Daily Archives: April 21, 2013

Councils “in schtook” —finance & policy analyst Larry Mitchell

Received Sun, 21 Apr 2013 14:45:37 +1200
Topic ring a bell? We are using DCC and Kaipara as the salutary case studies.

Larry N. Mitchell
Finance & Policy Analyst (Local Government)

PO Box 404 103, Puhoi 0951, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09 422 0598 Mobile: 027 479 2328
Email: larry@kauriglen.co.nz

Read here or scroll to end of post to download this paper.

Councils “in stchook”
… their debt is way too high … it matters … so do proper disclosures

Dealing as I do, with matters of New Zealand Council finances, the one area that produces most comment, sometimes heated debate, is Council debt. Public discussion of Council debt is muddled, an often fractious difference of opinion generating more heat than light.

For example, the most recent (March 2013) Office of the Auditor General’s report of their findings from New Zealand Local Government audits concludes that Councils have their debt levels “within a reasonable range”. Recent New Zealand Local Government Association press releases concur.

Compare these reassuring findings to those of the 2013 NZ LG League Table where the lowest ranked 15% (10 in number) of New Zealand Councils are revealed as exhibiting unfavourable financial sustainability and community affordability issues. Both contradictory positions can’t be right. Unfortunately, the debate over Council debt is complicated by unsatisfactory public reporting-disclosures.

Discussions of Council debt are often compounded by current Council practices. These amount to opaque, imprecise Council debt accounting and “smoke and mirrors” disclosures. It is tempting to suggest that these are deliberate attempts to suppress discussion of Council debt on a “don’t scare the horses” basis.

This is particularly evident for use of the term by Councils of “Internal Borrowing”, a meaningless label, better described as “Robbing Peter”, covering as it does Council treasury management dealings involving a clear misuse (some might say misappropriation) of asset replacement funds.

Add to these sleights of hand a motivation for the more highly indebted Councils to keep their heads down when their debt totals soar, along with a tendency toward misinformation.
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*fashionable* Heritage Dunedin and the RMA holocaust

Dunedin Railway Station (nakedbus.com) screenshotCouncil-owned Dunedin Railway Station

### ODT Online Sun, 21 Apr 2013
Council says heritage buildings under threat
By Chris Morris
Important heritage buildings in Dunedin could be lost if proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) are confirmed, the Dunedin City Council says. The council’s concerns about historic architectural losses were articulated in a submission to the Ministry for the Environment, in response to a raft of proposed RMA changes recently unveiled by Environment Minister Amy Adams.
Proposed changes included the Resource Reform Management Bill, introduced last December, which was before a select committee and had closed a call for public submissions. Among the proposals was the removal of a reference to the ”protection of” historic heritage, which would be replaced with wording requiring recognition of, and provision for, ”the importance and value” of historic heritage.

”Important heritage buildings valued by the community could be lost when insignificant weight is given both to the importance of heritage to Dunedin’s residents, and to the growing significance of the city’s buildings on a national and international level, following the losses in Christchurch.”

Councillors have already been warned uncertainty over key new phrases proposed for the RMA might need to be tested in the courts, and the council’s submission warned the change ”diminishes the importance of historic heritage”.
Read more

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Rosemary McLeod (BayofPlentyTimes)### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 21/04/2013
City wears its history with pride
By Rosemary McLeod
How can Dunedin fashion have a reputation for Gothic gloom, when early autumn showcases clear skies and a harbour like pale-blue glass and unexpected sunshine roasts me in my pessimistic woollies? The city has turned on idyllic weather for iD Dunedin Fashion Week, from March 10 to 17.
With barely a whisper of wind, reddening leaves dangle in the city’s parks and gardens as if by spider threads, viburnums are a mass of clear red berries, and the hillside of 19th-century stone and brick houses overlooking town declares a rooted solidity among greenery, even if we have all become nervous of such buildings because of what happened in that other city.

Since havoc was wreaked on Christchurch, Dunedin could seem more remote than ever, an add-on at the bottom of that big island, but it has always had its own distinct character and its old buildings are integral to that.

Before Auckland, this was where money was, and lots of it. It was the financial and population hub of the country and it was built to last long before nonsense like leaky homes. Dunedin is what Auckland isn’t.

iD Dunedin Fashion Show 2013 photomerge Protecting Dunedin’s design heritage

If I had my way, it would have a vast dome over it, keeping it like this for posterity, because we have nothing else like it and will never create it again.

I could go on about the past, because it’s all around you in Dunedin, a city with a main street still at its heart, where you can still do your shopping instead of driving to suburban malls, where the local privately owned newspaper seems untouched by media challenges elsewhere and where I’ve trawled the second-hand shops over the years and made great discoveries.

Where populations stay put, so does their stuff. You dig here for a different kind of gold than the prospectors, who brought wealth here 150-odd years ago, but in its own way it’s just as exciting.

There are two museums and one public art gallery, all thriving, for a population of about 120,000. Independent retailers still exist on the main street. There are no vulgar high-rise buildings, although a developer desperately wants to build a 40-storeyed hotel. Yet in the midst of its rather smug history, Dunedin is held together not by the past but the future. Education is its core business.

Like a wise old parent, it puts up with the antics of the students so vital to its economy, stopping short of hysterics when they really put tolerance to the test, which is why, as its Fashion Week shows, Dunedin isn’t fusty.
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● Rosemary McLeod was hosted by Tourism Dunedin.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Images: Dunedin Railway Station via nakedbus.com (top), craiglawson.net (middle), seenindunedin.co.nz (bottom); Rosemary McLeod via bayofplentytimes.co.nz

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Architecture + Women • New Zealand

Architecture + Women NZ screenshot 1

Updated post 26.10.14 at 6:57 p.m.
The following information is reproduced in the public interest.

Architectural Theory Review, 17:2-3, 280-298

LIMITED VISIBILITY – Portraits of Women Architects (PDF, 721 KB)
By Sarah Treadwell & Nicole Allan

Version of record first published: 08 Feb 2013

This paper considers the visibility of women architects across three New Zealand sites: the institutional architecture journal, the national architecture award system and a local website that allows for self-representation. The website, Architecture + Women, was set up in 2011 in anticipation of an exhibition of the work of New Zealand women architects planned for 2013 as an anniversary of an earlier event, ‘‘Constructive Agenda’’, held in 1993. The website accumulates images of women in New Zealand who identify as architects. The paper considers the portrayal of women architects in each of the three sites, juxtaposing a sociological viewpoint with the biographical, seen as distinct yet overlapping modes of representation. Five portraits from the website are selected for detailed discussion as they reflect upon representations of femininity, colonial encounters, nature and the limits of the discipline—issues that are persistent for women architects in New Zealand.

To cite this article:
Sarah Treadwell & Nicole Allan (2012): Limited Visibility: Portraits of Women Architects, Architectural Theory Review, 17:2-3, 280-298

Architectural Theory Review, founded at the University of Sydney in 1996, and now in its eighteenth year, is the pre-eminent journal of architectural theory in the Australasian region. Now published by Taylor and Francis in print and online, the journal is an international forum for generating, exchanging and reflecting on theory in and of architecture. All texts are subject to a rigorous process of blind peer review.

Sarah Treadwell is Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning (National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries), University of Auckland. Sarah’s research investigates the representation of architecture in colonial and contemporary images. Motels, gender and volcanic conditions of ground are also subjects of interest. Sarah has published in various books and journals including Architectural Theory Review, Architectural Design, Space and Culture, and Interstices. Her book Revisiting Rangiatea was the outcome of participation in the Gordon H Brown Lecture Series in 2008. Professional association: NZIA

Nicole Allan is an Architectural Graduate Practicing. Nicole works in the Christchurch Studio of Warren and Mahoney architects.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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