Alert: Dunedin voters —Mayors gain more powers

Following the 2013 local body elections . . .

Is this why Greater Debt Dunedin’s campaigning so hard, with help from ‘friends’? Read on.

Firstly, ‘overthinking’ an image, and an opinion piece from the Nelson Mail (June 2013). Followed by ‘Friday news’ from New Zealand Herald, reproduced in Saturday’s Otago Daily Times (page 3). Lastly, importantly, you’re urged to VOTE – a plea appearing in the ODT, indicating 9 October is the last date by which to safely post your completed voting papers.

Emperors new clothes [] re-imaged 1VOTE carefully oh so carefully, please


### Last updated 13:39 12/06/2013
New accountability for mayors
By Keith Marshall
OPINION New law changes passed at the end of last year created some major changes ahead for local government. One of the most important changes, in my view, arises from legally and politically empowering mayors to do the job we expect of them. And, along with that legal empowerment comes some genuine public accountability to perform.
After the coming election, mayors nationwide gain new powers. A mayor will be able to legally appoint their own deputy mayor, appoint all committee chairs and determine the structure of council committees, including which elected councillors are appointed on to those. The legal power to decide their own political teams, structures and processes means that mayors will gain a huge level of political control over councils that they currently do not legally have.
Adding to this direct political control, mayors from the next election onward will also legally be personally responsible for driving the setting of council plans and budgets. This, alone, is a huge change.

Indeed, it may be surprising to learn that currently mayors around the country have no real substantive legal powers – largely the current legal role is one of a “first citizen” and in chairing meetings of the elected council.
Mayors, currently, do not have the legal authority to choose their own political teams nor structures, they do not determine council agendas and nor do they drive council budgets or plans. Right now, those decisions are made by the whole of the elected council and in those decisions, as in all others, mayors have just one vote at the council table, the same as all councillors.
In some ways being a mayor under the current law is a potentially thankless task – one in which they are the public face of the council, and get to be “blamed” for any and all decisions made by the elected council whether or not they personally supported or voted against those decisions.
On the other hand, the current situation also makes it very difficult for us voters to hold our current mayors, and councillors, individually accountable for the decision-making of the whole of the elected council (and the subject of a future column).

In the future, just what and how issues are dealt with will be determined by the mayors themselves; maybe in conjunction with their councillor supporters, or perhaps sometimes even just off their own cognisance.

All decisions of the council will be directly influenced by the mayor through the exercise of their new powers. This is very real political power never before seen in local government in New Zealand – something much more akin to the “presidential” type of mayor as seen in the United States.
Accordingly, at the next council elections, whoever we elect as mayors of Tasman District Council and Nelson City Council will have the legal ability to carry out any election promises they may have made. Any mayoral candidate can set out a vision for us and, unlike at any other time in the past, be in a position to bring that vision into reality if they become mayor. This is a new legal environment for local government.

So what? Well, for one thing, the new law change means that mayors (and their councillor supporters who the mayor will appoint to key roles) will now be more obviously accountable for all decisions. Along with the ability/responsibility to make things happen (via legal powers) goes some true accountability.
Read more

● Keith Marshall is a company director and the former Nelson City Council chief executive. Previously, he has owned Thrifty Rental Cars NZ, managed the last nationwide health reforms and participated in the NZ-China FTA negotiations.


### 1:35 PM Friday Sep 27, 2013
Mayors given extra powers
By Rebecca Quilliam
Mayors throughout the country will become more powerful under new law changes set to come into action after October’s local elections. The changes will allow mayors to appoint their own deputies, set the structure of committees and appoint committee chairpeople.
Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said the changes had the potential to bring real benefits. It enabled new councils to “hit the ground running” and for councillors to work more effectively together, Mr Yule said.

Mayors would become responsible for driving the set up of major plans and budgets, which included long-term and annual plans.

They would also be more accountable for their decisions, Mr Yule said.
The law changes bring all the country’s councils in line with the powers already granted to the Auckland Mayor under the Super City process. The new powers would encourage cross-council collaboration because, in order to use them, a mayor needed the majority support of councillors, he said.
Voting papers for city, district and regional councils have now been sent out. These must be returned posted or hand-delivered in time to reach the relevant electoral officer by noon on October 12. APNZ
NZH Link


Participation in electoral process urged (ODT 18.9.13)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image via – ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ re-spun by Whatifdunedin


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, What stadium

57 responses to “Alert: Dunedin voters —Mayors gain more powers

  1. In the Dunedin Television mayoral forum the current mayor Dave Cull accused me and/or current councillors of lying.

    This was in a discussion about his ‘Greater Dunedin’ group that selects ‘the best’ candidates, advertises as a group with a huge budget, campaign together and endorse each other – and Cull claims that after the election all Greater Dunedin councillors will be independent.

    The evidence and a number of people disagree, including Lee Vandervis and other councillors.

    {Sentence deleted}.

    And mayors around the country have just been given these greater powers to appoint their own deputy plus all committee chairs.

    Should Dunedin have a mayor with these powers who accuses others of lying while he denies what is obvious?

    “If it quacks like a party…” (see link)

    {Moderated. Don’t get us into hot water. -Eds}

    • Pete George
      @September 29, 2013 at 9:09 am
      “– and Cull claims that after the election all Greater Dunedin councillors will be independent.”

      They were in disarray before the election and no doubt will be similarly arranged afterwards. Sadly we have lost the only hope (in the form of Mr Orders) that this city ever had of redemption. I doubt if anyone else would wish to take on this poisoned challis.

    • A number of people including councillors have claims that are different to what Cull claims.

      Rodney Bryant has confirmed to me that he talked on Radio Dunedin recently about Greater Dunedin councillors working together in council. Dave Cull Cull rang up sounding irate, said it was not true and hung up.

      Here’s the audio:

    • Pete George
      @September 29, 2013 at 9:09 am
      Pete says “In the Dunedin Television mayoral forum the current mayor Dave Cull accused me and/or current councillors of lying.
      This was in a discussion about his ‘Greater Dunedin’ group etc…..”

      I have just listened to that clip. I think that Dave Cull protests too much. He is in denial and is plainly putting together a cabal. We are all aware these days that politicians have become very economical about the veracity of their statements. There has been a lot of contradiction. In the end though, it would be naïve indeed for anyone to believe that such a grouping would be not used to exclude the views of others outside such a group. Why else would they form it? Incidentally I have noticed certain agenda driven commonalities exhibited that are disturbing. This gives the lie, at least to me, that such a cabal would be of such a short duration and have no other purpose.

      • Cull’s co-mayors with whom he associates, as well as Local Government NZ, will have brought him fully up to speed, but add in Anderson Lloyd – regarding what powers he’s due if re-elected as mayor.

        Cull’s cabal and his financial backers hiding in the wings (not so hidden) will also be most aware – another three-year term to hammer pet projects and make irreversible their moral turpitude (joke) wrt asset sales, greening, climate change, carless city centre, ‘two-ing’ the one way system, letting developers have a good crack at inner city suburbs heretofore regarded as some of our best heritage areas (hey, call it economic development while we force people out of their nearly affordable existing homes as property speculation goes rife), etc etc. Privatisation of water? All up, it’s going to get highly UGLY. They’re going to get some wins – try to vote for balance and diversity on council, it’s needed now more than ever.

        Meanwhile Syd and friends on the Taieri have ‘Wanaka’ to build here, under our noses. Forget the sprawl and imposition of infrastructure costs… it’s freedom of private property rights. Slight clash with protection of high class soils, and risk management for flood plains, c’est la vie…

        • Elizabeth
          @September 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm
          You say “Cull’s co-mayors with whom he associates, as well as Local Government NZ, will have brought him fully up to speed, but add in Anderson Lloyd – regarding what powers he’s due if re-elected as mayor…..’

          Of course they will have done that. As for the rest of your observations …sadly Elizabeth you have pretty well covered it……and “make irreversible their moral turpitude’ completes that grim picture.
          But our traditional perceptions of local government and how it should operate will by then be overwhelmed.


        • Yes the briefing to Cull will have set him thinking/strategising for months now.
          Notice I didn’t mention the stadium Mick, that Cull-exercise is far from over.

  2. Peter

    It is pretty arrogant for Greater Dunedin to claim it only chooses the ‘best quality’ candidates and thereby, for our good, handpicks them for us to choose from. I’m sure many people would react badly to this.
    The example I recently gave of GD candidate, Ali Copeman, having an events business called AKB (Ali Knows Best) seems disturbingly indicative of this superior attitude.
    I know of at least two independent candidates – Hillary Calvert and Francisco Hernandez- who were approached by GD, but decided to run as independents. Maybe there were more?
    Aaron Hawkins, to his credit, decided to run under a party banner because, as he stated at the Mayoral debates, people are clearer of his values and policy direction.
    I personally feel more comfortable with candidates – whether they are from the right or left – who are upfront about they are on about. Not for me this wishy washy approach which speaks of political opportunism and ongoing game playing on council.

    • “I know of at least two independent candidates – Hilary Calvert and Francisco Hernandez- who were approached by GD…”

      Hilary mentioned that on the Dunedin Television forum – “I was asked to stand for you”, Cull said she wasn’t, Hilary reaffirmed “Yes I was” and Cull said again that she wasn’t (from memory, it’s not clear what Cull said on the audio I have).

      Is Cull lying here? Or does someone else decide who to ask to stand for GD without telling Cull?

      • Mr Cull may be uninformed or misinformed – but I can’t say he is misrepresenting the truth*. I recorded the Dunedin TV programme. This clip was odd indeed. I tend to believe Hilary Calvert, it’s not something you make up. Maybe Kate asked (ex practising lawyer to ex practising lawyer?). I know that in 2006/7 she asked me to think about joining.

        *The word ‘lying’ is expensive. It would be strong and possibly actionable opinion for me to rely on hearsay. But yes, ah-ha, there’s a tooth fairy.

  3. amanda

    I think you have hit the nail on the head there. It is almost insulting that GD think they can tell us they are a group campaigning together, but yet at the same time they are not a ‘group’. They want it both ways. Political opportunism, and with this lack of transparency and common respect we can expect this to continue if they get elected. They need to have a bit of reality shown to them at the ballot box.

    (selection) More on voting and council decision making from Nelson Mail columnist Keith Marshall:

    Watch your vote because it counts (15.4.13)
    This year when you vote, unlike at any other time in the past, you will be giving the newly elected mayor a mandate to do exactly what they promise to do. So, make sure you know exactly what promises you are voting for because this time around, it really matters.

    Democracy is just fine in principle (21.5.13)

    Balance around the council table (29.5.13)

    Making ‘right’ decisions no easy task (26.6.13)

    Not all crystal clear at council table (10.7.13)

    ● “Mr Marshall, a sometimes controversial but formidably smart council chief executive from 2008 to 2012, has a very successful business background, sits on several boards, does consultancy work, and is currently acting deputy director of the Human Rights Commission. He is also a TDC [Tasman District Council] ratepayer.”

    And no, I doubt he wants Paul Orders’ old job.

  5. Ray

    Let’s get real here! Mayor Cull has had a taste of the power and does not want to relinquish it to people who actually may well do a far better job for THE CITY and not for certain privileged people who want their agenda to be paid for by an older and older low income electorate.

  6. All the more reason to vote the Vandervis / Calvert ticket. For a good rough but very smart guy vote Doug Hall for council. He will chew ‘walrus’ up and spit him out when it comes to the numbers on Finance and Strategy matters. Any others who aren’t GD as an insurance. Face it, they are going to be there, it is just a matter of keeping them under control. The city needs this.

  7. Calvin Oaten
    @September 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm
    Calvin you say “ ….vote Doug Hall for council. He will chew ‘walrus’ up and spit him out when it comes to the numbers on Finance and Strategy matters. Any others who aren’t GD as an insurance. Face it, they are going to be there, it is just a matter of keeping them under control. The city needs this”.

    Truly Doug is a very smart man as anyone who has ever worked with him knows. Such people are badly needed on this council. There are others there like Nigel Harwood for example who know the ropes, are smart, forceful and incisive. They could ‘make a difference’. They would quickly size up these ‘pretenders’ who full of hubris and chasing the rainbows of their imagination. We need such people to put things on a sound economic footing and in whom we can have confidence for the future. Chewing the walrus would be a bonus.

    • Calvin, Mick – agree Doug Hall (Independent) and Nigel Harwood (Independent) are men with wits, knowledge and expertise (did I say more than average commonsense) to make GD wince and wilt.

      Good company for Lee Vandervis (Independent) and Hilary Calvert.

      Who else, is the general and exact question. Roll in the troops.

      John P. Evans [aka Good ‘Evans] your candidate statement at the DCC website does not help your case – have you got something that says who and what you are and what you stand for ???!!! I see your ad in ODT has alignment with Vandervis and Calvert – tell us more. Quick.

      • John P.Evans, council nominee

        I am standing for council, becUse I believe that the fundamental administration of Dunedin is geared towards supporting the activities of staff and businesses owned by the DCC. The result is that any business which may appear to or would impact upon city owned businesses is deterred from commencing and if commenced barriers are placed on their growth, the economic development unit is hamstrung by the other DCC departments and the promotion of Dunedin has been a complete failure except for DCC owned businesses. There is little support and concentration on Dunedin-owned businesses like Invermay and Hillside until it is too late, if the DCC do not want an international hotel unless it is part of a DCC inspired project like the Post Office then they will make it difficult for private enterprise.

        As to my track record.

        Publicly, I took Chisholm Park from a rough golf course in Dunedin to the position of being sufficiently recognised to hold the national amateur, I ran professional events and when the sponsors pulled out I sponsored the events myself and paid out ALL prize money. I designed and supervised construction at no charge and no extra budgetary costs for the DCC.

        All promotional costs for the course were arranged or paid for by me including a 6-hour television programme on TV1 which featured two British open champions, including Sir Bob Charles. I was the TV commentator on golf for twenty years covering two world events, the Masters, British Open etc.
        Whilst there I created an entity that had 95% of the import licence to import golf balls for two years and I controlled the imported ball market, the petrol of the golf business, my company exported to 7 countries.

        Since selling my golf business in 1999, I have bought a 100 acre plot in Central Otago and organised a ten year consent to build a $50 million processing winery. I have sold NZ wines into Great Britain and Ireland and arranged the buyout of the New Zealand whisky company.

        I am currently a consultant to a number of golf courses and I am arranging the supply of a large quantity of second grade cherries to Thailand.

        Up until you asked I saw no reason to blow my own trumpet, but you asked.

        I am interested in better administration and my first brief after leaving university was to supervise the US contractor’s purchasing who was converting Melbourne to natural gas. I was trained in operations research.

        I discovered defalcation and was asked to supervise the operation in Sydney when the contractor was appointed.

        My take on the DCC is that it is a poorly managed operation and from my own research the areas in which I have expertise, will be extremely valuable.

        Marketing, deal making, balance sheet reading, understanding profit and loss, negotiating reductions in bank debt. All of those form a natural part of my daily life.

        I am happy to answer any questions either here or on my email.

        • John, thanks for setting that out! It all helps the voters and their candidate comparisons. People that heard you speak at the Opoho candidates’ forum were impressed but felt you undersold at DCC website :)

        • John P.Evans, council nominee

          Elizabeth, the limitation on words required meant that any piece placed would be a series of cliches and platitudes, almost all of the candidates say similar things. I do not believe in doing things in a Lemming like way, I believe in innovation, the green party abhor wind turbines, i like the look of them, they are far more attractive than all the dreadful mishmash of signs stuck up in a higgledy piggledy manner all over town, so i have no signs and the greens have them! All of the surveys are from the left many about no oil, yet all of the candidates turn up at meetings in a car!

          Either my no ads on streets method will have me elected or the People will vote for the sameness of the incumbents, that is just the way of the democratic process.

          And just for a bombshell, the candidates that have impressed me the most when all turned up and there were few actual voters to impress were:

          Malcolm Dixon, honest, trustworthy, grounded and pro jobs and business, sufficiently experienced with DCC mismanagement to be very effective.

          Kevin Neill, a most impressive young man and a clear thinker, a future mayor.

          Doug Hall, a very successful, experienced businessman with a unique ability to see through the propaganda and the guts to take on city hall and more importantly – win for the people.

          Lee Vandervis, has a track record of being against poor spending choices, his frustration is evident and he requires some clear thinkers to support him against the loonies and indirect beneficiaries of largesse.

          Hilary Calvert, has continuously been on message about council debt and has the educational background to understand a pig in a poke.

          Lindsay Harrison, understated, solid and behind business and job growth.

          Neville Peat, an experienced director and with his whole being behind Dunedin, we may not agree on all disciplines but I believe he would be a far better manager of your rates than some of the other nominees.

          I have voted for all these nominees.

      • Elizabeth
        At the very least, they would ask very good questions, demand proper answers and not tolerate obfuscation. It would make a change.

  8. Jock strap

    Calvin. There are 16 million reasons why anybody could chew Walrus up on financial matters.

  9. Nigel Harwood agreed. Malcolm Dixon seems to have survived in business following his dad. Would have ’empathy’ with fellow businessmen. Our Pete has made some good comments here, I would see as a councillor rather than the mayor. After that, who knows? I am just so nervous about the way the GD group seem to be shaping, and with the most recent signs from this term it disturbs me greatly.

  10. Peter

    Malcolm Dixon is a very decent, warm and friendly man with a common sense approach to things in general. We were customers of his business at one time and I periodically talk to Malcolm downtown when I bump into him. I would personally feel comfortable voting for him.

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    On the GD ticket, though I’d missed the first minute or so of the local TV program so didn’t know at the time, Irene Mosley impressed me. Straight to the point, seemed above-average informed, conversant with procedures and issues, not woolly-wishful, strong focus on debt and need for sticking to the essentials.

    • No votes from me for any GdebtD types.

    • Mike

      Hype: her candidate profile on says she doesn’t actually live in the ward she’s seeking to represent, that’s a black mark right there for me

    • Mike

      But then neither does Hudson, or Peter George, or Kevin Dwyer

      • I live just outside the boundary. I thought Andrew Noone would hold his place easily and is a good representative for the Waikouaiti/Chalmers ward, and in particular what I want to do has a whole of city emphasis so it made sense to stand for the Central Ward.

        While I have a strong business background and see finances and economic development as important one of the most important roles will be holding to account, and I’ve already started on that. I’m not afraid to mix it and challenge what I think is not right, and there’s plenty of that.

        • Mike

          Yes but if you win, Hudson wins, and Dwyer wins we end up having 4 councillors on council from a district that only has the population for one councillor – that hardly seems fair at all

        • No less fair than me being segmented in a one councillor ward when I want to be able to represent the whole city, which is what I’ll do if elected. I don’t see what difference it makes where in the city I live. There’s no guarantee the eleven Central Ward councillors will be geographically spread across the ward.

        • Mike

          I disagree, in the situation I outline I’d get 8/11 the representation I ought to and you would get 4 times – you’d have ~5.5 times the representation I would – you said above you have a great representative you approve of I don’t see how that’s “no less fair” than you getting 5-6 times the representation I get.

          Remember it’s STV – we all get a SINGLE transferable vote – you’re shouldn’t be worth so much more than mine.

          I suspect what you really feel unfair about is that you don’t get the same number of choices that we do – so push the council to have your ward join the central ward – and wait for the screams when no one north of Mt Cargill gets elected.

          The real problem is that the council feels that rural parts of Dunedin (ie not Port Chalmers or Ravensbourne) north of Dunedin need some representation, but their population is too small to be a full ward – I understand the need for representation, it is a unique community with its own needs, but as a result they sacrifice Port/etc – if you have a problem you need to push the council into changing this – or find someone who will replace Noone who represents your community better – it may be that a better thing to do is to make a 1 candidate Taieri ward and a 2 candidate rural ward

        • This election we have to work with what we have. I’m allowed to stand in Central Ward because my interests are all-of-city so that’s what I chose to do, I see that as the best way to achieve what I want. I’ve lived in the Central Ward three times as long as I have lived just across the boundary. Dunedin is Dunedin to me.

          I think I can represent the Central Ward as well as anyone else – in fact I think I can do it better.

          And you can choose to vote as you wish.

        • Mike

          I guess I consider that hubris, and rather anti-democratic – I’m sure Hudson makes a similar justification

        • I don’t see how it’s anti-democratic, it’s the system we have, and people can vote according to their preferences. You still have your vote (if you are in Central Ward), which is more than what I get, I don’t get to vote at all for councillors. That’s not anti-democratic, it’s just how things worked out this election.

        • Mike

          The only reason you don’t have a vote in your ward is because you chose to stand in my ward rather than your own

        • That’s not the only reason. I could have chosen not to stand. Someone else could have chosen to stand in the ward. You could have chosen to stand in the ward.

          I chose to stand in our city. I have a lot more to do with the Central Ward than I do with Port Chalmers, Waitati or Waikouaiti, and have done for a long time. Almost everything I have to do with work, community and governance is in the Central Ward.

        • Mike

          I don’t really think that you can say that because I DIDN’T stand in your ward is a particularly good justification as to why you should stand in my ward.

          Really though you’re saying that you’re running in this ward because not getting your shot at democracy because only one guy chose to stand in your ward and as a result you’re not getting a vote – but you can’t have known that was going to happen when you put your candidacy in for my ward, so I don’t buy that, it sounds more like post-hoc justification – I think it’s more likely you decided you couldn’t beat Noone and since there were a bunch of people retiring in the central ward you took an opportunistic chance

        • That of course, standing in Central Ward, is Pete George’s legal right. Some of us desperately wanted alternative candidates to those who grace the council table presently. Some of us wanted balance and variety. Can’t shoot the man for standing for both the mayoralty and the council, glad he’s giving it a go and staying connected!! When so many of us don’t fancy local government or standing at this time.

        • It’s not post hoc justification, it’s how it happened. I’m happy with Andrew Noone and want to diversify the Central Ward. Of course I considered where I might stand a better chance, that’s what you do if you want to achieve anything in politics. But it happens to suit my aim to represent as many as possible as well. I don’t see how any other Central Ward candidate has any better claim than me to represent.

          One of my major aims has been to network and build relationships and knowledge, the same reason I stood in the general election (except knowing then I had a Lotto’s chance). So the campaign has already been very successful. I now know the next term mayor and a number of the next term councillors much better than I did, except for myself of course. And I have a much better knowledge of aspects of council that will be very useful.

  12. Surprised to see dodgy doug held so high.

  13. Hype O'Thermia

    (a) He gets things done instead of sitting around waffling.
    (b) Can you imagine him being courted by the Tartans? Can you imagine him being so flattered by their attention that he turns into a yes sir, how high sir councillor?

  14. Dodgy Doug? Not really, just practical and worldly wise. Think, ‘sand depletion’ at Middle Beach. Paul Hudson standing like King Canute wishing the sea away. Doug says, “get out of the way, I’ll do something now, instantly”. And he did. Not a committee in sight, not a resource consent written, not a consultation period, nothing, but good old fashioned commonsense and seeing the wood despite the trees. And Paul Hudson has the gall to say in his pleading for re-election about how he does things. In his dreams.

  15. Anonymous

    “Dodgy Doug”? You idiot.

    • Short memories around here or don’t know how he’s operated in the past?

      • This website wishes to avoid legal action. Comments are being monitored and moderated where needed in the heat of the electioneering period. Forewarned.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          It’s a sensible warning.
          However it doesn’t have to stifle the exchange of information and opinion. With careful phrasing, the use of metaphors, circumlocutions and so on e.g. Mr X reminds me of a safety pin (in other words, bent, crooked) especially when I think about the contract to buy/sell/build/demolish Yyzx.
          Probably someone will then ask “what’s that about Yyzx?” If they don’t get a friend to write and ask.
          Either a third person will respond to the question or you, the person who originally raised the matter, may then start off with, “:Well, the way I heard it – and this may be nothing but fanciful rumour of course – it was like this.”

  16. “Alert: Dunedin voters —Mayors gain more powers”
    So we should balance the mayor’s powers with more power for the people. I have made a major proposal to do this:

    One part of this proposal is to utilise existing forums like this to contribute to better dialogue, opinion making and measuring, and more effective lobbying of council.

  17. Peter

    I think, Pete, these forums are great for getting information out which is stymied by other organisations,and they can be useful in terms of forming opinions, but I think we need to be realistic about the ‘power’ they hold. The vast majority of people out there, I suspect, would never know where to look for blog sites or deal with them-either as contributors/readers. Hard to know exactly, but that’s what I suspect.
    Are they just a talk shop for the interested and/or involved? I know they carry some impact because the mainstream media do refer to them in their reports.

    • Peter, I think most people don’t have time to follow blogs unless they have a specific interest or fascination. I for one don’t bother with many of the leading blogs and prefer Twitter where it’s easier and faster to browse news and comment. In the same way I don’t use libraries much any more due to the power of the net and all round convenience. But I still enjoy a local daily newspaper and newsprint for ‘community’, and television by selective viewing. It’s all a bit of a fiction isn’t it – and to step away from the various forms of social media into real time meetings with others is far better if bubbles can stand to burst.

    • We simply don’t know how much power it could have because it’s never been tried comprehensively. I do know from experience you can have some power – I have influenced news in Auckland, I have influenced legislation in Wellington, by understanding how to work online.

      Yes, it is only a small number of people involved but any publicity can potentially be powerful publicity, especially when shining a light on what is happening and is not otherwise revealed. I’ve influenced how this mayoral campaign has transpired.

      And I’ve learnt that the quicker you can address something the more chance of success in influencing it, changing the direction or boosting or stopping something. Small actions soon enough can be more effective than loud noises later.

  18. Peter

    I agree with your comments here. Though I’m not up with the play with Twitter or Facebook. I also like reading the print version of newspapers. Still easier on the eye.
    As for blogging, I’m not even really that aware of other sites, aside from this one and the ODT’s blog site.
    Meetings are good….if you can stand them! Not a great one for them, myself.I take my hat off to DCC councillors who can stand attending their own meetings. Unimaginable boredom.A hard way to make a quid… even if you are lazy (like some) and just sit there.

  19. Last night I studied form, this morning I posted my completed voting papers. Originally, I’d planned to leave voting until the last minute, handing my papers in at DCC before 12 October – but by last night I had enough info at my disposal (for the mayoralty race in particular) to do the deed.

    • A key to Dunedin’s future prosperity could lie buried beneath the seabed just 60km off the coast. But so, too, could the seeds of an environmental catastrophe. Reporter Chris Morris talks to Dunedin’s mayoral candidates about oil and gas.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 2 Oct 2013
      To drill or not to drill, that is the question
      By Chris Morris
      When a delegation from oil giant Shell visited Dunedin earlier this year, the debate over drilling erupted. The group was in town to talk to the city’s business leaders about their industry and their plans, but instead found themselves face-to-face with vocal protesters vowing to fight.
      Read more

  20. ### ODT Online Sat, 5 Oct 2013
    Local govt to be ‘squeezed in both directions’
    By Chris Morris
    New powers to be handed to New Zealand’s mayors are not what they seem, but could be part of a broader ”squeeze” on local government by the National-led Government, a Dunedin academic says. University of Otago political studies lecturer Associate Prof Janine Hayward told the Otago Daily Times the changes would do little to strengthen the hand of mayors when introduced after October 12.
    Read more

    On a mayor’s ability to work with the majority of councillors, or not, given the legislative changes… Assoc Prof Hayward says:

    ”You either have business as usual or you have the potential for a real problem.”
    The minister’s power to intervene had been strengthened by including a ”menu” of options in legislation signed off late last year. That included the power to request information from a council, appoint a Crown manager or a commission, or even call a fresh election.

    Things could get really interesting at DCC after the elections, with all that debt, greenwash and conflict about.

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