, on arriving at JWD and finding the gates locked, is going to turn around and go home ? Most people that commit suicide have had it on their mind for some considerable time, and when the decision is made it will be done. Gates locked or not they will find a way. Unfortunately.

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    The gates are only to stop cars using the Drive, aren’t they? So unless people only commit suicide when they can drive to the far end, nearest Lawyers Head, stopping cars won’t have much effect except on those who’d like to sit and contemplate the sea while sheltered from cold weather, without being excluded from that experience by age and physical infirmity.

  15. Mike

    I think it’s pretty widely accepted that there’s a large group of potential suicides who will be stopped by something as simple as having to walk out there. Sure there are some people who are going to top themselves no matter what, but for a lot of people drawn to a particular place a cold walk is just what you need to have second thoughts

    I’m far from an expert on the topic – but this is what I’ve read in the past

  16. Peter

    That is what I have read as well, Mike, when the sole, suicidal intent is to go to Lawyers Head, or The Gap in Sydney, or any other such ‘fatally attractive’ place where such tragedies occur.
    Obviously not every potential suicide can be thwarted, but why wouldn’t any humane person try to curtail, whenever possible, a needless tragedy if a simple solution could be found to have at least some good effect in saving life.
    I challenge any person to put their hand on their heart and say that even if their brother/sister, wife/husband, father/mother, son/daughter took their life at Lawyers Head, they would still want easier access to that site, to drive their cars at will, and they wouldn’t have any second thoughts about what might not have occurred if the area was still secured.

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    But ARE they driving to Lawyers Head? If not, Mike, they are hardly likely to “be stopped by something as simple as having to walk out there” and that’s what I have yet to see evidence about – the number of them who drove there in the past. Tell us about the abandoned cars…… there WERE abandoned cars left behind at the far end of the drive, yes? And that’s a fact not a supposition?

  18. Hype O'Thermia

    It has to be established that it was not the period when public perception was that JWD was “closed” i.e. not open at all, to cars, walkers, rollerbladers or skateboarders or cyclists, that prevented people going to Lawyers Head to jump.
    Without establishing the facts all we get is another nannyish non-solution, inconveniencing the majority so as to give the comfy impression that “something’s being Done” about desperately distressed people.

  19. Anonymous

    Stadium Councillor Neil Collins said the New Year’s fireworks display in the Octagon was ”pathetic” and ”embarrassing”. Let me guess – him and Team GOB would have spent another million dollars on fireworks? It’s the usual round figure for them. It’s just a little signature on a piece of money… someone with intelligence does the tricky financial stuff… right?

    When I read that view, those would be two words I’d use to sum up their time on council. But not all of them. Definitely not all of them.

  20. Russell Garbutt

    Neil Collins has yet again demonstrated his gigantic mental abilities. If there was anyone on the Council that should have been slung out it was him – apart from, oh yes, there are a few just like him aren’t there?

    • Elizabeth

      The fireworks went on so long I got my adding machine out in sheer panic. I would’ve been happy to have watched the Sydney (Australia) fireworks on TV instead, but as you know budgets have been slashed hugely at TVNZ and TV3 so we’re on our own… Only DCC thinks money is no obstacle! This year the council received Lion Foundation and Otago Community Trust assistance for its Octagon party. Yep, money from pokies. Let the good times roll.

  21. Anonymous

    Oh, hell yes. There are the Stadium Seven and now many of the Lesser Dunedin mob. There has been a quick response to the ODT Online story, with only one seeking bigger and better (what is Orange’s council debt?). Looking forward to the contributions from the Spooks and the anti-anti-stadium support-it-at-any-cost lot.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 4 Jan 2013
    New Year’s Eve fireworks display deemed ‘pathetic’
    By Chris Morris
    Not everyone was smiling when New Year’s Eve revellers in Dunedin celebrated the start of 2013 with a bang. Up to 20,000 people crammed into the Octagon for the midnight fireworks display, which saw $10,000 worth of colourful explosives launched from the Civic Centre roof over about five minutes. However, Dunedin city councillor Neil Collins – who watched from the nearby Radio Otago House – yesterday labelled the show a ”pathetic” and ”embarrassing” fizzer.

  22. Calvin Oaten

    The whole ‘JWD’ argument is “Nanny State” writ large. The ‘meddlers and ‘improvers’ just have to put the world to right. And when in Dunedin’s case it is being done by foolish people in concert, everything turns to custard.

    If anyone bothered to go back a decade or two and revisit some of the unbelievable comments made around council table on any subject you wish to name it is staggering. Mayor Chin when confronted with the sell out of Dunedin’s water use to Trustpower said: “Oops, sorry, but I didn’t read the document before signing it.” Cr Michael Guest, on the Stadium debate said: “I can assure the citizens that in six weeks time it will be announced that funding will be available and the ratepayers won’t be paying anything.” When pressed for more information he said: “I heard it by pressing a jam jar against the wall.” Shortly after, what was left of his reputation was finally shredded by his own ‘Law Society’. In extolling the benefits of the Stadium to councillors, Malcolm Farry stated: “There would be an economic benefit to the region of $20 million per year. There would be an increase to the student role of 500 because of the Stadium.”

    Cr Cull stood on the stage of the Town Hall (at the STS public meeting) and vehemently opposed the Stadium being built on the grounds that it was economically unsound. As Mayor Cull he extolls the worth of the Stadium and exhorts all to support it and do everything to help it work. This, after almost a year in office, during which time he could have carried out his promised manifesto and wound down the commitment to the project. Instead he now promotes and endorses the input of another $750,000 per year in support. He then opens his mouth on ‘national radio’ and plants his foot firmly in it denouncing the ORFU as incompetent. (True actually). When two of the ORFU’s people sue him for defamation he ‘grovels, whimpers and writes an ‘abject’ letter of apology, and agrees to compensate them for their costs incurred. Abrogating any vestiges of honor and respectability left in the office of the Mayoralty.

    As a body, council collectively has consistently watched, connived and approved, as former CEO Harland and his acolytes progressively took the City’s debt from some $35 million to over $360 million and at the same time coerced its holding company DCHL into increasing its debt monumentally in order to pay interest and dividends back to council in order for it to ‘deceive’ its citizens into believing all was affordable. This was aided and abetted by a ‘complicit, uncomplicated, inept board of directors’.

    The result is that the consolidated debt of the DCC/DCHL is around $700 million, and growing. One of the more egregious actions of council was in the financing of the additional $10 million building adjacent to the stadium for the Academy of Sport. It was stated that the Academy was to pay the costs of servicing and paying down of the relevant debt, a cost of some $850,000 per year. Then we find in the small print that it was proposed and confirmed by council to make an annual grant of $850,000pa of city money to the Academy of Sport.

    Don’t even think about the manipulations of the Carisbrook purchase. A suppurating sore which is with us still today at a cost of around $4-500,000pa. State Highway 88 realignment? Where will that end, and at what cost?

    We have seen where the juggling of the finances has resulted in the citizens being embroiled in the ‘very dangerous’ game of ‘derivatives’, IRS (interest rate swaps) and ‘hedge’ funds. All of those have extremely high risk aspects (despite assurances to the contrary) which could leave our city in a bankrupt state. Am I exaggerating? Look at the DCC annual report and we see that current losses in the ‘IRS game’ has resulted in recorded losses of $34 million. It is qualified by the statement that: “these aren’t really losses, but just recording the position in order to meet accounting standards!”

    Make no error, if and when the debt comes to maturity and requires rolling over (it can never be repaid), whatever the IRS profit/loss position is then it will be consolidated. Ditto to the hedge funds if it/they fail. And as for the ‘derivatives’ indulged in, does anyone in our office have any idea where the so called ‘securities’ lie? If so, they would be about the only people on the planet who do.

    For another example of the risks involved just ‘Wikipedia’ “Jefferson County Alabama Sewerage Upgrade” to see where it can all go wrong. Would any of our elected folk bother? Don’t think so. Far better to comment on New Year fireworks displays and discuss ‘ad infinitum’ the JWD.

    Nero wasn’t the only ‘prat’ able to play the fiddle while all around him burnt. In all, a very dysfunctional council, led by the nose by an inept administration, not to mention outsiders with very distinct agendas. Let’s hope our new CEO Orders and, hopefully, a change around council table come October can resurrect the fortunes of the city of Dunedin. A very big ask.

    • Elizabeth

      Calvin, you have nailed it. I doubt there’s anyone in Dunedin capable of the mop-up through local body election – the numbers are too large, and that’s not accounting for the real cost in making drastic change which will mean more payouts to accounting, legal and other professionals to unknit the monumentally dark web woven at DCC/DCHL, in order to balance or write off (?) the books.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    Online responses to Neil Collins’ bleat indicate many people HAVE “got the plot” i.e. stupid spending on top of stupid spending on top of, etc, is —searching for word—- stupid. Councillor who voted in favour of all of it so far and now wants more is —- drat this short-term memory lapse, what’s that word again?

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    Please to renumber
    The fith of Novumber
    Southern hemispherer
    It could be nearer.

    • Elizabeth

      Epsom Salt thought:
      The councillor forgot himself today, the grudging long-winded aftermath of St Farry saying NO to fireworks at stadium.

  25. Paul quits. Which Paul??

    • Elizabeth

      That line at ODT made me blink. Next paragraph!
      Fear not, I’ll pay PO to stay…. or send in the aircraft carrier.

  26. MichaelA

    With regard to Neil Collins’ groan I posted a short comment on the odt site which, against the run of history, was actually published. Basically it was little more than Cr Collins votes for stadium = massive debt = little in the pot for anything else = drab Fireworks. Nothing untoward in that. However a couple of hours later this post along with another on the same thread by MikeStk were inexplicably pulled. I enquired as to why and to the ODT’s credit someone rang me back to explain. The gentleman I spoke with said it had been pulled by accident, and if I would provide my surname on their online registration form he would re-post my article. However, could the removal of Mikestks comment also be an accident as it did support what I had written and made unadoring noises with regard to Cr Collins. Perhaps Mikestk (I don’t know if he visits this site or not) might contact the odt and make a similar enquiry? I would say that I’ve been posting on that site for several years now and this is the first time I’ve ever been asked for a surname. Something stirs?

    • Elizabeth

      MichaelA, depending on whether you actually gave ODT a surname you might (with the disasters of 2013 before us) want to end that ODT account and start a fresh (anonymous) one, but if you gave COLLINS as your surname you should be safe :)

  27. Mike

    Thanks Michael I hadn’t noticed I’d been squelched – they’d already abridged two thirds of what I’d written. Sadly I’m out of the country at the moment I’ll take their action at face – apparently Collins will be running again and his political masters have called their flunkies at the ODT.

    • Elizabeth

      Yarp. Does mean Murray and JCS are in stirring/electioneering mode again for bolstering their latest epiphany of representatives for what constitutes their cash cow, er our beloved SHAMBOLIC DESTITUTE city council. Sheeeeet… If all the ammo they’ve got so far is Fizzer Collins (the late grinch of xmas), what hope at the Eldorado.

      Few edits are in total error, unless that ODT bunch o’fools are all at the beach using smart phones like yours truly.

  28. Anonymous

    They pulled that trick a few years back when the posts disagreeing with their position on the stadium increased. They roped in their account contact information, requiring a local phone number among other details. This blocked a hole heap of posters (albeit temporarily). Their latest excuse ‘pulled by accident and please provide your last name’ is utter nonsense. The fact they could actually reach you with the details provided should have been confirmation enough to undo their “accident”.

  29. Anonymous

    Yes, well, one day they might actually make the connection between their subscription counts and interfering with local politics. JCS should really stop relying on his own paper for news in the community.

  30. Russell Garbutt

    Great news that Collins has decided that no amount of photo-shopping can now disguise what he really looks like and he will depart. One can only hope that fellow stadium Councillors will take the hint and disappear as well. Try and think for a moment of just one thing that Collins has achieved on Council – apart from appearing. First prize is a pass to as many old people’s homes lunches as you can handle – always a good place to visit if you are drumming up votes I suppose.

  31. Hype O'Thermia

    Don’t you love his quote, and didn’t it bring cow-pats instantly to mind, or is that only us country bumpkins?
    “I think it’s time to allow other people to step in.”

  32. Mike

    Well – I guess I got it backwards – I guess the ODT cleaned out all the calls for voting him out to save him the embarrassment of going out with the populace actually realising that those weren’t actually spiffy new clothes

    You’re right he does appear to have suddenly aged immensely – maybe we need to require that publicity pictures of councilors actually be recognisable on the street

  33. Russell Garbutt

    Remember that wonderful public meeting at South Dunedin when Collins reluctantly appeared, was belligerent and abusive to all and sundry, threatened to toss all his pathetic toys out of the cot and the Chair had to resort to pleading with him to stay? Our problem was that he has a radio station programme to raise his profile – although once posing for a photograph with Eloise and the Praire Drifing Mongooses seems to me to be not much of a qualification for staying awake at a Council meeting. Collins doesn’t have a single applicable quality for being part of the governance structure of a deserted Icelandic fishing village let alone city like Dunedin. I for one would be delighted if he chose to bugger off early so that he can concentrate on other things. Perhaps he could write his memoirs on some perforated paper?

  34. Anonymous

    Interesting. Some of the old information channels have sparked into life following these comments by Stadium Councillor Neil Collins.

    Earlier thinking was Bill Acklin was going to be the fall guy but it seems with this retirement announcement the ODT and GOBs have got their duck lined up. Watch out as he takes the hits for Syd Brown, Paul Hudson and Andrew Noone, and signs away whatever is expected of him before slithering out the door.

    Few will take Dave Cull seriously now. He turned his back on too many who voted for him. It was a complaint heard throughout last year.


    • Elizabeth

      We need an update, Anonymous (to feature as a post) – which councillors have voted at various times to fund stadium improvements and operations?

      (given the falling fortunes of DCC, DVML, DVL, DCHL et al)

      That way we close the drag net.

      Call it public service to declare those names, starting with Cull, Brown and Staynes…

  35. Calvin Oaten

    Well, interesting comments all round from the current lot of itinerant ‘no hopers’. Lee Vandervis I can see as the only one of the present crop with any scruples. With the possible exception of Jinty MacTavish, they are all compromised one way or the other. Cr Wilson wonders what else needs to be said for them to get the message. Well, for a start some honesty would suffice.
    Be interesting to watch the body language when they come to deliberate on the Annual Plan. Watch for the protestations of innocence over the debt situation, and the dramatic ‘smoke and mirrors’ dancing over arriving at a rate increase decision. It will be fiction of the highest order. What is commonly referred to as “kicking the can down the road”.

  36. “Despite that, the council also needed to find room for positive initiatives, like improvements to the heritage warehouse precinct, cycling infrastructure and economic development strategy initiatives, as well as pursuing new deals in Shanghai, he said.”

    “He wanted the council to be more active in support of job creation, such as the establishment of an oil and gas support base in Dunedin, and hoped to see progress on the city’s aquatic facilities and Logan Park upgrade.

    ”Some people would say those things are luxuries, but … I think that’s what the city is here to provide.”

    Wrong, they are luxuries and should NOT be happening. Trying to keep to a 4% rate increase and doing crap like this. Tui ad.

    • Elizabeth

      wirehunt – dammit, we HAVE TO plant trees, create road protrusions and drop in cycle racks – if not abolish a section of the one-way highway system – in a warehouse district (‘creative quarter’) and create MORE coffee shops to FURTHER wreck the fortunes of retailers on George and Princes Streets.

      We’ve got smiley DCC DEVELOPMENT PLUS GALS ready to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on such AMENITY, for the pleasure of the few property investors and tenants involved there. (Clue: gentrification is not the answer to urban revitalisation)

      Sheer poetry, mate.

      (Hint: check out progress with King Edward Street – the lovely hardwood bollards – if you get my drift. It’s an absolute “DESIGN” sensation. It’s some of the best urban design you can see anywhere in the world – and it’s all happening HERE)

      WARNING: DCC Simpletons at play

  37. And who here really believes it only cost 10G for the fireworks? The meetings about even having it would have cost more.

  38. Anonymous

    I’m totally with that Elizabeth. There have been several major decisions on further funding for the stadium and professional rugby – mostly played down with vague reports or misdirection in the media. None of it though has escaped the attention of those here.

    Man it is hotter than a Fizzer Rant out there.

  39. Outdoors

    In narcissistic fashion employees about to be terminated often resign and sportsmen (not women that I’ve noticed) retire before being overlooked for selection. On the surface looks very gracious doesn’t it Cr Collins? You are the master of your domain and history will show you went on your own terms, if only history were that kind. Contemplate your navel this Xmas did you? Whatif you ran again?

  40. Outdoors

    I still have a soft spot for AM radio but his glory days have surely passed. I remember my father writing down the cash call amounts on the back of his Pall Malls.
    Without sounding crass John Key’s words to Rodders in that cafe about Winnie’s fanclub might be quite apt.

  41. Anonymous

    If I’m understanding this “Progress League” spokesperson, a debt of seven hundred million dollars is not enough.

    • Elizabeth

      What is ‘progress’.
      Claret Kiwi stupidly got hitched on binary oppositions, forgetting the dimes. Too much red before posting. A little remote and mouthy, doesn’t appear to know what Vandervis does at council.

  42. Sorry to be late to the party, but I did quite a bit of background reading, including most relevant academic papers I could find, on the JWOD/suicide issue a year or two back.

    If you shut a jump site, is it replaced by another one?
    No. Jumping as a method of suicide is different to most other types of suicide (except in parts of Asia, where it is the most common form). It tends to be specific to certain locations. Despite other bridges across the bay offering equally good ‘opportunities’, people only jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. In Auckland, people jumped off Grafton Bridge (pre-suicide prevention measures), but do not now jump off adjacent bridges over the Grafton Gully.

    If you shut a jump site, do people end up killing themselves in other ways?
    Inconclusive. Suicide is too infrequent to provide sufficient statistical power to solidly answer this question. Even looking in big largely populated areas. So there is no solid and objective answer to this question. There is some weaker evidence, from analysing suicide notes, and interviewing the unsuccessful suicidees, that jumping is quite different from other types of suicides. It’s less planned, less pre-meditated, and that people often go to contemplate (for want of a better word) and may or may not jump. This perhaps explains why it is place specific. If I recall rightly, failed jumpers are somewhat less likely to re-try compared to other suicide types, and more positive that they have survived. This would suggest (weakly) that they are less likely to commit suicide in other ways.

    Do people drive?
    Assumed so. Because it is a relatively more impulsive form of suicide, people seem less likely to go out of their way to do so.

    Does this mean the road should stay shut?
    Generally, public health type people are inclined to a precautionary approach. Because suicides are so infrequent, it is not possible to say that it might be OK to open it at certain times, because that isn’t when people jump. Before the road was closed, there was talk of installing a prevention fence…

    (Disclaimer: I wrote the above from memory, and didn’t re-check any of my original sources)

    • Elizabeth

      It’s never too late… distractedscientist :)
      Unless maybe, after jumping.
      Don’t know where that prevention fence got to – there was some argument that people (who?) didn’t want it in their coastal landscape view…

  43. Hype O'Thermia

    The reason I have big doubts about people driving to Lawyers Head to commit suicide is the missing persons notices on radio and in print. Missing persons, in general, are described by their physical features and the clothing they are believed to be wearing, and if applicable “driving a white 1996 Hyundai [model] [with a priming patch on the driver’s door]”. Sometimes “in an agitated/distressed condition”, sometimes “fears are held for his/her safety”.
    Regarding those who committed suicide at Lawyers Head, since a body is not usually found straight away, the next information released is that “items belonging to X— X__ were found at……” but not (and here this is from ~my~ memory so could be wrong, which is why I keep asking) “his/her car was located at the end of JWDrive” which would be one of the first places to look if driving there was strongly associated with contemplating then, sometimes, committing suicide.

  44. Hype O'Thermia

    Re abridgements – my post has 2 abridgements:

    [cost far more than the spinners of the project were prepared to say] “then one after another “if X does not happen we will not proceed with the stadium”.  And what happened when X (private funding being one glaring example) didn’t turn up?  Council and CEO Harland and certain other deeply involved parties juggled facts and figures till those on council whose grasp of financial matters is not all that clever, only saw the glittery glory “vision” and voted accordingly.”


    “The DCC is already raising extra money, well above the rate at which most Dunedin ratepayers’ wages are rising, along with an assortment of increased charges for permits, parking, and tip fees for example, there is less and less money left in our pockets for getting by week-to-week, far less being able to support good causes to the extent most of us would like to.  Unlike the council we cannot simply spend on pet projects and “visions” and then demand everyone else pay, “or else” – because if we do not pay our rates it’s “or else house gets sold from under us”.”

    • Elizabeth

      Hype, that set of abridgements is rather substantial… Most times they cut from mine a short phrase or name(s) when I slander. Often it makes my post more legible! In the last couple of months it’s been educational, changing the way I approach writing for the newspaper medium.

  45. Russell Garbutt

    Just for a giggle, have a look at the picture printed in the ODT story about deadwood Collins which indicates his current state of the play – looking like he actually is, and the picture on the DCC website under current Councillors which depicts Collins as he was some decades ago – plus a bit of photoshopping. This coot is in serious denial.

    What the DCC needs to do is to insert on their website current pictures of Councillors in recognisable environments – I can even picture the images of Hudson, Brown, and co – lovely thoughts.

    {Took a while to muster courage for this one. Our present to you Russell. -Eds}

    Cr Neil Collins

  46. Hype O'Thermia

    Do you think they’d like to be recognisable? They’ve got a lot to be ashamed of. Members of the public might not always tactfully refrain from pointing this out.

  47. Anonymous

    Hey, just brighten up your day by visiting Dunedin City Council’s home page image at – that’s some seriously happy shit right there.

    • Elizabeth

      Went to the home page yester, happy shit is right. That and the worst webdesign imaginable. This from a city that hopes to promote itself on its IT prowess. I would have awarded C+ (max) to undergrad graphic design students if they dished that up. In addition, the lack of appreciation of typeface design just makes me cry.

  48. Anonymous

    One of my favourite makeover photos is of Stadium Councillor Paul Hudson urging young people to vote. It has so many funny, funny things about it. Including a side order of loving a la ODT.

    Click on the photo to love it:

  49. Hype – it could be that mentioning that they drove there could be perceived as details on method, and therefore not to be reported on (pure speculation).

  50. Hype O'Thermia

    Distractedscientist – weeeelllllll….. maybe………. but what about saying that possessions of the missing person had been found there, isn’t that much the same? And it’s not “method” any more than “last seen outside Macca’s in the company of a man from the motor trade”. Not like “last seen in Mitre 10 buying 2 bottles of weedkiller”.

  51. Anonymous

    “Man dies at city park” reports ODT Online and goes on to note “Read the full story in tomorrow’s ODT”. Why do we have to read about this? Why in tomorrow’s print edition? Shouldn’t it be only of concern to the man’s family? Rather than used to sell papers? It would seem the media has dropped all pretense of morality today when reporting on tragedy.

    • Elizabeth

      The paper must have a skeleton crew if it takes 24 hours to discern for the public whether police are involved or if there are suspicious circumstances. We plainly assume there is nothing sinister. That’s about it.

      [Updated 8.1.13 – Diabetic man left alone in park dies Now we know what happened, there is no reason why ODT should have withheld the general circumstances of the man’s demise. The ‘suspicious circumstances’ were that members of the public failed to check the condition of the man earlier and to phone 111 for assistance and advice.]

  52. Hype O'Thermia

    There is a very good reason for reading the full story of this unfortunate death.
    I was with someone who started showing that his insulin levels had gone wonky. He gradually started being more rambling in his speech. Had he been a stranger I’d come across in a park or at a bus stop I would have thought he was drunk, and this would have been more likely the longer he was left untreated – people who had no experience of what a diabetic person heading for coma looks like. Luckily one of his work colleagues and a good friend turned up, recognised the signs instantly, and appropriate action was taken.
    If this front page article alerts more people to the possibility that a “drunk” or “druggie” may actually be diabetic and in urgent need of treatment it will have been the ODT’s first good deed for 2013.

    • Elizabeth

      True Hype. Diabetic man left alone in park dies (Dunedin)

      I’m a Type 1 diabetic on insulin by injection. I’ve been there, and ambulanced comatose to safety (age 16, with undiagnosed diabetes while living at boarding school – no family history of the disease). Many people have no idea what diabetes does or is, or the difference between Type 1 and Type 2. Up until that point I certainly didn’t. Been a couple of incidents since but always with people around who knew to administer sugar syrup (rapid uptake of sugar/glucose first starts in the mouth), or by GP with a glucose injection. If you’re an unstable diabetic for any reason it’s a good idea not to be alone as you go about your days, and nights.

      [Pro tip: Always double check the gauge of insulin syringes dispensed by pharmacists, to ensure the diabetic is receiving the correct dose of insulin by prescription.]

      Once you know about diabetes, it’s fairly easy to read in others and fairly simple to render first aid (see St John advice below). Get to them early.

      The other thing is, diabetics need to tell more people around them about their condition and what diabetes is – many diabetics think their condition is something to keep ‘secret’, it might be known only to their close family and friends. I often find there’s a certain ‘self-inflicting’ guilt attaching to diabetes and its sufferers, not helped by some members of the medical and nursing professions with their authoritarian ‘numbers chart’ approach to life. Getting past that ignorance saves lives! Employers and service organisations need to step up too, given the number of New Zealanders in their care and the high incidence of diabetes in New Zealand. Keeping the condition and its ‘psychology’ well managed means a productive healthy life.

      Read about diabetes here:

      Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes:
      Passing more urine
      Weight loss
      Very tired
      Mood changes

      May also have
      Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting
      Skin infections, thrush
      Extreme hunger
      Poor concentration and performance

      Diabetes is diagnosed by blood tests (level of glucose in the blood) and urine test (for glucose and ketones).

      People with undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes can become very ill with high glucose and ketone levels in their bodies. They will be dehydrated and may go into a coma. This is called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and needs urgent medical attention, usually in hospital.

      Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes:

      ST JOHN First aid guide for diabetic emergencies
      How you can help

      1. If the patient is unconscious

      Support the patient on their side and call 111 for an ambulance.

      2. If conscious, give the patient some sugar

      If the patient is still fully conscious and able to swallow, give a sweetened drink, chocolate or glucose sweets to suck – an improvement usually occurs within minutes.
      When the patient is more alert, offer a more substantial carbohydrate meal of a sandwich or several sweet biscuits.

      3. If unconscious

      It is common for these patients to be unconscious. If so, support the patient on their side and call 111 for an ambulance. In this situation, DO NOT give the patient anything to eat or drink.

      Give frequent reassurance during recovery because the patient may be confused until fully recovered.

      4. Obtain medical advice

      If the patient has improved with the intake of carbohydrate, medical advice is still necessary because a further deterioration may occur at any time. The patient should see a doctor.

      If the patient does not improve after swallowing the sweet food or drink, or if further deterioration occurs and swallowing becomes difficult – call 111 for an ambulance.

      DO NOT try to give the patient a dose of insulin because this can be dangerous unless a medical assessment has been carried out and the patient’s blood sugar level tested.

  53. Hype O'Thermia

    “Maurice and Pauline Prendergast examine the handiwork of a Dunedin City Council contractor who missed weeds but sprayed healthy grass outside their Wingatui home.”
    I’ve just phoned the DCC after procrastinating for a couple of years. Last time a hot-diggitty gungho spray crew came up our street they blasted away at the gorse across the road, among which bird poo has deposited seeds of native plants. The gorse is a good nursery, meanwhile it stabilises the banks where slips occurred blocking the road completely in the past. I asked them to cease but they “were only following orders”. It’s not an excuse that butters my parsnips at any time. They did however helpfully inform me that one could list “do not spray” areas, though only outside one’s own property.
    The form will be arriving in my letterbox in the next day or 2.
    Weed eradication is good, but there has to be sense driving it. On unstable banks I’ve seen many slips where broom and gorse were cut down, their roots dying and not only ceasing to hold but also shrinking in the ground and making saturation >> slips more of a risk.

  54. Hype O'Thermia

    I think I knew most of that, having become interested because of my friend with Type 1 plus reading about obesity>diabetes danger. But what we need is widely disseminated info for people who don’t have it, don’t live with people who have it and wouldn’t know a diabetic in need of help if they fell over him – or stepped over him and looked the other way. This man’s death was preventable, unlike some of those where the coroner and others with barrows of cottonwool to push call for more prevention of this, banning of that, because they can’t accept the need for some acceptance of “shit happens” in a (fairly) free society.
    Nobody wants to walk past a seriously ill or injured person in New Zealand – do we? Have we become so Big City in our outlook, already, before we’ve even got a 5-star hotel?

    • Elizabeth

      We can encourage more people to do first aid courses. There’s a fair bit of diabetes information available out and about. To me, the stage we’re at nationally is to get the health education into schools, kids educate their parents etc etc.

  55. Anonymous

    The medical issue is a fair argument. But it seems immoral to make news of somebody’s tragic circumstances, when that person’s family may have just heard from the authorities or still be unaware of what has happened. For example, photos of a vehicle accident, particularly where blood is evident, are made local and national news long before any due consideration could have taken place. It is possible family and friends could recognise the vehicle before being informed of the accident. Just one example of how the media today does not stop to care before sensationalising tragedy for its own self deprivation. This was about a person who died in tragic circumstances and will have loved ones who are grieving while the ODT and Stuff lead it as “news”. This is where I think the news oversteps the line of morality.

  56. Hype O'Thermia

    I can’t agree. For once, this story needs the big Now treatment to get the attention of as many people as possible, because we need to all be aware of the terrible consequences of “walking by on the other side of the road”.
    As for grieving families, I’ve noticed how many of them want their story publicised in the hope awareness may prevent the same thing happening to another person’s beloved family member.

    • Elizabeth

      Hype – at ODT Online you rightly ask “Is it always correct to give the person a sugary drink or piece of candy?”

      I can tell you that administering sugar or glucose to someone whom you suspect has ultra low blood sugar or very high blood sugar, is the right thing to do – it will not make anything worse and is the kick they need if symptoms of either condition are difficult to distinguish between (and they are hard to distinguish on sight) – it buys them time!

      The first aid advice given by St John is the best course in all circumstances.

      If you find someone in a distressed state exhibiting the symptoms described, they are incoherent or confused (or even belligerent and highly defensive) and you can’t see a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace, or similar diabetic alert on their person or in their wallet or belongings, and you have nothing sweet to administer – call 111 immediately. They are likely beyond the point of being able to save themselves. Take action.

      If you have friend(s) who are diabetic it’s good to carry something sweet with you, eg a sweet drink (lemonade, fruit juice or cordial will do) – plus ‘barley sugar’ sweets or glucose tablets for early onset – a high energy snack bar or biscuits is fine too. Or simply make sure they’re eating regularly – sandwiches etc so they have a regular carbohydrate intake across the day and night. A lot of diabetics seem to forget to keep their food up, after all, it’s a hassle being prepared for eventualities…

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