Hotel: COC jollies and sweet cherry pie

Cherry PieLUC 2012-212 Betterways Advisory Limited
41 Wharf Street, Dunedin

507 submissions were received following notification of the application, 457 in opposition, 43 in support, and seven were neutral in their stance.

How high is 96.300 metres. How rank is the design.
How sunk is public access to full assessment of environmental effects (AEE).

Christchurch is building low.

The Dunedin stadium (named for the company the Commerce Commission recently described as misleading and deceptive in their marketing) has not been tested by a large earthquake or swarm. It stands on land prone to liquefaction.

The proposed hotel and apartment complex (28 storeys) – a tall building – will stand on land prone to liquefaction.

Is there sense or cents driving this. Offshore bling.

The Minister for Tourism, Pokies and Convention Centres is John Key PM.
Tourism lives in the second tier economy, mostly, brashly, at Queenstown Lakes.

Dark suits of Chamber want some o’ that sweet cherry pie.
How will it come.cherry-pie-service 1

Related Posts and Comments:
23.1.13 Proposed hotel: Council and submitters await detailed information
28.12.12 ‘Low-rises are great for the community and the residents’
24.12.12 A Christmas Tale
21.12.12 Proposed hotel – ODT graphic indicates building height
19.12.12 Hearing for proposed hotel – competencies, conflicts of interest?
16.12.12 Proposed Dunedin Hotel #height
10.12.12 Proposed hotel, 41 Wharf St – “LEARNING FROM LAS VEGAS”
7.12.12 Proposed hotel – Truescape shenanigans
6.12.12 Dunedin Hotel – revised design
2.12.12 Roy Rogers and Trigger photographed recently at Dunedin
26.11.12 Proposed hotel, 41 Wharf Street – indicative landscape effects
20.11.12 City planner’s report recommends against consent for hotel
10.11.12 Dunedin Hotel, 41 Wharf Street (LUC 2012-212)
4.10.12 DUNEDIN: We’re short(!) but here is some UK nous…
8.9.12 Waterfront Hotel #Dunedin (Applicant names?)
7.9.12 Waterfront hotel: DCC to notify resource consent application
23.6.12 Mis(t)apprehension: website visits, not bookings?
16.5.12 Dunedin Hotel

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Images: Cherry Pie, WiseGeek (top). ‘Cherry Pie service’ (redraw), from Cherry Pie (Remastered),


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Media, Name, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design

118 responses to “Hotel: COC jollies and sweet cherry pie

  1. ### ODT Online Sat, 16 Mar 2013
    National tourism strategy year-end start planned
    By Rosie Manins
    Despite several failed attempts, a national tourism strategy is due to be implemented at the end of the year. Tourism Industry Association chief executive Martin Snedden was in Dunedin yesterday hosting a focus group for a dozen leaders within the visitor sector. It was the eighth of eleven such sessions Mr Snedden will attend around New Zealand this month. He wanted to ”pick the brains” of key stakeholders within each region to determine the best process for implementing a national tourism strategy. Such a plan had been tried unsuccessfully in the past, Mr Snedden said.
    Read more

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve tried to re-read that ODT story with a different view but each time it strikes me as sparse on detail and clinical in its form. The supplied photo is picture perfect and looks fabulous in print, but it’s the story’s form that prickles at your mind. Right down to the bizarre statement Jing Song “is in her late 20s”. That just seems like really slippery journalism given the very public and high profile concerned. Especially if you’re familiar with how the media treat names and ages in general. But nothing compares to how far this story steps over the line by publishing its angle just days before the hearing restarts (already noted by ejkerr in a post). It has done something with this position not seen since the stadium pump and that brought a lot of attention upon itself.

  3. Anon1

    The ODT story is based on a media release from Betterways. The Release can be found on the internet on the Scoop and Voxy sites.

  4. Mike

    wow – they really did just print a press release on the front page as news didn’t they

  5. Ro

    It’s not just based on the press release – it’s word for word yet given Mackenzie’s by-line.

  6. Anonymous

    That makes a lot of sense. Except it doesn’t on another level. It was the reporter’s name associated with the story that made its content difficult to digest. They should have published it without a byline.

    So there’s a suggestion Allied Press knew about one of its reporters was given payment to have his name associated with a press release, published in a prominent position, presenting a supportive angle on a contentious city issue, all while both its subscribers and readers would reasonably expect fair and balanced reporting for their money? How times have changed.

    During my time there was a code of ethics but maybe that doesn’t apply to media today. At the very least there should have been an issue of morality. Copying a press release almost exactly without adjusting to a local theme was bad form. Putting your name to it would have been misrepresentation, not that I ever heard of anyone doing that. Both would have got you an editorial adjustment lecture from the Chief or the Editor.

    Being told how to write your ‘story’ by the interviewee was something not tolerated. Accepting payment was taboo. That would have got you a stern telling off by the Editor or possibly shown the door.

  7. chirpbird

    164 inner city apartments!!!! I looked at the two links mentioned above on Scoop. Is this really about a hotel? Or inner city residential development?
    Nothing I’ve read in ODT led me to think of this. Did they cover it?

  8. Mike

    Yes, but didn’t make a big deal – it’s one of the main reasons why the car parks provided are not enough for the facility and will result in the surrounding streets filling with residents’ and employees’ cars.

    • What the public and submitters who didn’t attend the first week of hearings in December won’t know is that the applicant revised the design (stated to the Hearings Committee and those present) to absorb all required car parking into the proposed building – valet parking will be by triple stacking not double stacking as first envisaged. The applicant showed a video of a German fully automated car stacker in action.

      Earlier there was the (problematic) presumption by the applicant that the DCC car park on Thomas Burns St, north of the subject site, might be available to take the proposed building’s parking overflow.

      18.3.12 Today at the reconvened hearing I was informed that stacker parking must allow the driver of a vehicle to drive into and out of the parking facility – therefore the stacker system previously envisaged may not work for the New Zealand setting. I’ll follow this up with the council planner (to check exactly what governs this; i was absent from part of the initial hearing sequence in December 2012).

      The council’s transportation planning expert, Ian Clark, confirmed in his evidence to hearing today that 247 car parks are required on site (not 182 as indicated previously).

      • Obviously, there’s limited space for all types of vehicles likely to enter and exit the subject site, including coaches, shuttles, taxis, delivery vehicles, and emergency vehicles.

  9. Calvin Oaten

    The 164 apartments were there right from the get go. That was why I couldn’t see where the market for those apartments was. It most certainly won’t be from Dunedin. Overseas investors? Hm…. wouldn’t they be thinking more along the lines of Queenstown, Wanaka or more likely Auckland? If there is not a minimum number contracted off the plans, it is hard to see it proceeding.

  10. Ro

    I too commented on their on-line article that it was a press release masquerading as an article by Mackenzie, saying this was disgraceful. He’s put up other comments since I wrote, but not mine

  11. Ro

    Because the 164 apartments are thought to be sub-lettable to the hotel by their owners, perhaps they are intended as time-shares. There is no provision for storage of belongings (as there is none for transport of them to the apartments)

  12. Mike

    The apartments are tiny according to the plans – more like student accommodation – or yes, maybe timesharish ….

    I too wrote to the ODT suggesting that since they had basically published a press release from Betterways they should have added the “Advertisment” moniker that the usually use when they publish adverts in a news-like format …. lost to the ODT censor

  13. I would not call them either tiny or compare them to student accommodation. They seem reasonably generously sized at ~64m2 for a one bedroom apartment.
    They certainly are not high end, with the possible exception of the end apartments (2 beds in 200m2).
    The proposed ‘layout’ is clearly a joke. There is massive amounts of wasted space in some rooms, what seem like en suite bathrooms coming off second living spaces, and bedrooms with separate entrances into the hallway (though this last might appeal to students?)

    • No final plans have been submitted by the applicant and you’ll note no allowance has been made for structural cross bracing and diaphragms. We have no idea of what the developer proposes (despite comments by Andrew Holmes of Hawkins Construction) as the structural engineering solution.

  14. Ro

    I think in the last lot of plans, all hotel suites and apartments are 42 sq m

  15. I thought I had an up-to-date plan, but maybe not. Not only is there no structural detail, it also appears that the proposed skin is of zero thickness as well, despite seeming to project in the 3D versions…

    • The plan contained in the application is the most recent – it is conceptual only, but it is the one that the Hearings Committee and submitters must respond to. The applicant wants the design to undergo “design review” after obtaining resource consent. Given the issues the tall building proposal presents, including adverse environmental effects which the applicant refuses to adequately identify, assess or state mitigations for, you can guess the difficulties the Hearings Panel has in coming to a decision, and guesswork won’t do. Politically, they’re under some pressure to grant consent – but based on what.

      Bear in mind… At the moment, Environment Court caucussing for Prista Apartments Ltd’s proposed apartment development for 372-392 Princes St (and 11 Stafford St) is seeing design variations (options) put in play by various experts, all ‘post’ the resource consent hearing ‘design’. Submitters to the consent hearing have no control over what is happening now. There are only two parties to the appeal (taken by NZ Historic Places Trust), myself and Peter Entwisle, with ability to respond.

  16. Peter

    A university source tells us that the apartments are largely for Chinese students, which will explain some of the comments here concerning the size and layout of the rooms. In this way, the investments stay in Chinese hands. Also, given that Jing Song’s husband is in the construction business we can expect a large Chinese contingent of construction workers to build the hotel…..the excuse being the labour shortage from the reconstruction of Christchurch, post earthquake. These Chinese workers will, in turn, be exploited for their cheap labour. The Chinese are very canny with making money, and keeping it for themselves, rather than ‘making a gift for the city’ because a 28 year old, wealthy woman ‘so loves the place she no longer lives in’ in preference for another place she now lives in.
    Welcome to the New China of the twenty first century. China, whether we like it or not, is a new super power on the rise, to counter the American imperialism of the twentieth century. We are a small country, with no desire to take an independent stance, but instead prefer to embrace a ‘new and bigger friend’ whom we believe will deliver us from our own economic insecurities. We desperately hang on to their coat tails in the hope that their money/growth will rub off on us. We welcome our new friend because it would be considered racist not to do so…. at the same time pointing to other European countries who do pretty much the same kind of deals. (As if that makes it OK for the Chinese.) That’s why, in this case, they call the shots as to what they want (no compromises) and they can say ‘stuff the council’ for ordering them to provide additional information for consent purposes. Do we really expect those four commissioners to not buckle under?

  17. Dave M

    The ODT closed down that thread mighty fast. To state the obvious, their coverage of this issue has been very imbalanced.

  18. Calvin Oaten

    Peter; it is what is colloquially known as being “Shanghaied”. Ask Dave Cull, he knows exactly what it means.

  19. Peter

    Yes, Calvin, and I’m trying to learn how to do the kowtow, alongside my Kiwi brothers and sisters who are so good at it.

  20. Tomo

    They learn’t it in Aussie Peter. That’s why so may Kiwis are heading across the ditch to learn more. They appear to be catching on fast.

    • “Bling” was at the the hearing today sitting between her lawyers, taking notes and saying nothing. Elegantly dressed and unassuming, setting the tower precedent, hiding the husband lined up behind scenes to build out the land south of the steamer basin according to Don Anderson’s “personal vision”.
      Seems nice. Pity about the deliberate ploy to provide no information (a Kiwi lawyer way to run circles within the RMA).

      Tomorrow, lawyer Phil Page (for the Applicant) will take up where he left off in suggesting to the Hearings Committee that they have two options:

      1. Decide they have all the information they need to make a decision.


      2. Decide they have enough information to grant consent for the hotel subject to the Applicant applying for and gaining consent for the earthworks (foundations/dewatering etc).

      He floated that late today before we adjourned.

      ORC – using lawyer Alastair Logan and planning consultant John Kyle (with Gerard Collins sitting in) – did a great reply to the “additional information” supplied by the Applicant.

      Auckland-based urban design expert Clinton Bird’s written response, on behalf of Capri Enterprises Limited, to the additional information is superb. He may be available to the hearing tomorrow by phone conference.

  21. Peter

    Too true, Tomo. Australia does it better when sucking up to bigger powers. I always remember former Australian PM, Harold Holt (the one who disappeared in the surf off Portsea), who coined the phrase ‘All the Way with LBJ’ – the American president at the time – with Australia’s commitment to Vietnam. Subsequent PM’s have all made a beeline to the White House at the first opportunity. Now it’s China’s turn to pull rank – a glorious reversal from the nineteenth century when the West – and later Japan – carved up their spheres of interest there. It might be old history, but history does repeat itself and you just can’t beat the elixir of power once you get it. (Not speaking personally!)

    • Twenty-six-year-old Jing Song says she wants to give back to the city

      ### Mon, 18 Mar 2013 6:32p.m.
      Dunedin hotel entrepreneur goes public
      By Dave Goosselink
      An Otago University graduate has been revealed as the promoter behind a luxury hotel proposed for Dunedin’s waterfront. Twenty-six-year-old Jing Song says she wants to give back to the city, and believes her plan would help revitalise the harbour area. Today was a chance to go public for Ms Song as the hearing resumed in Dunedin. She wanted the 28-storey hotel and apartment project to be judged on its own merits when it was first unveiled, but now hopes to end rumours about her intentions.

      “The city, Dunedin, I’ve grown up in and it’s the city that I love,” she says. “I have so much passion about this project. We’d like to come out now and say ‘yes, we’re here’. We just had enough of these rumours.”

      The Chinese-born entrepreneur moved to New Zealand for her secondary education before studying for an accounting degree at Otago University. Now Ms Song and her husband hope to invest $100 million into what she admits is a high-risk development. The committee is hearing new evidence around the visual impact of the tall building and potential wind issues. Dunedin’s mayor, Dave Cull, believes a five-star hotel would be a boost to the city.
      Read more + Video

  22. Anonymous

    18-26 is not “growing up” in a city.
    “We” means “You”, not us.
    WE knew who YOU were months ago. No rumour.
    As for your comments about seeing high-rise hotels in Wellington and Christchurch, well, the one in Christchurch fell down in the last quake. Learn from history.

    There is no such thing as Dunedin Ltd. You can’t invest in it. We are not shareholders, we see no dividends from your corporation. Show the direct revenue streams from your corporation to local companies, or shut up about “investing in the city”.
    We might be employees, but that’s a different story.
    We might have a gullible and desperate Mayor and a bought Council, but that’s a different story too.
    We might be suppliers, but the expertise to construct this hotel does not exist locally.
    We are being offered the opportunity to compete for commercial contracts while the ultracapitalists sew up all the loose ends and retain the bulk of the revenue.

    Go build it in Queenstown. Oh, but then you couldn’t rent the 160+ apartments to students attending Otago Uni. Done that deal yet? Thought so. 160 apartments at $1000/month minimum is $2 million annually almost guaranteed. And the University would drool over attracting that number of international students, in the current climate. Just wait for the language requirement at Foundation Year to get relaxed in a hurry. Self-serving crap.

  23. Anonymous

    The wealthy don’t want it on their backyard or lakefront. But they also know there is no extra money to be made in Queenstown and Wanaka. Nowhere are there the opportunities to acquire more lazy millions without investing significantly. It looks like Eion and Michael and their ultra-wealthy friends are leaving their homeland to terrorise another territory, to plunder and pillage it, and then return to their castles with the spoils.

    With regards to a desperate Mayor:

    ### Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:11a.m.
    Mayor backs controversial hotel development
    By Dan Satherley, Online Reporter

  24. Peter

    How can Dave Cull say having this hotel, next to the heritage warehouse site, is not a problem in terms of juxtaposition? This may well be a matter of personal taste, and this kind of thing may have happened overseas, but that doesn’t make it right. Looking at it another way, would he also say that the hotel will ‘enhance’ the historical nature of the warehouse area? I don’t think so.

    • CEO Orders ducked into the hearing today.

      • ### ODT Online Tue, 19 Mar 2013
        Refuse consent for hotel, ORC says
        By Chris Morris
        The Otago Regional Council has launched a fresh attack on the $100 million waterfront hotel proposed for Dunedin, saying a lack of information on the proposal means resource consent for the project should be rejected. The argument from ORC counsel Alistair Logan came as the consent hearing for the controversial hotel reconvened yesterday in Dunedin.
        Questions also remained over the hotel’s final design and its full effects, including the visual impact on the surrounding landscape, as well as wind and construction issues, he said.
        Read more


        Dodgy is dodgy. You or your husband don’t front up from day one, rumours start, rightly.

        ### ODT Online Tue, 19 Mar 2013
        Hotel backer ‘sick of the rumours’
        By Chris Morris
        The woman behind a proposed $100 million waterfront hotel in Dunedin says she is not dissuaded by criticism, but has gone public to end months of rumour and speculation. Jing Song yesterday took a seat at the applicant’s table for the first time since the 28-storey hotel’s resource consent hearing began in December last year. She did not speak at the hearing, but later told the Otago Daily Times she wanted her identity known to end rumours about ”dodgy Chinese interests behind it”.
        Read more

  25. Jeff Dickie

    I made a submission against the lunatic hotel project some weeks ago. The frame of reference open to those opposing was narrow, to say the least, when compared to the submitter’s very wide brief. How on earth councillors Weatherall and Noone were given a role is beyond me. Both of these clowns are key architects of the mess Dunedin is in.
    However, a very disturbing thing happened at the time of the first submissions. I was phoned by a DCC official one hour before I was due to present, informing me the applicant had been granted “extra time” to present their case. My allotted time was deferred by two days. I had already put off four tradesmen from a building site, in order to submit, and had to do the same again two days later. This caused me some considerable inconvenience and expense. To allow the applicant this option is open to abuse in frustrating submitters who may not be able to make an alternative time on short notice.
    From the beginning Mayor Cull’s position on the proposed hotel has been completely inappropriate, offering to “roll out the red carpet, not the red tape”. Well, we saw the mayor roll out plenty of red tape for the frustrated Malvern Street ratepayer on “Fair Go” recently.
    Historically, the template for the DCC’s cynical disregard of Democracy and the submission process was the Chinese Garden hearings. In that case there were approximately ten to one submissions against, as with the stadium, as with the hotel! Really, all pretense at open and honest consideration of submissions should written off as the window-dressing for the Chin/Harland Beijing-style Democracy it really is. The DCC should simply do away with the submission process altogether.
    It is for these reasons I haven’t bothered to add to my original submission. It is a cynical sham and a waste of everybody’s time and ratepayers’ money!

    • Jeff – be that as it may… you will be pleased(!!!???) to know that significant games from the Applicant’s team and the despicable lack of City Planning rigour in the pre application stage has led to a very strange day today at the hearings – the day before the Applicant’s lawyer Phil Page sums up and thereafter the clock starts ticking for appeal (the Applicant’s appeal, very likely) to the Environment Court.

      The Hearings Committee has a complex task in knowing how to approach the application in the form it’s in via the hearings yesterday and today; and in view of submissions, expert opinion, and council planner recommendations.

      We’ve always known this would land at Environment Court – it was just a matter of how and when.

      There were pains taken today by council planner Lianne Darby – and she is right – that this is not a (submission) numbers game, the application has to be treated in respect of the Resource Management Act and interpretation of District Plan matters for sustainably managing ‘resources’ (I’m loosely paraphrasing here), the Regional Policy framework – and, within the national policy framework (that she hadn’t considered at all, she said).

      The council planner recommended the application be DECLINED. Consistent with her earlier report.

      That aside, the Applicant proceeded as expected, to offer surprises that the vast majority of submitters haven’t seen because they couldn’t attend the hearings.

      Hopefully, ODT will cover most of that in tomorrow’s newspaper – since I have other typing work to do after sitting at DCC for 2 days.

      The Hearings Committee meets in non public tomorrow morning to consider where it’s at in terms of its process, with the hearing to reconvene in public at 2pm tomorrow for Mr Page’s summing up.

      And, although the council planner has recommended against an Interim Decision due to problems that can create for fair process, etc. Will the Hearings Committee take that advice and move to reaching a Final Decision, to approve or decline the application – or, will the Committee seek (new) further information, be that of minor or major significance – if major, there is the possibility of opening up again for public submissions….

      Today, last minute (but clearly planned and strategised MUCH earlier) the dickhead architect for the Applicant, “Mr Jeremy Whelan” – a more obsequious individual it would be hard to find (of the profession) – offered 16 visuals of mainly ‘built’ highrise hotels and how to GIFT WRAP the DOG-HOTEL (for Dunedin), for us to swallow its bitter pill (see glazing systems, use of coloured glass, reflectivity, banding, modulation, faceting, layering, screens, fins, fritting, ‘decorated top)cherry-on-top building additions, et al) – as a distraction to the Hearing Committee who have ABSOLUTELY NO ARCHITECTURAL EXPERTISE with which to reply. By this time, the Council’s consulting architect from Warren and Mahoney had already run to catch a plane not long previously.

      The shambolic despicable process – YES – is with us 100% and candy-coating is not something anyone should LICK or SUCK.

      Soooo, Mr Page……………… has dished up his written reply but not yet talked to it, and will deliver further tomorrow orally, we understand. Such that he is offering the Hearings Committee a “matrix” to brief a Design Review Panel.

      Mr Weatherall, commissioner and chair of the Hearings Committee, has made it clear that under the RMA the Committee cannot delegate its decision on the application to another panel or committee.

      Hmmm what to do, if (YES) DCC failed to be rigorous at pre application stage. How would a Review team proceed now and who would be on it and with what brief to make recommendations to the Hearings Committee.

      Today we saw Mr Weatherall being very careful of process, but careful enough ?!
      That could be a $100m question except that the Mayor has rolled out the red carpet to the little girl’s husband.

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    I could support “a” big hotel – what’s not to like about that, as long as it doesn’t suck more of MY money out of my wallet for His Daveness to roll along the red carpet – but why that design, there?
    Why is the discussion all about THAT design, THERE?
    Has nobody in the history of hotel construction, commercial investment, EVER built a 5 star hotel that wasn’t a 5-star fugliness on a tiny patch of reclaimed ground in almost the most conspicuous place in the province? Come on – Dave & assorted yay-sayers, yesmen and grovellors before the mighty yen, how about a weeny teeny fraction of brain-power going into looking for a genuine win-win for both developer and those of us who actually live in Dunedin?

  27. Peter
    “Miss Song had been captivated by Nelson and said she loved the feeling she got stepping off the plane in Nelson as she felt so relaxed and happy in the region.”
    Such similarly nice words, widely spread for public consumption, while she cuts deals for her and hubby.

  28. Mike

    I think that if you quote press releases in your newspaper (in Dunedin or in Nelson) you’re really quoting a press agent no matter where they but the “”

  29. Peter

    Reported speech, in this case, seems unequivocable.
    Sing Song clearly thinks she is a charmer and that it works. Maybe it does for those gullible councillors who want to hang off her every word and believe her.
    We had Farry trying to charm us with the stadium and now we have this young, pretty woman giving it a go.

  30. Hype O'Thermia

    It could be cultural. I don’t know enough to say for sure. It could be that when questioned one is obliged to say something very nice. It’s not unknown among Westerners either, in fact we tend to get well peeved when some grumpy blighter makes rude remarks about NZ or parts thereof.

  31. Anonymous

    Once again I’m baffled by the position the investors have taken on this proposal. Previously there has seemed little from the investor to review their proposal in light of reasoned arguments, although it was noted they were very much concerned for the interests of the city’s people.

    Now that Jing Song has stepped forward directly, she is saying the same things but once again taking little or no interest in the actual views of the people who live here.

    Previously I thought it likely she was being sheltered by the likes of Michael Hill and Eion Edgar, and The Lawyer. But why won’t she adapt to the soul of the city? Why won’t she address the genuine concerns? What she is saying and what she is doing are at contrast to each other, which comes across badly in a town which has already allowed itself to be taken over the barrel too often.

    Ms Song and the paper alluding to that other angle is tantamount to public blackmail and frankly offensive. That will not be perceived well and was an error of judgement to accept that media advice.

    • Both days Sing Song has worn glittery cardies. Does that help. Or if today’s was black whereas she warmed-up in the cream-and-gold-of-innocence yesterday. Everything helps, right. She took another interview at lunch hour today – wait for her latest pronouncement upon we peasants. I hope a lot of Dunedin people are driving wayward buses this week while she is out taking air. We could then legitimately design a shrine to flat spangle. The tourists would come from far and wide to pray, and be illuminated.

      • The other thing is, the proposed hotel is merely a cheapest form of the ‘global’ expectation of a 5-star hotel. Every now and then the Applicant drops in the words “investment model” – but rest assured the Applicant has offered NO economic benefit analysis – that’s what happens when you tie up a ‘cruise ship’ at 41 Wharf St.

        But wait, there’s more. Because meanwhile, Don Anderson has been preparing a bigger bank vault to receive Chinese loot for the other buildings to go up south of the Steamer Basin, that he dreams about nightly.

        Today, the council planner contradicted herself under questioning from a commissioner – would the hotel application set a precedent ? She replied, “No”. Guffaws from the public gallery. She referred only to hotels in her thinking, not to other tall buildings for other use, be they mixed use etc. The simplicity of the thinking was SOUL DESTROYING TO WITNESS. This entirely momentary lapse does not detract from the comprehensive council planner’s report received prior to commencement of hearing.

        BUT. What have we all been thinking since Betterways launched the hotel proposal at the stadium ?
        Answer: “What will follow !!!!!!”

        Excuse us for thinking POTENTIAL CUMULATIVE EFFECTS.

        Commissioner Wilson was wise to take up the matter of PRECEDENT SETTING.

        And well…. the local investor boys and COCs are simpletons – as they were for the stadium idea.
        The fact they mostly attended OBHS together, married local broads and never did anything with their lives except pretend to be co-mafia (skirted in checks) sheds some light on the cellular deficit that drives the ‘Brain of Dunedin’ in the er, global market.

  32. Peter

    Hype. It seems common for celebs to wax lyrical about where they have just landed. American celebs are great at it. Celebs know the locals lap it up and they don’t care they have said much the same thing at every port of call they have visited… whether it’s a region/state or country. The effect is the same. You curry favour from the hapless locals and bask in the adoration of those you have bestowed kind words on. Talk is cheap.

  33. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth; “the applicant has offered no economic benefit analysis”. That, I would have thought would be the first thing any panel would have asked for. The quality of that would immediately be discerned.
    I think the applicants have been buoyed by the fact that our illustrious Mayor made the statement, “we will roll out the red carpet not the red tape.” The reaction would immediately be; “we have a right nana here this could be a pushover”. Dave Cull could pack all his diplomatic skills behind his left molar.Just like his blab on national radio about the ORFU, cost us a bloody fortune, the amount of which is unknown to this day.

  34. Chris

    Dear Mrs Song,

    On behalf of the city of Dunedin I wish to thank you for your gracious offer of a gift but must say that we cannot possibly accept. We welcome your kind feelings towards Dunedin and understand that you want to give something to us in return for the enjoyable time you have spent here. But it will not be possible, I am sorry to say, because the gift you are offering us is far, far to valuable. If we accepted it we would be under obligation to you to a greater depth than we could bear. We are already the most indebted city in the country and so acceptance would be an atrocious folly on our part.
    If you would choose to honour us with something more modest, such as a park bench with a view of our beautiful harbour, then I feel we could possibly accept. Please consider this.

    So that there are no misunderstandings, I repeat, we refuse your kind and generous gift of a 27 story Chinese apartment block on our waterfront.



    • Today, it was commissioner Kate Wilson who properly drew attention to the fact of apartments – given practically everyone with ‘an agenda’ at hearing has carefully avoided mentioning apartments (much) in discussion of the development proposal.

      Ms Wilson wanted to know if any provision was being made for cycle storage on the subject site. This was met by a sea of blanks (ahem) since it was thought not many ‘hotel guests’ would use bikes… In reply, she strongly noted the apartments!

      In general, there’s a ‘careful pitch by omission’ – we’re supposed to think “5-star hotel” (it sounds better than apartments for some reason, more spangles?), even though the application written by Don Anderson clearly states this is a proposal for a hotel and apartment building.

      Apartments also earned a mention with respect to DCC Environmental Health’s quest to have Lmax noise levels mitigated – meaning the high impact sounds generated by the railway shunting yards, affecting future apartment dwellers and hotel guests.

      EH was quick to say proposed covenants (the old chestnut), to be entered into by apartment dwellers, cannot ‘address’ reverse sensitivity from the health perspective.

      EH’s 24-hour test at the subject site, sampling at the boundary with the shunting yards (measurements taken at ground level only), showed the yards produced high impact sounds (enough to wake you up) at a rate of 2 per hour.

      EH wants more noise testing done to set potential condition(s) of consent, and notes KiwiRail noise standards relate to passing trains – not Lmax events (one-off noises).

      There’s been no real discussion of who the apartments will be marketed to, at hearing.

      • Today, it was commissioner Kate Wilson who properly drew attention to the fact of apartments – given practically everyone with ‘an agenda’ at hearing has carefully avoided mentioning apartments (much) in discussion of the development proposal.

        Ms Wilson wanted to know if any provision was being made for cycle storage on the subject site. This was met by a sea of blanks (ahem) since it was thought not many ‘hotel guests’ would use bikes… In reply, she strongly noted the apartments!

        In general, there’s a ‘careful pitch by omission’ – we’re supposed to think “5-star hotel” (it sounds better than apartments for some reason, more spangles?), even though the application written by Don Anderson clearly states this is a proposal for a hotel and apartment block.

        Apartments also earned a mention with respect to DCC Environmental Health’s quest to have Lmax noise levels mitigated – meaning the high impact sounds generated by the railway shunting yards, affecting future apartment dwellers and hotel guests.

        EH was quick to say proposed covenants (the old chestnut), to be entered into by apartment dwellers, cannot ‘address’ reverse sensitivity from the health perspective.

        EH’s 24-hour test at the subject site, sampling at the boundary with the shunting yards (measurements taken at ground level only), showed the yards produced high impact sounds (enough to wake you up) at a rate of 2 per hour.

        EH wants more noise testing done to set potential condition(s) of consent, and notes KiwiRail noise standards relate to passing trains – not Lmax events (one-off noises).

        There’s been no real discussion of who the apartments will be marketed to, at hearing.

        • More on the apartments for 41 Wharf St, copied from another thread. -Eds

          Submitted on 2013/03/19 at 9:11 pm

          I suspect the 160 new apartment dwellers will be ex-Shenzen, Shanghai and so on, all newly-minted student visas supplied by local “immigration consultants”, all international students for the University of Otago, on accelerated degree programmes, prebooked at the Tower via local agents. One stop shop for your Otago Uni degree, all fully controlled, no need to be involved in that difficult stuff like cultural integration. The wealth and influence coming out of Asia is staggering. I recently sighted an Asian student bank balance of >$250K. Not to mention the Saudi students who are on a different level again.

  35. chirpbird

    The Otago Daily Times just posted my comment on this hotel/apartment development. They abridged it without saying that they had done so. In the part they omitted, I said that I had not seen the many apartments mentioned in the media and nor had I seen ‘this’ and I added the link to the Betterways press release on Stuff which made the intention to include them quite clear.
    Can a person fairly infer from this that the ODT has reported this application in a way which is misleading and would benefit those wanting the application to be approved? Surely any competent journalist would have had access to Betterway’s press release?
    I will check whether ODT’s past reporting did mention the many apartments. Maybe I missed it.
    However, yes, I agree that this hotel looks more and more as intended
    for student accommodation. If so, why was the public presentation done in a way which can fairly be called ‘deceptive’?.

  36. Mike

    BTW that was a different Mike you were responding to not me

    {Link added. -Eds}

  37. Phil Cole

    Reading the various posts on the Waterfront box issue on the ODT on-line site and here, it’s good to see that the more salient and thoughtful posts appear here. Like most people who object to it, it’s the look and height I object to – not the idea of the land and area being developed.

    The thing that disappoints me most, though, is the number of ‘black-and-white’ comments – the ability to ‘say’ something that will attract attention and then no evidence to back up what they have said…a kind of ‘tabloid’ debate.

    The ODT’s reporting of the whole issue is, sadly, quite appalling. The press, in any form, has never truly been ‘independent’ anywhere, but being blatantly on one side of an issue does nobody any good. Where is the ‘investigative’ journalism (that other people on this site have called for on other matters) rather than the ‘platitude’ journalism?

    If the high-rise council block does go ahead – after all, a stadium gets the nod despite all the evidence to the contrary – then we will have two notable ‘book-ends’ as a symbol for Dunedin. Both these projects received the go-ahead on the flimsiest of information available.

    When you read the views of those backing the proposed development how often do you hear ‘It will be good for Tourism’, ‘it will attract the ‘high-end’ Chinese tourist’, “hundreds / thousands of jobs will be created’, ‘the flow-on effect will be great for Dunedin’ and so on….but with nothing further, i.e. details, to back it up.

    The fact that the main organisations you would expect to be asking the ‘tough’ questions – i.e. the Press, the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Dunedin, certain council bodies – are almost fawning over themselves to personally hand-knit the red carpet for this development. To me it shows the desperation of these bodies having no long-term coherent policy of how to actually attract the right kind of investment into Dunedin. The last decade…all we in Dunedin have to show for it is a stadium and…and…oh, a possible hotel that had nothing to do with the aforementioned bodies (and the Chinese Gardens which I actually enjoy walking around and think is a welcome addition – no accounting for taste, eh!)

    I, personally, would welcome Chinese tourists to Dunedin in the same way I would any tourist. Tourists come to Dunedin to see the beauty of the wildlife, the natural settings, the old architecture that Dunedin is known for – things that are what Dunedin is all about. The problem with relying on one particular tourist market brings the phrase ‘don’t put all your eggs into one basket’ to mind. Three years down the line we could have a nice shiny big rectangular thing shining like a beacon in the steamer basin…with no Chinese (or other nationality) tourists occupying it. At least it could be used as a lighthouse for those ‘supposed’ cruise ships that will tie-up at the base of the hotel…ah, but they won’t be coming…despite the ‘build it and they will come’ mantra.

    No-one can predict what will happen even three months into the future on the global economic crisis yet we have certain bodies telling us that China will be the ‘booming giant’ that will be the answer to everyone’s problems. I would suggest people who don’t want to live by ‘tabloid’ headline to actually take the time and look deeper.

    Any forecasts are just that – forecasts, or ‘best guesses’ – whether they are done by Joe Bloggs or a reputable organisation. Forecasts can only be proven long after the event has happened.

    A five-star hotel would indeed be a fantastic ‘have’ for Dunedin, especially one that is being financed privately. But it needs to be a five-star hotel that will be a positive for Dunedin and a structure that will enhance all the many good things about Dunedin. Ugly, ill-thought out, old East German style architecture is, surprisingly, not one of those things.

    The point of this posting? I guess I am lamenting the passing of good old fashioned discussion and factual debate where ideas could be discussed, changed and adapted…rather than the instant ‘tabloid’ statement where bullet points are taken as read without the fleshing out to see if they are actually any good. Perhaps that’s the price we pay for people who only live for the next ‘twitter’, ‘text’, ‘instant message’…

    • Phil Cole wash your mouth out —“If the high-rise council block does go ahead…”

      • Also, I’m reliably informed by ODT hierarchy that they do not do INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM.
        There you have it.

        • What happened at hearing this afternoon?

          ODT’s Chris Morris will use the right words I’m sure on the morrow, but here’s the drift:

          I’ve just come from the adjournment of hearing.

          Mr Phil Page, counsel for Betterways Advisory Limited, spouted forth liberally in his summings, to be expected. He’s something of the jolly clown and schoolmaster, self-anointed. It’s entertaining and often contains lethal mix of truth and mass assumption, legalistic and legalese-inspired. So we in the Edinburgh Room were talked to and coached.

          From Mr Page we learn the site may still be in ownership of the Vendor, Arthur Barnett Properties (sole director, Tim Barnett).

          We’re not told of the status of the contractual agreement between the Vendor and ‘who or what’ is potential purchaser of the subject site for the proposed hotel and apartment building.

          Mr Page said he needs to “consult with the Vendor” on the offer made by the chairman of the Hearings Committee, with respect to an extension of time for decision – s.32A RMA, see doubling of timeframe for decision, with agreement of the Applicant.

          As I say, read ODT tomorrow for a more fulsome account.
          Mr Page has indicated the Applicant can support an extension in principle.

          If the Applicant gets agreement with the Vendor for the extension, the Hearings Committee will issue a filenote to the effect for public referencing.

          If the Vendor disagrees, then the Hearing Committee must make its decision (requiring much consideration of all evidence and information to hand, and complexity) in a rather tight timeframe.

          Therefore, the hearing is adjourned, not concluded today.

        • Yesterday…

          ### RNZ News Updated at 7:44 pm on 19 March 2013
          Critics of high-rise surprise developer
          One of the developers behind a luxury hotel proposed for Dunedin’s waterfront says she has been surprised at the amount of negative reaction. Resource consent hearings for the controversial 28-storey hotel and apartment block at Steamer Wharf are expected to finish on Wednesday.

          Ms Song says if the plan is rejected she will do everything she can to make the project happen some other way.

          More than 500 public submissions were received, and all but 50 opposed the development. The Queenstown-based businesswoman Jing Song says the criticisms have come as a surprise because other projects do not seem to get so much. But she says those reactions have to be respected, whatever the reasons behind them.
          RNZ Link


          ### March 19, 2013 – 8:04pm
          Second day in front of committee for hotel
          The battle over Betterways’ proposal for a five star hotel by the harbour had its second day back before a resource consent committee.

  38. chirpbird

    Great post on ODT online, Elizabeth. Now maybe even more people besides us will know that DCC posts planning applications on its website!

  39. chirpbird

    Phil Cole: I agree and have been thinking along the lines (not just with respect to the proposed hotel/apartment development) that the DCC’s ‘economic development’ language incorrectly frames the debate. As does ODT’s support of it. Dunedin should be seeking economic wellbeing instead. In other words, not a metaphor of growth (any kind, at all times, in all places) but rather a metaphor of health.

  40. Hype O'Thermia

    Online comments suddenly mention apartments today, and query their purpose and benefit to Dunedin.

  41. Hype O'Thermia

    Does this –

    “Ms Song says if the plan is rejected she will do everything she can to make the project happen some other way.”

    – remind you of the “evil Nazi” [mis]quote ( “Ve haf vays of making you talk!” ?
    Different accent, different political setting. Similar determination don’t you think?

  42. Anonymous

    That’s a bit ass backwards. Shouldn’t she be doing everything now to meet the expectations of the resource consent committee?

    Really getting a sense of deja vu with some of the posts over at the Facebook wonderland of ODT, both in the repetitive message by the script writers and form used by the stadium supporters. Who is going to be the Michael Guest this time?

    • Mr Page did his legal best today to get submitter Capri Enterprises Ltd excluded as a TRADE COMPETITOR, including the evidence of the submitter’s independent experts – by noting the link to Scenic Circle Hotels. Despite the difference in the corporate structures of Capri and Scenic, “the controlling entities are the same people” (he said).

      Effectively, Earl Hagaman and his wife. The Hearings Committee will need to decide whether Capri and Scenic “are separate”, he said.

      Mr Page claimed he still didn’t know “what the Otago Regional Council’s involvement in this hearing is intended to achieve”. However, in my opinion, he wasn’t convincing in his elaboration (I won’t bother to detail his comments here) – I believe Gerard Collings clearly expressed the ORC’s interests at hearing.

      Capri and ORC presented the strongest expert evidence opposing the application.

      Mr Page discredited the submission of the Macknight family – he said the “ADI building” is located in the Industrial 1 Zone and “there’s no expectation of a harbour view” contained in the district plan for this zone.

      The Macknights’ buildings (ADI, the former Donald Reid Stores building; and the former NMA building) are both located in the proposed warehouse precinct – they will lose their existing harbour views if the proposed hotel (and apartment) building gets built.

  43. Anonymous

    I think the level of criticism shows that we know a bad idea when we see one and also remember the old adage “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”

  44. Rob Hamlin

    Earlier on in my career, one of my friends was involved in experiments involving parasitic wasps. They always fascinated me. The life cycle of this particular wasp involved injecting an egg into the larvae of its host. The larva subsequently grew and developed normally until it pupated – also normally. However, what finally emerged from the pupa was not the offspring of the moth that had laid the egg, but an adult parasitic wasp.

    This hotel also seems a bit like this. The pre-approval ‘caterpillar’ is a supposed luxury hotel. However, is it really a hotel, or is it largely an apartment complex for rich adult Chinese long term? Or is it an apartment complex for their equally rich progeny short term? Is it a vehicle for jacking the price of the land and blackmailing the DCC or Transit? Or is it a Trojan horse for another development entirely on this site – or an even bigger plan involving the whole south basin area? Or is it some completely unrelated onshore or offshore tax/accounting finesse? Or is it more than one of the above at once? Can it be what these people claim all at once?

    Is Jing Song really the $100 million backer? Does she personally have that kind of surplus cash to sink into this simple act of out of town love? Or is she yet another lakeside Christmas tree decoration that’s just been tacked on to add a bit of sparkle in the shrubbery? – A bit like the two knightly ‘Wanabaubles’ who fronted this thing for a week or two a while back and then evaporated, never to be seen or heard from again on the matter ‘Well done Dunedin’ style – Remember?

    I haven’t got a clue. However, I’m pretty sure that this particular caterpillar will be given approval to pupate by this consent hearing. The Mayor seems to think that the advantages that stem from approval of this project (whatever these advantages are, and to whoever they eventually accrue) are now considerable enough to justify him going public in his support. This, I might say, is grossly inappropriate, when two of his subordinate councillors are sitting in supposedly INDEPENDENT deliberation on the matter (Yeah right – Pass me the Tui and an Environment Court appeal lodgement form).

    All will then go quiet for a while I would presume – A bit like it’s gone quiet over Carisbrook (which is still pristine by the way). Then suddenly one day not too far ahead (but far enough away to be safely on the other side of the election I would think, if Dave thinks that it’s safe to back it) the pupal case will crack, and then we will find out just exactly which species of parasitic wasp we are dealing with, and just in exactly which manner we are going to be stung by same.

  45. Hype O'Thermia

    The attitude to supplying information that was requested has a certain appeal. Imagine this, I want a driving licence, a credit card, and a firearms license. Some of the information asked for, and demonstrations that I know what’s what, like being able to start the car on a hill, provide safe storage for the shotgun, are inconvenient. As for photo ID and people to state in writing I’m a fit person to hold a firearms license, meh. So I say, I’ve given you plenty of information already, you don’t need any more… and they say, yep, you’re right, here you go, credit cards, licenses. Would you like your new driving license to include motorcycles, bulldozers, artics and traction engines, no truly it’s no trouble at all. And have you thought of becoming a commercial pilot, we’ve got the form here if you’d like to sign now, don’t worry about filling any details, we’ll jot a few things down for you during morning tea since you’re such a valued client. Red carpet not red tape, that’s our motto.

  46. Anonymous

    Jing Song and the export wine trade to China. This is highly appropriate given the discussion at the Hearings Panel about the FACADE of the hotel. Parade the trappings of wealth to boost your own status.

    • Mr Page would confirm whether an extension of the statutory timeline for a decision was acceptable, which would push the deadline for a decision back to June 6.

      ### ODT Online Thu, 21 Mar 2013
      Strong push for hotel as hearing adjourned
      By Chris Morris
      A hearing to decide the fate of Dunedin’s proposed $100 million hotel has been adjourned again, but only after a last-minute attack by the company that wants to build the controversial tower. Betterways Advisory Ltd counsel Phil Page made the company’s final push during closing arguments before the Dunedin City Council’s hearings committee yesterday. Mr Page attacked the credibility of key expert witnesses opposing the hotel, claiming some were engaged in spoiling tactics motivated by trade competition, while others had acted unprofessionally. He urged the committee to disregard issues including the height of the hotel, arguing district plan rules allowed it to be built, but also warned KiwiRail could yet be handed the power to veto the project.
      Read more

  47. Mike

    I see that the latest plans for the hotel have “Dunedin Hotel” printed in large letters facing the harbour (I’m sure that will persuade us to take it to our hearts) …. they better hurry out and grab that domain name before someone else gets it

    ooops …. too late …..

    • Mike! Since the Ping Sing Songs are bent on attracting a major 5-star hotel chain to operate the hotel, and they have indicated the likes of who in applicant evidence… a few more domain names are up for grabs.

  48. amanda

    Yeah. It is so predictable. Seen it all before with the stadium. Loving the totally slanted captions highlighted in the ODT; all for the hotel as we would expect from the stadium supporting ODT. The same business ‘geniuses’ are behind the hotel thing, so that is enough to give me pause. Funny how the Chinese woman said she wanted to speak out against protest against ‘dodgy Chinese investors’. Which is so not getting the point; I for one am very worried about ‘dodgy’ Dunedin investors.

  49. amanda

    Because those ‘investors’ are out to strip this town, not satisfied with the stadium, they want it all, and do not care if we have to sell our assets for this to happen (say hello to privatised water). And Cull and greater Dunedin? too weak to put up any opposition. The secret stadium seven? This was all part of the plan (for the smarter on this cabal- Looking at you Cr Hudson and Brown).

  50. amanda

    The Chamber Of Commerce (or the big boys in this outfit), Tourism Dunedin and the majority of the council were for the stadium which is a fiscal disaster, therefore to follow the ‘vision’ of these proven incompetents is utter madness.

  51. Search engine term today:

    how to implement town planning without really working in the field

  52. Hype O'Thermia

    Amanda, yes, for the sake of clarity it’s important to distinguish between dodgy Chinese and dodgy NZ (subsets Dunedin, Queenstown, Wanaka) investors. Multilateral dodginess needs watching too.

    • At ODT Online, IWAS says: “I have noticed that they are already clearing and marking the site. Why are they going ahead before they have permission? Almost looks like hands have been shaken and papers have been signed.”

      Could be the archaeological assessment, could be applicant’s site assessment ???

      What we need for 41 Wharf St, is webcam treatment like the stadium got.
      (signalling to someone we know)

  53. Mike

    So with 12 floors of apartments and 10 floors of hotel rooms what is it?

    Why do they have to be in the same building? The hotel would be just as economically viable if it were 12 stories (and a garage) shorter.

    Would you get planning permission to build an apartment building in an industrial zone? Would you get permission to build a 12-storey apartment building in a residential zone? Mixing the two is a neat end run around the planning rules isn’t it – I don’t think you could build a 12-storey apartment building in Dunedin any other way.

    • ### March 20, 2013 – 8:14pm
      Developers respond to critics
      The developers of the proposed five-star 28 storey hotel by the harbour had their chance to fire back at opponents this afternoon.

  54. Anonymous

    I noticed brush being cleared the other day on site. I’ll figure something out.

  55. Peter

    Reminds me of how steel was ordered for the stadium before it was given the final go ahead. I feel very cynical about this whole consent process….questions are asked, and not given, with a little drama played out ‘to show due process’ till we get the result they want. I have no confidence that the commissioners will not buckle.
    I do not think ‘local democracy’ is working by having commissioners who are councillors. I understand this concept of ‘local government’, as opposed to greater centralisation with greater ministerial decree, is a concern with the devious changes to the RMA proposed by our fascist government. Nevertheless, having local councillor commissioners is not working either. They are too open to pressure from the powerful people behind the scenes. In the case of the 28 storey hotel, Dave Cull has already declared his hand and is gung ho about the hotel before ‘due process’ has been completed. What a farce.

    • KiwiRail ‘unlikely’ to scupper hotel bridge plans (22.3.13)
      Kiwirail is offering an olive branch to Betterways Advisory Ltd over concerns it could scupper plans for a $100 million waterfront hotel in Dunedin.

      From the article:

      KiwiRail had submitted in opposition to the hotel, and ruled out the use of its land or airspace, over concerns noise from its nearby rail yard would lead to complaints from hotel guests and apartment tenants.

      Specific questions about whether KiwiRail had already received an application for such permission from Betterways, and, if so, why it had not responded, were not answered yesterday. Mr Page claimed during Wednesday’s evidence one had been filed, but Betterways had not been given ”the dignity of a reply”.

      The consent hearing adjourned on Wednesday with no decision on whether further information or public consultation would be required.

      • Regarding the bridge ‘concept’ floated immediately before commencement of the hearings (December 2012):

        Mr Page said on Wednesday at hearing (this was taken down verbatim but I paraphrase here) that the notion of the bridge is dependent on third parties – the contention is not just KiwiRail’s airspace, rather, as he noted, the DCC’s roading network is involved.

        So. As was debated last year, any more red carpet, anyone !?

  56. Robert Hamlin

    The recent commentary on the Hotel in McPravda has been absolutely fascinating. Those commenting against have been well and truly categorised as ‘Moaning Minnies’ ‘Nigel Negatives’ etc. Those who are doing the categorisation appear to be passionate about this.

    I suppose that if we were to use a similar broad brush in a generous manner, then we could categorise them as all dedicated to making Dunedin Inc. move ahead financially as a community. However, if one were to be as ‘broad brush’ uncharitable in one’s description of them, I suppose one could say that they are speaking for the minority of the community that will benefit greatly from this project if it happens, of which community they may well form a part, or be acting as paid but anonymous representatives.

    A contributor called QSrC has been very active with his broad brush in support of this and other major building projects. He has dealt most properly and thoroughly with all the ‘Nigel Negatives’ in the process. However, today he had a most interesting contribution to make:

    “That’s right, it is. I’m actually a construction consultant specialising in structural elements and im (sic) willing to bet no one else here is.”

    Hmmmm….Now try to think of a list of specialist professions who might by likely to make a killing if a big building show like this comes to town.

    A McPravda commentary colleague of QSrC had another very interesting contribution to make:

    “The only difference between these [hotels that also operate apartments] and what is being proposed here is that these operate more according to the US and European models where rather than being sold the apartments are rented out by the complex owner, rather than being sold as is being proposed here.”

    That might be the only difference, but it is a VERY big one that truly nobody seems to have picked up on, while the argument about relative numbers of apartments and hotel rooms has raged. If this building had one owner who leased out both rooms and apartments, then I suppose that it could be likened to the other integrated single owner hotel/apartment rental operations that operate in buildings that might look a bit like this around New Zealand.

    However, apparently it isn’t like that at all. If these apartments are going to be sold off outright, then presumably all these apartments and the hotel itself will be multiple freeholds that will be part of a body corporate which actually owns the building.

    If that is indeed the case, then this building isn’t a hotel in any way shape or form – even if a hotel may (for a time) operate from within its structure. It’s simply a vertical housing estate – Nothing more and nothing less. Damned if I can see how that can achieve the outcomes claimed for it.

    • Unpublished at ODT Online (sent on arrival home this evening, noting slams from the rednecks):

      Catching up
      Submitted by ej kerr on Fri, 22/03/2013 – 5:30pm.
      Fun comments today – looks like people been punking a typing machine. Their time could’ve been better spent attending the hearings for the application.

  57. Russell Garbutt

    An intriguing process this when one stands back and looks at it.

    Firstly, a Hearings Panel made up of DCC Councillors, the members of which are not required to be qualified in any respect. Can you imagine designing a system whereby the body empowered to make judgement on complex technical issues and the intricacies of a number of complex Acts etc doesn’t have to be qualified in any respect other than their desire to be a Local Government representative.

    Then publish and disseminate the views of the Mayor which seem, if correctly reported, to pre-judge or influence the Panel.

    Then weave amongst all that a number of emotional issues such as Dunedin will die if the hotel is not built. Get the local paper to print verbatim anything that is released by the Hotel/Apartment builder without question and parade that as “news”.

    Make sure that competing commercial interests such as enjoyed by the singularly undelightful Earl Hagaman and his Dunedin representatives such as Stuart McLauchlan are interweaved into the evidence.

    Then make sure that plain indicators of building height requested such as a tethered balloon or a stationary crane are ignored.

    Then never explain who or how the ownership of the structure is to be operated – do these apartments of which there is a large number remain in the ownership of the operators or the builders or who? Bearing in mind that I was told by a particular horse that they could be let back to the hotel if the hotel required them. Does this mean that the apartments will be configured as what?

    Then make sure that any infrastructure explanations and responsibilities are totally obscure. Park the whole lot alongside a railway shunting yard on a strip of land not big enough for a Transport Cafe and ensure that the final design details remain hidden.

    Lastly, tell all and sundry that unless they all play ball, they will take up their bat and shove it where the sun never shines.

    It reads like some sort of modern day farce. It could only be made funnier if Cr Collins, Acklin and Butcher were the members of the Panel.

    • John Lumsden is the independent commissioner on the Hearings Committee. He is a civil engineer ‘by trade’ and an experienced independent commissioner.

      All council commissioners (they are that, not councillors when they sit on the Hearings Committee)* must undergo training for this role.

      *I leave you to draw conclusions about this.

      Someone phoned today, the caller reiterated that whatever Noone or Wilson do with the decision on the hotel, they’re in the rural wards and will suffer no backlash or political consequences at the October elections. Yes, that’s well understood… how Dave organised things for red carpet – and it doesn’t hurt that they’re Chair of Infrastructure Services Committee and Chair of Planning and Environment Committee respectively, either.

  58. Rob Hamlin

    Developing this examination of the economic benefits of a vertical housing estate to this community, let’s look at this issue of outright sale of these apartments a little more closely. If the structure is going to cost $100 million, the apartments occupy half of it, and there are c. 200 of them this gives us a per apartment cost of construction of around $250,000, which indicates a sale price for these quite small apartments of $350,000 plus. At a capital return of 7% this gives us a commercial rental of $24,500 a year, or around $2,000 a month.

    As the investment will be made by out of town interests, any capital gain on the initial sale of these apartments will go straight out of town, and will have no impact on the economy of this City. The amount of money going back into the economy via goods and services supplied by local interests is not yet known, but it may not be high – Except for some favoured structural consultants, maybe?

    The ongoing economic value of this vertical housing estate very much depends upon who buys these small and expensive units. The apartments could be bought to live in full time, as second (holiday) homes or as rental investments. Timeshare may be another option. Given the nature of the apartments, all four uses are likely to address particular markets. In all cases, the market for this type of ‘noddy apartment’ has historically been far more volatile than broader residential markets – there may be burnt fingers down the line, and the economic value of the vertical housing estate to the wider community may well be patchy at best. There may well be burnt fingers right away if this thing actually gets built in this form and the harder souls of the residential buyers/investors don’t buy Jing Song et al’s ‘love gift’ line of patter with the same enthusiasm as our wretched civic leader.

    Either way, it’s certainly not just a luxury hotel. Its intended major use appears not to be commercial but private long-term residential. There may be some merit to the concept of super-high density residential accommodation, but only for a certain person and for a certain purpose – and neither appears to exist to any significant degree within this community at present.

    One obvious future use might arise if the oil support base does eventually get built on the adjacent block of land – an activity that I support, by the way, on the basis that it is going to get built somewhere within 200 km of here – so why not give our young people the opportunity for high value jobs? It’s just a pity and a nuisance our leaders have made things more difficult by building a large and useless plastic bag on the obvious displacement overflow industrial area to the North of the base site, and by rerouting the State Highway 88 in a manner that permanently alienates it from the wider industrial zone.

    Oil support bases have a large, well-heeled workforce, some of whom may well have reason to live right on top of their commitments in the type of accommodation that this building may be able to offer.

    However, the vertical housing estate proposed here may be a two edged sword. This large residential building right on the boundary of the proposed area, along with whatever appears as an outcome of the development of Harbourside Phase I/II ‘Cappuccino Land’ immediately to the South of the Harbour Basin, may well cause more problems than they solve for present and future sources of industrial job and real economic value creation in the industrial area due to complaints, restrictions and other interference. The creation by the construction of this particular building of an immovable road and rail ‘pinch’ around the end of the Harbor Basin may become a real issue whether or not the Oil Support Base eventuates.

    Perhaps this is the plan – Who knows – It would have been nice – just for once – to have a proposal that was straightforward and devoid of bullshit.

    • Commissioner Kate Wilson, at hearing on Wednesday afternoon, put to the Applicant the loss of the industrially zoned site at 41 Wharf St (to commercial residential use) given the oil exploration potential – this a day ahead of the media announcement for the base. She didn’t get much reply.

  59. Anonymous

    Next press release from Betterways? Published by the Otago Daily Times, with someone else’s byline on it? Telling you to pull your pants down and accept your place as a commoner? It’s hard to know now what is “news” and what are press releases since we know the daily newspaper is prepared to act in that manner.

    I dropped my subscription with its continued support of the stadium but had bought the paper frequently. I am now no longer doing that. There are plenty of free services telling me how to think already.

    Possibly a news story:

  60. Rob Hamlin

    I informed National Radio’s Media Watch about McPravda’s apparent use of large lumps of unattributed press releases from interested parties in major commercial transactions as front page news under the name of one of their own house journalists. They didn’t even bother to reply. I can only deduce from this that it is now normal practice and therefore not newsworthy. The journos concerned can thus continue to sleep peacefully in their beds.

    As someone who is involved in an industry where plagiarism is an issue and software is both available and routinely used for detecting it, unattributed commonality between two pieces of the level shown below (The opening of the McPravda piece with Betterways press release word-string commonality capitalized at a ratio of 61/97) would certainly attract interest:

    McPravda Article:

    THE OTAGO BUSINESSWOMAN BEHIND Dunedin’s proposed waterfront hotel stepped into the public arena yesterday, talking about her PASSION FOR THE CITY AND THE VISION FOR THE FUTURE.
    As earlier indicated in the Otago Daily Times, JING SONG IS THE PROMOTER BEHIND BETTERWAYS ADVISORY, THE COMPANY wanting to build the 28-storey hotel in Wharf St.

    While some of these words are quotations, that are presumably correctly attributed to Jing Song, they were, as far as I know, only publicly available via the Betterways release. Without the quotes, the word string commonality ratio falls, but is still around 50%. Given the size of the Oxford English Dictionary, the chances of two passages of even this short length having this level of word-string commonality without being in some way related are extremely low. If they are related, then, as the Betterways press release precedes the McPravda article by one day, then I believe that it was incumbent upon the later publication to declare its sources.

    The Betterways release that contains these quotes does not mention ‘critics’ at any point, so for McPravda to describe the quotes lifted from this release as ‘responding to critics of the project’, which is one of the bits in this passage that is not common to both articles, is drawing rather a long bow.

    In addition, the correct description of the building in the Betterways version of this passage “…proposed five-star hotel and apartment building…” appears in the McPravda version as “…28-storey hotel…” – which is a manifestly incorrect description. It is perhaps unsurprising that the commentators in the Comments section of McPravda are so aggressively confused on this issue.

    So be it. What would be really interesting to know would be if some media outlets who may possibly be getting up to this kind of thing are now maybe getting paid to dress up material sourced from the great and the good and then to publicly present them as their own ‘independent’ (but actually significantly misattributed) news items relating to issues of interest to them – It could be a lucrative, if unscrupulous, extra revenue stream to replace the commercial revenue that has decamped to Trademe and the reader/viewers/listeners/subscribers that have departed to other web based media such as this website.

    But of course, be at peace good citizens of Dunedin! McPravda would of course be far too principled to consider any such thing. They have to protect their cherished reputation as the Independent Voice of the South.

  61. Hype O'Thermia

    Critic, being closer to the day to day issue of plagiarism and its unacceptability (and consequences), might take an interest.

  62. Anonymous

    It is well known that if you send the ODT a press release, they will often print it verbatim, possibly with a phone interview to add a couple of window-dressing quotes. It depends on how slow certain news days get. I found that if you seed the Business section on Monday, then when they get to Wed/Thu without a juicy story, they will often run a press release article. That’s not a new practice. Got to fill those column issues somehow.

  63. Rob Hamlin

    I don’t have a real problem with publishing correctly sourced press releases Anon, although I wouldn’t pay for the rag that carried them. However, I do have a real issues with unattributed lightly modified press releases from interested parties masquerading as in-house written articles on issues of real importance – Especially when said modifications include the deliberate removal of statements that are true and their replacement with statements that publication/journalistic staff concerned should or do know to be both untrue and materially misleading.

  64. Anonymous

    It seems the Stakeholders are playing the same game they did with the second stadium. Splitting a city for an agenda that benefits only a few. They have engaged a naive desperate-to-be-seen-to-do-something-anything Mayor and caressed his ego. They have found continued support in the Stadium Councillors and one or two new ones who are now working themselves towards the dishonorable title of Hotel Councillors. Jing Song could adapt the plan to suit the spirit of Dunedin but chooses to ignore and dismiss the local feeling of its citizenry, all with the backing of some Queenstown citizens Michael Hill and Eion Edgar, and a tree-killing newspaper. The fact that she looks over the city, with her passive attacks on those who disagree, says much about the type of investors they are.

    We already know about Eion. But why, Michael, why? You can help the investors create an investment which would recognise the city’s cultural identity and still achieve the investments, with honour.

  65. Anonymous

    ODT site appears to be down. Online editors loaded one too many press releases? That stuff has a tendency to overwhelm limited processing spaces.

  66. Anonymous

    Argh, bloody ‘ell. The desperate sods have got auto-start video clips in their ads now. They broke their site for a Nivia ad? Have you tried reading an Oddity page lately with Internet Explorer? It’s like going to a sports game and trying not to be distracted with all rolling bloody ads everywhere. Their front page is bloat code as it is without all that extra noise. Thank god for Firefox and AdBlock Plus.

    • Boring.
      Their tree version is fully advertising these days… not enough circulation to keep them afloat without. Saturday’s paper has slimmed down in the opening sections. Etc Etc – take out the APNZ stuff from NZ Herald, and the Spooks’ doses, and well that really only leaves Chris Morris with edge, which he still deploys!

  67. ### ODT Online Mon, 1 Apr 2013
    Last Peninsula view critical
    By Peter Entwisle
    The jury – rather the Dunedin City Council hearings committee – is still out on the proposed waterfront hotel and apartment block, a significant matter for the city’s urban design, with several heritage and aesthetic issues at stake.
    It remains unclear if the hearings were complete when they paused on March 20. It was undecided if there would be a request for more information and submissions.
    Read more

    • Further to Peter Entwisle’s column…

      The Hearings Committee adjourned the hearing last month (20 March) noting it needed agreement from the Applicant for an extension of time for decision (to double the timeframe for decision, see s.32A RMA). The Applicant supported this in principle but stated there would need to be agreement from the Vendor. If there was agreement the decision would be due by June 6, 2013; provided no further information is sought by the Hearings Committee (in which case, the Committee hasn’t ruled out a third round of public submissions).

  68. Anonymous

    Median household income was $72,474. […] The average house price in Queenstown was 7.5 times the median household income. […] Mr Brent said the problem was stark in Queenstown where median incomes were typically lower than in other parts of the country because of a high ratio of lower-paid hospitality workers.

    The thing with Eionland is the fat-necks have been busy pricing themselves into an exclusive town. The problem they’ve yet to figure out is how to maintain a lifestyle affordable to their contingent of service workers and professional foot massagers.

    It’s the sort of work their snowbunny siblings aren’t going to do either.

    So who is going to clean the house, mow the lawn, cut the hedge, park the car and serve their whiskeys? Wouldn’t be the black-ties since they can’t be seen to do menial work themselves, or travel in the front seat of car, hell they barely remember to pay for their functions unless one of their mate’s wives is coordinating the event and then that’s no guarantee.

    Once all the hopeful workers and families have moved out, and the self-obsessed and sycophants moved in, maybe we should wall off the place and let them fend for themselves – would make for fascinating drama.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Apr 2013
    Workers priced out of the housing market
    By James Beech

  69. ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Apr 2013
    Hotel consent deadline extended
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council’s hearings committee considering the fate of the proposed $100 million waterfront hotel will meet today to decide whether further information is required. Committee chairman Cr Colin Weatherall told the Otago Daily Times the company that wanted to build the hotel, Betterways Advisory Ltd, had agreed to extend the deadline for a decision on the hotel’s consent application to June 4. Cr Weatherall said the meeting remained adjourned, but he would meet committee members today to decide whether additional information was required. If it was not, the hearing would be formally closed and deliberations would begin, he said.
    The hearing began in December and adjourned on March 20 after evidence for and against the proposal. The proposal has attracted more than 500 public submissions, most opposed to it.
    ODT Link

    • ### ODT Online Wed, 3 Apr 2013
      Hotel discussions continue
      By Chris Morris
      The Dunedin City Council’s hearings committee is still considering whether more information is needed before it can decide the fate of a proposed $100 million waterfront hotel. Committee members were in contact yesterday – but did not meet face to face – to discuss their position, after the hearing adjourned last month after arguments for and against the controversial hotel. Committee chairman Cr Colin Weatherall said yesterday no decision had yet been made about whether more information or even public consultation would be needed before the hearing could be closed. Committee members would continue their discussions today, and Cr Weatherall hoped to release a statement detailing the next steps in the process within days, he said. A final decision about whether to grant consent for the hotel would take longer, but was due by June 4, after Betterways Advisory Ltd agreed to an extension that pushed the decision deadline back.
      ODT Link

      Note: Today DScene notes the final decision will be made by 6 June, this is incorrect.
      By 4 June 2013 is correct.

      • At ODT Online:

        Developers have shot themselves in the foot
        Submitted by cityrise on Tue, 02/04/2013 – 2:36pm.

        I have seen the other buildings this firm have created in China. They are quite elegant and pleasing to look at. They have [architectural] flair, smooth design forms with unique iconic high end looks that would be welcome even in Dunedin. But what do they propose for us in Dunedin of all places? A giant glass box with zero redeeming features. It really is the most boring and uninspiring design imaginable. If they held a design contest on who could create the worst possible design this would win.
        Why the drastic change in architecture between their work in China and this? This building is said to be a “gift” to Dunedin. Yeah, it’s a gift alright, straight from the $2 shop of architecture. Now the council are deciding [whether] to allow this horrendous blight on our landscape to nab a few jobs and appease special interests. I hope they realise that everyone sincerely would love a 5-star hotel in Dunedin, but this is not it, not even close.
        I fear these delays are a way to push this nightmare development through via stealth. Wait a while longer until no one is looking then rubber stamp it overnight. If any council are reading this, I urge you to do the right thing and end this lunacy.

      • ### April 2, 2013 – 9:13pm
        Committee begins deliberations
        The committee charged with deciding the fate of the 28 storey hotel in Dunedin will begin up to eight weeks of deliberations this week.

        • ### ODT Online Wed, 10 Apr 2013
          Committee to rule on hotel soon
          By Chris Morris
          The clock is now ticking towards a decision on Dunedin’s proposed $100 million waterfront hotel, after the Dunedin City Council’s hearings committee decided not to request further information or consult the public again. The committee, chaired by Cr Colin Weatherall, has been considering whether it needed further information from Betterways Advisory Ltd, which wanted to build the hotel at 41 Wharf St, before deciding the project’s fate.
          However, a brief statement issued late yesterday confirmed the committee did not require further information from Betterways, meaning there would be no need for a third round of public consultation. The decision meant the hotel’s resource consent hearing was officially closed, four months and two adjournments after it began in December.
          The committee has until June 4 to decide the hotel’s fate, after Betterways’ representatives agreed to push back the statutory deadline for a decision.
          ODT Link

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