Carisbrook: Cr Vandervis elaborates

Comment received. See previous post.

DScene’s article today seems to have missed most points.
Feel free to use any of this email.


—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2013 12:26:37 +1300
To: Wilma McCorkindale , EditorDscene
Conversation: Carisbrook offers.
Subject: FW: Carisbrook offers.

Hi Wilma and Mike,

I have sent and resent this email as below, and still have no response.
The 15 questions I had of the original deficient and leading Carisbrook Property report have been deleted below because they quote extensively from a non-public report.
What has been made public is the original report claim by DCC staff that ratepayers would only lose $100,000 on the proposed deal. This appalling untruth was ‘corrected’ as a result of my questioning of the report in a new set of figures so that we now know that the deal will result in losses of many millions. Just how many millions remains to be seen, and also depends on whether all the costs associated with purchasing Carisbrook and bailing out the ORFU are included.
I sent Bev Butler’s summation of losses as reported to staff for comment [as below] but have had no response to that either.

Councillors have a history of making bad enough decisions without staff giving them false figures and misleading reports on which to make decisions.
Strong evidence of other agendas and insupportable spin in much of our paperwork [the attempted Crematorium sale, and the Citibus sale were memorable examples] worsen a climate of distrust at the DCC and make reading masses of paperwork an exhausting suspicion-laden process.
Significant staff re-structuring is necessary if we are to change what has been a too long established culture of the DCC bureaucratic tail wagging the elected dog.

Kind regards,

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:55:28 +1300
To: Mayor Cull
Cc: Paul Orders , Sue Bidrose , Sandy Graham
Conversation: Carisbrook offers.
Subject: Re: Carisbrook offers.

Resent 27/02/13.

On 22/02/13 2:33 PM, “Lee Vandervis” wrote:

Dear Dave,

My extreme disappointment in staff misrepresentation of the Carisbrook offers [see initial questions asked of original leading report below] continues with the daily dissemination of apparently motion 4 “That the CE be authorized to work with the purchaser on a suitable media statement.”

In particular, your statement reported in the DScene that “There are details in there but as far as I’m concerned its a sale” is not factual. At best this agreement is for an option on Carisbrook in favour of Calder Stewart.
An option is very far from a sale.
You go on to add that “Many sales of property have conditions and this one is no different from that”. In fact this option agreement is different from most sales of property in that the purchaser does not have to put up any money, has no obligations and effectively is given 4 months to carry out an on-sale process which ratepayers have already paid [City Property] in the first instance, and Colliers Realtors subsequently to undertake. The 4 month due diligence period with no cash or obligation on the part of the option-holder is very unusual, especially when I have subsequently been advised that Calder Stewart were recently chased for this deal and had not even got round to viewing the property prior. After so many years why the sudden rush?

I have posed many Carisbrook proposal questions, some of which remain unanswered.
In particular, I still do not know if Murrayfield St is part of the Calder Stewart option, despite twice asking Robert [Clark].
I have had no explanation for the nature of the $200,000 value accruing to ratepayers from a rapid 6 month demolition, especially given the years of sales process procrastination.
I do not know whether all Carisbrook holding costs have been fully detailed – eg costs of valuations [I believe there have now been 3 of these] marketing costs etc.
I am still waiting to see all the valuations which ratepayers have paid for, for Carisbrook.

To date I have refrained from correcting public misrepresentations of the Carisbrook offer process, but continuing misrepresentation not only deceives the public but makes me complicit in this deception.
In my opinion immediate public release of all related documents is now necessary, given that most of it has been leaked anyway.
If this is not to happen, I feel duty bound to ratepayers to make correcting public statements and to explain my apparent inaction regarding this unfortunate spawn of misrepresentation.

Looking forward to any suggestions you may have.

Kind regards,

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2013 13:06:17 +1300
To: Paul Orders , Sue Bidrose , Sandy Graham
Conversation: Carisbrook sale?
Subject: Carisbrook sale?

Hi Guys,

Have you all seen this on What If, and can you dispute any of the figures?


Bev Butler
February 20, 2013 at 8:43 am
The Mayor seems confused over the $2m loan.
Maybe the figures below may clear things up.
They are as close as I can get based on the information in the media – there may be some slight discrepancies give or take a few hundred thousand.

Costs to DCC ratepayers for ORFU loan and Carisbrook
$2m loan to ORFU
$7m purchase of Carisbrook
$860,000 debt servicing, rates, electricity
$480,000 ORFU rent that was never paid to DCC and DVML (includes unpaid bill for ORFU booze up)
$250,000 contamination cleanup of carpark
$60,000 undisclosed?
TOTAL: $10,650,000 cost/debt

Payments received to date
$2m loan repayment
$727,000 sale of half carpark
$692,000 sale of houses
TOTAL: $3,419,000

TOTAL LOSS TO DATE: $7,231,000

It has been reported that a conditional agreement exists for Calder Stewart to buy Carisbrook for $3.3m. It has also been reported that the DCC will be involved in the development and that more money will be required by DCC.
Until details of the conditional agreement are released the public will not know how much of the $3.3m the DCC will eventually receive.

The minimum loss on Carisbrook is already over $4m but potentially may end up over $7m!

Bev Butler
February 20, 2013 at 10:42 am
Four months ago (9/11/12 see link below) it was reported in the ODT that the sale of Carisbrook would cover the $7m+ debt. Robert Clark went further than this claiming they hoped to make a profit. Where things stand at the moment the council has lost over $7m on the ORFU ‘deal’ and depending on how much cash Calder Stewart comes up with the so-called ‘deal’ will not be reduced below a $4m loss. This is why Russell and I have approached the Auditor General’s Office. How can a $7m registered valuation result in a minimum $4m loss and potentially be higher than $7m?
Asked if he [Robert Clark] hoped the sale of Carisbrook, once complete, would cover whatever debt remained, Mr Clark said: “I’m looking to achieve more than that.”

—— End of Forwarded Message

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, What stadium

45 responses to “Carisbrook: Cr Vandervis elaborates

  1. Ray McKendry

    I thought Councils and especially mayors are obliged by law to answer the questions from their own councillors! Take it to the Ombudsman, Lee.

  2. Calvin Oaten

    Cr Lee Vandervis’ frustrations are but a manifestation of the results of a dysfunctional council run by a ‘cabal’ determined to conceal for ever and a day, the awful shenanigans involved in forcing through the whole Stadium project. To be sure, it was said by many over the years that the ‘chickens would come home to roost’. Well they have, and the guano is dropping all over the place. The outfall will go on and on, for a very long time, in all directions and should result in most, if not all, of the ‘scoundrels’ in and on council being booted out unceremoniously. That there should be a full independent inquiry goes without saying, but this will be resisted to the last.
    It is what is termed ‘politics’.

  3. And thirded

    Would that not also come under the freedom of information act.

  4. Russell Garbutt

    There are two really separate but invariably linked issues here.

    The first is that the “valuation” supplied to Harland and co to support the already decided price that the ratepayers would pay to the ORFU for Carisbrook is so far out of whack with other valuations for the property received at the time and also out of whack with what the property has allegedly been sold for. This issue of the price paid by the DCC to the ORFU is one that I’ve asked the Auditor General to investigate along with the other property purchases with similar smells – Luggate and Jacks Point. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this purchase was clearly not in the ratepayers’ interests at the price that was paid and this belief has been borne out completely. It was nothing other than a cosy arrangement made between a CEO and a Council that was either fast asleep, completely duped by the CEO in order to benefit their mates at the ORFU, or complicit with the deal. If it was such a good deal then where is the evidence that it was so? All the evidence points in the opposite direction and what is worse is that no-one seems willing to ensure accountability. These people are mostly standing for election at the end of the year – why shouldn’t we know what they have been doing?

    I think that it is a great shame that current Councillors are not willing or able to take a more proactive role in investigating this multi-million dollar rort – maybe because the majority of those still sitting on Council are those that were there when this deal was done. No sense in wishing for Christmas if you are a turkey?

    The second issue that is being raised here is one of clarity and transparency on the “sale” by the DCC to Calder Stewart. It is inescapable that the figures bandied out at the time of the announcement were just rubbish, and anyone that paused for a moment could see that this was the case. I don’t believe that the Council should be constricted in telling ratepayers just what the deal actually is and what ALL the figures are. The starting point MUST be transparency unless there are compelling reasons not to inform those that are paying just what they are paying for. And those reasons must be really compelling. And it is also clear that ALL Councillors must be supplied with the necessary information in order to undertake their governance responsibilities. Some, and I think we all know who they are, will either not understand, not be interested, or just don’t care. Others are more responsible.

    • Russell – Lots of shopping to be done.
      The ‘responsible’ have to call in at the OAG and SFO, and start emptying on the desks… the drawers of co-councillors, senior council staff, and Old Boys in the council companies and ‘further afield’.


      • Ray McKendry

        “The ‘responsible’ have to call in at the OAG and SFO, start emptying on the desks…etc”
        I am afraid it has come to that. We the people must take back control of our local government. Councillors do not own Dunedin, the people do.

  5. Russell Garbutt

    The problem Ray is that the most effective way we can take back control of any elected body is to ensure that those that we collectively elect understand this most basic concept of democracy. To do so, a good selection of candidates must be prepared to stand for Councils and be well enough known to be elected. On the converse side, those that will continue to put their names forward that have made appalling decisions in the past or are lazy or incompetent must be revealed for what they are. Voting is a two way street – we elect those that we believe are worthy and we don’t vote for the idiots.

    How, for example, do readers of the ODT know who the idiots and the lazy are? This surely is the role of alternative and growing media.

  6. Ray McKendry

    What Calvin has said is so apt as it is not something that is old news or “ok so we have the thing built so let’s get on with it”. No, no! Looking at Campbell Live tonight and up north they have a similar thing going on. The “build it and they will come” attitude is alive and well. What is it going to take? Do all of us on this forum have to stand for council to make any difference?

    • Ray, you’re onto something too. Not everyone who sees the wrongs is candidate material given everything else they need to take care of in the world by way of personal commitments and responsibilities, especially in a low wage society. And there sit some of the reasons the fatcats get to play us, over and over…. that ‘always-growing’ gap between the haves and the have-nots in New Zealand is insidious.

  7. Anonymous

    Robert Clark should be called to account. This stinks.

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    Again wiv the gnomic utterances Elizabeth innit.

  9. Rob Hamlin

    Some crackers from yesterday’s DCC Finance and Strategy Committee meeting

    “Audit New Zealand’s report on the council’s 2011-12 financial year, which conveyed an overall view that the council appeared to be aware of any issues and was dealing with them, was also considered.”

    Very hard to translate this statement from the McPravdese. What issues? How are they dealing with them. Do these issues still need to be fully dealt with (nearly a year on) before Audit stop holding their nose and finally approve them? What’s an ‘overall view’? Does this mean that they are still pissed off with a couple of significant specifics?

    “Cr Lee Vandervis was told by DVML chief executive Darren Burden it was the way things had always been done.”

    This refers to DVML leaving out (large) rental costs before reporting profits. One can only assume that DVL leaves the matching revenue payment from DVML in their accounts before reporting theirs. It’s this kind of thing that pisses off auditors. DVML has only been in charge for barely more than two years. Thus the term ‘always’ presumably means that they got away with in the last (first) period of DVML’s financial ‘reporting’. My timespan tends to go out a bit further before applying this term to anything.

    “To queries about why DVL’s loan interest rates seemed to be lower than the council’s, council finance and resources general manager Athol Stephens said when DVL took on stadium debt it benefited from some interest rate swaps and low floating rates that resulted in fairly low interest rates on its loans. That was compared with the council, which drew down loans earlier, at higher rates, although with some careful management those interest rates should gradually fall over time.”

    Now this is a long quote, but an interesting one. According to last year’s financial report DCC has not issued a bond or a note for almost three years. As debt is not declining yet this means that DCTL is rolling debt into ‘something else’ at the rate of around $100-150 million a year. Here we have confirmation of what that ‘something else’ is – Swap derived loan products.

    Bonds and notes are expensive to the borrower because the lender carries all the risk. A loan product will only be cheaper if risk is transferred to the borrower – an immutable fact of life in financial markets whatever Cave Cull may say or be told about ‘fixed for variable swaps’. The DCC accounts for last year deny any claims that may be made by our leaders that we are borrowing ‘risk free’ and confirm we are carrying risk because of the figure for $34 million losses (so far) incurred on these swaps in the last three years.

    How much risk are we now carrying? Well that depends upon the product, and they can be very complex. Not only can interest rate swaps be involved, but currency swaps too. As many of these things come from London, it may well be that we are taking a one way punt on the relative value of the New Zealand dollar against a number of major currencies. The volatility of the dollar could lead to much bigger hits coming to us than might come from interest rate fluctuations alone. Losses that stem from this exposure to these products for the DCC (us) could quite feasibly rise from the tens into the hundreds of millions, and if anything goes seriously wrong, billions of dollars.

    This complexity can lead to opportunities for misrepresentation by the lender, and for massive exposure/losses for the borrower after an initial low-cost honeymoon period of the type that Athol is describing here.

    The term ‘although with some careful management those interest rates should gradually fall over time’ is open to interpretation. My interpretation is that the intent is that no further bonds or notes will be issued, and that DCC and DCHL will shortly be 100% funded by these lethal swap derivative loan instruments – God help us all.

    How common is this mis-selling of swap derivative based loan products by supposedly reputable financial institutions and consequent massive losses to the borrower with these derivative loans? Well – Google ‘interest rate swap mis-selling’ and see for yourself. In the UK cases now number 50,000 plus and rising. If you want to go local just go ‘farmer interest rate swap’ and see what appears if you think that our own Good ol’ Kiwi lenders are too ‘goody goody’ to get into such practices.

    • Farfetched and gratuitous. What’s behind the council’s shameful gloss. The chief financial officer is still in position. Why.

      ### ODT Online Thu, 7 Mar 2013
      Plenty of questions but financial reports accepted
      By Debbie Porteous
      Presenters were peppered with questions from one councillor yesterday as Dunedin city councillors otherwise whipped through a series of regular financial reports indicating general improvements in council and council-owned company performance. Included on the agenda of the finance, strategy and development committee’s meeting were generally favourable half-year reports from council-owned companies, including a significant cut in losses by stadium operator Dunedin Venues Management Ltd and reports showing an increase in the value of the council’s main investment fund, the Waipori Fund, and the council’s financial position so far this year still within council policy limits. Audit New Zealand’s report on the council’s 2011-12 financial year, which conveyed an overall view that the council appeared to be aware of any issues and was dealing with them, was also considered.
      Read more

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    I love this: “the council appeared to be aware of any issues and was dealing with them”.
    It reminds me of those medical-legal-ethical-family arguments about whether a patient is brain-dead, comatose but may recover, is apparently unresponsive but marginally aware of the presence of loved ones, or suffering from locked-in syndrome.

    [6.11.08] June 11, 1985… “Karen Ann Quinlan, brain-dead and nine years removed from the respirator doctors employed to keep her alive, finally dies. Her case is a landmark in the ethical debate over the lengths medical science should go in trying to preserve a life that is deemed irretrievably lost….”

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    “Cr Lee Vandervis was told by DVML chief executive Darren Burden it was the way things had always been done.”
    Culture, so precious, so hard to reclaim once lost. Back in the good old days people going to the pub after hours rang 3 times on the doorbell, police rang once so everyone had a fair chance to disappear before the publican opened the door.

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    I forgot to mention the dozen of beer that was left in the alleyway periodically to prevent constabulary dehydration.

    • When you’ve got rockstars on council, what can you do.

      • Sorry, I meant buffoons on council, not dissimilar to Burden.

        ### March 5, 2013 – 7:00pm
        Nightly interview: Darren Burden
        Forsyth Barr Stadium has had a stellar beginning to the year, with rugby, league and O-week. And the last week of events was topped off with the news Aerosmith would be playing their only New Zealand concert at the stadium in April. Stadium chief executive Darren Burden is here to give us an update on the venue’s progress.

  13. Hype O'Thermia

    Is this a re-run of the 3rd episode in series 2?

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    No worries, chaps, we’re in safe hands.
    Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull
    7 hours ago
    looking back on a busy week I realize that one of the highlights that gives me most satisfaction was surprizingly Wednesday’s Finance and Strategy meeting. The reports look like impenetrable catalogues of figures and graphs but the tell an overwhelmingly positive and improving story.
    Waipori Fund – Excellent results up on forecasts.
    DCC Financial Results from July 2012 to January 2013 – Almost all graphs showed lower costs or higher revenues than budgeted. Lots of good work has gone in there. Also proportion of gross interest cost to total operating revenues (6.2%) is now within prudential limit of 8%. Our official Audit report for the previous 12 months flagged it was then 9.83%. A real turn around.
    Finally the half year report from Council owned companies was very positive with particularly good performances by City Forests and Aurora lines company and reduced costs and greatly improved revenues from stadium operating company DVML.
    The financial position of the Council and its companies continues to strengthen, the result of more focussed governance, management and financial control over the past 18 months.

  15. Mike

    so did the amount of interest we’re paying suddenly go down? or the revenues suddenly go up? ….. or is this just interest rate swap magic – scary money magic that will bite us all in the arse later

  16. Rob Hamlin

    What a fascinating little personal narrative Hype has found here…. How about this gem from our Dear Leader a few days prior:

    “The Office of the Auditor’s opinion clearing Councillors Thomson and Wilson to discuss and vote on the proposed Events Promotion Fund vindicates them, especially as they supported the idea of investigating a targeted rate on businesses to feed into the Fund. The criticisms of the Councillors and governance officer Sandy Graham are now shown up for what they were: malicious ignorance.” (Cull, Facebook, Feb 15th)

    I am not sure about that one Dave. I do not think that when a case is made that is sufficiently compelling to attract a formal investigation from the OAG that, even if the final procedural decision comes down on the side the investigated, that said case can be dismissed as ‘malicious ignorance’. I presume that this statement could be presumed to be specifically referring to those who submitted the formal complaints to the OAG on the matter that precipitated the investigation. I was not one of these individuals. But several who did do so have identified themselves on this website.

    It perhaps pays to be careful too before committing such specific and personally targeted thoughts to the ether. I recall somebody quite recently who suddenly found that their mouth had led them into a place where they had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that certain members of the community had acted dishonestly. He couldn’t, and had his nose expensively (for other people) rubbed in the legal brown stuff by said community members as a consequence.

    Now ‘malicious’ is a nasty personal adjective, just like ‘dishonest’. It is also a well-known and (carefully) used term in the legal world. I suppose that any individual who had submitted a formal complaint to the OAG, and who was of the opinion that they had been motivated by the public interest rather than personal malice could also consider themselves to have been personally libeled as part of an attack on a specific group of which they are a member that specifically stated malice as a motivation. I seem to recall that this was pretty much as events played out in my example above.

    Now, if any of these individuals did take legal exception to your comments, could you PROVE malice as a motive beyond all reasonable doubt in this case Dave? I didn’t think so. Some people just never learn – do they? However, I suppose those whose orally ejected hop-toads are insured at public expense don’t really need to.

    • (did the mayor whisper in OAG’s ear)(can OAG be swayed)(has OAG gone soft)
      (does OAG serve our political masters)(yes)
      (does OAG serve the public well)(no)(not when it’s looking into DCC —orDIA)
      (is OAG up to the job)(hell, no)

      Sandy Graham has nothing to do with what the upstarts Wilson and Thomson said.

      Their wounded vanity or not, Crs Wilson and Thomson are not completely exonerated, exactly because of the way Section 6 of the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act is worded, as Mike Stk points out at Liability Cull’s facebook page:

      Mike Stk I must admit I don’t understand the decision – the law states that: A member of a local authority or of a committee thereof shall not vote on or take part in the discussion of any matter before the governing body of that local authority or before that committee in which he has, directly or indirectly, any pecuniary interest, other than an interest in common with the public
      18 February at 10:53

  17. Mike asks : “so did the amount of interest we’re paying suddenly go down?”.
    I think that they did. The losses on the interest rate swaps effectively lock in lower interest rates in the future, at the cost of a lump sum cost in the past. By getting these losses out of the way, Dave Cull can say things are improving.

  18. Mike

    That I get – the thing is that you are in essence betting against the other party that you are swapping with that you would otherwise be paying more interest than them for the term of the swap – and they are betting otherwise – trouble is that often you are betting against large financial institutions that can forecast this stuff way better than you can – it’s why all those other cities were bitten by swaps and are now owing millions more.

    It may also mean that we couldn’t pay down the loan to save interest without losing lots of money.

  19. Calvin Oaten

    Alistair, are you saying all previous IRS losses are accounted? What! the whole $64 million! ? I don’t think so.

  20. Rob Hamlin

    Interest rate swaps actually work in exactly the opposite direction to what is stated above. It seems that in a remarkably high percentage of derivative based loan products, a seemingly low up front cost turns into an unanticipated (for the borrower) massive liability as things move against them some time after they are locked into the agreement. This is exactly what the tens of thousands of derivative loan product mis-selling cases across the World are all about.

    I suspect that the seeming reduction in interest rate costs that Dave is burbling about in his blog comes about as the DCC rolls its debt out of expensive (but safe) notes and bonds and into cheap (but highly dangerous) derivative loan products. As I have said previously here DCC accounts for last year indicate that the DCC has not issued a bond or a note for around three years. As their bonds and notes have a term of 3-5 years, the task of increasing the community’s exposure to these provenly destructive loan products to 100% should be complete in a further two years.

    Estimated future losses to date as a consequence of this policy now stand at $34 million according to the DCC’s own figures – They are likely to mount considerably as things for those swaps already committed to get worse and as new agreements join them. However, as this is reported as a balance sheet item contributing to loss, you can continue to burble about the improving interest rate cost to income ratio without taking these into account if that’s your fancy – Which it appears to be in this case.

  21. Calvin Oaten

    Rob; on page 179 of the DCC Annual Report for Y/E 30/6/12 (nearly nine months ago) it showed the Consolidated Derivative Liability at $36.649 million. What it is now is anybody’s guess as it is simply a figure carried forward to ‘Judgment Day’. And that’s a day when we don’t want to be around.

  22. Calvin Oaten

    It was the claim of a ‘particularly good’ performance on the part of City Forests that had Dave overjoyed. So I pointed out that if he really cared to look at it he would see that the performance was not perhaps so great after all. I referred him to the ‘Trend Statement’ in the CF Report and noted the revenues over the last four years averaged $46.617m so on that trend the six month result would be $23.3m. In fact it was $18.007m, a drop of 22%. Pedantic? Of course. But I then advised him to look at the ‘Forest Statistics’ where he would see that the average harvest over four years was 245.66m (m3). On this trend the six month result should be about $122.8m (m3). In fact it was $160.913m (m3). So I pointed out that CF had increased harvest by 30% for a notional 22% drop in income. Posted it, and by breakfast this morning it was gone. He just does not like being shown up for the lightweight populist that he is. He really should not open his mouth spontaneously in public at all. Facebook will do him in if he persists.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    No worries, it’s still there. I’m watching with interest the discussion over the two-way streets replacing the one-ways, currently “parked” but not eliminated from the Wanna list.
    I recall an excellent series, BBC I think and on the all-night TV1 service some years ago about buildings and neighbourhoods and their use-reuse over time. Big ups for the villa because of the even but nonspecific rooms that adapted easily compared with later houses with very specific rooms for child, adult, relaxing, sewing, office.
    Another point the presenter made was the role of run-down areas and the creatives who moved into them, later joined by higher-earning bohemians who liked being in that creative vibe, then to refurbishment and re-gentrification at which the artists (fine arts, crafts, clothing designers, musicians) were forced out of their home/studios by high rentals and the cycle began again somewhere else. What I took from this is that you cannot upgrade a place that’s buzzing with creative energy without (collateral damage) driving them out, thereby reducing the perceived value of the area for many of the people who had been attracted to it.
    Accept that and repair and refurbish the area anyway by all means, but don’t expect it to stay the same with the same mix of people.

    • Gentrification
      You’re right about the ‘collateral damage’ – the phenomenon is well documented worldwide and of course we’ve seen it happen multiple times in New Zealand commercial precincts and blocks. Now it’s Dunedin’s turn, care of your friendly city council assisting private property investors, with your rates money.

      Visiting Dave Cull’s facebook page last night I noted his reply to Terry Wilson:

      Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull The NZTA does not agree with you. The buildings were falling down. Only a joint commitment from owners other stakeholders and Council has rescued the area.
      15 hours ago via mobile · Like

      “The buildings were falling down”, really?
      In the ‘warehouse precinct’… some cracking, some need for structural strengthening, does not equate to falling down, Mr Mayor.
      The ‘creative quarter’ within the ‘warehouse precinct’ is for Dave’s smart tech / IT dream of the ‘knowledge city’ – not struggling artist-creatives and start-ups haunting gutters who can’t afford rents, let alone high rents. That ‘escalation of brilliance’ has been his election platform (still is) – and he has council staff / beanie wearers doing the spadework for him, as well as, yes, your rates assistance to fund it.

      The only thing I care about (which I know is not disconnected) is that people who own the fabric of the city’s buildings and property are keeping that fabric strong, weathersealed, maintained and liveable/workable. Gee, I thought that’s what property ownership was all about in sight of the district plan (unless you want to significantly modify, demolish and or redevelop). Precinct plans, bike racks, “build-outs”, and transportation planning don’t count towards good building stewardship.

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    The discussion referred to has some energetic critics challenging the two-way scheme.
    Also noteworthy is the presence of Aaron Hawkins. A student politician who stood at the last election, wasn’t he? He appears to be positioning himself firmly among the incumbents with posts like this:

    Aaron Hawkins Great news that it hasn’t abandoned, and disappointing that the ODT’s first priority for comment (8/3/13) was the truck driving lobby.
    Sunday at 5:40pm

    Note choice of word “lobby” which suggests something less OK than people with a legitimate right to be concerned about matters that directly affect their livelihoods. Looks like he’s demonstrating his credentials early – separate off certain groups of people for giving the ignore treatment, and claim that what was already decided upon is what is supported by the “silent majority”.

  25. Peter

    What is the alternative? If no private developer puts money in, what then? Demolition by neglect? I don’t expect any developer to do reno’s for free. The phenomenon Hype speaks of is true, but I think cities, being ‘living organisms’, evolve over time. Some areas die and some areas are reborn.
    In my home city of Melbourne the same thing is happening with trendy inner city areas becoming more and more expensive and arty people, like my son, finding it difficult to live there. In fact, he has moved slightly out to Brunswick East with his studio remaining in the trendy area till I guess higher rents force him, and others, out. I personally find this quite sad. Something is lost when you just get yuppie developments. In time, these trendy places have their time and go down again in value as they either price themselves out or become ‘passe’. The good thing is there are always alternatives. Like coming back to cheaper Dunedin!

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    Talks I have had with developer-owners of buildings of merit indicate that if the Progress Fairy granted them one wish, they’d ask for councils to butt out. Not so they can do shonky work using cheap in every sense contractors (ahem, let’s not mention the railway wagons) but by looking at the attainment of safety and functionality with a can-do attitude unless we (council) can prove otherwise, like it won’t be safe or functional, they’d save so much time and delays and money. The passionate ones, and lets face it you have to have some passion beyond simply money to take on these wonderful old buildings, wouldn’t be discouraged after doing one. They wouldn’t share over a few ales the frustrations and delays they experienced, thus putting off others who might have been attracted. There’s definite kudos in having a beautifully restored building.
    If the council wants to do something, instead of growing “build-outs” like blasted haemorrhoids it could allow (and assist without taking over) entertainers and sausage sizzlers and all-sorts to hold a street party to honour the renewed-ly beautiful old buildings and congratulate the people who made this improvement happen. The more restored buildings in the area the bigger the party could grow year by year, shutting off parts of the streets that would not greatly inconvenience anyone for a day.
    Now that could be fun.

    • Hype, that is it. Council butting out. Agree.

      Most of the developers of heritage buildings I talk to say they favour tax concessions as the mechanism to help incentivise building retention and strengthening – there are good models available overseas to support that thinking.

      This is being lobbied (woops, that word – agree re Aaron…) for policy change and review, at national level and with the support of councils, NZHPT, other heritage agencies, property investor groups, and individuals. Christchurch and the Royal Commission has wobbled / accelerated the cause. The policy direction is constant.

  27. Peter

    So councils get completely out of heritage involvement? No incentives provided for good works at all? No interest shown? Nothing? I’m surprised.

    • Didn’t say completely, we’re mainly referring to (tax) assistance with capital investment enhancing building performance – councils usually have a range of incentives for historic heritage.
      For example, their own competitive funding (grants/loans), this is generally small scale; or council policy for rates relief and or reduced fees for consents; plus a range of other non monetary small scale incentives and or planning dispensations.
      Beyond local authorities, a city may have the equivalent of a civic trust or a private trust system for funding assistance to owners (Invercargill has a great model in the Troopers Trust).
      NZHPT has its National Heritage Preservation Incentive Fund which is a competitive fund that applies to Category I properties.
      Obviously, Lotteries Heritage provides a lot of funding to historic building projects in the community.

      What is missing is the tax break, especially pertinent for larger buildings which house economic activity as ‘wealth generators’ in a community (this is stating it simplistically).

      Part of the issue is building standards, set by central government; and the lack of budget at local government level to help building owners meet building standards imposed (assistance via rates funding) – a large scale problem, especially in a depressed economy, and with a large historic building stock like Dunedin’s.

      And still, there’s the yawning chasm in the insurance industry due to Christchurch – lack of affordable cover – to contend with. Part of the answer to this is bringing your buildings up to 100% of code, as is happening in Dunedin through the good auspices of savvy investor-developers.

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    {Comment relocated as poster requested. Link -Eds}

  29. Hype O'Thermia

    Another one in the wrong place, admin please relocate appropriately.

    Online, you’ll have to go back to p9 to read this comment from JimmyJones. I hadn’t seen it before and think it’s new on the site. JJ when you are reading this please correct me if I am wrong.

    Council parks two-way roading plan for city
    Submitted by JimmyJones on Fri, 08/03/2013 – 4:55pm.
    No Means No
    The DCC should learn to listen. They have been told by many citizens that messing with our one-way system is not wanted. Even the normally accommodating NZTA finds no merit in the idea. Instead of listening to the clear view of the people and abandoning the project, the DCC planners have decided to change the wording of their report and wait for another opportunity to force their will on us. Most likely they will try to slip it in with their unnecessary and unwanted revised Transport Strategy.
    Dr Glen Hazelton clearly recognizes that we hate the idea, but somehow he feels supported by the “limited opposition” during the consultation that no-one had heard of. He seems to disregard the “substantial negative feedback” received from the Annual Plan/LTP consultation process, which was more widely known about.
    Glen Hazelton and the rest of the Strategy And Development department should understand that we hate the whole of their Warehouse Precinct idea as well. Their visions of hoards of workers heading off to Vogel Street to have their lunch and enjoy the pedestrian and cycle friendly environment is delusional. Too much ratepayer money has already been spent subsidising building renovations and rents for the benefit of private building owners.
    It seems to me that the DCC Strategy And Development department is massively overstaffed and is overflowing with expensive, impractical and ideological ideas. If the new Chief Executive can’t control its staff numbers, I think he should give them a computerized virtual environment where they can be kept busy designing and implementing their perfect virtual world without causing any actual cost or damage to our city.

  30. JimmyJones

    [Hypo, for the No Means No comment you would have got an ODT email when I wrote it (8/3/13), and then another one when they deleted some of it (13/3/13) – so that could be why it seemed out of sequence at ODT Online. The unabridged comment exists here >> . I think that one is enough, so I suggest that the comment on this page is deleted. If the moderators decide to keep this one as well, then please change it to the unabridged version. Thanks]

    {We’ve added the unabridged comment on this thread. -Eds}

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