Stadium: DVML, mothballing, and ‘those TVs’ #LGOIMA

Received from Lee Vandervis
Tue, 24 Jun 6:20 p.m.

I am disappointed in the complete indifference of the local press regarding info I have sent them on the scandalous $1.3 million of new flatscreen TVs DVML bought when they already had 94 TVs and were already grossly unable to meet budgets. –Vandervis

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:23:54 +1200
To: Chris Morris [ODT], Debbie Porteous [ODT]
Cc: Nick Smith [ODT; Allied Press Ltd]
Conversation: stadium
Subject: Re: stadium

Hi Chris and Debbie,

My understanding is that mothballing the stadium is not being seriously considered, but that it should be to at least give us a sunk-costs base-line to recognise how much keeping the doors open is costing us.
The one-off cost of buying and paying the interest on the stadium is damaging enough with out the continuous massively subsidised ridiculous running costs.

It is a shame that DVML have been allowed to run as an out-of-control Council Trading Organisation for far too long, and that DCC failure to get DVML to operate responsibly as required by their Statement of Intent has encouraged profligate spending, such as buying $1.3 million of new flat screen TVs with fancy computer controls, when they already had 94 new flat screen TVs. [see attached DVML LGOIMA responses] Spending $1.2 million on unauthorized temporary seating, and buying an unauthorized specifically Council-denied growlight system [to keep the turf growing] are two other examples. Despite this the Mayor and other Councillors seem to be happy for years now to keep throwing millions at DVL/DVML.
I have often said that before we seriously consider closing the stadium doors we should strip DVL/DVML of their staff, directors and overheads, appoint a DCC in-house manager to run the stadium along Edgar Centre lines using volunteers including Rotary as was done with Carisbrook, fit a low-maintenance artificial turf to allow everyday use, and see how cheaply the stadium could really be run. Only then would we be in a position to decide whether keeping it open was possible long term.

I have sent original info re DVML’s profligate spending on newer TVs and their disposal of ‘old’ flat screens in separate emails.


—— End of Forwarded Message


Email 1

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:12:59 +1200
To: Chris Morris [ODT], Debbie Porteous [ODT]
Cc: Nick Smith [Allied Press Ltd]
Conversation: LGOIMA response and new questions
Subject: FW: LGOIMA response and new questions

From: Kim Barnes [DVML]
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2014 00:45:59 +0000
To: Lee Vandervis
Cc: Sandy Graham [DCC], Terry Davies [DVML], Sue Bidrose [DCC]
Subject: RE: LGOIMA response and new questions

Dear Councillor Vandervis

Please find attached the response to your request in relation to your LGOIMA request dated 9 May 2014. Attached also is a record of the payments made by staff and Directors for the purchases of the second hand televisions.

Kind regards

Kim Barnes
Marketing & Communications Manager [DVML]

Record of Payment (PDF 836 KB)
ClrVandervis030614 (PDF, 129 KB)

From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: Friday, 9 May 2014 2:47 p.m.
To: Kim Barnes [DVML]
Cc: Sandy Graham [DCC]; Terry Davies [DVML]; Sue Bidrose [DCC]
Subject: Re: LGOIMA response and new questions

Thank you Kim for Mr Davies responses to my questions.

Unfortunately some of my questions have not been answered.
Question 2 asks whether DVML realised at the time they bought the new Stadium TV software package that the existing 94 TVs were incompatible.
Can you please respond – yes or no – whether DVML realised they were buying a software package that was incompatible with the stadium existing 94 TVs?

Question 5 asks who was responsible for keeping the records referred to in “Unfortunately no record has been found of these actions or conversations”.
My ‘who’ question has not been answered – was it a management requirement lapse, or was it simply a staff member filing error, or some other subcontractor’s recording lapse?

Question 6 asks who was responsible for the damage causing seven TVs to be discarded? Does the “where no blame can be attributed” response mean that nobody was held responsible for the destruction of these seven TVs? Was any insurance claim made for the damaged TVs?

Question 7 requests copies of original paperwork confirming payments for stadium TVs supplied to DVML staff and directors. Thank you for supply copies of invoices, but it is proof of payment original paperwork that I have asked for. Can you please forward copies of this ‘confirming payment was made’ paperwork?

Your response also raises some additional questions which I wish to pose now as an additional LGOIMA request for information:
TV sale invoices variously describe TVs as “new” “second-hand” or just as “TV”.

Question A – are the “new” TVs so described actually new, and if so why are these new TVs being sold so cheaply? Are the sold ‘new’ TVs from the original 94, or from the subsequent 165 TVs? Are the second-hand TVs from the original 94 or subsequent 165 TVs or both? Of the TVs sold to staff/directors that are neither described as new or second-hand, which were new and which were second-hand?

Question B – why do the TV sale invoices vaguely refer to a generic TV type and not specify the actual TV unit by way of model number or serial number as is required in “a description of the goods” on a GST invoice?

Question C – What is the total number of TVs now in the stadium, and how many are from the original 94 TVs and how many are from the more recent purchase of 165 TVs?

Thank you for the information that you have provided so far as it has helped to clarify some aspects of the $1.3 million cost of the second full stadium TV system excluding the original stadium 94 TVs system.

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

—— End of Forwarded Message


Email 2

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:12:07 +1200
To: Debbie Porteous [ODT], Chris Morris [ODT]
Conversation: LGOIMA response
Subject: FW: LGOIMA response

From: Kim Barnes [DVML]
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 03:02:38 +0000
To: Lee Vandervis
Cc: Sandy Graham [DCC], Terry Davies [DVML], Sue Bidrose [DCC]
Subject: RE: LGOIMA response

Dear Councillor Vandervis

Please find attached the response in relation to your LGOIMA request dated 1 April 2014 along with copies of invoices as requested.

Kind regards

Kim Barnes
Marketing & Communications Manager [DVML]

Staff purchase invoices (PDF, 615 KB)
ClrVandervis290414 (PDF, 101 KB)

From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: Tuesday, 1 April 2014 10:17 p.m.
To: Kim Barnes [DVML]
Cc: Sandy Graham [DCC]; Terry Davies [DVML]; Sue Bidrose [DCC]
Subject: Re: LGOIMA response

Dear Kim,

Thank you for finally providing me with a response. 8 weeks for this response is unacceptable however and the excuse given that “the request is for a large quantity of official information or necessitates a search through a large quantity of information” is not credible.

The answers you have provided raise further questions as follow, to which I expect answers within a normal LGOIMA timeframe:

1 – Who decided to buy the first 94 stadium TVs and on what advice?
2 – Did DVML realise at the time they bought the new stadium TV software package that these 94 TVs were incompatible?
3 – What “increased revenue” has resulted from purchasing the newer 165 TVs and stadium TV software package?
4 – What has been the total cost of the stadium TV software package, the 165 TVs and associated installation costs? Please itemize.
5 – Who at the stadium was responsible for keeping the records referred to in “Unfortunately no record has been found of these actions or conversations”?
6 – 7 of the 94 TVs have been “Discarded due to being damaged”. Under what circumstances have so many TVs been damaged and who has been held responsible?
7 – Please forward copies of original paperwork confirming payments for stadium TVs by staff members, and payments by DVML Chair Sir John Hansen and DVML Director Peter Stubbs.

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

On 1/04/14 5:48 PM, “Kim Barnes” wrote:
Dear Councillor Vandervis

Please find attached the response in relation to your LGOIMA request dated 5 February 2014 along with a copy of the release being forwarded to the ODT.

Kind regards

Kim Barnes
Marketing & Communications Manager [DVML]

—— End of Forwarded Message
{See also correspondence via posts made on 3 April 2014. -Eds}

Related Posts and Comments:
18.6.14 Crowe Horwath Report (May 2014) – Review of DVML Expenses
14.6.14 NZRU ‘hustles’ towns and cities to build stadiums
12.6.14 Fairfax Media [not ODT] initiative on Local Bodies
9.6.14 DVML: Crowe Horwath audit report (Hedderwick)
3.6.14 DCC unit under investigation
2.6.14 Stadium costs ballpark at $21.337 million pa, Butler & Oaten
█ 3.4.14 DVML: Lost in transaction II (flatscreen TVs)
█ 3.4.14 DVML: Lost in transaction (flatscreen TVs)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

[Punctuation in the string of correspondence lightly edited and highlighting added; all email addresses removed. -Eds]


Filed under Business, Carisbrook, DCC, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Tourism, What stadium

32 responses to “Stadium: DVML, mothballing, and ‘those TVs’ #LGOIMA

  1. Bev Butler

    I noticed one of the invoices to Paul Thompson (DVML/ORFU) is for a business/formal suit.
    DVML buys the suit for $330 then sells to staff for 50% discount.

  2. Raymond

    Why has the local press not commented on the TVs? Have they been beneficiaries of TVs which we have heard went out the back door in the middle of the night? Nothing would surprise me.

  3. Bev Butler

    How many business suits were sold to staff/Board members and/or others at 50% discount? What other products were being sold at discount by DVML? Were any cars being sold?

    • Elizabeth

      Cars? Did someone mention Cars?

      [The council sieve is leaking] DCC has yet to publicly confirm, after a suspected suicide, that (maybe maybe, as rumour has it ?) something like 200 vehicles could be at issue in the Citifleet/Citipark fraud investigation. What else besides that Council isn’t saying?]

      • Cars

        As I have stated previously, now that the cycle lane expenditure has been approved, council employees should ride their bikes to work, and so should the councillors who approved the expenditure. If it is proven that defalcation has occurred in car purchasing then an additional benefit of zero vehicles (except bikes) will clearly save the council by the cost of the cars and also the cost of the fraud on the cars in addition.

        No cars for council employees, has a nice ring to it doesn’t it!

    • Hype O'Thermia

      It’s encouraging that DVML were prepared to branch out and get into the second hand business.
      It’s DIScouraging that they show the same inability to grasp the essentials as in all their other efforts.
      How to run a small business: start with a big husiness…….
      Time to upskill, get new MBAs off different cornflakes packets.

  4. Elizabeth

    Unpopular with students…. *smirk

    ### ODT Online Wed, 25 Jun 2014
    Rugby: Break for zoo, but concept alive
    By Steve Hepburn
    The zoo section of Forsyth Barr Stadium will not be open this Friday night but the Highlanders intend to continue with the concept. The zoo, in the western end of stadium, is used to attract the student market and younger people to games but, apart from the first match against the Blues when a ticket to the zoo was included in an Orientation ticket, it has barely been more than a third full.
    Read more

  5. Horses2005

    Hi, not sure where the best place is to post this sorry but here’s an interesting UK story about the upcoming Newcastle vs Sydney FC at the FB stadium. Unsurprisingly it’s all bad news.

    Continue on dear reader, if you dare…

    • The most interesting fact in that is DVML paying an underwriting fee. Presumably that is to guarantee the promoter’s costs. Oh dear, here is another bundle down the drain.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks for the link Horses2005. This paragraph rounds it up well:

      “While countless other clubs are going to places such as North America and attracting loads of extra investment on the back of the massive TV exposure and success last season’s new broadcasting deals brought over there, Newcastle are travelling to a rugby heartland with minimal to zero commercial benefits.”

  6. Beckenham

    There must be a better word than ‘mothball’ otherwise huge spheres of crystallised carbolic have to be rolled onsite and a huge duchess built thereon. Duc.

  7. Peter

    On Channel 39 tonight it is reported that despite the Highlanders’ improved performance this year, numbers are down for home games from 2012 (16,500) to (!2,000) this year (7 games so far with the last one on Friday) …..from memory.

    {Link supplied. -Eds}

    ### June 25, 2014 – 5:57pm
    Highlanders fail to attract fans
    Despite a strong season, the Highlanders have failed to attract as many fans as hoped. Home attendance is down on the previous two seasons, with one last home game against the Chiefs on Friday. And although public support has been average, players are hoping for a big crowd to help get them into the play-offs.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Could it be that commercial rugby is fast becoming a yesterday thing?

      How long do we have to reckon on, before it becomes desirably retro chic, like fondue sets and formica tables?

  8. Phil

    Let’s not forget that those “gate figures” include more than 2,000 theoretical attendees, such as season ticket holders and foundation members. I think that Terry Davies recently mentioned a number of around 2,200. Those people are counted whether they turn up or not, as they are assigned allocated seating. So a published figure of 10,000 spectators could mean that 10,000 people actually showed up. Or it could mean that fewer than 8,000 people were physically at the game. Apparently that’s standard attendance reporting practice right around the country and it is also why you see a picture of a “full house” with large sections of empty seating. The problem (one of many) in our case is that the money taken from the original season ticket holders went to construction costs and was not retained for operating costs. So while all these people might be being reported as part of the “paying customers”, there is zero income being received by the stadium operators.

  9. Hype; what’s wrong with fondue sets? Melted cheese beautifully and it went well with ‘Blue Duck’, or if you were a catholic with ‘Blue Nun’. Guaranteed to to get the party going and raise lots of money for Plunket Mothers. Problem was the next day hangovers. Come to think of it, a bit like the stadium has turned out.

  10. Peter

    It must be demoralising for the Highlanders. They have picked up their game after… long?…..and would naturally be thinking the crowds, being fair weather friends, would come back to ‘support’ them.
    Wasn’t the stadium supposed to be the drawcard to help increase patronage aside from having a more winning team?
    What is the problem? Winning team, covered roof stadium, hot chips and hotdogs, pre-match entertainment…all on offer to entice the hordes?
    Is it because there isn’t enough piss on hand? Is it the slack service at the stadium where you can be away getting refreshements for most of the game? Is it the cold draughts coming in off the harbour? Is it the new TV’s not being up for a new second round redistribution? Are there not enough cheap suits… for the suits? Do the toilets stink? Do the fans want to get in for free instead of paying for their own fun?
    So many questions with no answers.
    Or is it because rugby is getting such a bad name as a corrupt, money grabbing sport and more people have had a gutsful of the lies, the greed and the bullshit?
    I think so. The latest news that the next NZ America’s Cup challenge has found private funding, afterall, and doesn’t need to bludge off the taxpayers, is a lesson for rugby in this country and for Dunedin/Otago in particular. These stadium pricks need to be told to fuck off and leave the ratepayers alone.

  11. Bev Butler

    When the government told the America’s Cup people that they would not supply any more taxpayer money then private funding came in as stated on TV tonight. This is exactly what needs to happen with the stadium.
    The CST lied to the community about the private funding – said it was for construction when in fact it was for revenue to run the stadium – remember Guy Hedderwick telling me to “piss off” when I questioned the CST about this. They then lied in the STS court case – perjury.
    What now needs to happen is to mothball the stadium until the private funding for construction appears like they promised. Simple. If they really want the stadium opened again then the money will come.
    This is also what the Council should have done with the ORFU instead of bailing them out. Had they not bailed them out then the money would have come.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Naturally when the government/council says it will pay if private funding doesn’t come in, private would-be funders put their money back in their wallets and leave it to tax- and ratepayers to fund their favoured cause. Why give their own money when the scheme will go ahead anyway? The rich didn’t generally get that way by being reckless with money, their own I mean. Ours, well that’s another matter entirely.

  12. Phil

    It was interesting to read that article out of the UK about the Newcastle football team’s match at the stadium. According to their sources:

    “A private company has now come to the assistance of Wellington Phoenix who are organising the four club event, with Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) paying a fee to underwrite the match between United and their Australian opponents.”

    Maybe the difference between Private and Public is a bit too confusing for the Wellington Phoenix.

    • Mike

      I stumbled over that one too, I think it’s just bad writing and they’re really saying there’s an (unnamed) entity underwriting stuff, and DVML underwriting just that one game.

      (or at least I hope that’s what’s happening and we’re not on the hook for all the games)

  13. Bev Butler

    Another interesting invoice dated 31/01/13 made out to Sir John Hansen.
    Second hand TVs, Quantity(2) $780
    Nitro Circus tickets, Quantity(2) $158
    Drinks for Christmas party, Quantity(1) $185.78
    Why are the “drinks” not itemised as normally expected?
    Which Christmas Party? Who attended?
    Was discount applied as occurred with the 50% discount on the business suits?
    Please explain, John!

    {Refer to Staff purchase invoices (PDF, 615 KB). -Eds}

  14. Elizabeth

    Bev, it almost seems absurd that DVML (while under ‘stadium review’) and following the Crowe Horwath report on Hedderwick’s expenses etc etc…. appear to have made no effort to retrieve and properly detail invoices and receipts – especially where the chairman and directors of the DVML board are concerned.

    Does transparency not matter at all, John Hansen – surely you would know to run a tidy ship where your own expenses and purchases are concerned. Perhaps you could forward any paperwork that you hold to DCC/DVML for full accounting purposes.

    I’m very interested in the ‘Christmas party’ expenses and who participated – and who supplied the hospitality.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      You’d think someone who had been a judge would remember what happened to people who were a bit over-eager to take advantage of what some people describe as perks, and others have another word for.

  15. Bev Butler

    The press release from Sir John Hansen, dated 1 April 2014, headed Old Technology won’t help a new Stadium make money“, sounds rather foolish given that the stadium opened in August 2011 and DVML started selling off the 94 newly installed TVs only four months later! But wait there’s more that doesn’t add up. In Sir John Hansen’s press release he states that “David Davies and Darren Burden initially consulted Trade Me to determine a sale price. The Board was informed this was to happen in February 2012…….The CEO was then instructed by the Board to get a further, independent valuation……..Unfortunately no record has been found of these actions………”
    The TVs were already being sold off in December 2011 before the ‘lost’ valuations were done the following year.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      TradeMe does valuations? I thought you listed something on it to sell, but if you set the minimum price too high nobody bid for it. If it was worth $3.00 but 2 people desperately wanted one you might end up with it selling for $50 by the time they had repeatedly bid against each other. Just like old-fashioned auctions, actually.

      • Elizabeth

        Hayward’s I’m sure is managing its commission professionally.

        But what of anybody at DVML who got them off the back of the truck in the first place, then later sneaked them off site at night? Their cut?

  16. Elizabeth

    Reading back through comments at ODT Online, enjoyed this one:

    No cloak and dagger
    Submitted by farsighted on Thu, 03/04/2014 – 6:08am.

    The new CEO would be quite correct if he were to say “Move along, nothing to see here”.

    For a start, there’s no TVs to see it on. Then there’s no paperwork. Then there’s no reporting.

    For certain, there is very poor governance. And this is no surprise. It’s quite clear that the DCC does not know how to set up CCOs with good governance. The same mistakes are made time and again.

    Since Council has proved itself unable to demonstrate good governance or to conduct a proper, independent investigation of DVML/DVL and SH88 transactions, I repeat my insistence that Council should be dissolved and a Commissioner appointed. [Abridged]

  17. The Observer

    Congratulations to Cr Lee Vandervis for following up this DVML TV business. People know it is people, like him, who can be trusted to actually do something about suspect dealings within council, and its bodies, instead of turning a blind eye and/or being uncomfortable about raising such issues.

    I am proud of this site for being the only source of real public information in Dunedin, given the ODT’s propensity to cover up until it is forced to present such information…. in a usually sanitised form.

    The site relies on information from official information requests, plus verified leaks of people out there who see what dodginess is going on.

    So much is now known about that bunch of people caught up either in the middle, or on the edge, of what could be loosely described as the Tartan Mafia.

    So, if you have got any verifiable information, pass it on.

  18. Elizabeth

    Why thank you, The Observer. Welcome to this site.
    What if? Dunedin thrives on dribs and drabs and definitely likes to stir the writing hands and remarkable numbers of silent readers.

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