Monthly Archives: January 2014

DCC broke → More PPPs to line private pockets and stuff ratepayers

Think ‘New Mosgiel Pool’, put the cost back on the Community!
But wait… “WE CAN HELP” says ex councillor Syd (aka The Slid).

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Thursday Jan 30, 2014
PPPs short-term gain but long-term pain
By Tony Holman
OPINION Mayor [Len] Brown has had another vision and is claiming public-private partnerships (PPPs) can relieve the burden on ratepayers. I wonder if he has done his homework. It’s not a vision, it’s a mirage. PPPs are joint ventures between government, or local government, and companies to build major projects such as bridges, tunnels and underground rail – and, in Britain, also hospitals. Too often PPPs overseas end in the failure of the commercial organisation, with the public picking up greatly increased costs to clear up the mess.

PPPs typically involve long-term agreements (25-50 years). They are secret – neither the public nor elected members know the terms. They are weak on accountability with virtually no transparency. They don’t appear on the public body’s “balance sheet” so its financial position looks rosier than it is.

Fixed returns to the commercial business are based on “notional” values and estimates. Real costs are almost always greatly underestimated. PPPs are much more costly than normal public sector construction. Private companies build in higher costs, making the project more expensive and bringing high risk to the venture. But considerable risk is also assigned to the government or local body. Companies can default or go into receivership, creating a debt that has to be paid for by the public and future generations, exactly as if the local body had undertaken the debt directly.
Read more

Syd Brown Mosgiel sign 1

So. There is former chair of DCC Finance, Strategy and Development, Mr Sydney Brown of the Taieri subdivisions and deals to cousins, and his property speculator/investor friends, thinking to drive the new pool project for Mosgiel. Maybe not quite a PPP but damned near it if DCC gives the nod on squishy terms. Your pockets should feel lighter already.

How much can you trust The Slid —as much as the cost of Fubar Stadium.

Two comments from Jacob at the draft annual plan thread:

Submitted on 2014/01/27 at 9:00 pm
Mosgiel Pool. The suggestion from council is for the community board to set up a trust with $30k of ratepayers’ money, to do the consultation and get the public to buy in and dig deep and pay for this $12-$18 million project. It doesn’t take long to work out. This is the same setup that led us up the garden path with the stadium. At last count there were four pools in the area to serve the local population. What happens to them. Will they become another liability like Carisbrook? What and who actually is driving the need for a new pool? I recently asked someone who is close to this out in Mosgiel if there has been an analysis done on the need for a new pool, and was told no. But a certain developer in Mosgiel’s main street has plans for himself and his mates to get the public to front up with the money for the building, then they will be able to base some of their business on site at no cost to themselves. Mosgiel is becoming the dog of the city. Big new industrial area was trumpeted a few years ago, to be the answer to the lack of industrial land needed to attract industry to come to Dunedin, sits empty and of no use to anyone. Then we had all the new residential areas opened up in Mosgiel. Most are half empty with spec houses; good rural productive land doing nothing and going nowhere, while the stormwater drains in Mosgiel only work during a drought, and the roads are a mess, no more seal extension. Mosgiel is becoming known as the land of the retirement village and the mobile scooter. Why spend so much on a pool when so many other basic requirements are not being met. Leave it to the community board? Yeah Right.

Submitted on 2014/01/27 at 11:34 pm
Hype. Not being a res of Mosgiel I am not able to answer your question, but I have good contacts out that way who tell me that most of the pools are available, and maybe there are more than the 4 that I mentioned. By the way what is so special about Mosgiel having a new pool, areas like Green Island, Normanby and out on the Peninsula appear not to have one and are just as far from Moana pool as Mosgiel. It appears that the homework for a new pool hasn’t been done out at Mosgiel, but it appears that it was just being used as an attention grabber for the election and that didn’t appear to work either. Like I mentioned before, this has all the hallmarks of another stadium, all bullshit and no substance, just wait to see who gets appointed by the board to do the consultation. The whisper is that it is all cut and dried.

Related Post and Comments:
16.11.13 Community board (Mosgiel-Taieri) clandestine meetings

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: Syd Brown with Mosgiel sign corpsed and tweaked by Whatifdunedin

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Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!

Received from our northern friends (html email partially rebuilt here).
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 4:10 p.m.

MRRA 1aGetting the Validation Bill ready for Parliament

● The new Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association (MRRA) website can be viewed here.
● “When Government Goes Bad” – see the MRRA video on YouTube.

The KAIPARA VALIDATION BILLMRRA 3

KAIPARA’S PROBLEMSMRRA 4Parliament “solves” the problems of Kaipara with the Validation Bill

LATEST NEWS
OAG report: Summary
OAG report: Full Report* (click the sections on the left)
*Link to download report (PDF, 2.6 MB; 423 pages) is broken at OAG website.

A MESSAGE FROM THE MRRA
3 February 2014
The day that JUSTICE finally comes to Kaipara

Come to the Court Case in Whangarei 3-7 February
The High Court is located at 105-109 Bank Street Whangarei
The hearing commences at 10 AM.
You have paid for this, so come and watch it play out. Those who came last time were glued to their seats for the whole day. Watching our justice system in action when the matter is one you are involved in is a riveting experience.
[Six days at court] might be needed but we won’t know until Feb 3rd. The hearing should play out as follows: Administrative stuff first, then MRRA puts its case (possibly all of Monday and some of Tuesday), then KDC puts its case Tuesday and all of Wednesday. Then MRRA replies, which will take part of Friday. The judge will then sum up and indicate what he is going to do, and perhaps reserve his decision which he would then hand down in writing some time later.
The Judge has instructed that a second courtroom be made available with closed-circuit TV to accommodate the large number expected to attend this hearing.
In an earlier decision the Judge said that this judicial review raises important legal questions of wide public interest.
It may be one of the most important cases in connection with Local Government that has ever gone to trial in New Zealand. The issues at stake are of fundamental significance to everyone who lives in this country. This is not a tiff over rates. This is a test of what power elected and appointed officials really have to take money from ratepayers and taxpayers and use it in any way they choose. The Government and the Kaipara District Council (KDC) both say that councils must have the power to take any amount of money they want, for any purpose whatsoever, and the ratepayer has no say at all in the process.
If you think that’s OK, then we have not reached you. If you think it is not OK but nothing can be done about it, please be assured that something can be done — and it is in the High Court where that will happen. Eventually, the people will call a halt to the madness.

COUNCIL INCOMPETENCE 29.01.14
Frank Newman comments here on the Dunedin City Council’s fancy $230 million covered stadium that “will forever be a black hole that eats ratepayer money”.
There will be no easy fix for Dunedin’s ratepayers. Their elected representatives of the day were reckless and ratepayers will be punished for a very long time because they (as a society) elected a reckless bunch of people to make decisions on their behalf.
I do not know of the Dunedin Councillors complied with the law and consulted with ratepayers but Kaipara ratepayers find themselves in a very similar situation.
The debt for EcoCare is completely unmanageable for a small council such as the KDC but the Commissioners and the Banks have so far delayed the inevitable day of judgement by mesmerising ratepayers with promises of only three percent rate increases over the next ten years.
How can that happen, you might ask, when there is such a massive debt to pay? The answer is that it can’t. But to levy high rates now and charge extra capital payments per household right across the district would result in a massive rate strike and civil disobedience and the collapse of the KDC.
To prevent that, the Commissioners and the Banks have made promises of minimal rate rises that cannot be substantiated and are so dishonest that they border on the criminal. They are nothing more than a confidence trick and the reality is that, sooner or later, ratepayers across the district will be billed for the principal of the debt. Generations of Kaipara ratepayers will pay for the EcoCare folly just as generations of Dunedin ratepayers will pay for their Stadium folly.
The only difference is that the MRRA has challenged the validity of the Kaipara debt in the High Court and is asking that Court for a ruling that ratepayers are not responsible for an illegal debt that was secretly entered into by the Councillors.
Never before have ratepayers made such a challenge and no doubt many ratepayers across the country will be awaiting the outcome.
If Councils can operate outside the law with utter impunity, with all the watchdogs sound asleep, and the ratepayers have to pay all the bills, then we have been conned into being the peasants at the bottom of a 21st Century feudal system.
That is not a good place to be but unless we get behind the MRRA and support its action, then that is where we will end up.

[ends]

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LAST WORD from What if? Dunedin…
Will DCC’s stadium review be enough? Answer: NO
We’re staying busy —can’t blog it.

Related Posts and Comments:
3.12.13 LGNZ: OAG report on Kaipara
12.11.13 Northland council amalgamation
29.6.13 Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!
21.4.13 Councils “in stchook” —finance & policy analyst Larry.N.Mitchell
19.3.12 Local government reform
21.2.12 Kaipara this time

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Stadium: Brent Edwards cuts the grass (ODT 29.1.14)

Sports Comment (ODT 29.1.14, page 26)
Underperforming stadium needs to lift its game
By Brent Edwards
OPINION There needs to be a more collaborative approach if Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin is to have a chance of fulfilling its enormous potential. It’s here and it’s not going away, whether the naysayers like it or not. It’s a prized asset which has to be maximised and that is not the case at present. […] Rugby watching at the stadium is an experience. But there has been a lack of strong leadership, of continuity, and the resignation of two chief executives in quick time has not helped placate the doubters. Cont/

Free speech and all. Discursive, ill-informed, vacuous —how did Edwards’ opinion piece get past the editor. The column isn’t available online, imagine the comments if it was. By letters or email, pens and typewriters across the city should be flaring with indignation, and FACTS, to pummel the columnist —to educate his sorry arse.

Because papers are still selling today, for the avoidance of ‘plagiarism’, the column isn’t scanned for your amusement. Read it though if you get the chance —at your local library, cafe, McDonalds or workplace staff room. Damned silly to pay for his thoughts.

All those ideas, Brent. Are you rorted, doubters ?????

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Stadium: No 4 at interest.co.nz

Link received from Martin Legge
Monday, 27 January 2014 11:44 a.m.

### interest.co.nz January 27, 2014 at 10:30am
Opinion
Monday’s Top 10: New view on mobility; Dunedin’s problem; multinationals and climate change; end of low rents; gold’s odd demand/price setting; Dilbert, and more
Posted by David Chaston
Here’s my edition of Top 10 links from around the Internet at 11:00 am today. We now have a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule for Top 10.

interest.co.nz 27.1.14 [screenshot] [screenshot – click to enlarge]

Interest Link

The Press 28.6.13 Uncovered stadium possible, Parker says

Related Posts and Comments:
25.1.14 Stadium: Some helped it along, or themselves!
24.1.14 Stadium: It came to pass . . .

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Tom McLean on works by Peter Nicholls #sculpture

Tom McLean [otago.ac.nz] 1Late last year Dr Thomas (Tom) McLean (pictured) published an article on some recent works of New Zealand sculptor Peter Nicholls. Dr McLean, a senior lecturer, teaches English at the University of Otago, but also writes on art for the US blogsite The Migrationist. Peter Nicholls suggested I would be interested in the article, and yesterday Dr McLean forwarded the link. The writing is briefly sampled in the hope you’ll pleasure in reading and sharing the full article.

The Migrationist: A collaborative international migration blog
Culture & Integration, Personal Stories
Immigrant Woods
December 13, 2013 · by Tom McLean · in Culture & Integration, Personal Stories

My mate Pete and I had just left our Saturday morning coffee gathering when we noticed a tremble of dark feathers in the street. A female blackbird (which in fact is brown) was not doing well. Unable to fly, she had struggled through the grass and stumbled down the curb into the road. I picked her up and placed her under a tree; but this only saved her from cars or bikes. So what to do? Abandoning her to nature seemed logical but heartless. I found a cardboard box, and Pete got his car. Continues/. . .
Art helps us think beyond life’s cardboard box, and as I reflected on my blackbird encounter, the work of Peter Nicholls came to mind. Nicholls’s large sculptures are found in every major New Zealand collection. Bringing together disparate materials, his works are all about movement and encounters: set firmly in place, they encourage the participant (not simply a viewer) to make a journey. One must walk beside or pass through his large works to fully engage with them. His 2008 retrospective at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery was appropriately titled Journeywork, and it included long, stream-like sculptures in wood and metal that seem to flow along the floor. While his works show fine craftsmanship, they are not illusionary; they do not hide the effort that went into them. Nor do they suggest a simple return to nature: those elongated works might suggest a highway as much as a bloodstream or river. Even his most photographed work, Tomo (2005, Connells Bay Sculpture Park), is complex: is it the visualisation of a forest’s lifeblood, or a human imposition on nature? A sinewy marriage of art and nature, or a Formula 1 racetrack through an idyllic landscape?
Read the full article

peter-nicholls-tomo-2005-detail-connells-bay-sculpture-park-peter-nicholls-11 (1)Tomo 2005 (detail), Connells Bay Sculpture Park. Image: Peter Nicholls

The Migrationist is an international, collaborative academic/professional blog designed to promote public discourse informed by academics and professionals who focus on issues surrounding migration, refugees, and human trafficking. The blog is intended as a medium for intelligent discourse on migration issues. The intent is to bring this discussion out of academia and into an accessible forum for anyone who is interested in migration. The Migrationist posts weekly.
The blog was founded in September 2012 by co-editors Amy Grenier and Lali Foster, former M.A. Migration Studies students at University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom. They currently have regular contributors from all over the world and are always looking for regular and guest contributors.

█ Tom McLean’s latest post at The Immigrationist:
The Artist as Global Citizen: Cai Guo-Qiang in Brisbane January 10, 2014
In the mid 1990s I taught English in Xiamen, a coastal city in southern China. Xiamen (also known as Amoy) has a lovely subtropical climate, and today it’s a favourite holiday spot among the Chinese. But from 1842 to the Second World War, it was a treaty port. After the First Opium War, the British took over Hong Kong and forced China to allow foreign consulates to be built… Cont/

More about Tom McLean

Peter Nicholls 2009 1 [odt.co.nz]Peter Nicholls was born in Wanganui, educated at the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts, Auckland Teachers’ College, Elam School of Fine Arts, and gained a Masters in Sculpture at the University of Wisconsin at Superior, USA. His sculptures from the 1970s and 1980s are noted for their amalgam of figural, landscape and architectural abstraction, and energized dynamics in large timber works. It was tectonic and universal rather than site specific. From 1990 it became laterally configured, river hugging and site/place specific, often interrogating historic impositions of order on primal land. Nicholls has numerous large-scale works in private and public collections internationally. http://www.peternicholls.co.nz/

Otago Sculpture Trust

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: odt.co.nz – Peter Nicholls (portrait detail)

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Stadium: It came to pass . . .

A rather short-term vision, it turns out, Forsyth Barr Stadium was pitched as a multi-purpose stadium for Dunedin —a necessary investment in the future of the city. At various stages of development the building was also known as Dunedin Stadium, Awatea Street Stadium, New Carisbrook, or its non-commercial official name during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Otago Stadium. Colloquially, it’s ‘The Glasshouse’, given the resemblance to a horticultural hot house.

The glasshouse-fubar though, has bred of itself a bloated money-sucking monster for DCC, ratepayers, and residents. For accountability and transparency, need we ask if fumigation and sterilisation are enough to eradicate white collar aphids and fungal rorting?

But what happens if the wilting irreparable (no maintenance budget…) stadium also has rugby tests forcibly ‘removed’? Too late, already happened. Bring in the moths, or more of the hopeless ratepayer subsidies?

You want to know how the ‘private th-robbing vision’ of St Farry of Saint Clair (now Queenstown) can possibly be re-envisioned against mountainous council debt? Well, what about recouping lost millions from the stadium’s privateering progenitors?

With yesterday’s dose of “antiseptic sunshine” from DCC chief executive Sue Bidrose (also administered beforehand as DCC quietly mustered its forces) the community stands a good chance to end seven years or more of serial manipulation as the council gullibly, knowingly or otherwise takes the worst ride of its corporate and financial history.

The review of Forsyth Barr Stadium will encompass the entire operating model, from the company operating structure to the way the stadium is run on the ground —done in conjunction with Dunedin Venues Ltd, the parent company, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, which operates the stadium, and the council’s holding company.

The review will be presented to council mid year, if not sooner, and be accompanied by OPTIONS.

Sue Bidrose CE [dunedintv.co.nz] 3The abrupt announcement of the pending review by council chief executive Sue Bidrose at the Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 meeting yesterday was no doubt astonishing to many present. It showed considerable strength, intelligence and temerity on her part —here is, “good leadership”. As we consider the implications and all facets of what the investigation can begin to reveal, Sue Bidrose should understand that she is supported both from inside and outside this council. There’s agency ‘around about’ geared to elicit information the council isn’t in a position to gather itself.

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### ODT Online Thu, 23 Jan 2014
Review as council seeks stadium solution
By Debbie Porteous
The Dunedin City Council is to do a fundamental review of the operating and funding models of the Forsyth Barr Stadium, which continues to be unable to meet its budget. Chief Executive Sue Bidrose informed the council this morning that she had instigated the review as it became increasingly obvious the original model for running the stadium, which was set up to suggest the stadium could pay its own way, was “fundamentally optimistic”.
Read more

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### dunedintv.co.nz January 23, 2014 – 7:23pm
Full review of Forsyth Barr Stadium’s finances to be undertaken
By David Loughrey
The DCC is about to undertake what its chief executive has called a complete and fundamental review of the Forsyth Barr Stadium’s finances. The unexpected announcement came early in the piece, as the council sat to consider its next year’s budget. And ratepayers wary of more of their money heading towards the stadium will be disappointed to hear the review itself will cost them.
Video

Bev Butler [dunedintv.co.nz]

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### radionz.co.nz Updated about 1 hour ago
RNZ News
Reporting by Ian Telfer
Dunedin stadium facing review
The Dunedin City Council says the South Island city’s struggling stadium is being reviewed because it will never make money the way it is run. The announcement was made by the council’s new chief executive, Sue Bidrose, at the start of annual budget setting meetings on Thursday morning.
The $230 million stadium opened in 2011 to replace the Carisbrook ground, but controversy has continued over its construction costs and resulting council debt.
Dr Bidrose said it had become increasingly obvious that the existing model set up to manage and operate the stadium and its finances was broken. She said the stadium’s original budgets were too optimistic and it would never be able to raise the $9 million needed to break even. This year, it has a funding gap of $100,000 or $200,000 and the problem will get worse without a better structure.
Dr Bidrose said some point there has to be a trigger to make a change – and that point is now. The full review will look at everything and put everything possible into the public domain.
A leading opponent of the stadium says she knew it would never pay its way. Bev Butler, the former president of the Stop the Stadium group, says the review vindicates her work. “This is what the debate was about. This is where there were hundreds and hundreds of submissons – high quality submissions telling the council that this is what the peer reviews said and the council ignored it.” Ms Butler says she expects the council will one day have to mothball the stadium because the city cannot afford to run it.
RNZ Link

Radio NZ National – Checkpoint
Dunedin’s stadium would never pay its way, full review ordered
Reporting by Ian Telfer
17:23 It’s been revealed Dunedin’s 230-million-dollar stadium will never pay its way, prompting the city council to order a full ground-up review, including looking at privatising it.
Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 (3:01 )

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: dunedintv.co.nz – Sue Bidrose re-imaged by Whatifdunedin

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Jints, this one’s forya

On science communication . . .

Uploaded: May 7, 2012. TheXRelease.
The Lorax By Dr Seuss’s (1972)WebRiP XviD_X-Release
Copyright for this special is owned by “The Cat in the Hat Productions” and current distributors. This is for Entertainment/Educational Purposes only.

The Lorax is a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler. As in most Dr. Seuss works, most of the creatures mentioned are original to the book. [text]

The Lorax, book cover [en.wikipedia.org]The book is commonly recognised as a fable concerning industrialised society and the danger it poses to nature, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler (whose face is never shown in any of the story’s illustrations or in the television special) and to the environment as the Lorax.

The book was adapted as an animated musical television special produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, directed by Hawley Pratt and starring the voices of Eddie Albert and Bob Holt. The line about Lake Erie was spoken by one of the Humming-Fish as they marched out of the river at the foot of the Once-ler’s factory. The special also features more of an in-depth look at the problems, including the Once-ler arguing with himself about what he is doing, and at one point asking the Lorax if shutting down his factory (and putting hundreds of people out of a job) is really the answer. Many of the Lorax’s arguments seem to be focused on how “progress progresses too fast”, in a sense arguing that things might’ve been better if the Once-Ler had come to a balance with the forest and slowed down production of the Thneeds.”

Wikipedia: The Lorax | Dr. Seuss | Political messages of Dr. Seuss

Related Posts and Comments:
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Russell Garbutt at ODT Online:
20.1.14 Global vs the DCC

Jints DCC Lorax 1Jinty MacTavish at ODT Online:
9.1.14 On ethics and hypocrisy…
12.1.14 Climate change policy, cycle investments
20.1.14 Fossil fuel position based on science, best interests
20.1.14 Renewables, jobs and local governance

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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