Pressuring Cull and his GD Party . . .

Full council voting figures here (via DCC website)

The local newspaper styles Cull’s return as mayor as a “crushing victory”.
This is the mayor who in the immediate past term continued to spend ratepayer dollars —sinking the council deeper in debt, failing to turn the city’s fortunes around. Cull led a council without ability to look rationally, prudently and conservatively at city finances. Lots of you brought him back. Cull fails to be transparent, lacks accountability, and often appears weak in adversity. If he can muster his Greater Dunedin ‘Party’ votes, expect more of same —however, with the return of Cr Lee Vandervis and timely arrival of new councillors Hilary Calvert and Doug Hall, Liability Cull better keep his helmet on.

Calvert Hall VandervisCrs Hilary Calvert, Doug Hall, Lee Vandervis

Dave Cull, helmet [odt.co.nz]ODT: Figures reveal Cull’s crushing victory
Dunedin mayor Dave Cull thrashed his nearest challenger by 12,000 votes, voting figures reveal. Because of the STV system, Dunedin’s voting figures are released later than other other authorities so the margin of Mr Cull’s victory was not immediately apparent. The figures now released show he polled 18,446 votes while his nearest challenger Hilary Calvert could manage only 6429. High-profile councillor Lee Vandervis was third with 5841 votes. Among the other challengers Andrew Whiley polled 2946 votes, Aaron Hawkins 2900, Pete George 779, Olivier Lequex 503 and Kevin Dwyer 217. Read more + Video

ODT: Voters endorse Southern mayors
Southern mayors have been told to keep up the good work by voters who have returned incumbents to office across much of the lower South Island.
In Dunedin, Mayor Dave Cull fended off a challenge from eight rivals, led by former Act New Zealand MP Hilary Calvert and followed by incumbent Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis. Mr Cull told the Otago Daily Times it was “really gratifying to get the confidence of the community reinforced”. Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: Dave Cull, detail [ODT files]

59 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Name, People, Politics, Project management, What stadium

59 responses to “Pressuring Cull and his GD Party . . .

  1. Mayors ready for new term
    Sunday Star Times
    Last updated 05:00 13/10/2013
    The mayors of New Zealand’s major cities are ready to get down to work after re-elections, upsets and sweeping victories. […] Down in Dunedin, Dave Cull saw off controversies over stadium debt and financial challenges to win another term as Dunedin City Council mayor.
    “It’s really gratifying that Dunedin people have retained confidence in me,” Cull said, acknowledging his first term as mayor had not been easy. We’ve had to confront all those financial challenges, made some savings, and consolidated debt repayment.”
    He inherits what may prove an equally challenging table of councillors, among them former Labour minister David Benson-Pope and former ACT MP Hilary Calvert.

    Benson-Pope said top of his list of priorities was for Dunedin to clean up its act. But he rejected the city’s stadium debt as an issue. “Everyone’s got debt, and we’ve got the best stadium in the country,” he said.

    Cull said: “David has a lot of experience, particularly in the resource consent area. He will bring some really useful skills to council.”
    Read more

    • ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 13/10/2013
      Minority rules in low voter turnout
      By Steve Kilgallon – Sunday Star Times
      Once again fewer than half of eligible New Zealanders bothered to vote in local elections, with turnout likely to match the lowest-ever effort in 2007.
      Online voting, a shorter voting window and forcing candidates to come clean about their political affiliations were all touted last night as ways to drag voter turnout up from a predicted final figure of 44 per cent.
      “Postal voting doesn’t seem to have worked but I really don’t think e-voting is the answer,” [Auckland mayor] Len Brown said. “There seems to be this perception that if we bring in e-voting, all of a sudden, everyone is going to fall over themselves to click the mouse and vote. But we still have this fundamental issue that nobody knows who their councillor is and what council does, and until we address that you can have any system you like – you can have compulsory voting even – but if people don’t know what the hell they are voting for, it’s pointless.”
      Read more

      • Russell Garbutt

        I don’t think that there is a silver bullet solution to this low ratepayer voting issue. And the results from a low poll lead to simply crazy conclusions. For example, despite Hamilton rejecting the former Council’s decision to remove fluoride from the water supply by 23,000 votes to 10,000, some minority spokesperson dingbat reckons that because about 11,000 people didn’t participate that it somehow means that the referendum results should be ignored,

        Len Brown may be right in Auckland is saying that the problem will not be fixed by on-line polls. These may in fact skew a result away from the wishes of those that don’t trust on-line transactions or are unfamiliar with working on-line.

        I’m also not sure that on-line voting is without risks of manipulation.

        Making voting compulsory won’t work as to a large degree making people vote for people they don’t know about or couldn’t care less about makes the whole process laughable.

        Until people actually realise that they CAN and should make a difference I believe that we will continue to see dropping poll participation.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “Down in Dunedin, Dave Cull saw off controversies over stadium debt and financial challenges to win another term as Dunedin City Council mayor.” Which demonstrates the value of keeping the real state of the finances in a real state of confusion – DVL? DVML? DCC? A loan, a grant, a “donation”, a payment in advance? Income? Income minus expenditure? Does that include loans, grants, foregoing rates and interest?

      So slowly has information been prised out, it’s no wonder that voters who aren’t compulsive rort-watchers “have retained confidence in” Mayor Cull and the Greater Debtmakers.

  2. Semper Fidelis

    It really is ‘all uphill’ for us all now. Sure there’s a couple of new faces that will offer a bit of mongrel to support the kind of discipline that Lee’s been fighting for, but the reality is: politics has little to do with reason and everything to do with numbers. That is: dogma will always triumph over reason because the ‘eco warriors’ dominate by more than 50% of the voting power. Cull only needed his own vote and six others to dictate on all issues – he gets that now and if any of his sycophants are not present he has Hawkins and Peat as de facto ‘flat earth’ thinkers who will pull him through when he wants to turn the city into a Mecca for the 25 or 30 cyclists who so passionately hate cars. The ODT refer to the result as a crushing victory for Cull. Sadly, they’ve got that analysis absolutely right. Equally, the result represents a crushing defeat for the hapless and captive ratepayer.

  3. Peter

    It is always easier for a candidate to get elected if they come across as ‘positive’. Actually doing something about really cutting debt is not positive in most voters’ eyes. It is killjoy territory and if the day of reckoning can be put off, that’s the ideal solution for an opportunistic politician. We live in the credit card age. This is a worldwide problem. Witness the pressure in the USA to raise their debt ceiling.
    Dave Cull’s victory is indeed a crushing one. Though overall his Greater Dunedin ticket didn’t achieve much. Mike Lord was a shoe-in irrespective of his GD credentials. Dave Cull will find this term much tougher and I wouldn’t be surprised if, by the end of this term, he has had enough. He is not getting any younger and the job has aged him.
    People like Lee Vandervis and Hilary Calvert can take heart in their high score as councillors. There are are a lot of voters who want them there.
    Who will be Cull’s successor on council? I know Lee has always yearned for the job, but it is quite clear that although he has a strong mandate to be in there as a councillor, doing what he does best, people do not want him as mayor. If Hilary does well on council and manages to shed her ACT baggage she could be a rising star. Who knows?

  4. “Mayor Cull has a ‘crushing victory’ “. So says the ODT. But what it doesn’t note is that there are three at least in Lee Vandervis, Hilary Calvert and Doug Hall, who collectively will be more than capable of tying Cull up in knots when it comes to the finances of the city. His ‘lap dog’ Thomson will be no match for them and life might just become a bit more precious to the GD crowd. I can just see Jinty’s lower lip quiver when she doesn’t get her point of view across so readily. Those three have made it quite plain that they want to turn things around and lock up the purse until the debt becomes more manageable. Doug Hall, of course, has his unfinished business with Mr Avery’s ‘cock up’ over the highway 88 deviation. He will be onto that person and his jurisdiction, so it will be entertaining if nothing else.
    The ORFU might just get a rude awakening too. Mr Burden might be ‘whistling in the wind’ for the sound system upgrade as well. So many hot potatoes to deal with before it will settle down. Who would want to be the new CEO?

  5. Peter

    Yes, Calvin, there a fair number of strong personalitiies in there with very definite opinions. Barely a seat warmer in sight. They will all be demanding their pound of flesh. No time for nanny duty for most of these people.

  6. ODT post election coverage:

    Editorial: A contentious council?
    Several of the old guard stood down this election. Neil Collins, Syd Brown, Colin Weatherall, Bill Acklin and Fliss Butcher did not seek re-election. Add in unsuccessful candidates Paul Hudson and Teresa Stevenson – with scores of years’ experience between them – and that makes seven new councillors out of 14.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/276886/contentious-council

    Mixture of views, and ‘huge potential’
    http://www.odt.co.nz/elections-2013/elections-2013/276918/mixture-views-and-huge-potential

    ‘People said I’d never get in, but I knew that wasn’t right’
    http://www.odt.co.nz/elections-2013/elections-2013/276929/people-said-id-never-get-i-knew-wasnt-right

    Cull sees challenge ahead
    http://www.odt.co.nz/elections-2013/elections-2013/276927/cull-sees-challenge-ahead

  7. Doug Hall might just find it a wee bit difficult to find the truth at first. But then, I believe he is smart enough to know when he is being ‘boondoggled’
    and will enjoy demonstrating it.

  8. Any truth to the story that David Benson-Pope intended holding a celebration party at the ‘Parkside Tavern’? But it was cancelled because there was no-one their who could get it up.

  9. Anonymous

    Doug doesn’t have to do much initially. All it is going to take is for one of the non-GD Councillors to introduce a resolution along the lines of “All roads that fall within the Council’s remit must have a legal standing and any deficiencies must be rectified as a matter of priority” and the whole house of cards comes down.

  10. Mike

    I think that Doug has an obvious conflict of interest here – he really can’t do much about his own case as a councillor, and has to carefully stand at arm’s length.

    On the other hand the rest of the councillors have to work with him for the next 3 years, as do the DCC functionaries – now that he’s elected it’s very much in their interest to get the issue resolved speedily, and in a way that Doug is happy with the result.

  11. Peter

    Irrespective of the merits or otherwise of his case, it could be very difficult for him, politically, if he gets a multi million dollar payout while pushing for greater financial accountability on council.

    • In a completely different scenario, underlined, it was never much of a difficulty for Syd Brown.

      • peter

        I hope Doug Hall doesn’t find himself in the same place as other stadium land beneficiaries like John Farry, Tony Clear, Earl Hagaman. It’s a conundrum.

        • When all is said and done, a private property owner has the right to be paid market value. In this case, simplistically put, with any council-led negotiation for private land whether by notice of requirement for a designation or forced by the Public Works Act – and given the decisions of the High Court to date – Mr Hall has every right to see justice delivered at market value.

  12. peter

    It might be justice for Doug Hall but not necessarily for the city. It personally gives me no joy to see anyone profit so immensely by demanding they get their entitlement like the others. Whether it’s Hagaman, Farry, Clear… or Doug Hall… it’s all the same to me.

    • It will be justice for all if DCC abides by the law of the land and due process. No cost is too great in this situation.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      It would give me even less joy to effectively apply moral suasion to induce him to accept less than the “market” rate that applied to others, especially when he has had such a long period of inconvenience, and so much expense and disadvantage top carrying on his business through no fault of his own.

  13. Peter, the paradigm has been set for better or worse, so why should Doug Hall be treated any the lesser? It would be grossly unfair if he was to be singled out because he is now a councillor. We don’t know whether there would be any profit or not with any settlement. In fact we don’t really know anything about the land deals for highway88. The stadium land purchases we do know were settled at 100% above budget and that is where the excess profits were.

    • peter

      There will be profit for Doug Hall. Otherwise why would he have fought so strongly for his screw of the common deal? It is up to him how he goes from here. He faces the same moral suasion, Hype, as the other stadium landowners who ‘fortuitiously’ bought their land before the stadium project was visibly on show.

  14. Russell Garbutt

    The people that received money for their land – in many many cases acquired so fortuitously before it was required to build the rugby stadium – were all of one club. Doug Hall was not a member of that small club and so was marginalised. Like it or not, he is entirely justified in seeking a level of payment for his land that was so readily handed over to the members of the club by the CST with agreement by Harland and co.

    Doug Hall will not be negotiating with Councillors – I’m very sure that his negotiations will be taking place with DCC staff. The only involvement with other Councillors will be possibly in approving any staff recommendations. DCC staff will however, be using every legal means within their power to minimise the liability. But maybe the biggest liability is within?

    Doug Hall has every right however to demand of Council that they have regulations that apply equally to all. Put bluntly, if it was perfectly OK for John Farry, Earl Hagaman and the like to simply demand what they wanted from the CST who were acting as agents for the DCC – and remember that the contracts of sale have been published showing HUGE increases from the contracts originally written out – then Doug Hall is perfectly entitled to receive a similar value for his required land.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Russell, you’ve clarified it perfectly. Doug Hall isn’t, wasn’t, one of the cosy club – otherwise he and his business would never have been ignored in the first place let alone what’s happened subsequently. Justice is important. Can’t understand why, Peter, you think it’s OK to treat him like a 2nd class landowner when it comes to recompense.

    • Another of the sharks active in Dunedin gets a NY gong
      #stadiumrorts #landrorts #demolitionbyneglect

      ### ODT Online Tue, 31 Dec 2013
      Hotel magnate’s services recognised
      Christchurch millionaire and founder of the Scenic Hotel Group Earl Hagaman has been recognised for his services to business, tourism and philanthropy. Hagaman, who with his wife Lani was estimated to be worth $180 million in the 2013 NBR Rich List, has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
      Read more

  15. Peter

    However, he effectively becomes a member of that very same stadium landowners’ club…. whether they invite him to their parties or not.

    Doug Hall has a choice. Whether to serve mammon or now serve the people he was elected from. The game plan has changed with his election, I believe. Once again, it was his choice to put himself up for election and to now place himself in this position by winning a seat. It is not a case of putting him down as a second class landowner.

    I have never had any time for these people because they profited from overvalued land and we paid the price. I have not fought for years now against the likes of these people, only to see another one join them in their excess.

    Question. Will Doug Hall fight for the lot? It seems so.
    Question. Will Doug Hall make a substantial donation to the stadium’s capital build if he gets the lot?

    • Running a private business is no requirement to surrender to the dirty work of a corrupt Dunedin City Council or its agents (CST and friends).

      Just as being a city councillor does not mean you should suffer commercial losses in your private business realm because you’re an elected representative.

      Peter, suggest you raise this with Doug directly offline.

    • Thread now closed. Not comfortable with where this is heading, potentially, legally.

      • ### ODT Online Tue, 15 Oct 2013
        Council staff to discuss dispute with Hall
        By Chris Morris
        Dunedin City Council staff are to hold high level talks with one of the city’s new councillors, Doug Hall, who remains locked in a long-running legal dispute with the organisation.
        Mr Hall, a Dunedin businessman who was elected as a city councillor on Saturday, has been embroiled in an Environment Court battle with the council over the realignment of State Highway 88.
        Mr Hall has fought the council’s designation process for the highway realignment, which was built ahead of the opening of the Forsyth Barr Stadium, because of the impact it had on his neighbouring transport yard.
        By last year, the council’s bill from the legal tussle had already risen to $485,000, and was still climbing.
        Read more

        • ### ODT Online Thu, 17 Oct 2013
          Hall case headed to court
          By Debbie Porteous
          The Dunedin City Council is set to square off against one of its new councillors, Doug Hall, in the Environment Court next year. The council has asked the court to decide a long and expensive land dispute between the council and Mr Hall, the first time the stand-off has gone to the Environment Court. Documents sent to the court last Friday outline the DCC’s belief that given a long history of litigation between it and Mr Hall, an appeal on any decisions made by the council seemed inevitable.
          Read more

        • ### ODT Online Fri, 18 Oct 2013
          Hall stays silent after meeting
          By Chris Morris
          One of Dunedin’s incoming city councillors, businessman Doug Hall, is remaining tight-lipped about conflicts of interest after a top-level meeting with Dunedin City Council staff yesterday. However, council staff have agreed to seek advice from the Office of the Auditor-general (OAG) to help clarify the position, following a request from Mr Hall, it has been confirmed. The move comes after Mr Hall met council chief executive Paul Orders and corporate services group manager Sandy Graham to discuss possible conflicts of interest yesterday morning. Mr Hall said after the meeting any statement would come from Ms Graham, although he did not predict major difficulties.
          Read more

        • ### dunedintv.co.nz October 21, 2013 – 7:01pm
          Nightly interview: Doug Hall
          Dunedin businessman Doug Hall has called for growth, and open and honest representation from the Dunedin City Council. He won a seat at the recent elections, and now has the opportunity to try to make that happen.
          Video

        • ### ODT Online Wed, 23 Oct 2013
          Dispute cost could climb
          By Chris Morris
          Ratepayers could face a bill of more than $600,000 as a dispute between the Dunedin City Council and one of its incoming city councillors rumbles on. However, the cost of the tussle with Dunedin businessman and new councillor Doug Hall could climb even higher if the council has to reach into its pocket again for any settlement that follows. Council infrastructure and networks general manager Tony Avery told the Otago Daily Times the cost of the long-running dispute over the realignment of State Highway 88 had reached $534,716.68 yesterday. That was up by about $50,000 from the previous figure, of about $485,000, first reported last year.
          Read more

        • ### ODT Sat, 30 Nov 2013 (page 5)
          Hall cleared for Council work
          By Debbue Porteous
          Cr Doug Hall’s conflicts of interest have been sorted out and he is able to act as a Dunedin city councillor again. Cr Hall, together with the council, applied to the Auditor-general’s office for clearance before he could participate in council meetings following his election as a city councillor in October.
          (Cont.)

          A link to the article will be available later this morning at ODT Online.

          http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/283573/hall-cleared-council-work

  16. I have noticed some criticism of Doug Hall along with suggestions that it is wrong for him to be on the council when he has this dispute going on.
    I’d like to point out that this cockup was not of his making.
    And another thing, he has stood for Council before, twice I think, so one can hardly accuse him of suddenly engineering his current position in order to gouge the ratepayers. His position now is exactly the same as it was before the election: he has a damn good case for payment and compensation because Jimbo and the stadium noddies got it wrong. As for the “ongoing traffic management costs for temporary barriers” the cost has been lurching upwards because the fault was not remedied expeditiously. The longer it drags on the more it will cost. I’m not happy about this, I wasn’t happy about any of the lolly-$cramble associated with the hare-brained determination that we must have a new stadium.

    But it’s too late now to introduce new criteria of how much – and to whom – payment should be given, out of OUR DAMN MONEY. Grrrrr!

    • Yes, hearing same criticisms of Mr Hall about town by those who are NOT property owning business people, mind. They’re not persons familiar with council processes=rorts, either.

  17. Anonymous

    Dave’s placed David in a position of influence. Pretty much sums up both.

  18. Anonymous

    It’s somewhat disingenuous for Avery to make his comments regarding costs when he is in no small part responsible for the illegal designation as it happened on his watch.

  19. Jock strap

    Thomson chair of finance. I think I could give Cull 16 million reasons why he shouldn’t be.

  20. There’s something worrying about the fact that Cull has gone for cosiness ahead of serious examination of the culture of extravagance, in the interests of keeping the staff happy. Or am I missing something?

  21. Dave has shown his ‘stripes’. He is placing personalities over and above the best interests of the city. It is going to be full steam ahead on the same trajectory, right into bankruptcy. Watch Thomson run amuck as always. Let’s hope Hilary Calvert can guide him. Bunsen Peep has spent his whole adult life living off the public purse and wouldn’t know a balance sheet if it jumped up and bit him. Two of the most practical, hands on people in Lee Vandervis and Doug Hall are left on the sidelines. Hall’s conflict ought not have any bearing on other business and he is astute enough to realise this. No, Cull just sees them as threats to his domain and that is that. At least it will make for good theatre.

    • @Calvin Oaten
      October 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm
      Calvin says “Dave has shown his ‘stripes’. He is placing personalities over and above the best interests of the city. It is going to be full steam ahead on the same trajectory, right into bankruptcy.”

      Calvin. The headline on page 1 of the ODT re the mayor’s ‘I have given you nothing’ is the most appalling comment I have ever seen by a mayor in this city. It tells me all I ever need to know about this man.
      He is no leader. He had defined himself however in those five words. For the rest one can judge for one’s self.

      Mick

  22. Jock strap

    Interesting that Cull doesn’t trust Lee, but appears to trust Thomson to Finance, with what happened to hospital finances under his chairmanship.

  23. Mick, I think if you consider it, Cull’s really worst performance was the “grovelling letter” to the Graham Mains gangsters, on the Mayoral letterhead. It exceeds today’s ODT comment. But not by much. The man is going to prove a liability, just give him time. With his majority he will think he can walk on water. Let’s hope for his sake it is only ankle deep.

    • Willing to hold him under in the paddling pool.

    • Calvin. This is true regarding his performance, but I was referring to his public statement headlined in the paper. I have never seen a mayor of this city make such an appallingly ill considered comment. Of course the ‘grovelling letter’ to the rugby threat can be compared with the contempt he shows his fellow and elected councillors. As I say, he is no leader.

      • Have just bought the tree version ODT.
        More compelling than the online when the idiot mayor fronts more importantly as a true imbecile, in the smudgy black and white.

    • Calvin
      The man is ‘pwned’. Such people cannot, by definition, lead anything. Grovelling is par for the ‘pwned’. That is one reason why we have had such a poor council this past three years. I fear worse is to come.

  24. Mick,
    I fear you are right. And I didn’t think it could get any worse. How wrong can you get?

  25. ### ODT Online Wed, 4 Dec 2013
    Election expenses revealed
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull led a high-spending campaign for re-election that cost his Greater Dunedin grouping more than $77,000, it has been confirmed. But the group also had some help along the way. Bus company Passenger Transport Ltd – which owns two Dunedin bus companies – chipped in with a $1265 donation for Mr Cull’s mayoral campaign.
    Read more

    • Please, nobody mention quid pro quo.
      I mean, really! As if!!!

    • ### ODT Online Tue, 14 Jan 2014
      Bids to unseat mayor costly
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin mayoral candidates Aaron Hawkins and Hilary Calvert together spent more than $25,000 trying unsuccessfully to unseat incumbent Dave Cull, it has been confirmed. Election returns viewed by the Otago Daily Times yesterday showed Cr Hawkins and Cr Calvert were the second and third-highest spending mayoral candidates, respectively, behind Mr Cull.
      Read more

  26. “Mr Cull told the ODT that the higher spending reflected a decision to make more use of Dunedin-based marketing company Creative Advertising.” Huh? Creative Advertising IS Greater Dunedin and vice versa. Just ask CA’s Mr Crick. Are we plebs all adjudged stupid by this omnipotent Great One?

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