Mediocrity and lack of critical awareness at DCC

Yesterday’s council meeting, the last for this trimester, was an unholy dip into how mediocre, ‘unaware’ and closeted this council has become under Mayor Dave Cull’s leadership.

Agenda items:
21Report – Council – 23/09/2013 (PDF, 5.8 MB)
Cycle/Pedestrian Safety on One-Way Sections of State Highway 1 – An Update

22bReport – Council – 23/09/2013 (PDF, 7.8 MB)
Proposed Transport Strategy Amendments following Public Consultation

The only subtle highlight of the meeting was questioning by Cr John Bezett about consultation on the proposed cycleways and the draft transport strategy. He had picked up that the Draft Dunedin City Transport Strategy hadn’t been fully consulted across the transport sectors that stand to be the most impacted by the strategy, including major freight movers. He queried if the council’s formal partners to the economic development strategy had been consulted, and although Cr Kate Wilson replied they had, no clues were provided as to the depth of that consultation and who all had been involved.

Earlier in the meeting Cr Bezett clearly expressed unease in knowing the Automobile Association (AA) hadn’t submitted on the cycleways. This drew a superficial response from Mayor Cull when he said the council can’t subpoena people to submit.

Cr Bezett also noted submitters on the draft strategy didn’t appear to relate to the strategy itself in their submissions.

Cr Lee Vandervis said the council’s consultation had been held with cyclists, not the 90% of other road users. Regarding submissions, he said there was a “problem with trust” … “modern transportation users were not submitting, why?” In his view, modern technology drives change yet there was nothing about this in the initial draft strategy. He acknowledged some changes had been made to the draft, but said the thrust of the strategy was “Let’s go back to pedal power”. The strategy would gather dust in the future, he said.

The Flintstones [] 2The vision going forward . . .

In pointed reply to Cr Vandervis, Cr Jinty MacTavish said the strategy was not an “anti-car strategy”, it was a “pro-spatial plan strategy”. She reminded her co-councillors the strategy would come up for council review in five years.

Cr Chris Staynes acknowledged his own focus on economic development for the city, claiming the strategy “provides a platform on which the city can grow”. He considered an integrated transportation strategy was important for “more users than just car users”. He believed a rise in cycle use would see “less vehicles on key arterial roads”. A balanced integrated strategy would see “businesses and cars as part of the process”. [A hen feather to the Otago Chamber of Commerce.] “Stop looking at the past,” he said.

Simon Underwood (Projects Team Leader, New Zealand Transport Agency) had earlier addressed the meeting on the report [item 21] for cycle/pedestrian safety on the one-way (SH1). “There was a lot of support out there,” he said. The agency was looking to make short-term improvements to the highway system, “the agency was not about a single project”. For cyclists to travel from North East Valley to the university, hospital or South Dunedin there weren’t many route choices.

Cr Fliss Butcher had left the meeting by this time, and did not return.

NZTA had come up with two cycleway options to note to council — a one-way separated cycle lane on the right side of each one-way section between Rattray St and the botanic garden, or a two-way cycle lane along the length of Cumberland St. Mr Underwood said the proposed cycleways were for commuting cyclists more than tourism. Councillors voted to support the NZTA beginning consultation.

Cr Neil Collins had concerns about consultation with small businesses, he said a number were alarmed after seeing the plans. Mr Underwood said NZTA had consulted with small businesses and the AA. Taxis had been consulted but made no submissions. He said there had been mixed feedback on changes to parking, but not on the cycle lanes. Cr Bezett said NZTA should go back to the AA — he also wanted to know if NZTA would target submitters because “not submitting does not mean agreement”.

Cr Vandervis asked why there was no mention or consideration of the loss of parking in the report. He said it had been left to the Otago Daily Times to count the number of parking spaces that could be lost.

DCC General Manager Infrastructure and Networks, Tony Avery believed the lost parks would have people “redistribute” through the city. “It’s simplistic to suggest a loss of revenue will occur with that loss of car parks,” he said.

Cr Vandervis opined the transport strategy was “Lose Lose Lose” — loss of parks, loss of revenue, and he was indignant that the proposed cycle lanes didn’t separate at the most dangerous points in the roads, the intersections.

Cr Syd Brown supported the recommendations in the report because of the “Health and Safety City” — he jovially noted he would no longer be on council to face the community about loss of parking. Having chaired the committee on Parking Changes previously, he concluded, “Cars don’t go shopping, people do.”
[A profound realisation.]

Mayor Cull agreed with the positive outcomes but the report was about safety. “Why wouldn’t Dunedin be safer with separated lanes?” he asked. It was good to restrict this area for safety [as mapped in the report]; the council would then see how the cycle lanes link up to other parts of the transport strategy. Loss of parking is a “complete red herring,” he said. “Roads are for moving people along, parking is a bonus.”

Not many councillors appeared to have read the draft transport strategy before the meeting.

### ODT Online Tue, 24 Sep 2013
Parking put aside for now as cycle lane idea proceeds
By Debbie Porteous
Concerns about the loss of parking from a separated cycle facility in central Dunedin are a ”red herring”, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says. Installing a cycle lane on one side of the one-way system through the city was about safety. He was responding in part to comments from Cr Lee Vandervis, who led a discussion on a report to yesterday’s full council meeting on the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) recommendation to install separated cycle lanes on State Highway 1 through the city.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
4.9.13 Draft Dunedin City Transport Strategy
30.8.13 Transport Strategy: Is this responsible local government?
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, horrified meeting attendee…

*Image: – The Flintstones


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

36 responses to “Mediocrity and lack of critical awareness at DCC

  1. peter

    The big question is whether the political handling of the Transport Strategy is having any impact on Mr and Mrs Voter. Or is this just an ongoing debate among a fairly small number of interested people?

  2. ### September 24, 2013 – 7:07pm
    Cycle safety trumps parking concerns
    Concerns about a loss of parking in Dunedin have been set aside for what may become a safer cycling city. The safety aspect of a plan to build a cycleway along the city’s one-way system appeared to trump concerns about a possible loss of parking. And a small crowd that heard the DCC make a decision on the issue were happy with that result.

  3. Haha, John, it’s amazing who reads What if? with what apoplexy!!

    Views today particularly vertitudinous….

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    Knickerly twistificated?

  5. ### ODT Online Wed, 25 Sep 2013
    DCC transport strategy accepted
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council has signed off its new transport strategy, but not before a final round of impassioned support and last-minute criticism. Councillors at Monday’s marathon full council meeting voted to accept the document, which is now called the integrated transport strategy, to reflect the merger with formerly separate pedestrian and cycling strategies. The move came after a sometimes explosive hearing that saw public support mixed with withering criticism from the Otago Chamber of Commerce and one of the hearings subcommittee’s members, Cr Lee Vandervis.

    The strategy still lacked input from motorists and heavy freight movers and was instead dominated by ”cyclists, cyclists and more cyclists.” –Cr Vandervis

    Cr John Bezett also worried about a lack of direct input from significant partners, such as the University of Otago, which left the council at risk ”of criticism that may be well-founded”.

    [Cr Bezett] worried the council could repeat controversial changes to inner-city parking made in the last council term, which prompted an uproar at the time from businesses claiming there had been inadequate consultation. ”I don’t think there has been sufficient consultation [on the transport strategy]. We have got to go to people and say `look, this is important, we want your views’.”
    Read more

  6. John
    At least you have got his number. Also note in today’s ODT two letters that show disenchantment with the present crop of incompetent councillors. Mind you the saying re swallows and spring comes to mind. But we surely need a clean out.

  7. Peter

    OK, now that it’s been signed off, it is just a matter of waiting to see what happens next. Will the fears/ doubts/arguments of the antis be realised and further agitation erupts….. or will they disappear?
    One thing that is apparent is that the influence of the Chamber of Commerce, which many of us suspect is always strongly influential behind the scenes, has not prevailed on this issue.Dave Cull obviously felt no need to be diplomatic with them over the issue. Interestingly, they also have a director ( Ali Copeman) on their GD team.The wheels of power and influence are probably more complex than what we think.

  8. Jock strap

    Who gives a shit about the transportation strategy ? It has no status. It has just been a load of puffery to give the Greater Debt Dunedin more exposure before the elections.

    • Jock strap, yes and it’s even more uncouth than that…. the issue now is that the strategy allows more staff time and debt spending on non priority projects, away from debt reduction and council core business. I could write an essay.

    • John P.Evans, council nominee

      Unfortunately jock or is it Strap, the cost of the greater dunedin talkfest is $47,000,000 a cost either to be borne by ratepayers and/or taxpayers of which we are unfortunately responsible for in both cases.

  9. Elizabeth, an essay? A Trilogy more like, similar to Churchill’s Memoirs. It would be long, it would be hard. but it would be worth it.

  10. Impressed by Kevin Dwyer’s soapbox letter to the editor today. He has struggled with public speaking at mayoral forums – that’s not a criticism. Through his well wrought letter we know his heart is exactly in the right place where the current council is concerned. Well done.

    And the letter of Bernard Esquilant, a good colleague from our Hands off Harrop days, also of fine value.

  11. CYCLING @Dunedin

    Dear Riccardo…
    Cool, calm, collected – and bloody intelligent, from JimmyJones at ODT Online:

    • Bicycle Statistics

      Submitted by JimmyJones on Tue, 24/09/2013 – 9:27pm

      Jimmy tells it as it is.

      – Figures from the last census show that for Dunedin, 1.9% of commuters travel by bicycle.
      – Bicycle usage shows a falling trend from 1991 when 3.3% used bicycles. Bus use has also been decreasing (down to 3.5%).

      Against this we have these 2 goals imbedded in this Transport Strategy.

      The percentage of Dunedin Census who cycle walk or take a bus to work school or study, doubles in 10 years, from 16% at the 2006 census to 30% by 2024. Why?

      The total amount spent on transport fuel in Dunedin as a proportion of Dunedin’s GDP, will have decreased by 10% by 2024. Why?

      So against the recorded data trends of commuter travel by buses and cycles we have these two goals of the transportation strategy.

      They simply fly in the face of face of 20 years of these trends. The strategy actually fabricates reasons to justify the goals. To meet these unjustified goals the planners reconfigure the transport system to accommodate a falling trend in an attempt to reverse this trend.

      Why do they do this? If you read the detail of the Transportation Strategy an essential argument is based upon the use of fossil fuels and the desire to ‘decarbonise’ the city.

      It is straight out of Agenda 21. This binds governments around the world to the United Nation’s plan for controlling the way we live, eat, learn, move and communicate – all under the noble banner of ‘saving the planet’. If fully implemented, Agenda 21 would have the government involved in every aspect of life of every human on earth.

      It has little to do with what people in Dunedin want so much as what is promulgated in the goals and objectives of this suite of ‘Strategies’ being foisted upon us by the so called strategists employed by the DCC and paid for by us.

      They are predicated upon reducing the use of fuel and it will cost us a bundle when we are already mortgaged to the hilt.

      • John P.Evans, council nominee

        It’s quite simple really, the left who will drive and have us walk, who will impoverish us and be first to the free feed trough at Bellamys or the Dunedin trough, are far better organised than real people.

        All of the surveys sent to me as a council nominee are sent by the left, created by the council and other left wing organisations like

        If you want reasoned and reasonable management of your city then YOU have to organise the speaking events, the surveys, the advertising in the ODT etc and also combat the continuous propaganda from the council about how they have found more unlost dogs than last year, have had far more applications for liquor licences, many more applications for a new wall on your garage, a great deal of necessary work on cycle lanes, and the council have advised that they have been lenient on parking offences? (despite my request for anyone to advise they had been forgiven their ticket as there are supposed to be over 11,000 forgiven parking tickets last year no-one has come forward ! ) Over 20,000 tickets (given 5-day weeks that’s 80 tickets per day and 80 pissed off customers per day you have alienated) and finally unfortunately more middle executive cups of coffee in lower Stuart St.

        Apart from on this site there is no critical analysis of the performance of the STAFF.

        550,000 hits on trademe
        400 credit cards

        Purchase of land by Delta, an electricity provider (incidentally not subdivided land, but empty paddocks were bought!!!)

        Involvement by the directors of DCHL businesses in business transactions to their personal benefit.

        Involvement of the DCC in interest rate swaps, about as smart as foreign currency loans were for farmers some years ago.

        Time wasted on providing LIM reports and other important information for business Dunedin.

        Unlet DCC properties.

        Staff having holidays at contractors’ expense.

        And of course much more that might come out now that the gloves are off.

        • @John P.Evans, council nominee
          September 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm

          John said “(despite my request for anyone to advise they had been forgiven their ticket as there are supposed to be over 11,000 forgiven parking tickets last year no-one has come forward ! )”

          John. This part is really quite simple – a bit like the certain religious divorce procedures – the parking wardens says three times (facing the City Hall of course) “I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you”. He does these four times a day, the first at 9:00 a.m. and no less than 20 times, the second at noon similarly, the third at 3:00 p.m., and the fourth just before he leaves for home. I’m sad to inform you but no one will come forward as you fervently but erroneously hope for the simple reason that they are not told of this munificence bestowed upon them by their humble servant.

          As for your remaining concerns I cannot possibly comment. This is because I am a fervent and dedicated trougher myself and unfortunately, often seen in Lower Stuart Street.

  12. Russell Garbutt

    Not many councillors appeared to have read the draft transport strategy before the meeting.
    I Beg your pardon??!!!!!! If this is true what the hell were they voting on? Why in hell were they voting at all?
    Bev of Russandbev for the very first time

    • Hi Bev of Russandbev for the very first time ;) – astounding yes, but unsurprisingly typical – that’s how we ARRIVED at our greatest ASSET, the stadium. The councillors, this term and last, are/were extremely polished at failing to read and comprehend reports, advice, facts and learned opinions on behalf of their very constituents. It’s spelt, m-o-r-o-n-s.

  13. I was at a gathering this afternoon and in conversation in a group of five men plus myself, it was revealed that they had all voted and posted their ballots. All had voted for Lee Vandervis Mayor and number 1 for council.
    Is that freakish or indicative? I wonder.

    • Calvin
      Are in election mode? – if so can you advise what the going rate for chocolate fish rewards is for that activity is these days – just askin’

  14. Peter

    Sometimes you have to be careful to pick a mood, or a trend, based on your subjective sample. People probably tend to hang out with like-minded people. Who would really know how Mr and Mrs Voter are going to vote out in South Dunedin or Opoho or wherever? A properly conducted poll would tell us more precisely. I think this usually happens a week or two out from the election, from memory. Most polls get it right.

  15. I guess at the end of the day the only poll that counts is the one that does count. If you know what I mean. Not sure I do.

  16. Copied from another thread:

    Submitted on 2013/09/26 at 7:15 am

    1. Vote
    2. Don’t put a number beside a candidate you DON’T want – your vote may be transferred to them. Last elections Jinty shot right in – she wasn’t many voters’ 1st preference and well down the list after the first iteration but climbed rapidly up to a seat after votes were transferred. This info is available on the DCC’s website.

    {DCC website — electoral information. -Eds}

    • peter

      It beats me why people would vote for people they don’t really want that much….but they do.Also why would you vote for a whole ticket in a local body election? lt is highly unlikely all of them are super duper people.

    • Mike

      I disagree – you rank ALL your votes, if you think that Jinty (or any candidate) is the absolute worst then rank her last – but compare her with EVERY other candidate, if there’s someone you think would be even worse (like say Hudson) then rank her just a little bit higher.

      You do this even if your #1 choice is someone who’s likely to get elected (like Lee) because if Lee gets more than enough votes to get elected small portions of your vote will be transferred to other candidates

      (I’m not sure what happens if you don’t rank enough candidates in this case – it may be that other voters for Lee will get your fraction of the excess vote passed on to their choices – another reason to make your own)

      I agree that ranking 40 choices is hard and maybe a bit silly – but it’s only once every three years, you have weeks to do it, and its actually a really important civic function, one of the few you actually get to perform yourself – wimping out because it’s “too hard” is not really an option

      • STV Voter Education

        Do I have to rank everyone?
        No. Your vote is still valid even if you only rank some candidates. However, read on.

        Council Elections: STV Q&A – see Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgelar

        Comment at this blog post:
        Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Hilary Stace, 2 months ago

        I don’t think it is a good idea to rank everyone. There are some candidates I don’t want at all so not ranking them means they don’t even get considered.

        They do still get considered, but based only on the votes of other people. Leaving people un-ranked means that, once the people you have ranked have been dealt with (either by being elected or by being excluded), you just have no more influence over the election. You consider the remaining people equally good.

        If there are some candidates you “don’t want at all”, then you should rank everyone else above them. You really really should. I would not make this claim without being absolutely certain.

        Leaving people unranked will never help anyone you rank. If there is someone you really do not want to see elected, ranking everyone else above them is the best [way] to make sure they aren’t. There are no negatives to this strategy, but if you get down to the last two candidates for the last position and one is someone you “don’t want at all”, and the other is someone you merely don’t want, your failure to rank Don’t Want over Don’tWant AtAll means Don’tWant AtAll is more likely to be elected.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Wouldn’t it be great if there were anti-votes? In STV that would be 1, 2, 3 etc for ones you want very much down to yeah-OK, and -1, -2, -3 ranking from, NO-NO-NEVER-CORRUPT-BASTARD down to waste-of-space. For FPP it would be tick for yes, x for no.
          Both ways, the againsts would count against the fors.
          Perhaps there would have to be a limit on veto-votes so that the ones that get elected aren’t the yeah-no-whatever mediocrities that nobody can think of anything particularly bad or good about.

        • Mike

          I was just using Jinty as an example because she was used in the post I was replying to.

          Graeme makes my point for me – if you leave people unranked you in effect say you rank them equally (or equally bad) and let others choose between them – your vote, or some portion will go unused.

          Under STV you get one vote, but it can get split between many candidates if you choose candidates that get more votes than they need to be elected (which is all people who are elected except for the last one during counting) – so you can use whatever fraction of your vote is left to choose between the lesser of two evils.

          Again ask yourself who would you rather have on the council: Jinty or Hudson? Imagine that during counting they were the last two standing – what’s left of your vote (and everyone’s vote) still in play – now repeat that for any other pair of candidates

          More importantly – would you choose Bev or Weatherall? remember the last election – have a look at Jame’s analysis of the vote counting in the last election – look at the top line it starts out at about 2730 votes and eventually dips to around 2530 votes it represents the number of votes required to elect a candidate at each round – notice how it drops as counting progresses – mostly those are votes, or fractions of votes that were either discarded because the voter didn’t rank enough candidates or had been passed to candidates who aren’t elected yet. At the end Bev is holding all those votes except for the votes (or fractions) of those who neglected to rank enough.

          Suppose you had simply ranked Lee #1 because you knew he would be elected and had not ranked anyone else – Lee initially got 3500 votes more than enough to get elected , he collected more as other candidates dropped out during counting, in the end it only took ~2500 votes to get elected – Lee kept 2500/3500 of each one of those votes (~2/3) the other 1/3 of each vote was passed to someone else, you only got a choice of who if you had chosen a second candidate, I’m sure Bev caught a lot of them (you can see that at the start of counting) but of you didn’t specify a #2 your 1/3 of a vote may not have gone to Bev, she lost by 43 votes – 120 1/3 votes.

          Note: At the last round of counting in that election there were 2578 “non-transferable votes” – votes where people had not ranked enough candidates – about 1 in 12 of the votes in that election

          So please rank as many as you can, it can make a difference beyond the first or even fourth candidate you choose

  17. Hmmm, was Cr Wilson (referred to in the post at top of thread) not properly aware that proper consultation had not happened with key stakeholders, perhaps.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 30 Sep 2013
    AA upset it was not consulted over lane
    By Debbie Porteous
    AA Otago has grave concerns about a separated cycle lane on State Highway 1 through central Dunedin and is disappointed at a lack on involvement in developing the proposal.
    ”In our view, heavy trucks and cyclists don’t mix well,” AA Otago district council member Hudson Biggs said. “In our view, the arterial routes on alternative roads should be investigated.”
    The proposal has been developed by a working party led by the New Zealand Transport Agency and including Dunedin City Council staff and cycle advocacy group Spokes. The aim is to improve cycle safety over the long term on the two one-way roads, following cyclist deaths.
    Mr Biggs said AA Otago represented 33,000 members. ”We are disappointed the NZTA has had little contact with us on developing the proposals and we’re also concerned, given the ageing population of Dunedin, that many people are becoming dependent on their cars, and the loss of car parks in that critical area, particularly around the hospital, is of serious concern to us.”
    Its primary concern, however, was about having more cyclists on the same roads as heavy trucks.
    Read more

    • Now an opinion by one of the loud-voiced minority cycle lane advocates. Pot. Kettle. Mild ODT editorial given a limp-wristed shake.

      Robert Thompson, of Spokes Dunedin, says Dunedin’s transportation system is being held hostage and unbalanced by a minority voice that claims to represent all business interests.

      ### ODT Online Mon, 30 Sep 2013
      City’s transportation system hijacked
      By Robert Thomspon
      OPINION Some people’s vision of Dunedin is as a sewer through which to flush freight and traffic as quickly as possible. The recent editorial ”Cars, trucks, and bikes in Dunedin” (19.9.13) claims ”every time a truck has to stop or every failure to improve the road to the port disadvantages business”. Trucks have to stop because of traffic signals; traffic signals exist because of traffic; traffic exists because we have a city with people in it, the exceedingly vast majority of whom are not on their way to the port. The editorial’s implication seems to be that Dunedin gets in the way of trucks going to the port and that the author would be much happier if Dunedin did not exist. Such extremist views are anti-Dunedin, anti-people, and ultimately, anti-business.
      Read more

  18. I just wonder if Robert Thompson will still have the same urgent feelings about cycling when he’s 73? I think that one of the strongest aspects that come through on all of this, is the ‘youthfulness’ of the proponents. When the joints firm up (as they inevitably do) and cycling and walking are no longer an option, what then? Are we to just opt out and stay indoors? I know these people are good at heart , it’s just that they perhaps haven’t lived long enough. Sadly, some of them won’t either, because of their dedicated resolve to compete with the highway traffic. But at the end of the day it is up to the elected Mayor and councillors to decide in the best interests of the citizens as a whole. To date, on this Transport Strategy issue they have not done that. It is definitely a case of a very small ‘tail wagging the dog’.

  19. John P.Evans, council nominee

    In a recent post ( which I cannot find), otherwise I would attach this reply to it, I implied that a candidate for council had overseen employment of Michael Swann, as chairman of the DHB.

    I have studied this issue and it appears that I was incorrect.

    In fact Richard Thomson as chairman was responsible for Swann’s prosecution and can in no way be held responsible for ignoring any warnings as at the time Swann was employed, Thomson was not on the board.

    I am making this statement as it is real accountability that I want not a witch hunt.

    {The offending earlier comments have been removed. I have also removed one of my own in reply that was offending and presumptive. -Elizabeth}

  20. Well done John Evans. Admitting mistakes and repairing damage promptly is one of the qualities I’m looking for. A forlorn hope that the next council will be predominantly made up of people with that much honesty, but one is better than none.

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