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 [] 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.


### 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


### 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.

Bev Butler []


### 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: – Sue Bidrose re-imaged by Whatifdunedin


Filed under Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

147 responses to “Stadium: It came to pass . . .

  1. Stadium review: ‘We need a solution’
    As Forsyth Barr Stadium continues to drain Dunedin City Council funds, the DCC’s new chief executive has slammed the existing operating model as ”fundamentally optimistic” and started a major review. Dr Sue Bidrose announced the review yesterday after learning the stadium was again going to be unable to achieve its budgeted revenue this year and was likely to seek more financial assistance from the council.

  2. Jacob

    Why is the ODT trying to rewrite history? Is it to try and cover up for an incompetent Mayor that wants to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds?
    In today’s ODT the following statement: “Mayor Dave Cull, who voted against the stadium as a Councillor.”
    Let it be very clear that at the council committee stages, that only have the power to recommend, Cull voted against the stadium. At the full council meeting were the council gave the authority for the stadium to proceed – the one that shows where their spine is – Cull voted for the stadium. The record shows that at the final vote for the council to proceed or not, only two Councillors voted against. They were Stevenson and Butcher. Cull wants it both ways. Voted for it to be seen as one of the boys. Now that the stadium has turned to custard they are showing him as being against it.

    • My recollection is of a key meeting to decide whether to proceed with Stadium when costs were exceeding the “line in the sand” by $20 million, the initial vote was against the Stadium with Dave Cull voting against. But then there was a proposal to obtain $20 million from alternative sources. There was another vote with Dave Cull changing his vote, and it was decided to proceed with Stadium. Of course, the $20 million never appeared.

      • Alistair, that may have been the same $20 million a hastily formed subcommittee of councillors was charged with finding… a year later they were successfully able to report no progress.

  3. To his credit, JimmyJones has always argued that keeping stadium business in a company(s) structure makes it more accountable by virtue of reporting requirements. However, even at the wide view with the DVML/DVL structure in place, when the telescope narrows differently… there’s an absence of accounting for, yes, operational components of ‘stadium business’ that indeed go unreported, or are not substantiated by proper book keeping; are without set policy or go against that policy, and so on. The extent of this ‘may’ come to light in the next weeks, or not. But right now DCC isn’t calling the level of DVML’s indebtedness. How many bills haven’t been paid? Where, and with which individuals does the fat lie? It’s rumoured things are fairly bad at DVML just now – this isn’t just a morale problem. There’s just enough paper to see the trends. And the leaks are good.

    There’s certainly something to JimmyJones’ latest comment at ODT Online.

    How the DCC juggernaut ‘investigates’ is up for scrutiny. Cliche: it’s early days. Cliche: old habits die hard. And there’s a few legal rabbits to shoot along the way. Then too, the new chief executive has been responsible for instigating and seeing through a number of changes at council brought by former chief executive Paul Orders. There is only guesswork available for how the review pans out on the multimillion-dollar stadium swindle.

    “Mid year” is very close – almost too close for the comfort of detailed reporting in review. DCC isn’t SFO or the Auditor General – both of which have limited resources for investigation… more so, DCC. Besides, it’s always fraught investigating ‘yourself’, with or without the company structure, in sight of swindle.

    Not convinced
    Submitted by JimmyJones on Thu, 23/01/2014 – 6:01pm.
    Sue Bidrose, as a member of the DCC’s Executive Management Team, has been closely involved over the years with the DCC Stadium. It is not credible for her to claim that it “became increasingly obvious” that the stadium could not pay its own way, as if she only recently discovered this. To confirm this, it has been clear to me, and others, that the DCC have over that time spent a great deal of effort trying to keep the financial details of the stadium secret, and I am not yet convinced that anything has changed.
    Read more

  4. Beirut

    It seems that at last there is a recognition that the stadium is not working afterall. No matter what financial model is tried if the stadium can’t cover its costs, with whatever events it stages, the bleeding of ratepayer money will grow unabated. You can’t defy logic.
    The mothballing of the stadium may not be seen as a palatable option now, but with this review the stage is set for the inevitable denouement.
    The stadium has become a Dunedin Tragedy and we pay our rates for the price of the tickets to watch the drama unfold.

  5. amanda

    I love how Dr Bidrose in a very orwellian way describes the stadium con as ‘fundamentally optimistic’. Please. I would say it is ‘fundamentally incompentent’ or ‘fundamentally corrupt’. I do hope Dr BIdrose does not get Dunedin people to have to make cuts for Councillors’ incompetence, but looks to massive directors fees and cuts these. Burden was paid $250,0000. How much are the current stadum directors making? I won’t say ‘earning’ since they know the stadium can’t ‘work’.

  6. Beirut

    Burden got himself a job in Christchurch in the nick of time. Job reference from Hansen?
    How long will it be before some of rhe old mates are back together again? l wonder how old Guy Hedderwick is going? You know the one…..Mr Piss Off…who was part of Darren baby’s “flat management” model. Consultant….from Adelaide. He couldn’t get it up here. Not alone in Adelaide.
    You have got to admire these guys. Bullshit your way around the world, collecting stadium jobs and fuck off before it gets too hot for you.

    • There’s always Interpol, Beirut.

      Hansen was saying on the news this morning that he welcomes the review – probably because he will get fired and can wash his hands of a most daunting business ‘proposition’. The dear old boy.

      • Beirut

        Ha, Elizabeth. They always say they welcome an inspection. It’s called face saving. Convinces only fools.

        • Yes, it’s like monopolies say competition is welcome, when gov’t takes to them with a crowbar and at last succeeds in prising their claws off the whole cake. They have 2 contingency plans, (1) for any new company trying to get established: undercut using profits and equity from years of gouging customers, drive it out then put prices back up; (2) for well-established company moving into the NZ market: pseudo-competition with different free trinkets but come to a cosy arrangement whereby apart from occasional specials to make it look like competition, both charge as much as the market will stand, just like a monopoly.

  7. Fernfrond

    A heartfelt thanks to the editors and thoughtful commentators on this site who provided such an important counterpoint to the official channels. Many know you’ve been right all along but it’s nice to see something of an official vindication. The feeble silence of Farry, Harland, Chin, Edgar and others speaks for itself. If I knew who lay behind the pseudonyms I’d shout you beers.

  8. Fernfrond; you can shout me some beers any time you like.

  9. Beirut

    Let’s bet “SIR” John soon retires as Chairman of DVML because, gosh, he’s so busy busy busy these days and l’m not getting any younger and l need to spend more time with the grandchildren and it’s time to let some fresh blood in and and and………

  10. Anyone else noticed that the ODT has changed its article on the Stadium review? It has expunged all comments and started anew. Good old ODT, on the cover up trail already. Nice to know where its loyalty lies.

  11. DVML are still wearing black armbands following Darren Burden’s resignation, thus the ‘Meet the Team’ page at Dunedin Venues website hasn’t been upgraded. Also, we don’t know if Guy Hedderwick, despite having shifted to Australia last year, still retains an EA in Dunedin – the webpage says so.

    CEO – Darren Burden
    ● EA to the CEO – Michelle Johnston

    Events | for all conference, events and exhibition queries
    ● Events Manager – Ruth Mackenzie-White
    ● Events Co-ordinator – Nicole Wood
    ● Events Co-ordinator – Tania Summers

    Commercial | for sponsorship and major event queries
    ● Commercial Director – Guy Hedderwick
    ● EA to the Commercial Director – Kim Scobie

    Marketing and Communications | for media and marketing queries
    ● Marketing and Communications Manager – Jo Scully

    Forsyth Barr Stadium memberships | for membership information
    ● Sales Manager – Craig McGregor
    ● Commercial & Hospitality Sales – Paul Thompson

    Ticketing | group bookings and other enquiries
    ● Ticketing Manager – Kalla Nicholson
    ● Corporate Ticketing – Whitney Kooman

    Operations | for all venue queries
    ● Operations Manager – Coryn Huddy
    ● Operations Coordinator – Conor O’Fee
    ● Turf Manager – Troy Jordan

    ● Corporate Services Manager – Neville Frost
    ● Accounts Manager – Mai Maslin

    • Beirut

      Ha! A team that approaches the total number in the Cabinet that makes decisions on running the country. Jobs for the boys….and girls.
      Neville Frost. He looked after the ORFU’s finances before they went belly up didn’t he? How sweet they didn’t judge him and gave him another go in DVML. I like that.

  12. Beirut

    Don’t you just love the intelligence of people like Opinion 999 on ODT online. If only they had better advertising and longer runways and big hotels we’d be sweet with the stadium. Wow. All we need extra are those billions in petrodollars. Suckers are born every minute.

  13. Rob Hamlin

    You cannot ‘mothball this stadium. The majority of the costs relate to keeping a patch of grass that wants to die alive. If you do let it die, it cannot be reestablished because of all the plastic bits that keep it looking a bit healthier when it’s not quite dead. Ditto digging it up. If it’s mothballed then its only able to come back as an astroturfed ‘Son of Edgar Centre’ Unfortunately though, unlike the Edgar Centre this place has no walls. You can put the walls in OK, but then you’ll cook under the four megawatts of solar power that the transparent ETFE roof can generate.
    It is in fact completely useless.

    • Beirut

      Rob. Sounds, as you describe it, like a facelift gone horribly wrong!

    • Fit it out with racks and use it to dry Central Otago fruit without ffffossil fffffuels – Greenly, for Jinty – so Harraways can make eco-sanctified muesli bars and assorted oat + fruit low fat, sweetened with local honey, high value added products for the world’s planet-saving middle class eco-purist foodies. Completely useless? As if!

  14. Phil

    Interesting to read that Lee tried (unsuccessfully) to bring up the questionable activities of certain DVML employees. Hopefully he was outing Guy Hedderwick’s “Stadium World Tour”. Guy’s probably out of legal arse kicking range now that he’s fled the country.

    I think that list of staff members is missing a layer underneath, specific to the stadium. A couple of months back there was a “Stadium Marketing Coordinator” being quoted in the ODT who’s name isn’t on the Venues employee list. God only knows exactly how many are on the take, I mean payroll.

  15. Anonymous

    There is a million dollar department in the council ensuring that those suckers are well fed on junkmedia and at least one outlet keeping a lid on the boiling pot. Doesn’t matter that the daily Stadium Special stinks to high hell – there always seems to be a way to smother it with Special Sauce and serve it up to the punters.

  16. Phil

    Of course this “review” may all be a part of the grand master plan for DCC to buy the Highlanders with the excuse of ensuring revenue.

    • Beirut

      Phil. The Highlanders suck. Everyone knows that. Problem not solved propping them up. They are natural born losers. Not what you’d want to be associated with if you want to secure a good rep and build a career.

    • That’s why my hackles raised at yesterday’s DAP meeting – the words “full privatisation” inspired me with fear and loathing, after everything that’s happened to date. We’re right to keep guards up for longer and keep motoring on work we’re doing to unearth information by official and informal means. Not many councillors knew what was coming yesterday so I don’t think in clear light of day today I’ll rule out more hopeful outcomes to the review. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow.

  17. Phil

    Yes, “full privatisation” or “bringing it in-house”. Which of the 2 are worse ? Is anyone else within the DCC organisation capable of changing the inevitable ? I doubt it. Who is going to run it, the Events Centre ? Please, they have enough trouble organising fireworks. The only advantage (from a PR angle) in moving the operating arm into the DCC fold is so that the costs can finally disappear completely from view. Salaries, justified or not, get absorbed into the general salaries pot. Operating and maintenance costs can be split up within City Property’s hundred or so budgets until no one any longer has a clue what the place costs to run. The only clue we will get is when the parking fees increase in the DCC owned parking buildings around town.

  18. Phil

    Yes, the Highlanders are a rubbish investment, no escaping from that gem. That’s why, from the moment they were announced as going on the market, the only organisation with any interest in backing a continuously losing horse was the DCC (aka Delta, aka ORU). They built a rugby stadium for a rugby team, remember. Regardless of how much money the team leaks every time it takes the field, the DCC needs a rugby team in a rugby stadium. Yes, it would ultimately be cheaper never to play a match in the stadium, no one disputes that point. But this isn’t about logic, it’s about politics. Dave Cull, the home handyman who saved the Highlanders. Brings a tear to one’s eye. That’s enough to get you re-elected. Does anything else matter ?

  19. Dunedin. We have a problem.

    [Good night cruel world.]

  20. Bev Butler

    Phil, I think “bringing it in-house” is a necessary interim measure to enable the sacking of the board firstly, and secondly to disestablish all the positions within DVML so as to get rid of any staff with sexual harrassment tendencies, or any staff making dubious expense claims, or any staff attempting to cover up these hypothetical or otherwise possible problems.
    This needs to be done in such a way as to minimise further possible pending legal action. There is already legal action on the table.
    Once these steps are completed then the way is clear to look at other inevitable possibilities like ‘mothballing’ or demolition.

  21. Stadium model contributors defend decisions
    Those who contributed to Forsyth Barr Stadium’s operating model have defended their decisions in the wake of an announcement it will be reviewed.

    • Anonymous

      Jim Harland – “I recall writing a report with Athol Stephens […] identifying the high risk of the revenue assumptions.”

      Uh oh, Athol.

  22. Bev Butler

    The lied from start to finish.
    They lied to the community.
    They lied to the High Court.
    They lied to the Court of Appeal.
    The evidence is all there.

  23. Jim Harland “recalls” – perhaps he has observed what happens when credibility is pushed too far, like John Banks’s failure to remember arriving at Kim Dotcom’s mansion by helicopter.

    A condition of contract for people in senior decision-making positions, that included regular tests for early-onset dementia and other mental conditions that could presage memory and information-processing difficulties, while an extra expense, might be well worth the money. I don’t suggest it should make such people automatically unemployable at that rank, but would indicate the need for more careful oversight and double-checking.

  24. There will be very little the boys can say in relation to the stadium project and their roles in it that casts them as trustworthy, corruption free, prudent and conservative city leaders who weren’t on the take one way or the other. However, the stadium review is to establish a governance and operating model (however temporary that turns out to be given there is no way to break even or return a profit) and this may not bring justice – that loaded word – a significant number of ratepayers and residents are seeking. Other mechanisms for this are required and will be pursued if the council lacks or is not in a position to act, with good reason, through the review or any other process it deems to be required. The exact terms of the current review are not yet in public domain – no point in scaring the horses.

  25. Received from Anonymous.
    Saturday, 25 January 2014 10:36 a.m.
    Subject: Don’t count No 1

    Perhaps having the stadium open all day, every day, would “prove” that it has high visitor numbers!


  26. I’m struggling with the lack of stadium ‘news and pronouncement’ from the editorial team and chief reporter at ODT. Expecting a humdinger when it happens?!

  27. Jim Harland pleads that he, together with Athol Stephens wrote a report “indicating the high risk of revenue assumptions”. He also says that “the council voted for the Stadium to go ahead”, thus attempting to exonerate himself.

    Let’s not also forget that it was Jim Harland who pushed for the purchase of Carisbrook at the grossly inflated price of $7 million, ostensibly to secure the ORFU as a viable tenant of the Stadium. The price was also designed to allow the ORFU to discharge its debt of $2 million owed to the DCC. As we all know, Carisbrook was onsold recently for a reputed $3.5m, a loss of $3.5m. Worse, the ORFU didn’t repay the $2m debt but instead pleaded and received a further reprieve of some some $480,000 for accounts unpaid.

    For Jim Harland, to plead innocence in all of this is spurious, as he was, right from the get go a prime agitator for the DCC’s decision to build the Stadium. He spoke of the need at the public meeting which tabled the MWH report commissioned to investigate the ORFU’s financial position, together with a way forward for it.

    It was he who formed the committee to bring forward a report on the matter to council. It was he who recognised the hazards of the DCC directly involving itself in what was essentially a private business matter. It was he who set up the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, appointing Malcolm Farry as chair of that trust, with a brief to investigate the feasibilty of bringing Carisbrook up to the standard required by the NZRU. It was he who committed the DCC to fund this report.

    It was the trust and Malcolm Farry which unilaterally decided to leave Carisbrook and opt for a new, stand alone Stadium to be constructed. At the public announcement, Malcolm Farry stated that this Stadium would be constructed and that it would cost not a ‘cent’ over $188 million. And “yes” it would have a roof. He also added that this Stadium would not cost the ratepayers anything extra, as if it could not be done from within existing resources, he, personally would not have a ‘bar of it’.

    It was he who then did a backdown, and in conjunction with Jim Harland agreed that the ratepayers together with government help and contributions from the Otago Community Trust and the Otago Regional Council, plus “private funding” (which never eventuated) would be the model used.

    Mayor Peter Chin and the council of the day agreed to this model and the whole thing took off. Then the whole structure of conniving and corrupt financial dealings, under the direction of Jim Harland, Malcolm Farry, Athol Stephens, designed to mislead the inept mayor and councillors into believing that this project would be “built on time and on budget” in time for the 2010 Rugby World Cup.

    The people who could see the futility of this whole project, and the dire financial consequences to the city formed the “Stop the Stadium” group to oppose the project. It went as far as the High Court where Jim Harland and Athol Stephens both presented, on oath, signed “affidavits” stating that the financial integrity of the project was complete and the Judge, in his wisdom said, “that even though I do not understand the complexities of the financial model” he ruled in favour of the project and against the STS.

    That gave the green light, and on the back of blatant ‘perjury’, the CST, with Jim Harland’s and the council’s blessings, it was ‘all hands to the wheel’. The $188m project was eventually completed at an assessed cost of $225 million, plus who knows what extras, in time for the RWC, which essentially produced no revenue for the Stadium, other than some incidental costs.

    It has, since then been “all downhill” arriving at today where the costs of owning and operating the Stadium are in serious danger of bankrupting the city, with no obvious solution to the problem. Now, all these ‘gentlemen involved’ from all quarters of the business and rugby circles are so conflicted as to be seen as no more than criminally fraudulent extortionists who have willingly and blatantly exploited the goodwill and ‘treasure’ of the citizens of Dunedin. “A curse on all of them.”

    • Russell Garbutt

      Calvin, we must not forget the role of the ORFU and all of the associated boys and girls tied up in that little coterie of rorters. Let us not forget Farry at my meeting with him right at the very start when I expressed wonderment at his plans to build this thing because the ORFU owed the DCC $2m. He leaned over, patted my arm and said “Don’t worry, that is going to be written off”. Of course all of these twerps were in on this right from the start and have in effect defrauded the City’s ratepayers of their treasure. As I’ve said many many times, there were less than 20 people that caused this mess, and personally I’d like to see those few stripped off their personal assets amongst other things.

  28. Anonymous

    A resurgence of their 2008 enthusiasm is due any day now. I’m sure they’re just busy figuring out which businesses from that two page promotional spread are actually still in business and then contacting them to see if they want to take out an advertisement in an updated feature. Yep, full and thorough investigative editorial just over that next hill.

  29. Calvin comments at ODT Online:

    1st step
    Submitted by Calvin Oaten on Fri, 24/01/2014 – 5:45pm.

    So, CEO Sue Bidrose is to instigate a review of the operating and funding models of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. This is a matter which should rightfully have been conducted before the Mayor and Council of the time, gave the ‘green tick of approval’ to proceed.

    That is the tragic indictment of the whole sorry saga. The list of conflicted persons in this momentous decision are legend, ranging from [DCC] mayor and councillors, council executive staff, ORFU personel, CST appointed members, Regional Councillors, Otago Community Trust management, lawyers and accountants, professional consultants, financial advisors, government servants and politicians, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all.

    Without exception they all ignored, all and any basic fundamentals of fiscal prudence and obligations to protect the citizens and ratepayers’ ‘treasure’. This all against the earnest entreaties of legions of very concerned and responsible citizens.

    Ms Bidrose says ratepayers already contribute $9.125 million per year to cover Stadium costs. I would respecfully suggest that that is probably the biggest understatement so far this year. That sum just is the tip of the iceberg.

    Try debt servicing of $144 million in interest, the repayment of that debt over the 18 years claimed. The loss of opportunity of the $5.25m of DCHL’s dividend being diverted for that purpose. The loss of $5.5m in the ORFU/Carisbrook loans, purchase and loss on sale. The $15m over budget purchase of the land for the Stadium, the loss of $3.5m in rates revenue per year from that land. The loss to other charities from the $7.5m the Otago Community Trust contributed. The increase in rates to the ORC to cover and regain its $37.5m contribution. DVML and DVL’s accumulative annual losses of $millions. The mentioned $8.5m or thereabouts for the SH88 diversion. The list goes on, but I think we get the message.

    Will there be any holding to account for the obvious mishandling of this so predictably sorry saga? I await with interest to see. But I won’t be holding my breath.


  30. Bev Butler

    Calvin, there WILL be accountability. WE will ensure there is…there must be for the sake of the future of the city. AND that day is getting closer.

  31. John P.Evans, concerned citizen

    30 private Dunedin businessmen met with Malcolm Farry at Ombrellos to consider financing the new stadium project.

    Not one had any interest in providing funds to the venture.

    Including the 1500 who marched, Bev Butler and the Stop the Stadium group, Calvin, and many others on here, it is clear that none of these have any political clout.

    It is also clear that as a result, there will never be an enquiry that “strips assets” from the 20 odd leaders, protagonists, politicians, financiers, property owners and insiders including Harland, Chin et al.

    How would an inquiry instigated by Sue Bidrose find the DCC guilty?

    Dream on whatifs, Cull has decided that there will not be a witchhunt.

    • You are very disconnected from the reality of the processes currently being followed, John. What if? is not the place to plant the legal dialogue – it’s a blog.

  32. Beirut

    Harland’s plea, “But l did tell them about the risks” was done with an eye to the future to try and guarantee his absolution. By then the stadium cabal figured they would have achieved their personal end goals and were shot of dowdy Dumedin.
    No doubt they’d figured on a wonderful retirement in the cosy confines of New Zealand’s wealthy version of Disneyland, where they could retire with their mutton dressed as lamb, plastic surgery whores.

    • Beirut – “Harland’s plea, “But l did tell them about the risks” – yes, and there are ways of *literally* telling about risks that == saying “NO PROBS!!!”
      Such as, “If you don’t eat your greens you risk getting scurvy, and your teeth will fall out and you could get sick and die, then on the way to you funeral your mummy and daddy risk getting hit by a bus and die in agony, and there’s risk that a huge fire from the crash could burn down a hospital and a school and… and…” so by surrounding it by very improbable context the initial risk disappears along with the far-fetched fantasy, to the audience who have already been thoroughly primed with all the glorious Visions of what they are happy to decide contains s.f.a. actual risk. But you can still say you warned of the risk… after they’d been carefully pre-blinded by dollar-shaped glitter.

  33. John P. this issue has touched a nerve with the public like nothing before has. When the CEO of the DCC publicly expresses serious concern over an issue you have got to bet that she doesn’t do it lightly. Besides there are people over the years who have gathered mountains of evidence of ‘malfeasance’ that will be very hard for the proponents of this disaster to counter. Don’t be too sure that there won’t be a day of reckoning and at least naming and shaming, if not more serious penalties. We are all aware of the importance of connections many of these people have, right up to cabinet levels. But, with enough exposure, these ‘fair weather’ friends will melt into the ‘ether’ and leave the culprits to their own devices. That’s politics, it was always thus.

    • Beirut

      Calvin. The buck passing is already happening. Harland puts it on the councillors at the time. They in turn plead ignorance, relying on what Farry and Co told them…..they couldn’t read for themselves it would appear. Farry of course blames everyone on council for not sticking to his visionary models for funding etc etc.
      Well… surprise surprise making the stadium work has got harder. Now we wait for new strategies to unfold.
      Sue Bidrose and her team don’t, if they are wise, have to do much. Why put fixing the mess on themselves? All they have to do is keep up the greater transparency on stadium finances for all the folk out there to see. Let the people get to that point where they accept the stadium is unfixable. At that point mothballing becomes a more tenable proposition.
      There is nowhere to hide with the stadium rort. Better for the council to let accountability take place and say no to being like a co-dependent partner to an alcoholic.

      • Beirut – “Sue Bidrose and her team don’t, if they are wise, have to do much.” If she’s as smart as she’s started off all she needs to do is stand aside looking and sounding dignified, and not obstructing free access to unlimited rope.

  34. Anonymous

    Obtaining the naming rights should be up in 2016 when Forsyth Barr doesn’t renew. Farroukh’s Folly?

    • Mike

      one can only dream that they’ll open the bidding for naming rights and do it publicly – I’d bid a dollar for “Farry’s Folly”

  35. John P.Evans, concerned citizen

    Placing an enquiry into the DCC’s processes run by the DCC is like having an enquiry by a female spider into the death of her ” husband”. No evidence no guilty party ( ies)

    Until a respected independent enquirer like an Ian Wishart and not a retired hong kong judge is appointed or a Royal commission with open terms of reference the findings will be like the sewage in Dunedin. Still there but watered down.

    • Anonymous

      You can be sure with this current enquiry from the CEO that the Got-Richer-Off-Your-Debt boys will be talking to their lawyers and ensuring that appropriate blinkers are in place to misdirect and prevent any thorough investigation. They’ve done this in the past. A judge with integrity would look at those exclusions and overturn them for immediate investigation, in the same way a Police officer must act when names are dropped.

      I am a concerned citizen and want to see the white collar criminals brought to justice.

  36. There is another punishment, irrespective of official inquiries, and it is one that can hurt ree-ea-al bad. The perps are people whose social position, respect, are important to them. Getting their gongs in the Queen’s Birthday honours, that sort of thing. Being automatically invited to the parties, clubs, onto boards. They don’t see themselves like other exploiters – drug dealers, dodgy roof painters scamming pensioners. When their previous peer group – the “clean” ones – forget to return their call, have previous engagements when they send out invitations, when distancing politeness replaces warm mateship, this at least will be a result. Not enough but at least something. Note the calls for Doug Graham to lose his “Sir”. Some sectors of society take pride in being called dirty lying scum by straight society; it enhances their standing within the criminal world. These ones, not so much.

  37. Anonymous

    Just to be clear, there are layers of bureaucracy in various DVML companies getting paid the gigadollars (hash-tag that you council moneywasters) to make the stadium “work” by schmoozing the big acts? Lots of well paid executive types and self-important scouts all hanging off the public teat? Mostly from out of town and at least one pulling on it from Australia? All involving hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars each year? And what, we get a revival of Abba?

    All that affirms is these people are taking their ludicrous salaries for granted and don’t give a crap about spending other peoples’ money. They must be laughing their arses off at us, particularly that one who’s still getting paid while LIVING IN A WHOLE DIFFERENT COUNTRY.

  38. amanda

    You are entirely correct John Evans. The stadium con showed where the power lies in this town and it ain’t with ‘the citizens’. We do not have a democracy. The local newspaper is determined to ignore corrupt politicians and entranced by so-called ‘Leading businessmen’ such as Farry. Bidrose will not hold the DCC to account. She in fact stood by as the whole con happened.

    • Amanda, we don’t know that Sue Bidrose “stood by as the whole con happened”. We don’t know how many “awkward” questions she asked, how many times she tried to get the majority of stadium-at-any-price shills to look dispassionately (and without consideration of how they could personally benefit) at the facts and figures. What we do know is what she’s doing NOW, now that she’s hung in there and got into a position where she has the power to be more than one voice ignored in the background. And I say, give her full credit for what she is doing NOW. instead of speculating and condemning on the basis of what she might have done or not done (that we actually know diddly-squat about, relying on prejudice & imagination) in the past.

  39. amanda

    She instead is more likely to sing sad sack Cull’s tune of ‘no accountability and let’s all just focus on getting the Dunedin citizen suckers to pay for the mistakes/corruption of ‘Stakeholders’, and let these stakeholders sing all the way to the bank. That is the Dunedin way!

  40. amanda

    Beirut. Everything the DCC and Bidrose do will be to protect the reputations of ‘leading businessmen’. They built the stadium for them, after all. Farry wanted it, he got it. The same will be true with any dumping of the stadium. If Farry and co are safe and on target to getting a knighthood, then the DCC will dump the stadium.

  41. Mary

    Amanda, Sue Bidrose is a complete professional and as such will do everything in her power to protect the ratepayers.

    • Russell Garbutt

      Amanda, the history of Dunedin’s CEO’s or Town Clerks as they used to be called, is an interesting one. I had an interesting observation made to me this morning from a person within Local Govt who had assessed the differences between recent incumbents. The striking difference between this list of people was that some were pretty strong people but had Dunedin’s interests deeply at heart, while others were bullies and had their own interests at heart. Harland was depicted as one of these latter, while Paul Orders and Sue Bidrose belong in the former. I have absolutely no doubt that Sue Bidrose is continuing the good work, but in her own way, of Paul Orders.

      The problem is not going to be Sue Bidrose, the problem will be those that have much to protect that are part of the various groupings being assembled elsewhere on this site including some of the existing Councillors.

      It behoves everyone that knows of any deals that have wrongly or secretly benefitted individuals to bring those deals to the attention of those that can, and will, make a difference. This review will bring matters of great seriousness to the top and I have no doubt, that a few lawyers and accountants round town will be busy right now re-burying all sorts of trusts etc on behalf of one or two people whose names will become a lot more public in the times ahead.

    • Sue Bidrose’s proposed Budget with a 3% rates increase, twice the inflation rate, along with fee increases and Stadium losses on top, is not friendly to ratepayers. She seems dedicated to maintaining and growing the Council empire.
      And I recall a comment about Government plans to force local authorities to open up extra land for housing: she claimed that this could “actually drive up house prices in Dunedin”. It is just stupid to say that extra supply can cause prices to increase, and shows that she does not understand business.

      • Alistair, I think we all know what burgeoning supply has done to house prices in Central Otago. Here am I reduced to nights under canvas on the banks of the dairy-polluted Taieri. But don’t worry, the Dippies and Syd-like forces will keep the prices down of my new emergency shelter.

  42. Amanda; not sure Sue Bidrose was even in Dunedin, let alone on DCC payroll while the Stadium ‘fiasco’ played itself out. Like Paul Orders, she is part of, hopefully a new broom. At this point I feel she is more to be applauded than tarnished with the others.

  43. Rob Hamlin

    There I go again – Wasting ink on McPravda’s readers’ comments page. Plenty of posts on this one ’cept mine – Wonder why? Text posted around 9.00 on Saturday on the “Stadium model contributors defend decisions” article.

    The cost of this stadium even at its most ‘optimistic moments was never claimed to be less than 188 million dollars. As it was an ‘optimistic’ business case, the cost of borrowing for it was likely to be high, but even at the council’s current borrowing rate of 7% (backed by a ‘ratepayer will pay guarantee’), a 20 year repayment would have led to an annual debt cost of c. 10%, or $19 million a year.

    Add to this an optimistic day to day running and event management cost of around $5 million a year and you arrive at an annual cost figure of $24 million or around half a million a week (give or take).

    Taking an ‘optimistic’ view of the Stadium receiving a fee of around 10 dollars per bum per event, this would require a weekly stadium attendance of 50 thousand just for it to break even.

    As its final pygmy stadium capacity was 17,500, this means that around three sellout events per week would be required year round for the repayment period (25-40 years).

    A child can see that this is a completely absurd business scenario, and I opposed it on this basis with complete confidence that if it was built events would confirm the quick child-like analysis above over and above its warped multi-million dollar pro-stadium competitors.

    It would appear that my confidence in this particular analysis and the related business feasibility analysis techniques that I teach to others on a professional basis was well founded.

  44. Rob Hamlin – NAYSAYER!

    If it weren’t for haters like you (and a few minor glitches on the reality front) we’d have more top-class acts than you can shake your booty at and Dunedin would be nostril-deep in hard cash, ay.

  45. Anonymous

    Another oddity at the ODT:

    2) Go ahead with the DCC review: Can they cut costs further by reviewing staffing, employing casuals and salary packages, bulk deals etc?
    3) Increase the budget to give to the stadium from the savings made in 2…

    Review staff. Give more to the stadium. It’s so painful to read that the back of my eyeballs started hurting.

    Some days it is almost too unbearable.

    • Its Me has long proven he is brain dead. Doesn’t read Annual Reports. Doesn’t attend council meetings. Has no grip on the stadium financials whatsover after all this time. Oh, and doesn’t read or understand ODT stories if he can’t do any of the latter.

  46. “This is not a once-over-lightly … I do need to be sure that that is done right, rather than done quickly.” –Sue Bidrose

    ### ODT Online Tue, 28 Jan 2014
    Stadium review careful, not quick
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council’s top-to-bottom review of the Forsyth Barr Stadium operation could take longer than first thought, chief executive Sue Bidrose says. However, the review has already been expanded to include reconsidering whether the stadium should be paying its full share of rates, two years after the company running it was granted a discount worth nearly $2 million a year.
    Read more

    • Yes, no-rates is one of the “hidden” subsidies the rest of us pay for, that should be included in ALL the costs of the Fubar Stadium – construction costs, running costs, interest, costs associated with road changes and the Hall Bros cockup…. bribes to entertainers, salaries to people who achieve damn-all because that’s all they CAN achieve other than rounding up international performers with an armed posse and forcing them onto a plane to Dunedin.

  47. They sat back for a week, pretending it didn’t happen almost. Today the ODT editorial comes out of hiding.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 1 Feb 2014
    Editorial: Business, or community asset?
    The Dunedin City Council has been grappling with Forsyth Barr Stadium issues this past week. Fundamentally, they stem from the fact the economics of running the stadium are far worse than initially projected, an outcome that should surprise few. Many stadiums around the world struggle financially and Dunedin’s is no exception.
    Read more

    Setting it apart, compared to most if not all cities overseas that build new stadiums, the rating base of small town Dunedin is grandly risibly smaller! The funeral music was chosen with Malcolm’s effort to not be a short man.

  48. Russell Garbutt

    Clearly a paper with a view and remarkably so like the views of ItsMe on their on-line site.

    Their arguments are specious and non-sensical and are designed to influence those that may have to decide the outcome of Sue Bidrose’s review.

    What the ODT fails to do is to compare the promise to the reality. The ODT decided to publish the CST advertisement which claimed that the stadium would be built debt-free and would not require ratepayer funding. Obviously the CST lied, but the ODT contributed to that lie by publishing it when any reasonable editor would have liked to see the veracity of the claims.

    The ODT has again revealed its position only too clearly.

  49. The editorial gets bogged down in its own mud.

    Nonetheless, the stadium is here to stay and is a wonderful facility. Dear old Carisbrook would have slipped further and further behind and its inadequacies more and more exposed. The stadium has had other uses beyond rugby, notably through university Orientation.

    Surely the point is if DCC had not bought Carisbrook from ORFU and hadn’t built the new stadium then Dunedin ratepayers, like veritable carthorses gone lame, would be in a better paddock with far less debt hung round their sorry necks by this council which refused to face the facts given to it about the total unsustainability of stadiums and professional rugby in the south. Instead, ODT calls the Fubar a community asset —in glowing terms, with piffle about its rates burden. This is a make-it-work error of judgement that mirrors exactly the political stance likely to impede the DCC’s stadium review.

    Mothball it. Get out of the business of professional rugby subsidisation. Suck on that rotten parsnip.

  50. Anonymous

    If, however, the stadium is considered a community facility, an asset to Dunedin that some use and some do not and which partly pays its way – like for example Moana Pool – then the impractical expectations can be tempered.

    Bloody ODT is desperate to ‘make it work’ when it has to start pimping that rubbish. There is absolutely no commonality between a rugby stadium that costs tens of millions each year and is used by a few, and the pool.

    Nonetheless, the stadium is here to stay and is a wonderful facility. Dear old Carisbrook would have slipped further and further behind and its inadequacies more and more exposed.

    Summary: Up chuck.

    • The ODT’s tripe about the stadium having other uses — eg university Orientation… is about as thick as it gets. Hello, all up the stadium costs us at least $20 million a year — Orientation doesn’t even blow the dust off this.

    • “Dear old Carisbrook would have slipped further and further behind” – d’oh. So would the writer’s teeth, house and car if he didn’t keep up regular repairs and maintenance, does that prove anything?

      In the “old days” some people got all their teeth extracted and replaced with a removable set of gleaming gnashers so as to avoid future dental treatment and in later life provide entertainment to grandchildren by taking teeth out mid-meal to remove raspberry seeds. Avoiding the trouble and expense of Carisbrook by choosing to build the Fubar Stadium as a replacement hasn’t been anywhere near as wise a decision.
      How low would the bar have to be set for it to qualify as Not Completely Reckless?

  51. Anonymous

    Maybe it’s an apologist piece, meant to reaffirm the position of a puppet master? The Moana Pool untruth was pushed by Eion in that extraordinary ‘haters’ piece and the message is regularly carried by the cannon fodder.

  52. Oh, you mean the elusive freshwater Mountain Groper?

  53. I’ve been wondering if anyone has done an investigation of it, perhaps a thesis. It appears to either be evolving new characteristics as a species, or it changes greatly over the lifetime of an individual.

    For instance, it was prized for its rich contributions to the nourishment of whole communities, yet while anecdotally this is still a popular “fisherman’s tale” it has become tantalisingly hard to land. It’s sleek well-nourished appearance promises much, but promise is all the hopeful angler will catch. “As slippery as an eel!” said one Dunedin ratepayer who had hoped to augment his family’s meagre food budget.

    • Good-natured research. There was hope yet that genetic modification of the sprat that frequent, in season, the upper reaches of Fubar corporate boxes will convert membership and hospitality spending to issue of food bank donations, bringing enormous benefits to the health of downstream ecology.

  54. Anonymous

    Oh dear. The opinion piece must have been so bad it even violated its own code:

    Unable to connect to database
    FATAL: connection limit exceeded for non-superusers

    • Yesterday I alerted the ODT Online editor to comments not showing at one of their stadium stories, yet homepage links to the new comments were in evidence. Not just a sequencing issue – all comments, old and new were off at that story.

      Today’s momentary problem at ODT:

      ODT onscreen alert 1.2.14

  55. The ODT must have gotten a special on ‘lipstick’, because the Editor has really applied it thick and heavy on this “Pig”. I must go past and have another look at the shade. The last time I saw it was the same old ‘deathly pallor’, befitting its purpose in life.

    He says: “Before too long the Stadium might well even struggle to meet operating costs, many of which are fixed.” What sort of statement is that, when it is acknowledged that the ratepayers at present pay $9.125m each year (pa) towards stadium related costs? Right there is a full barrel of ‘lipstick’.

    ● $144m of debt at 6% pa is $8.6m pa, Capital debt paid in 18 years (as Dave Cull claims) is $8m pa. Total $16.6m pa.

    ● Then there are the council contributions of $750,000 pa for community use subsidy, plus $400,000 pa events attraction fund. Total $17.75m pa.

    ● Then there are the Accumulated deficits of DVL and DVML amounting to $16.373m (see both annual reports ‘change in equity’ sections).

    All up the stadium hole is $34 million pa deep.

    ● Oh, and let’s not forget (as it often is) the High Performance Sports Centre, built on the NE side of the stadium. It was funded by the DCC on the basis of the HPSC paying all costs in order to clear the debt within ten years. This was reputed to cost the HPSC around $850,000 pa. Shortly after, a quiet motion was put to council that it should make an annual grant to the HPSC of $850,000 pa, and it was readily approved by the council of the day.

    So there goes another bundle of ratepayers’ treasure.
    We won’t even mention SH88 or the Carisbrook fiasco.

    The Editor then says, “the councillors and the people of Dunedin will have to understand the stadium’s valuable place in the city’s extraordinary range of community — educational, cultural and sporting — facilities. It is a valuable community asset.”
    Palpable claptrap. If the stadium suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke (we wish) the only thing put out would be, Super15, ITM cup and Test rugby. Nothing else, fullstop. Cricket, University Oval, Soccer, Caledonian Ground. All other sports, including lower grade rugby are well and truly catered for. Concerts, the Town Hall/Regent Theatre/Mayfair Theatre. Basketball and Netball, Edgar Centre/Lion Foundation. Swimming, Moana Pool.
    Seriously, the stadium is an incredibly expensive arena foisted upon the citizens by a small, very determined group of ‘rugby nutters’ and that is the truth of the matter. The editorial in today’s ODT is nothing more than a ‘hollow attempt’ to put a case for the stadium as an asset, based on nothing but falsehoods and ‘mystical’ dreams. That it will mislead a lot of more deserving citizens is the shame of it all.

  56. Mike

    What gets me is that as far as I can tell the $4m in ‘rent’ that DVML pays is really just the money from the sales of the box seats that has to go to pay for the ‘private fundraising’ that was really a giant extra loan.

    If the ODT is claiming here that paying the $4m in rent is unfair then I guess there really was no private fundraising of any sort whatsoever – this ODT editorial just threw out the window any pretense that Farry, the CST and local rugby in general don’t still owe the DCC $55m in private fundraising that they promised and was a condition for the building of the stadium.

    I hope to see a sudden flurry of sausage sizzles and passing of the hat at games ….. or maybe the DCC could privately raise the money themselves by charging rates and rent on rugby clubrooms on public land.

  57. Mike says: or maybe the DCC could privately raise the money themselves by charging rates and rent on rugby clubrooms on public land.

    That would hurt all citizens connected with amateur and school rugby who had no part in the unqualified decisions that ORFU, CST and DCC made to bring the stadium about. They too, are Dunedin ratepayers and residents who like us could not turn the train around.

    Hello again, the financial assets of Malcolm Farry, Eion Edgar, Syd Brown, Jim Harland, Athol Stephens, and Co.

    • Mike

      I agree – I think that the city should be in the business of providing sporting grounds for amateur sport – I have no trouble with that. More so though I do have a problem with the city subsidising drinking venues masquerading as sports clubs – in fact if they shut down those venues when local games were on and being covered on Sky they might get a lot more punters actually paying to use the stadium.

  58. As an interesting sideline, probably due to the good graces of DVML which oversees the Town Hall and Edgar Centre as well as the stadium. It is patently obvious that it/they have done something to upset concert promoters. No, not just the ‘mega stars’ but all in sundry. Notice how many shows being hosted around the country are missing Dunedin. The most obvious at the moment is the tour of Daniel O’Donnell the Irish singer. Now, like him or not, he is always a sell out here in Dunedin, particularly with the ‘oldies.’ Coming to Christchurch and Invercargill but not Dunedin. Go figure.

  59. Anonymous

    That’s a news tip a journalist should get his or her teeth into – call up those promotional groups and ask WHY they didn’t come to Dunedin. Also, they might like to ask WHERE did those hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for this purpose go to? Someone’s getting paid a lot of money to waste a lot of money with little or nothing to show for it.

  60. Anon, A journalist? Is there such a thing here in Dunedin? It’s no tip, simply an advertisement on TV promoting the tour.

  61. Anonymous

    I made the mistake today of reading an ODT print letter in support of its stadium editorial. My brain hurt real bad now.

  62. A very pertinent observation on the Stadium Review and Accountabilities by Russell Garbutt

  63. Anonymous

    Interesting article from August 2013. Link opens PDF document.

    Playing the shell game: the Faustian bargain for Dunedin’s stadium
    By Daniel Porter & Michael Sam

    Click to access DPorterMSam.pdf

  64. ODT on Ch39 News tonight has at last broken the story that DVML has fallen short of its financial forecasts, which impacts on council coffers.

    This fact, along with intel DVML’s in complete disarray, was on the streets some weeks ago – prior to Sue Bidrose’s announcement of the stadium review to councillors.

    Read tomorrow’s ODT.

  65. Martin Legge

    Jee wizz we didn’t see that coming!!!

  66. Don’t forget Malcolm Farry’s prophesised model for running the stadium (the details being fully obscure) would have avoided this mess arrived at by DVML. Farry blamed Jim Harland for wresting control of the stadium operation from Carisbrook Stadium Trust. Keep this in the back of your heads.

  67. Peter

    Rosie Manins, ODT reporter who was interviewed on Channel 39 on ‘what was in the ODT tomorrow?’ described the DVML reported financial shortfall as a ‘debacle’.
    Darren Burden (Farry appointee) didn’t just leave for a new challenge. He knew what was coming and got out before having to answer too many tricky questions. Poor Christchurch. Now they have the benefit of his services.
    Farry will be blaming everyone but himself. Trouble is nobody listens to him anymore. The perfect fall guy? Bring out the tissues.

  68. Peter

    Sounds like the titbits you hear about the running of the stadium, turning into a shambles, is not just the stuff of rumour. How dispiriting for the people working there, but, hey, how worse could it be with Burden and Hedderwick now off the scene? Frost, Huddy and crew must be scouring the Situations Vacant columns themselves. I would be. Wouldn’t you?

  69. Anonymous

    Let’s just rename it Farroukh’s Folly and be done with it.

  70. Major stadium losses looming

    [Council chief executive] Sue Bidrose said whichever model was chosen, the stadium was ”undoubtedly” going to cost ratepayers, who are already paying $9.25 million a year towards the stadium, additional money, although that was unlikely to start from next year. It was highly unlikely a new funding and operating model based on the realities of the stadium’s costs would be in place before the council’s 2014-15 budget was signed off, so it was up to staff to find DVML’s $1.4 million shortfall within its existing budgets.

    The chief executive very conveniently neglects to mention the debt servicing costs which are held off to the side in that vehicle known as Dunedin Venues Ltd (DVL) — last totalled as $20+ million per annum, or closer to $34 million… give or take. Very significant figures each year as a direct cost to ratepayers and residents of this city.

    It doesn’t get more appalling. The corruption and political will that led to this MUST be fully investigated. The Dunedin City Council (owner of DVML and DVL) is in a dangerous position. This cannot go on.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Goodness me, the headline Major stadium losses looming has already moved down from the top 3 to top position in the DUNEDIN section. How long before it slips into the part you have to click on to see – “more Dunedin>”?
      Anyone would think it was a less important story to ODT readers than “Distressed whale unable to be saved”.
      Anyone with news of a kitten up a tree, please contact the ODT immediately.

  71. Robert

    It is time that the Councillors that voted for the stadium were made to justify why they supported it, and explained in full their reasoning, and what follow up investigations that they did or did not do on their own account. Without relying on the continual supply of slanted reports, that the average person on the street could see that they were designed to influence a decision to construct the stadium.
    It is sad that the only two Councillors that voted against the stadium when it really mattered. (Butcher & Stevenson) are no longer on council to be able to stand up and do a lap of honour in front of those scumbags who continually put them down for defending the ratepayers’ wallet.

  72. Whippet

    Cull is quoted as saying “The results were no surprise”. Why did he vote for it then??????

  73. Hype O'Thermia

    Because (Sincerity v1) he knew what a disaster it would be, then there were the years (Transparency-lite era) when he thought it was totally worth supporting so he did, now he’s (Sincerity v2) not surprised that his Transparency-lite years were like tie-dyed flares and mullets, best forgotten as fast as possible.

  74. Hype! Easy on, I get the tie-dyed flares, but really! what’s wrong with a mullet? Dave would look good in one. It would offset the tousled front view. Only problem would be the greasing of the ermine collar on his favourite piece of apparel. It might also tarnish the gold chain which is the obligatory piece of jewellery. So, upon reflection, perhaps you’re right.

  75. Hype O'Thermia

    Sam11 on “Stadium losses”
    “Ask the silent majority for a solution. They knew better than
    everyone else when the decision was made to build that damn

  76. Mike, I had more bother giving up smoking 60 odd years ago than I did getting over Acklin. Anyway, that drug has been superseded by “Double down Dave”.

  77. Anonymous

    Ratepayers should expect an increase in stadium-related rates after that as DVML’s losses are expected to continue, with a $1 million loss forecast for 2015-16 and a $1.4 million loss for 2016-17.

    Nice of the Otago Daily Times to provide this public notice. Might have been mainlined in the Christchurch Press or Southland Times but just gets a wee wink at here.

    Nice to see someone getting their teeth into that Ryall and Dunedin Mates Doing Big Business at South Link Health too. Have watched that relationship with a sense of unease for some time. If there is “fraud” involved, I hope it is busted wide open.

  78. amanda

    Robert. Crs Bezett, Noone and ex-Collins, not once mentioned their part in the stadium con in the run up to the last election. Come to think about it the dear old ODT forgot to mention their support of the stadium ‘business plan’ too. Funny that? Accountabillity by our local rag? No way. So these incompetent councillors got right back on council.

  79. Robert

    Let’s give Syd the job of running the stadium at a profit. As one of the big noises behind the stadium he could be just the man to led the stadium into a profit. Don’t be shy Syd you weren’t when it came to supporting it. Now would be your big moment to show us just what you are made of. Give it a go Syd your city needs you.

  80. Whippet

    Here is an interesting snippet taken from the ODT 18/11/2008 from submissions made at plan change hearing for the stadium .
    “Our Stadium Supporters club secretary Tim Calder, giving his personal submission, asked the commissioners not to listen to a “noisy minority”, and allow the plan change to proceed.”
    If only the commissioners had listened to the so called “noisy minority” and not Tim Calder this city would not be up to its neck in such deep financial debt.
    What you say now Tim?

  81. Mike

    Tim gave up on Dunedin and left town a while back. I believe he lives in London now.

  82. Anonymous

    The ODT will not allow the suggestion of litigation against those responsible . It abridges that out of submitted comments.

      • Mike

        I think it’s time for a ratepayer’s suit – someone pointed out to me today that DVML may be in breach of the Local Government Act.

        In particular sections 62 and 63 – the council can’t indemnify DVML – one could argue that continually propping it up they are in essence doing that, also the rates rort for the stadium may be contrary to section 63 which prohibits the council from giving any financial accommodation that’s not available to the council itself on the same terms (of course no one can offer the council lower rates).

        The solution may not be to go after Farry et al, as much as one would like to, but to tie up DVML so that it can’t keep the doors open, in essence forcing the council’s hands rather than continuing to watch them dithering about.

        {See Rob Hamlin who originally raised the s62 matter at What if? and before this at the Public Meeting called by the Finance Committee late last year. Read here. The message we got from Richard Thomson (Chair of Finance) at the meeting was that s62 had been steered around by the council. Rob’s comment was also published at ODT.

        Comment at ODT Online:

        Probably worse than that
        Submitted by MikeStk on Fri, 21/02/2014 – 6:29pm.
        Whijo: it’s probably worse than that. Someone pointed out to me today that the rates rort where the DCC charges the stadium a minimal rate different from what they charge everyone else is likely illegal under section 63 of the Local Govt Act, which prohibits the council from providing any special financial accommodation to council-controlled organisations like DVL/DVML that would not be available to itself. Section 62 also says that the DCC cannot in any way guarantee or indemnify DVML in any way – they can’t say they’ll just pay their bills if they lose money. DVML has to stand in its own.
        All this means that DVML can’t just be continually bailed out, and likely owes a full set of rates as well. I suspect a ratepayer suit enjoining the council to treat DVML at an appropriate arms length as per the act would likely bring it down.


        • Mike

          Yes but Rob’s talking about the whole shebang – the money used to back up the bank loans – section 62 (and the other sections) applies separately to each and every council company for each and every transaction they perform – DVL and DVML existing as separate entities is potentially a real weakness

          I’m thinking more that the DCC can’t indemnify DVML and say “if they spend too much money we will just pay their bills”, section 61 says they have to have contracts spelling out what they are going to do whenever they deal with the DCC, and section 63 says that the DCC can’t just make up bogus ways to give them money to keep them afloat, they have to be charged market rates, the same rates the DCC would be paid by a 3rd party if they were running the stadium (in fact I think this means they have to pay a real rent, one that covers the cost of the mortgage)

          However I think that one starts with DVL – section 59(1)(d) says that DVL must “conduct its affairs in accordance with sound business practice” – renting out your venue to an organisation (DVML) which can’t pay its bills is not a sound business practice, so DVL is operating in breach of the Local Govt Act – the breach is caused by the obvious conflict of interest of having the same board as DVML – it seems obvious that the DVL (or DVML) board has to change

          Once one has cut DVML away from the herd it’s in a difficult place, the LGOIMA means we can watch closely how it and the DCC interact and monitor compliance with the Local Govt Act, if the DCC isn’t allowed to indemnify it, and you carefully make sure that all dealings between it and the DCC meet the requirements under the act, for each and every transaction it has with DVML, then you take out an injunction whenever they do not – we all know DVML isn’t really viable so I think that DVML goes belly up (unless of course they mend their ways and get the ORFU to pay their own way so that they are cash flow positive).

        • That’s OK Mike. I’m just collating – so yours and Rob’s comments (in view of the Local Goverment Act) are seen for several contexts, relevances and tests by What if? readers.

          Readers can discuss and debate if not zoom in on what’s been stitched together by DCC, ‘Mr Stephens’, and friends.

  83. Anonymous

    The people who profited from this massive rort don’t care. They’ve either buggered off to elsewhere, are hiding behind the corruptible who are protecting their interests and or genuinely don’t care what you and me think. The media protects them unless the political fallout is so great that it has to act, often months and years too late. This is of course stating the obvious for interests in Dunedin. Those people who have profited at the expense of so many know it is just a matter of time when all that can be said is said and done, and then the people accept their place and pay for the price. How do we make those people pay?

    The council building needs to be painted with large plague crosses to remind ratepayers of the disease and corruption that has contaminated so much of this city.

  84. Phil

    If the stadium is moved into the DCC Community Property portfolio (as opposed to the Commercial Property portfolio), will the requirement for rates payment disappear ? Does Moana Pool, for example pay rates, or are the costs for services paid for out of the general rates bill ? Is this part of the plan to move $4M of annual operating costs from the stadium books and on to the ratepayers ?

  85. Mike

    This doesn’t have to do with who ‘owns’ the building but the relationship between the council and DVML – sections 55-74 of the Act have to do with “council controlled organisations” of which DVL and DVML (and all the other entities under DCHL) come under.

    There’s a whole bunch of rules they have to live by, lots of places where you’re not supposed to take shortcuts and they’re open to LGOIMA requests – for example, I wonder how DVML meets 59(1)(d) the requirement that it “conduct its affairs in accordance with sound business practice”, maybe we should ask because there’s evidence to the contrary, or whether they really do endeavour to “exhibit a sense of social… responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates…” (rather than ignoring what everyone thinks of them) that 59(1)(c) requires.

    Section 63 though is interesting, basically it says that the DCC can’t do sweetheart financial deals to DVML, you have to treat them at least the same way others treat you, you can’t make a loan to them at a lower rather than your bank will loan money to you (and I guess the DCC can’t forgive loans to DVML unless their bank will forgive loans to them) – and I assume you can’t give them a special deal on your rates unless say the DCC can get such a deal from other councils (say on land it owns in some other city).

  86. Phil

    But what happens if CEO Bidrose advises that DVML be disestablished and that the properties currently owned by DVML transfer to the property of DCC ? Then presumably the DCC would be free to choose where the rates due on its own properties came from. Payment could come from the property itself, or (more likely) from general rates.

  87. Anonymous

    They can’t dis-establish DVML because it also runs the other venues in the DCC portfolio. The only way out of this mess is to have a Commissioner appointed and properly unwind all of the transactions.

  88. Mike

    If the DCC owns it (rather than DVL) then they can’t claim the tax write-off against the incomes from the other council companies, they’d lose a lot of money.

    Pushing the stadium ownership into DVL/DVML was a wonderful piece of obfuscation – but it was in the end also a good idea – it’s a (legal) tax dodge that saves the city the tax (30%) on the ~$10m it loses on the stadium (so ~$3m/year) – even if they bulldoze the stadium and stop the operational losses the debt will still have to be paid and we can continue to claim the tax advantage – we might kill DVML but keep DVL as a debt sink (or simply fold the debt into DCHL).

    Saving $100k’s worth of rates but losing $3m in tax advantage would be a stupid thing to do.

    Come to think of it if DVML actually paid the real amount of rates for the stadium it would be an extra loss and the city could save a further 30% on the DCHL group taxes – they’d actually be $30k or so better off – there’s no real reason NOT to pay the full rates except for the salvaging of several important bruised egos that no-one really cares about any more.

  89. Mike: The stadium losses and related expenses add up to over $20 million per year – not $10 million. This financial year we are heading for $13 million of tax deductible expenses (DVL + DVML) and $7.8 million of non tax deductible DCC costs (rates forgiven: $2.0m and interest on loan for DVL+DVML equity: $78.7m @ 7.00%).
    If the Financial Black-hole Stadium is demolished, we would still have to service the debt (as you say). This would, however, be a big saving to the city because of no costs for maintenance/staff/depreciation/loss-making concerts etc. For the last financial year these non-interest costs added up to $13.8 million. We would lose stadium revenue of $8.2 million and the net benefit to the city would be $3.9 million ($5.6 million less tax on $5.6 million). Probably the benefit would be more than this because the revenue figure probably includes a sneaky subsidy in the form of an extremely generous fee for handling the Dunedin Centre and Edgar Centre bookings. This subsidy could be about $2 million/year but isn’t confirmed.
    Anyway, as well as the $3.9 million, the city would be free of the serious financial risks of owning a stadium and running an events promotion business. Without the stadium we could start to clean-up the infestation of dishonesty and misinformation that has grown around the DCC CEO’s wish to hide the true state of the stadium finances. Some of the current council staff and Jim Harland are largely to blame for the stadium being built, so they prefer that the public see their stadium as a good idea and not a disgraceful mistake that should be bulldozed out of existence.

  90. Last night on Ch39 ODT’s Phil Somerville gave the heads-up for today’s story about payouts to former DVML Chief executives David Davies and Darren Burden.

  91. Payouts cost DVML close to $90,000
    The company running Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium paid nearly $90,000 to two departing chief executives[David Davies and Darren Burden], but is refusing to detail a third payment to another former senior manager[Guy Hedderwick].

  92. Elizabeth

    Mr Weggery is a “make it work” man. Can’t guess why the Dunedin Ratepayers and Householders’ Association is six feet under the ground.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 29 Jul 2014
    Dialogue expected
    By Chris Morris
    Members of the public are likely to have another say on the best way to utilise the Forsyth Barr Stadium, it has been suggested. The prospect was floated by Cr Richard Thomson at yesterday’s finance committee meeting, in response to a call for public consultation on the stadium review’s findings by ratepayers’ advocate Lyndon Weggery.
    Read more

    █ The findings of the stadium review are due to be made public next month.

  93. Hype O'Thermia

    Make it work:
    1. Find pot of gold taken from end of the rainbow and left under a stadium seat by benevolent pixies.
    2. Using magic dust left under another seat by another pixie (or possibly the same pixie) sprinkle it on promoters, Rolling Stones etc so they can’t resist coming to the Fubar with fabulous acts that will be sold out within moments, a second, third concert likewise.
    3. Using Stretch-o Bam, increase the size of Dunedin’s airport so the acts and the planeloads of fans can come straight here without difficulty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s