Daily Archives: February 16, 2013

Carisbrook: Dear Dave . . .

Received from Rob Hamlin
Saturday, 16 February 2013 10:05 p.m.

Dear Dave

I see that in the ODT today you signed off with the following statement:

“A valuation is not a promise.”

Is it not indeed, Dave. Well if it not a promise, then what is it? A registered valuation costs money, a lot of money and they registered valuers are members of a professional association – that’s why they are called REGISTERED valuers. A registered valuation may not be promise to get a value right to within the dollar, but I would say that such a valuation a professional service on which serious decisions are routinely based and as such it IS a promise to get the value right to within a reasonable margin of error. 100% plus is not a reasonable margin of error – Nossir!

I note however that the ‘registered’ bit is missing off your statement above. This raises a number of interesting possibilities. Let’s deal with them one at a time:

1) —You simply forget to put the ‘registered’ bit into the statement above and you really do hold a registered valuation that is in line with the price that the DCC paid the ORFU for Carisbrook and the adjoining properties. If that’s the case, then I think that you really do need to have a serious word with this individual, and that you may have to get in line with the Valuers Registration Board who deal with complaints. The following is lifted from their website at http://www.linz.govt.nz/valuation/valuers-registration-board#apply

Complaints about a registered valuer
The VRB may discipline registered valuers who do not meet its standards and requirements in carrying out their work. If you are not satisfied with the valuation done by a registered valuer on a property, you can formally apply to the VRB to have your complaint investigated.

Contact
Valuers Registration Board
PO Box 5501
Wellington
Phone +64 4 460 0110 FREE +64 4 460 0110
Fax +64 4 498 9699

If you hold a registered valuation that is for this amount then the registered individual who provided it may be culpable to a major degree in the loss of $3 million plus of ratepayers’ money and a formal complaint is not only recommended, but actually forms a public duty that you MUST perform. If they did indeed tender this valuation to you as a registered valuation, then either this individual was misled in their brief, in which case the nature of the misleading should be clear from their valuation report, or their professional services would appear to fall very far short of reasonable expectations, and they need to be publicly identified and dealt with pronto before they do any more damage of this scale and nature. As I have said previously, a Barbary Ape can value a property to within 20% in a stable market – I think it is very unlikely that the board would have much basis to seriously argue the point if you get the ball rolling now.

2) —You mean what you say and the valuation was not supplied by a registered valuer. Valuers have to undertake a good deal of training before they can become registered valuers. There is a reason for this, as I stated above major decisions are routinely made upon the basis of the valuations that they provide, and for this reason they must be accurate to within an acceptable margin, and many would think that 20% is the outer limits of this.

If for whatever reason a registered valuer was not the source of this information, then this is a serious matter. Paying this much for a property on the basis of a non-registered valuation would appear to be at the least grossly negligent and at worst reckless. The latter would be a perfectly reasonable charge given that the value is grossly out of line with not only the CV of the properties concerned, but also with other professional reports that assessed the value of the properties when budgets for the finding of the Forsyth Barr Stadium were being presented as a justification for approving the project. Incidentally, these valuations (acquired by stripping blacking off censored documents released by the DCC – see What if? Dunedin for details) appear to have been pretty much exactly in line with the price that you have been offered by Calder Stewart. They were presumably supplied by a registered valuer and it might serve you well to attempt to obtain a copy for the purposes of comparison.

Recklessness, of course, also opens up any elected member who voted for the purchase at this price or was in any way implicated in it to personal liability under the Local Government Act. A strong case for personal liability could be made with regard to this purchase if this is the valuation did not come from a registered valuer. If it did, then a Feltex-type defence on the basis of accepting professional advice in good faith may be made – but only if the source of the valuation was a registered valuer – a professional in the eyes of the law.

3) —You may have been misinformed and no valuation of any type was acquired at all before Carisbrook and adjoining properties were purchased for the amount of $7 million.

If this is the case, then all of the comments relating to Option Two above apply, plus it may be possible to add deliberate deceit to the list. The problem with deceit as with perjury is proving intent. However, in this case it is hard to see how an assertion that a registered valuation formed a basis of the decision to purchase could be made inadvertently in the absence of the valuation that is being cited. I seem to recall that a valuation has been cited on multiple occasions as a justification for paying this price.

All in all, Dave, it’s a messy situation that looks likely to get a lot messier. Both you and the ODT are on the back foot here – information is leaking out of the DCC like a sieve, and the wider public who have been largely snoozing through the events of the last four years finally seem to be waking up in numbers to just exactly what has been going on.

So, if you value your political neck and your mayoral chain, I recommend that you release this valuation document forthwith. It is now a historical document and has no current commercial value, so forget about that line of defence if it is offered to you. Ignore privacy claims for the valuer. If it is a registered valuation, then it is a professional document provided for money, and it’s yours to do with as you please. You can post A1 sized copies of it in all the public loos in the City if that’s your fancy – although you may be wise not to comment on its merits, subsequent events will do that more eloquently than anything you or I could produce. If it’s not a registered valuation, then I would be pretty confident that the same rules apply if a fee was charged for it.

If you can produce a registered valuation for $7 million, then I cannot see that either you or any of your colleagues have any sort of a problem. All the problems will be at the door of the valuer and their professional body – which is why I am mystified as to why you have not yet produced it – if you have it.

If it was a verbal valuation, and you can establish that it does not exist, then I suggest you come clean about it, and identify those responsible for making the decision to purchase Carisbrook at this price without it right now. I do not think that you were involved, so why should you sacrifice your political career in an attempt to protect those who are?

If the document has been ‘lost’ then I would suggest that you make vigorous attempts to find it. Failing this, you may wish to establish who provided the valuation – the possibilities within this community are manageable. You may find that the identity of the valuer has been ‘forgotten’ by all involved. OK, these people keep records. Get copies of the Yellow Pages back to 2009 and go through every registered valuer in the region, call them and see if any of them can recall issuing this valuation. Enlist the help of Valuers Registration Board. I am sure that they will be interested if their members’ reputation is being collectively put on the line by a bunch of amnesics.

You may both end up drawing a blank, but at least it will be a decisive one that you can report to the community and allow them to draw their own conclusions.

Think it over Dave, but don’t think too long. This time I don’t think that you have the luxury of leisure.

Rob Hamlin

[ends]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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