Mayor of Dunedin issues apology

Remember this:

[Interviewed by 3News before the elections in October] Mr Cull says he’s quietly confident he’ll get another term in office, and isn’t worried about his eight rivals. “Six of them have no public office experience, and the other two that do have a pretty shonky record at public office experience. You know, extreme, nutty policies.”

Mayor Cull screenshot [3 News 7.10.13] 2[screenshot] Mayor Cull (3News 7.10.13) — read and view the item here.


Correspondence received from Lee Vandervis
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 7:47 p.m.
Subject: FW: Letter from the Mayor

On 17/02/14 5:44 PM, Vivienne Harvey wrote:



Vivienne Harvey
PA to the Chief Executive Officer
Dunedin City Council

Letter by Attachment (PDF, 24.3 KB): SC2200115514021715260[2]


On 17/02/2014, at 9:33 pm, Lee Vandervis wrote:

Re: Letter from the Mayor
Dear Mayor Cull,

Thank you for your apology which I appreciate and assume Cr. Calvert will appreciate also.
Looking forward to Cr. Calvert’s confirmation that we can all put this behind us.

Kind regards,

On 17/02/14 10:24 PM, Hilary Calvert wrote:

Looks like an apology to me.
Hasn’t offence got a ‘c’?


Letter of Apology - Dave Cull 17.2.14 (1)

Related Post and Comments:
1.11.13 Council appointments (rumbles)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Name, People, Politics

32 responses to “Mayor of Dunedin issues apology

  1. Semper Fidelis

    Yes – the word offence does have a ‘c’ but why would you expect a cretin like that to know. He personifies the quote once made by Charles Darwin that “ignorance begets confidence more frequently than does knowledge”. What Darwin was saying was that ignorant people are generally too ignorant to know when they are making fools of themselves and as a consequence their confidence is never undermined. Equally, talented people – when they make a mistake, do have the wit to know that they’ve made a blunder; they become embarrassed, self-doubt creeps in and their confidence is undermined. “That,” opined Darwin, “is why we have idiots in leadership roles and talented people languishing in the shadows.” That said though, our precious mayor is not without his quotient of animal cunning. He can ‘sniff out’ an illegal water connection like nobody else, so let’s be fair – he’s not entirely without talent.

  2. Anne Elliot

    Semper Fidelis. I am astounded at your anger and ensuing tirade of abuse directed at Dave Cull. He was certainly wrong about delaying and trivialising a proper apology and should never have slandered other people the way he did, but that hardly gives rise to personal insults of quite the kind you are dishing out.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Anne Elliot, “cretin” may be a bit harsh but otherwise, how much wisdom, prudence, good judgement, transparency, spinal toughness and intellectual rigour could be observed in Dave Cull’s performance as mayor? Were these qualities to be plotted on a graph would the lines trend up or down over the period he has been in that role?

    • Semper Fidelis

      Anna – I didn’t think that I offered a tirade of abuse. If an individual’s performance is so duplicitous as that demonstrated by Cull, then what is wrong with describing events (by way of disclosure) as they have occurred.
      It was not I who pinched water from the Council for 18 years, but if it had been, I would have expected to have mercilessly exposed. Describing the offence is hardly a tirade of abuse. If as (according to your defence of Cull) his duplicity elicits a tirade of abuse from me, then the remedy is simple – tell Cull to stop behaving as though he’s a candidate for canonisation.

  3. Whippet

    Semper Fidelis. It would appear that there is more than one with council connections that can ‘sniff out’ an illegal water connection.

  4. le duc

    Have you noticed increasing use of mental health lexicon in public discourse? Dave says ‘nutty’ (like, that’s a bad state?). Notable others: John Key in The House, of the Greens: “Fruitloops”™, Annette King, in The House, of John Key: “fixated, paranoid and manic” (Debate, 19/02).

  5. Peter

    Le Duc. Nothing could beat former Australian PM, Paul Keating, for personal invective. See him in action in parliament on YouTube. Jaw dropping.

  6. ODT 19.2.14 (page 3) minimises the news… [er, click to enlarge]

    ODT 19.2.14 In Brief - Mayor apologises (page 3)

    • Hype O'Thermia

      It’s all Lee Vandervis’s fault. What right did he have to object to being insulted? What’s wrong with a candidate alleging another is dishonest and/or incompetent without giving any evidence to back up these accusations?
      Vandervis should have taken the insults like a good doormat. He should have lain down on one of the one-way streets and allowed all and sundry to drive over him until he was flat enough for the Mayor et al to safely cycle over.
      That’s what I’d have done in his place.

  7. Robert

    A very interesting article in the world section of the ODT today.
    China has urged Obama to cancel his planned meeting with the Dalai Lama.
    A senior Chinese official said foreign leaders who meet the Dalai Lama should “pay the price” for it.
    Now let’s think back to when the Dalai Lama was to visit Dunedin and Cull did a back flip. Was he threatened by the Chinese? He certainly cannot do enough for them now. Trips to Auckland, planning staff put at their disposal. Is this the what we want for Dunedin. Bullies from China dictating
    Who how and when we meet, and where when and how high we build hotels in our city?

    {Link By the way, Barack Obama is now reported to have met the Dalai Lama so China wasted their stupid threats. See also -Eds}

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s not a good look, our leaders bending over for other countries. Shaft us, shaft us – ooh that was good, any time you want to is a good time for NZ.


    Mayoral Apology February 2014 [] 1[screenshot] The alternating slide that appears at DCC’s homepage (clicking on the image at brings up the mayor’s signed apology; the same letter appears at the top of this thread)

    At the Council meeting on 23-27 January 2014, Professor Nicola Peart was appointed to hear a matter relating to a Code of Conduct complaint between the Mayor and Cr Vandervis. The hearing has taken place, and the matter has been concluded.

    Report tabled at the meeting of Dunedin City Council on 24 February 2014:

    Report – Council – 24/02/2014 (PDF, 81.0 KB)
    Code of Conduct Matter

    Other reports

  10. Peter

    China’s growing power is kind of like pay back time, from the nineteenth century, when European powers, followed by the Japanese, dismembered the country into spheres of influence and milked the country dry along with the help of opium. The wheel turns. Realpolitik in action.
    We should court any growing power with caution and not give over our sovereignty so easily.

    • [Interesting aside.

      ### Last updated 11:10 25/02/2014
      Shunned Chinese buyers turn to Australia
      By Patrick Commins
      Canada’s government recently made an abrupt decision that could have repercussions for Australia’s already overvalued residential property market.
      Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on February 11 announced that a 28-year-old visa scheme designed to attract wealthy foreigners to the country would be axed, effective immediately.
      Under the now defunct Immigrant Investor Program, as long as you had a cool C$1.6 million ($1.7 million) in net assets, then all you needed to do was lend the Canadian government C$800,000 for five years on an interest-free basis and you were assured permanent residency for you and your family and a fast-track to citizenship.
      The decision raised some eyebrows, not least because preceding the decision there had been growing chatter that the country’s already expensive housing market was being inflated even further by a wave of wealthy Chinese entrants into the country, and in Vancouver in particular.
      At the time the immigration scheme was axed, there was a backlog of 65,000 applicants, of which 45,500 were mainland Chinese – and 80 per cent of those were bound for the province of British Columbia, according to analysis by the South China Morning Post.
      Read more]

  11. Elizabeth, it is more than an interesting aside. It is a portent of things to come. Almighty property bubbles abounding on all sides of the Pacific. Principle causation? Chinese investors looking to get their money offshore. Like 28 storied hotels, among other things. Why do they see a need to invest offshore if their homeland economy is sound? Hard to understand, unless they, as residents know more about the soundness of China’s economy than we do. It looks to me like a case of, “watch this space” and be aware, very aware. There is something coming down the track.

  12. Gordon

    Maybe the Mayor needs to make another apology. To 100 workers at Farmlands that will be given notice, either go to Christchurch or find other employment. Since the news of the job losses broke on Saturday not a word from Cull, Labour MPs, Regional council chair, Chamber of Commerce, and Jock Elliott. All those who tried to make political capital out of the loss of jobs at Invermay. This just shows how shallow these pricks are when a huge loss of jobs in the region can go and not a word or comment from them, especially from the Chamber that likes to grab the headlines when it suits.

    • I pointedly emailed CRT Farmlands before this hit the news complaining that ‘CRT’ (Combined Rural Traders) had been quickly dropped from the cooperative’s marketing since the merger with the North Island Farmlands (except from invoices!) – which wasn’t what was promised to shareholders when the merger bid was being touted, and in the merger documents signed off. The merger always seemed wrong for all the usual reasons including probable loss or downsizing of a healthy local workforce with years of experience providing services to loyal rural producers, very successfully. No reply, of course.

  13. Philip

    Good point Gordon.
    However, rest be assured. AkB…Ali Knows Best.
    Talking about Labour MPs, is Clare Curran going to be challenged for pre-selection in South Dunedin? Or has she already won it?

  14. CRT Farmlands? Shades of Wrightsons Reid Farmers. Heard of cows? Heard of chickens? Herd of fools.

    • Reid Farmers merger with the dreadful Wrightsons, as promoted by Bill Baylis. Be warned [DCC ratepayers].

      A majority of ‘boy’ CRT shareholders were suckered. Herd of sheep?

  15. Philip

    The Labour Party supported the stadium because they thought it was good, politically, to support the people’s sport, rugby. Never mind the savage impact on the very vulnerable, and not so vulnerable, who have voted for them in the past. The fact that there were Labour Party people who were against the stadium counted for nothing. I wish these people had spoken up more publicly about their party’s position instead of being so timid.
    To her eternal shame Helen Clark, who now ‘fights for the poor’ in her fancy UN office, in between frequent trips to NZ, is also responsible. She will never be remembered fondly as a great NZ PM. She was a political operative only and the arrogance of her government sent her packing five and half years ago.
    Now we have the repugnant National Party to contend with.

  16. Philip; you are right. Both major parties are populists. Just look at Gerry ‘fatso’ Brownlee and Key ‘geeing’ for the new covered stadium in Christchurch. Never mind that just down the road is the classic example of how viable stadiums of any shape or form are when there is a dearth of population. NZ has one, only half viable one, and that’s in Auckland with 1.4m population. All others simply drag on their local citizens. Dunedin’s being the latest, hence most expensive, with the smallest population, is the benchmark for financial stupidity. With a bit of luck, Mayor Dalziel will stop Christchurch following on, despite Brownlee and the rugby ‘nuts’.

  17. Thanks to Hype O’Thermia for this link. The jobs they come, and they go…

    ### Last updated 18:57 03/03/2014
    Dunedin sawmill in receivership
    By Hamish Rutherford
    A sawmill company with about 400 employees and about $100 million in annual sales has been placed in receivership.
    Brendan Gibson and Michael Stiassny, of KordaMentha, were this afternoon appointed as receivers of Dunedin-headquartered Southern Cross Forest Products.
    The company has four sites in Mosgiel, Milton, Balclutha and Milburn around Dunedin and another site in Thames. In 2012, the last figures available, the company generated revenue of just under $95m.
    Receivers spent the day meeting with staff at Southern Cross sites, assuring them they would be paid while a buyer is sought for the business.
    Managing director Tom Whitefield this evening referred questions to the receivers.
    Gibson said he had spoken to staff throughout the day. He had told them it was hoped the company would be sold as a going concern.
    Read more

  18. Talking about job losses, I bet those 400 in the Southern Cross Forest Products receivership don’t get anything like the deal DVML’s David Davies Darren Burden and Guy Hedderwick had. Davies gets $54,591.32 plus a portion (undisclosed) of his at risk salary (however much that is) when he departed voluntarily. Burden, (apt title) only got $29,377.77 in entitlements when he quit prematurely after just one year onto his contract.
    Chairman of the DVML board, Sir John Hansen is quite comfortable with these payments. Of course he’s quite comfortable, “it’s not his money!”. I don’t even think he is a Dunedin ratepayer, as he lives in Rangiora.
    The moral here for those poor 400 is: if you can get another job, make damn sure it is one that comes from the public purse. Preferably for a loss making enterprise funded by debt, underwritten by the ratepayers, and you’ll be sweet even when the “brown stuff hits the proverbial fan.”

  19. Peter

    Certainly, jobs come and jobs go, but I kind of get the impression that, at best, Dunedin and the surrounding area is just treading water with ‘job growth’. We hear as much, if not more, about job losses as well as the success stories. Is the COC keeping an inventory of these job developments over the last year, two years or five years? You would expect that would be a useful data collecting job for them.
    Also which industries are benefitting and which ones are on a slide?
    Where are the next 10,000 jobs for the next 10 years supposed to come from?

  20. Peter; ‘where are the next 10,000 jobs for the next ten years supposed to come from?’ Equally as important is; ‘where is the $10,000 per job increase supposed to come from?’ Because that is what the DCC’s Economic Development Plan is promising. Mayor Dave Cull says that the F&P deal “means a tremendous amount, and it feels a bit like we’re turning a corner on the retention – and in fact the creation – of high quality jobs. This was a key aim of the city’s economic development strategy and was “doubly pleasing” given the recent history of job losses in the city.” He goes on to say: “They’re not just jobs. They’re exactly the kinds of jobs, creating the high-quality, high-value IP (intellectual property) we need to create in this city. When you put 40-50 extra jobs into a place which are high-quality, highly paid jobs, the economic effect is considerable.” So there we are Peter, 40-50 highly-paid jobs, we are well on the way to the 10,000 in ten years target. Have faith my friend, Dave has it sussed.

  21. Anonymous

    Up 70 “highly-skilled” call-centre jobs.
    Down 400 export-centred jobs.

    Hint: The future of the NZ economy is export-led commodities.

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