Transport Strategy: Is this responsible local government?

DRAFT Dunedin City Transport Strategy (2013)

The Otago Chamber of Commerce (COC) gets brownie points for taking a stick to Dunedin City Council and the politicised ‘sustainability crew’, this week… A crew primed with council staff, (spuriously-appointed) leadership and steering groups, university academics (with their little students in tow, aww) receiving substantial research funds into energy research, and the like; but let’s not forget the undue influence of Greater Dunedin and its two councillors, MacTavish and Wilson (paid $250 a day, was it?), sitting on the strategy panel – who, having spruced up their images lately (cutesy dyed haircuts, necklaces and dresses in adornment – closely resembling the old ‘pearl and cardy set’), will find the clobber just too awkward for bike riding.

It’s recognised the Chamber can’t hope to represent the wide breadth of Dunedinites – but it’s fair to say the Chamber’s focus and agendas (collectively and personally) are experienced as being unbearably narrow at times and slant at others – for example, its handling of the Dunedin harbourside plan change appeal, and its support for the new stadium (knife to the throat of Dunedin’s economy) and the proposed apartment and hotel development at 41 Wharf Street (cheap bling, with strings). All up, the Chamber is a mysterious if not loose male-order assembly of ‘business minds’.

Nevertheless, DCC, give your dog a bone…
But don’t think the Chamber will accept more stupidity from your transportation planners and general managers controlling the whole (desktop) strategic exercise —or from the ‘mission’ of idealistic ‘non-business’ greenies who lack the commonsense, experience, resilience and determination of Dunedin companies (the ones who actually make the dollars happen!), and which greenies will surely fail if pitted hard against Otago’s most successful export earners!!

The Transport Strategy is not a statutory document – but where it attempts to flow into District Plan changes, well, let’s wait for all the costly appeals to Environment Court. The council can hardly afford more legal battles – it can’t fund the challenges it’s already immured by.

The worst fear with the transport strategy revolves around pending changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) which could see council-driven and developer-driven projects bulldozed through without public consultation; with few benefits to anyone or the environment, except to the proponents. The new legislation will mean even less accountability and transparency in local government than ever before – thanks to the National-led government. You know who to vote for in 2014.

Do you know who to vote for in 2013?

### ODT Online Fri, 30 Aug 2013
Attack on transport strategy
By Chris Morris
The Otago Chamber of Commerce has launched an attack on Dunedin’s draft transport strategy, saying it pushed a ”questionable agenda” of sustainability while ignoring major transport issues. The strongly-worded rebuke came in the chamber’s submission on the Dunedin City Council’s draft strategy, presented on the first day of a two-day public hearing yesterday.
However, Prof Herbert Harris, a member of the chamber’s logistics committee, also offered an olive branch at the hearing by suggesting a joint working party be formed to fix the document’s flaws.

Prof Harris said the strategy was of ”major concern” because it ignored the inadequate arterial route through the city, a lack of commuter parking and the significance of the road link to Port Otago.

The draft strategy sought to identify and address key transport challenges facing the city over the next 30 years, beginning with improving the city’s poor road safety record. Initiatives proposed included everything from a multimillion-dollar central-city upgrade, to improved cycleways, bus services and a new eastern freight bypass. Prof Harris said the strategy was of ”major concern” because it ignored the inadequate arterial route through the city, a lack of commuter parking and the significance of the road link to Port Otago.
Read more

Draft Dunedin City Transport Strategy 2013 (1)GREY AREAS… If you received this DRAFT Summary by post in late July, look no further than the grey back cover – it’s easier to read than the illegible and contrived contents, having about the same informational content.


### ODT Online Fri, 30 Aug 2013
Transport transfer considered
By Chris Morris
The Otago Regional Council says it will consider handing responsibility for public transport to the Dunedin City Council.
Council transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly confirmed a report on the issue was being finalised, and the chief executives of both organisations, Paul Orders and Peter Bodeker, would be briefed within weeks. Councillors from both organisations were yet to see the report, but a decision on how to proceed would be decided after the briefing, she said.
The news came two years after the Otago Daily Times reported the DCC and ORC were in talks about a possible transfer of the public transport network to the city council.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
29.8.13 The Don, imagines . . .
4.8.13 World War I memorial project
24.11.11 Dunedin buses: ORC or DCC
8.7.13 Bloody $tupid cycleways and Cull’s electioneering . . .
28.3.13 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2013/14: Portobello Harington Point…
8.3.13 Stupid bid for two-way highway ditched for now #DCC

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORC, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design

60 responses to “Transport Strategy: Is this responsible local government?

  1. A vehical-free Octagon and George St will kill small businesses, take away vitality, and remove freedom of access for mobility-impaired people. What utter bulls***.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 31 Aug 2013
    Council signals traffic changes
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin’s transport future could include the reintroduction of Barnes dance pedestrian crossings and a vehicle-free Octagon and George St.
    The ideas were covered in a long list of changes to the Dunedin City Council’s draft transport strategy agreed by the hearings subcommittee yesterday after two days of public submissions.
    The changes would be finalised when the subcommittee meets again on Monday afternoon, before the strategy was sent to the last full council meeting of the term, on September 23, for final approval by councillors.
    Read more


    Yesss, Mr Willis of Waitati and our Generation Zero kooks, no doubt friends of Jinty!

    ### ODT Online Sat, 31 Aug 2013
    Transport plans provoke passion
    By Chris Morris
    Conflicting visions of Dunedin’s future collided as debate over the city’s draft transport strategy erupted at a public hearing yesterday.
    Submitters on one side called for a city abandoning fuel-guzzling cars, and opting instead for electric vehicles, bikes and the return of cable cars, trams and commuter trains.
    In stark contrast, Dunedin planner Don Anderson’s vision was of a multimillion-dollar arterial highway pushed through the city’s waterfront land, built on the belief cars would always be king.

    Mr Anderson said council staff should abandon ”nonsense” plans to convert the city’s one-way streets to two-way routes. […] ”Dunedin will, I think, always be car-dependent.”

    The day’s deliberations erupted into fiery finger-pointing after Cr Lee Vandervis suggested council staff were misleading the public by suggesting the city faced ever-increasing fuel prices.
    Cr Vandervis was forced to apologise for his tone, but only after other councillors agreed to tone down strategy wording that assumed increased fuel prices.
    Read more

    • Cull steps out of oblivion (has ODT caused Cull to ‘disappear’ lately? Where’s the prominence of their son spurned?)

      ### ODT Online Sat, 31 Aug 2013
      Cull criticises chamber
      By Hamish McNeilly
      Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has hit back at the Otago Chamber of Commerce as being ”stuck in a smokestack industry time warp”. He was commenting after the chamber criticised the Dunedin City Council’s draft transport strategy, saying it pushed a ”questionable agenda” of sustainability while ignoring major transport issues. Mr Cull, in a post on his Facebook page yesterday, said: ”It must be of concern when our local chamber of commerce does not understand the legal requirements around what it is commenting on, does not read the draft it is commenting on and seems stuck in a smokestack industry time warp”. ”Is that really how Dunedin’s business community want to be perceived?
      Read more

      Comment from southd:


      Mayor Cull’s full comment at Facebook:
      “I find it extraordinary that the Otago Chamber of Commerce, in their submission too our draft Transportation Strategy, would accuse DCC of “a thinly veiled agenda of sustainability” (ODT Fri 30th August). There’s nothing thinly veiled about it! Of course Council has a sustainability agenda. Any organisation with its head outside the nineteenth century has one. Indeed Councils are required by law to take sustainability into account when planning anything. We want a sustainable economy, a sustainable transportation system and a sustainable environment. Even more extraordinary was the admission from the chamber’s expert witness that he had not read the draft Strategy he was so comprehensively criticizing. It must be of concern when our local Chamber of Commerce does not understand the legal requirements around what it is commenting on, does not read the draft it is commenting on and seems stuck in a smoke stack industry time warp. Is that really how Dunedin’s business community want to be perceived?”

  2. I don’t know, but it almost seems like an election is in the offing. Even something as dull as a ‘Transport Strategy’ is generating heat. What to expect next week? Watch this space. That is, of course if you are remotely interested. As my late Mum often said about feeding pigeons, “don’t encourage them, they’ll become pests”.

  3. JimmyJones

    Calvin, some pests need to be actively discouraged.
    I don’t know why you think the Transport Strategy is dull. It doesn’t seem dull to me; Jinty, Dave, the OCC and Lee Vandervis don’t think so either.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    Note Pete George using a half-quote to put the boot into Lee Vandervis
    Looks like he’s picked up on the old-boys and their patsies’ fear-aggression towards Vandervis – me-too, me-too, lookit me, I’m no-threat electable!

    • That made me wince last night, Pete has learnt not a thing if as he says he’s been studying form for the last five years. Worse, he asked us for ideas having come up with nothing himself in all that time.

    • The whole quote – and the whole article – accompanied my comment. I think it’s a significant point that Lee was forced to apologise. Lee can be very critical, often with justification, but too often over the top. I don’t think that would be good for a mayor.

      And as I have experienced first hand Lee doesn’t handle criticism directed at him well, he seems to have a low tolerance to receive what he readily dishes out.

      Effective politics often requires robust debate, but if it becomes unreasonable it is more likely to polarise than get considered results.

  5. That was a good reminder to me to not vote for Pete George. That posting was just silly. Not intelligent enough to be vindictive.

    • I return to the thought, who as the new mayor (Cull having been sent marching) is even capable of chairing the rabble – I’m down to one person.

      • (comments supporting today’s rue-by received after I submitted this, ARE published – hooray ODT!!! your priorities are impeccable, as always)

        Not published at ODT Online:

        So, Pete . . .
        Submitted by ej kerr on Sun, 01/09/2013 – 1:24pm.
        This is the perfect time for you, Pete George, to clearly set out how you as a mayoral and council aspirant intend to manage and effectively reduce the +$650 million council consolidated debt. What are you putting on the table? Take as much space as you like, offer a well-structured opinion piece if necessary. But let’s hear it because not too much of anything else matters right now – especially not Tony Brown’s party, given ORFU still owe ratepayers thousands for the black-tie dinner held at the stadium, and Rugby in general owes Dunedin City Council $45 million as promised (!!) to the cost of stadium construction. Of course, the ORFU debt is greater to society but pressing the real juice out of self-satisfied professional rugby could take a shiner or three.

        {Correction, ODT must have been at the Stadium! —published 2.9.13 -Eds}

  6. Elizabeth, don’t be shy, tell us, it has to be Lee Vandervis. Why? Because he is the only one, and Dave Cull, with experience around the council table. He is the only one who seems to be seriously concerned about the city’s debt situation. All the other candidates, have no experience or appreciation of the position. Not even Dave Cull in my estimation. If he does he hides the fact very well. No, we don’t have to like the Mayor, we just want one with the ‘balls’ to grasp the problem, can work with the CEO and just do what is right. If it upsets a lot of people that is the price to be paid. Dave Cull on the other hand, won’t face up to any situation which might be unpleasant to deal with. He has shown that repeatably, most recently on the St Clair sea wall debacle, and of course there was that ‘disgusting spectacle’ of him as Mayor groveling before those two ‘rugby thugs’ over the alleged defamation. Do we want a populist or a fixer and doer? No contest in my estimation.

    • The elected DCC needs serious medicine, Calvin. Cull no longer has the backing of ODT – what does that tell us? He’s weak that’s what, and even the GOBs know when they’ve got a loser. Mayors don’t always have ‘Council’ experience, but neither do they normally face down a +$650 million council consolidated debt – THAT and the solutions are the crux of each mayoral forum in the pre-election period. Any mayoral aspirant chosing to ignore that situation (with two few ratepayers ‘to call on’) is talking through a hole in their head, and is no better than pigfeed.

    • I think Lee is smart enough to know the chances of becoming mayor are slight, he’s trodden on too many toes. He was full of praise for another candidate at last week’s mayoral forum. It didn’t look like a formal alliance but Lee may be happy enough to remain maverick councillor if he can help Hilary Calvert into the mayoralty.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    Totally agree, Calvin. Lee can be a difficult bugger, and the most “difficult” thing he does is keep reminding people of facts they would rather forget so they can steam ahead with their pet projects. He won’t be popular with all the gimme-gimme groups and individuals that believe their enthusiasms DESERVE rates funding!

  8. Rob Hamlin

    It is possible to apply a process of classical low involvement branding of people one doesn’t like via repeated slogan cameos directed at their character rather than their arguments. The outcome is that their arguments are undermined not directly, but indirectly by a process that undermines their personal credibility. It’s a process that is a lot more effective if it can be coordinated across several media. Looking at how people are personally ‘sloganeered’ round here, it seems to me that a pattern can be identified.

    Lee Vandervis = Uncontrollable loose cannon
    Bev Butler = Fusspot
    Calvin Oaten = Lovable old codger (bless him!)

    What works for washing powder branding also works for people. Lee Vandervis and Bev Butler have suffered particularly from this process as they are continuously exposed to it. One of the reasons why I limited my exposure to very short periods when I was active in the Stadium debate was to not provide my well-resourced opponents with the long term target exposure that is necessary to strongly establish this process of negative personal branding. I’ve learnt a few things after twenty odd years in the food marketing business as a specialist in low involvement decision making, branding and package based communications.

    Similar approaches can be applied to groups as well. If one looks back through the public web comments on the Stadium debate, one or two very strong trends are apparent in these threads. Those who oppose the Stadium are identified as a discrete group, with specific PERSONAL characteristics that can be (and are) collectively expressed with a ‘catchy’ moniker, and these monikers are used remarkably consistently – ‘Moaners’ ‘and ‘Negatives’ being the most common.

    Those who opposed the hotel (vertical housing estate) are similarly described, and are thereby assigned to the same group. Like a brand, once a convenient group brand identity (e.g. ‘moaners’) has been established over a period of time to which their collective personalities can be consigned, it can be instantly deployed in support of another otherwise unrelated cause. This is a process known as brand extension. This works even if the group who has the brand identity extended onto it has little common membership with the parent brand group.

    If someone is being awkward about offering the necessary exposure to be ‘fitted up’ personally with a negative personal brand identity, then they can often be assigned to a negative collective personal brand if one has been developed previously for a specific awkward group. If this occurs, it can be just as destructive to that individual’s personal credibility. This is the primary reason why I have not allowed the many attempts to describe me as an ‘anti-stadium activist’ in the media, and why I did not join ‘Stop the Stadium’.

    Modern politics relies on the majority of people being fat and happy and not really giving a toss about their leadership. A consumer status that is known as ‘low involvement’ in commercial marketing parlance. The majority of purchase decisions that we make are categorised thus – but politics and political brands are a particularly extreme example of low involvement consumer buying and marketing. We select politicians using fewer dimensions (One – left or right) than we do bog roll (price and quality). However, make a poor decision with either and you are really in the shit.

    Right wing and left wing are classic examples of political communications brands. They have no meaning outside this very specific context. For those who are interested, the terms right and left wing were derived from the seating arrangements in the early legislatures of revolutionary France. Arrangements that one can assume were motivated by a desire for personal safety as much as for ideological reinforcement!

    However, it appears that this single archaic continuum is all that the primitive decision processes of any modern democracy can cope with. It is almost impossible for any political party to stay off this one brand dimension for any length of time. The Greens for example should be defined by their environmental stance. They are instead now primarily positioned on this left/right continuum as a party of the ‘far left’ and thereby are safely inserted into Labour’s back pocket.

    Parties that try for a more moderate stance with policy elements from both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ instead end up on the line getting ground-up like a nut between a pair of molars (ergo the two major parties). While being chewed there, they are usually accused by the owners of the two dominant political brands of political ‘incoherence’. For incoherence read any kind of policy complexity that cannot be fully expressed in under seven seconds – that being the typical TV sound bite in American politics today.

    Many people might consider this lack of voter interest to be a serious problem with our democracy. Modern dominant political brand owners and their advisers are not among them. The Nazi party were the first to really understand and exploit the potential of mass media and the uninvolved voter phenomenon with saturation repetition of a few simple slogans (some of which related to specific groups – see above) strongly associated with two strong political brand icons (the swastika and Hitler himself). It worked exceedingly well – unfortunately for many people, including many of those who decided to ‘purchase’ the seemingly attractive product in the voting booths of 1930s Germany.

    Nazi political communications are usually referred to as propaganda. They were in fact very carefully constructed low involvement brand campaigns. The Nazi party routinely undertook formal market research of exactly the same type (focus groups etc) as modern fast moving consumer goods marketers and political parties undertake today, and they did so right to the end of WWII. It could be argued that the effectiveness of this low involvement political branding was a major contributing factor to the capacity of the Nazi Party to maintain their grip on the German nation right to the point of its complete destruction in May 1945.

    Low involvement branding within human populations works through a process called operant conditioning. A process that is also used for training dogs, pigs and fish. Pavlov’s work is the classic in this area in which he trained dogs to salivate on the ringing of a bell by providing food with the ringing bell for a period of time. The bell and the outcome are of course not directly associated with one another. However when the food was withdrawn, the dogs continued to salivate when the bell was rung. It may surprise you to know that many of the expensive ads that you see on TV are designed to do their job on your mind and memory when you are NOT actively paying attention to them. Passive sub-conscious learning is a key channel by which low involvement brands are established.

    Modern politics also uses these processes. Although I doubt if they would like to acknowledge the contribution of the principal pioneers in the field. The advantage of the operant conditioning is that given sufficient volume of coordinated message delivery, you can convince a population who are not very well informed, and who are also not really paying attention, of pretty much anything regardless of the basic credibility, accuracy or previous track record of the claims made – (eg selling our power companies now will make that majority of the voting population better off in the long term – presumably in just the same way that selling off other infrastructure assets from 1985-2000 did so – Hmmm!).

    We are now told that a large majority of voters oppose these privatisations. However, there is no doubt that the National Party obtained a mandate to do so by openly declaring their intent before the last election and obtaining a (bare) majority on the basis of a campaign built around the usual neo-liberal platform that included same. That campaign platform would have been researched, engineered, constructed and communicated to a strict timetable in exactly the same way as any other commercial low involvement brand campaign – and it worked in just the same bizarre way. I mean – just why do people pay a socking premium for a two litre bottle of commodity grade milk that just happens to have the Anchor brand on it?

    The one disadvantage of modern low involvement marketing from a politician’s point of view is that it is ferociously expensive – even if you have a ‘friendly’ media to support you. This is why the cost of becoming president of the USA is fast approaching a billion US dollars, and Mayor of Auckland half a million.

    Becoming Mayor of Dunedin is likely to cost several multiples of the average household’s annual income, which is why it isn’t really a goer for the average bloke unless they have friends and backers who are prepared to offer the necessary support. It would be reasonable to assume that there might be some types of ‘friend’ who might expect a return on their investment in their preferred type of ‘chap’. Such a return could only be extracted from those voters who were sufficiently uninvolved to succumb to the ‘fine upstanding chap’ brand related operant conditioning that the initial investment paid for. And all the other voters too, of course!

    Many hoped that the rise of the web and social media might offer an antidote to this process that sells us everything from pantyhose to politicians. Sadly, as human nature and mass indifference has not changed, both platforms have simply become alternative platforms by which these super simple messages might be drilled into inattentive minds. Obamas’ first campaign was a very notable early exercise in the art of political branding via the web and diffuse social media.

    Indeed, these channels are even more insidious, as it is now almost impossible to identify a sponsored message for what it really is. We now live in the era of the sponsored news broadcast, the interested party press release masquerading as an independent journalist-sourced news article, and the PR professional blogger with hundreds of blogosphere identities ready for march into action on behalf of whoever will pay for their hire.

    Joseph Goebbels would be delighted by the opportunities that are now available to him to transmit the messages that his masters wanted injecting into the subconscious minds of their targets. His successor, whoever that turns out to be, will certainly have a far more developed low involvement marketing armoury with which to develop the brand that will allow them to deliver the ‘dream’ to their market. A market, that in my opinion now has been softened up by the info-pummeling that it has received over the last few decades and that now has a far more relaxed grip on reality and reduced interest in potentially bad personal and social outcomes than its pre-war, pre-web and pre-pay TV predecessors.

    After all, who wants to be branded as a ‘negative’ individual or a ‘lovable old codger’?

    • Phil Cole

      Rob…one of the best thought-provoking reads I’ve read on this site (don’t worry; I’m not after your vote!). I couldn’t help thinking of one of my favourite films – ‘Network’ starring Peter Finch, Robert Duvall and Ned Beatty – whilst reading your words.

      What you say rings so true and is played out so many times. Watch how it gets played out with the ‘front page’ story on the ODT this morning about drilling. I’m not going to say anything ‘political’ as I respect this site and the people on it not to bore them (at least until after the election!) but just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for a really good piece. It reflects so accurately the world we live in and how people are ‘fodder’ to these ideas.

      • A lot of what Rob comments to, is down to ‘human nature’ (being IN, being OUT), and yes ‘branding’ plays on that for political/marketing/other purposes.
        Some with academic specialisation in contemporary poststructural theory and deconstruction (in my case via contemporary architecture and design research) now see use of social networking services (blogs, twitter, facebook and more) as the chance to mirror the polarities (the oppositions), backwards and forwards like pingpong. Adopting ‘written/acted/videoed/constructed’ personas and positions to never declare ‘stance’, particularly… this invites replies or silences that are intriguing as objects of further studies. Saying that, what is a merry gameplayer (chimera, perhaps) – run-on comedy/satire, sometimes an end in itself? Or just more branding and persuasion?

  9. Well…bugger me! A ‘lovable old codger’…indeed! But hey! Rob’s got it sussed, no doubt. The ‘plebs’ are well and truly conditioned to, like Pavlov’s dogs, salivate on command. We only have to look at the past week with the Ranfurly Shield fiasco to realise that. When the ODT called for everyone to jump, the only question was how high? The problem with applying that formula to the local body elections is that the business of councils is generally of such low interest that it disappears off the citizens’ radar for all but most of the time. That poses the problem of keeping the brain tuned to the ‘brand’ as Rob claims. The other two forces involved are ‘how can my one vote do anything’, and ‘why bother’. Those are the two major inertias to break through and I am not sure – short of appearing naked on a horse in George St – how to overcome. But hey! it worked for Lady Godiva so it would be worth a try. Not sure about Lee Vandervis, but Hilary Calvert certainly has the hairdo for it.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “I think Lee is smart enough to know the chances of becoming mayor are slight, writes Pete George who is himself standing for Mayoralty and Council, “he’s trodden on too many toes.” The wisdom of Mr Fluffy, tiptoeing around and aiming a wee kick in the direction of the man who’s hard enough to speak out loud about the issues in his own words, and tough enough to make a difference.
      Somehow that works better for me than limp greenish niceness with no actual intentions other than finding out what other people think and then, presumably, echoing it back to them – or maybe I’m being previous, maybe that’s what Pete intends to do later if people think that’s a good idea. We’ve had Mayor Sleepy, and Mayor Floppy – do we need Mayor Fluffy?
      Or another Councillor Fluffy, come to think of it. We’ve had several of them and more ain’t better.

    • Hype O’Thermia – I think you are assuming too much based on very limited information. That’s common in social media, it’s very easy for misconceptions to become entrenched.

      If you (or anyone) want to meet me and find out what I’m actually like then organise a group meeting, or come to the next public forum, Thursday 7.30 pm at the Fortune Theatre – I’ll be there from when the doors open at 7 pm and afterwards.

  10. JimmyJones

    Come back Elizabeth; you seem to have drifted off into a pre-election, post-modernist, neo-accademic quasi-reality. I am not yet persuaded that the tools you use to classify buildings, art and styles have any business out here in a discussion about transport, politics and marketing. I think critical thinking is more useful than critical theory.

  11. Peter

    The attachment of labels is actually a two-way process, liars, fraudsters, con men, idiots…. we have heard them all…. and most of us have a fair idea who wears what in terms of these sticky labels.
    I think it is important to try and ignore the whole ‘naysayer’ etc crowd. If you are proved right in what you have said, time will tell and you will be vindicated. The stadium saga is a case in point.
    It is better to take the bullets instead of dodging them if you have the courage of your convictions.
    For this election, I am interested in voting for candidates who say what they mean and mean what they say. I’m not interested in people who just want to be ‘nice’ (outwardly) and end up weaseling their way through council business, achieving nothing for the city.
    We need some hard-headed people in there to tend to the problems we face. We might not like them on the personal level or agree with all of their political stances, but if they are prepared to confront the major issues, instead of running away from them (or by putting them off till after the election), they deserve to get onto council. Unfortunately, you get folk who won’t vote for someone just because, for example, they support fluoridation, but fail to see, in the greater scheme of things, they actually may make sense over a wider range of issues.

  12. JimmyJones

    Pete George: I am assuming that the reason you are offering shallow criticisms of Cr Vandervis’ style is because you are uninformed of the important issues affecting the city. My guess is that you haven’t read the Transport Strategy (full version) and have the same tendencies as most of our current councillors, namely – they believe everything that staff tell them, they dont, or can’t, read documents with more than two paragraphs, they are very attracted by investments that make huge on-going losses and they think that Dunedin City Treasury has an unlimited supply of free money. Of our current DCC councillors, I think only about two work hard enough to be worthy of the name. So far, Pete, it looks like you don’t make the grade.

  13. Pete George; I suggest you take a crash course and read the last ten Annual Plans, then follow that up by reading the last five (at least) DCHL Annual Reports. Then you might just have an inkling of what the situation is. But I suspect that you and probably most of the other aspirants have never even sighted one of those items let alone read one. That is how we end up with folk like are currently there. Once there it becomes a case of why bother, the staff will instruct us on all we need to know. It’s the democratic way.

    • Well that should inspire all candidates most of whom if not in established businesses only want the title of ‘Councillor’ and free lunches instead of the ‘newly named’ unemployment benefit.

    • Once again assumptions absent any facts. I’ve done the homework I think is appropriate. Reading helps but contact with a range of people is more useful.
      In particular I’ve had detailed discussions and have received advice from a number of people, including four current councillors, and I think the hardest working amongst them.
      I’ve heard rumours that the chairs of the committees are already being discussed, including possibly appointing a relatively green councillor to head the Hearings Committee ahead of much more experience. That would be interesting – if Greater Dunedin gets the one party dominance they want.

  14. Elizabeth – I’ve never been on a benefit. I currently work as a software consultant, servicing clients around the world from our Dunedin office. I’ve done problem solving locally, nationally and internationally. I’ve owned businesses, and I’ve been a business director. I’ve worked in service, training, sales, manufacturing and retail. I’ve worked with many businesses and organisations of many types, analysing their business requirements. I ran an IT training program for DCC (and a number of other companies) in the 1990s. I installed the first computer terminals in National Bank branches around Auckland in the 1970s.

    • Pete, what are your plans – if elected – to manage and reduce the council consolidated debt, and to ensure the council is kept to core business? …such that the community may depend on budgeted provision of underground and above ground service upgrades without substantial rate increases that deter residence as much as business development in the greater area of Dunedin. If you’re getting cosy with Lesser Dunedin or other (such as the stadium councillors) then my conclusion as a voter stands, you won’t get my vote.

    • Elizabeth, what I do if I get elected will depend a lot on who else gets elected. If we end up with a one party dominated council it may be hard to do much, so my focus is on doing what I can to prevent that.

      For what I think of that party see today’s speech to a mayoral forum:

      A mayor with a possible majority in council, particularly with the leanings of GD, is a major threat to the city. Unfortunately the incumbent could not attend so wasn’t able to respond. I think this is a critical crossroads election for Dunedin.

      Interestingly of the five candidates at the forum all were negative about GD, and all were pro business and pro rates reduction to varying degrees. I’m campaigning strongly on both. Vandervis (council business) and Hawkins (a no show/no apology) were also absent.

      • Pete, Greater Dunedin isn’t a ‘party’ by its own admissions. It has no party policy at all and is merely a loose assembly of individuals without a formally stated united and measurable cause. Totally unaccountable. It’s Russian roulette.

    • They deny being a party, but they look like a party, they act like a party, they advertise like a party, and they more often than not vote like a party.

      Two days ago Cr MacTavish posted on Facebook:
      “As a team, both incumbent and new candidates, we’ve developed a list of six priorities that we think the incoming council should be focusing on”.
      She continued:
      “You can read more about our focus on engaging with residents proactively, openly and transparently over at

      Except that last Thursday Cr MacTavish backed by Cr Wilson showed that openness and transparency was selective by making excuses for not consulting when trying to use council to make a political submission to a Government discussion paper – ironically claiming it was a no-brainer to “make a case for the retention of community engagement”.
      Cr Wilson: “The reality is that with sometimes only three weeks turn around not everything can go to full meetings for sign off”.

      Last year their anti-fracking stunt was pushed quietly through council – when I asked Cr MacTavish why there was minimal openness and consultation she said it was good democracy allowing minorities to have a say and get what they wanted. I could find no reference to it on the DCC website, and there is still no hits of official information on fracking.

      I’ve heard rumours that GD already have plans about who might chair committees next term, for example the most experienced councillor may miss out to a GD councillor (presuming they are re-elected) on the Hearings Committee.

      As I said, they act like a political party despite their claims of independence. If Cull is returned, especially if he has a significant majority mandate, and if more GD councillors are added, there will be a strong voting bloc in council. And as others have said, don’t expect it to be a particularly business friendly bloc.

      This may be totally unrelated, but a Generation Zero submission to the transport hearing last week called for a draft goal for the proportion of the population walking, cycling and taking the bus to be lifted from 30% to 50%.
      That’s about the same proportion increase we might get of GD councillors. I think that’s scary, whether they admit to being a party or not.

  15. BlueBottle

    Lee Vandervis was very impressive at the transport strategy hearing on Monday. Lee challenged all the ridiculous assumptions that the strategy is based on. He did this using factual well researched arguments. Council staff were forced to back down on many points because there was no factual basis for their conclusions. Lee’s performance was remarkable because there was one of him against 4 Councillors and the Transport Planning/City Development staff who had a whole weekend to find ways to respond to Lee’s challenges. Although Lee helped to make some improvements to the strategy, the thing is still deeply flawed and will be harmful for Dunedin if it is accepted by the whole Council.
    The Network Operating Plan (fig. 24) has been kept quiet by the DCC and the ODT. The plan is to make a big chunk of the CBD either car-less or mostly car-less. The methods of hindering motor vehicles haven’t been described but will be achieved with total bans from some streets as well as removing parking and restrictions on turning and entry. Another plan is to fiddle with the timing of traffic lights so as to cause intolerable delays to motorists. Have a look to see which streets are affected. While in their vision they see hoards of cyclists and pedestrians, more likely the CBD will become empty and turned into an economic dead-zone. The Network Operating Plan and the rest of the Transport Strategy are among the biggest threats that Dunedin faces.

    • Thank-you BlueBottle !!!
      We will make your comment searchable as a post this evening. Your thoughts are a must-read – people should also look to Cr Lee Vandervis’ own website for updates in the next days.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      They can’t force us to go into the CBD yet for some reason they think, as Margaret Thatcher said “There is no alternative.” Uh-oh, wrong again.
      Plan as much as you like, you can’t unplan the existence of online shopping, online form-filling, online banking and bill-paying, and going for a short drive to Mosgiel, or the big-box stores with free parking. As for eating and drinking, there are cafes, bars and restaurants outside the CBD. They may be looking at the boon the rugby world cup was supposed to bring but didn’t – more customers and this time not just for a brief period, these are customers who if they like the place will come back and back and back. Soon even the cyclists and pedestrians will be patronising these establishments!
      Yes, Bluebottle, a cunning scheme to kill off the CBD and give the outlying businesses a real boost.

  16. Peter

    I can’t really comment on the merits, or otherwise, of this Transport Strategy Plan as I haven’t read it.
    I gather it is going out for consultation? I know from bitter experience with the stadium, this does not always mean much. No doubt a fair amount of antagonism against the plan is with this in mind…ie it’s thought to be a done deal already. Has the council gone around the businesses to at least roughly gauge their views before they developed the plan as it stands? (A kind of pre-consultation) or has it just been presented to these businesses as a kind of fait accompli?
    I remember the furore a few years ago re parking changes made in town and the council had to partially back down. Will the same thing happen again this time? It seems a funny way to do things. It just upsets people unnecessarily when they do not feel they are being taken seriously.
    I know some people will be equally stubborn in their opposition to any plan. Consulation is admittedly a tricky business, but how do you get the vast majority of people onside without the rancour?

    • Question might be why do we need a strategy?

      Do we need the new manager position (to implement the strategy) advertised by DCC that takes $30m pa off Tony Avery’s total budget?

      What’s really happening here, Dave Cull? Can we trust you and Greater Dunedin at all? NO. Can we trust DCC transportation planners and the general managers? NO.

  17. Peter, this Transport Strategy is contentious to say the least. It is largely a product of in-house planning with input from the cycleways people on council. Like it or not, it has all the makings of a litmus test of this council in the elections. It has already generated a bit of heat from the Chamber of Commerce, and Cr Lee Vandervis has caught a bit of flak from within. We will see how some of the candidates respond.

    • Calvin, yes absolutely the draft transport strategy is litmus. Cull could be committing suicide with it, luckily no real fences at Lawyers Head yet!!! Why on earth would he seek to alienate the business community at this time, to do so he has to be very sure of the green and student vote… How stupid is that, given the lack of campus polling booth?? Or are GD after Teresa’s NEV votes?! I’m surprised bloody Jinty hasn’t stood for mayor and nudged Cull aside.

      If all else fails we can send in drones to take out the new council.

  18. Elizabeth, there is a lot about this loosely affiliated group euphemistically titled Greater Dunedin which is at risk of alienating business plus a lot of the public as well. There is also a large degree of naivety from Dave Cull. He is not a political animal other than a populist at heart. Consequently, they run in a lot of directions in an almost incoherent manner. Jinty MacTavish is showing a petulent side and is obviously determined to push the green, save the planet agenda. And seems to be having her way almost by default if it weren’t for Lee Vandervis. Richard Thomson’s moustache just chimes in with a pompous “I am the wisest man in the room” sort of manner now and again. Chris Staynes is almost the invisible man mostly. Kate Wilson, well… difficult to pick where she is at any given time. The new recruits… well we just don’t know. Probably of the same ilk. Six years in the pit, plus three in the mayoralty and I still can’t make out what, if anything they stand for. A bunch of reeds in the wind perhaps.

  19. JimmyJones

    Elizabeth, Calvin: With Dave Cull’s recent comments, it seems that he is revealing himself to be from the same ideological training camp as Jinty. This hasn’t been obvious till now because he has been politically pragmatic and has been willing to sacrifice some of his enviro-nazi, Sustainability-will-save-us ideals for oil/gas drilling, for instance. While there are differences between the Greater Dunedin councillors, there is a common theme of Car-hate and an obsession with bicycles. Dave says (FaceBook) that it is his duty to inflict Sustainability on the city (paraphrased).
    Jinty has a clone – in the form of councillor candidate Letisha Nicholas. Letisha is from Generation Zero and wants to save the world. Kate Wilson has shown herself to be a dedicated Car-hater and Chris Staynes has no obvious usefulness to Greater Dunedin or anyone. Richard Thomson has been impressive on occasions but can’t be allowed back so long as he supports the Greater Dunedin agenda. By the way, I would put Pete George ahead of all of the GD candidates.

  20. Mike

    Hmmm – I see that Greater Dunedin claim to have “halved the Stadium’s debt repayment period” er, um, really? Sure that’s only because you also voted to double it first?

  21. I’ll be at the Robbie Burns Pub (back of bar) tonight 5.30 pm to 7 pm if anyone wants to chew my ear in person.

  22. Hype O'Thermia

    Pete George is (not unreasonably, in my opinion) wary of Greater Dunedin: see his post of Sept 3, above, beginning “They deny being a party, but they look like a party, they act like a party, they advertise like a party, and they more often than not vote like a party.”

    Then on Sept 4 in response to Calvin’s advice that he make himself familiar with the source material – “I suggest you take a crash course and read the last ten Annual Plans, then follow that up by reading the last five (at least) DCHL Annual Reports” Pete says “I’ve done the homework I think is appropriate. Reading helps but contact with a range of people is more useful. In particular I’ve had detailed discussions and have received advice from a number of people, including four current councillors, and I think the hardest working amongst them.”

    Perhaps these include GD councillors, and pro-stadium councillors. Either way their slant on the current situation and how Dunedin got there is unlikely to be enough preparation for a person to understand what the next council is faced with.

  23. Peter

    Spending a lot of money for an election campaign is certainly helpful to get your name out there, but not always a certainty for votes.
    Olivier Lequeaux (2007) and Chris Marlow (2010) must have spent a fortune, but did not get on. Undoubtedly it probably helped get their vote up, but they were still well back.
    Dave Cull and his team now have to work harder because they have been in the hot seat this term and inevitably you piss off different groups with incumbency. I would be very surprised if he personally increased his vote this time around.
    We know there are quite different sectors out there who are disappointed with the present council leadership, but will they give others a chance to prove themselves or come to the conclusion there is not much alternative that appeals, and not vote, or reluctantly vote for the same again?

  24. Received from Rob Hamlin.
    Wednesday, 4 September 2013 12:29 p.m.

    Having looked at the candidates I cannot really see how Dave Cull can lose this election. Modern elections at any level are won largely on the basis of face/personality brand associations created over a long period of time and triggered at the brain stem level when voter response is required, as I noted earlier. The amalgamation of the majority of the councillor wards into one city ward simply made this reptilian process apply to councillors too.

    Looking back at the pioneering example that I also noted earlier, in the final real election held in Germany prior to World War II the advert below replaced all others in a saturation level campaign in the very final days. Hitler election poster []

    As you can see – it tells you nothing. It is designed to do one thing – to subconsciously reinforce an already existing association and thereby make the mindless dogs salivate when the electoral bell is rung – which regrettably they duly did. Modern politics is exactly thus: Success = face/brand personality association drilled in at the subconscious level and triggered in the polling booth.

    You may be aware that there are moves afoot to remove brand logos and design identities from cigarette packets due to their capacity to reinforce subconscious behaviours at the point of sale. Similar legislation needs to be enacted to remove party brand logos from ballot papers – and for the same reason.

    Only three mayoral candidates have the level of facial/personality brand recognition that is necessary to do this kind of job on polling day. Cull, Vandervis and Calvert. McPravda’s coverage of him has ensured that Vandervis’ personal brand is negative among a sufficiently large majority of the population. Calvert’s exposure has largely come in conjunction with ACT, and this town tends to be strongly Labour, so ditto for her. She would do better in Queenstown, where this ACT association would be more positively received.

    That leaves Cull. He will be elected because his is the only face/personality that the majority of people in this town will a) recognise and b) can’t remember any specific reasons not to vote for him. McPravda have given him a nice long easy run and while there may be some change in heart now, it is all too late for this kind and level of voter operant conditioning to be greatly dented by it. The face/personal brand passive learning spadework has already been done in this regard. All he has to do is strengthen the association in the last days before the election.

    So next time you pass one of Cull’s numerous posters – compare it with the one above, and see if you can spot any similarities between them with regard to the layout and the degree of useful information that is offered. Your association to these advertisements may be formless and negative, but that ‘gut’ response will be the opposite for sufficient of this town’s population to do the job on election day.

    It would therefore be very hard for Cull to commit ‘electoral suicide’ at this late point. Certainly no misdeed that was not related to his personality brand would do it. Thus, mistreating 100,000+ human beings by selling this City down the river in a series of complex third party transactions would not do it – ever. It’s too complicated and not related to the personality brand that will get him elected. If something like this came out, it could be sidetracked and ‘toe-punted’ off into post election irrelevance before its implications sank in.

    Mistreating a puppy, by contrast, would do it instantly as people can process and personally assimilate that kind of thing very easily and their reaction to it would strike effectively and immediately at the core of the political personality brand. (I should point out here that I do not for one minute think that Cull actually does this!) This is why modern politicians fear the apparently piffling personal misdeeds far more than they do misdeeds related to the great issues of the day – eg Monica Lewinski v Whitewater. At a more local level it’s likely that a couple of drink driving convictions will do you far more electoral harm than actively contributing to the delivery of an unsustainable debt to the community. The first misdemeanour is individual personality related, the second is group policy related. Thus the first can be rapidly assimilated by the wider community and can harm your personal political brand, the second cannot.

    Nobody bar these three mayoral candidates has a snowball’s chance in hell in this regard, although Pete George is technically doing the right thing by getting his face up alongside his name and point of view at every opportunity that is given to him. Give him another five years at it and something may well start to happen for him. That’s if his liver and bank balance hold out that long if he’s going to do it at the local pub.

    After direct violence failed via the abortive Munich Putsch, it took the Nazi party a full decade of highly expensive and systematically executed planned subconscious branding to get Hitler installed as Chancellor of Germany via the ballot box, and as I noted earlier, while there were no more elections, the political branding and marketing continued at a high level thereafter.

    It’s effectiveness left more than a simply political legacy. The Nazi party promised the impossible to their target middle class mass market – and they often delivered it. The Nazi controlled and developed ‘Strength Through Joy’ organisation (Kraft durch Freude) became the world’s largest mass tourist organisation in the 1930s, with the world’s first large fleet of dedicated cruise liners. Cruise holidays, and the previously impossible dreams of mass tourism that we now take for granted, were thereby delivered to the target mass market. Of course, like everything else, this organisation and the dreams that it delivered were carefully branded in a way that supported the main Nazi brand by associating it with mass ‘good times’ (see KdF brand below).

    One other such Nazi promise was that the average German family could own a car. Initially, this product was branded as the Kraft Durch Freud (KDF) Wagen – a bit clumsy.KDF brand [] Soon fixed – next time you see or drive a Volkswagen (all of which are brand descendants of the Nazi commissoned and Porsche designed ‘beetle’ – the carefully engineered and equally carefully and catchily rebranded ‘people’s car’) you are witnessing the legacy of the successful delivery of that particular dream.

    The regrettable thing is that so effective were these activities, so completely have they been assimilated into modern political practice, and so high has their level of refinement now become, that personal brand trumps policy every time these days in elections at all levels.

  25. Peter

    Rob. Even the Nazis had their day. Their 1000 Year Reich was somewhat shorter…like 13 years.
    Whoever gets the job as a councillor is in for a shit time. I don’t think many of the candidates realise this. Things continually go wrong, with barking-mad people, inside and outside the tent, at you all the time. You also end up making unsavoury compromises/deals with some of the worst kind of human beings. No wonder the incumbents age so visibly in such a short time.
    You hear of people who have been dumped on by their colleagues, or voters, but find themselves relieved to be out of it. David Shearer, I imagine, would be one of those people in recent times.
    There are some politicians, like David Benson-Pope, wanting this kind of crap all over again. Why? Has he no other life?

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    Correct all the way, Rob.
    Lee Vandervis and Hilary Calvert are “visible” only when they have something to say that’s impossible to ignore as news, usually a (sensible, but that’s not the point) criticism of yet another folly.
    Dave Cull, however, is seen in person and in the media at all manner of nice things, being friendly and smiley and multicultural and eco-friendly and enthusiastic about the community garden, school mural, knitting classes, under-10s hockey, all sorts of innocuous things where the presence of a friendly approachable Mayor makes a favourable impression. “He’s so nice, so natural, he went around and spoke to everyone.”

    Lee, Hilary – get out there and rescue a puppy IMMEDIATELY!
    A kitten will do if you have to climb a high ladder. People who are nervous of heights will admire your courage.

  27. amanda

    How about Aaron Hawkins? Not that I could care less if he gets in or not, I figure he will suddenly do a Cull and crawl on his belly to the stakeholders if he gets safely ensconced in power. Nonetheless I assumed that having the greens behind him might give him some advantage and pull to the sustainablity crowd.

  28. Peter

    I might mix in the wrong crowds but, personally, I have never come across anyone who, unprompted in any way by myself, particularly speaks highly of Dave Cull. The comments are either negative or neutral (ie he has no impact on them at all). I appreciate others may have had a different experience. Just an observation from my own experience.

  29. Among the many erroneous suppositions that Lee Vandervis questioned, I noted one where it was claimed that the area of danger around schools could be downgraded if the children felt safe to do what they would prefer, and cycle or skateboard to school. That is pure Jinty type garbage. The reason why there is the danger around schools is because the ‘Mums’ insist on driving their kids to school because they fear for them walking, cycling or skateboarding on their own. That is the modern way, rightly or wrongly, and has nothing whatsoever to do with a Transport Strategy. Everyone, I am sure has witnessed the ‘chaos’ around schools at each end of the day. Beating of gums around the council table will do nothing to alter that, it’s a security thing in the parents’ minds.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      There are also the double-parking “just to drop off/pick up my child” and U-turn, and unsignalled stop to dive into parking space hazards for pedestrians of all ages to negotiate, as well as the inconvenience caused to other motorists.
      The behaviour of teenagers and young adults around the university suggests that many have not become familiar with road safety, as pedestrians, before leaving Mummy’s care.
      The cost of bus travel may have something to do with the Mummy-taxi service, making the combination of kiddie-pickup with other errands.

  30. Peter

    There’s also the ‘stranger danger’ fear to consider which has existed since I was a kid….many years ago. There are those who probably get a bit paranoid about this, but it is still a real fear for an indeterminate number who would never allow their primary school children to go to school on their own.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      It’s a real fear, like the fear of abduction by aliens.

      Real emotion does not imply real cause.
      What is the real risk of stranger-danger? Damn-all, compared with known-to-the-family pervs and violent people who pose a real risk to children, even more so because a kid’s attempts to complain about abuse is in such cases often ignored.
      Even so, the vast majority of adults are somewhere on the continuum from loving to apathetic towards children, just as the majority of dogs do not attack anyone.
      A sense of proportion can’t be made compulsory, unfortunately.

  31. Mike

    Wait, are these the same nazis who have put the word “Dunedin” in nazi black-type font all over town? or is that a different bunch of nazi-lovers?

  32. Cr Lee Vandervis sticks it to the complicit woolly knitters.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 14 Sep 2013
    Fiery reconvening of transport group
    By Chris Morris
    There have been more last-minute changes to the Dunedin City Council’s draft transport strategy after another fiery debate that brought allegations of political grandstanding yesterday. The verbal volleys came as the council’s hearings subcommittee – headed by chairwoman Cr Kate Wilson – made the surprise decision to reconvene yesterday to continue deliberations on the draft strategy. The subcommittee had signed off the draft last week, despite heated opposition from committee member Cr Lee Vandervis at the time, and it had been expected the document would be presented to the full council on September 23. However, a week of tit-for-tat emails between Cr Vandervis, his subcommittee colleagues and council staff over the draft’s wording resulted in the latest batch of changes considered in public yesterday.
    Read more

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