Mayor Cull’s reflections on Edinburgh #SisterCity #Junkets

Edinburgh - New Town Old Town []

Received from Cr Lee Vandervis
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 at 11:36 p.m.

Message: I thought it might be of interest that there has been no response from the Mayor, or from anyone else regarding my criticism of the latest round of Sister City tourism as below.

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:10:12 +1200
To: Dave Cull, Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham, Andrew Noone, Andrew Whiley, Chris Staynes, Doug Hall, Hilary Calvert, John Bezett, Jinty MacTavish, Kate Wilson, Lee Vandervis, Mayor Cull, Mike Lord, Neville Peat, Richard Thomson, David Benson-Pope, Aaron Hawkins
Cc: Tony Avery, Grant McKenzie
Conversation: File – reflections on Edinburgh visit.docx
Subject: Re: File – reflections on Edinburgh visit.docx

Dear Dave,

Thank you sending us your preliminary reflections on visiting Edinburgh, which I know from personal experience to be especially pleasant at this time of year.
Since being elected in 2004 I have read many similar reflections on Sister City visits all of them similarly generic.
I note that your statement “So most of our time in Edinburgh was devoted to meetings with Edinburgh arts and cultural organizations, people or institutions.” is a fair definition of tourism, unless you are heavily into sports which might not necessarily be caught by the words ‘cultural organizations’.
Your claim that you went to “reinvigorate the sister city relationship” is untenable since there never has been any vigour in the relationship, as anyone who has done years on the Edinburgh Sister City Committee will confirm. The previously overused but safer ‘breath new life into the relationship’ would also fail as it is not possible to breathe new life into a corpse.
Ditto Otaru.
I take it that Dunedin will now be hosting some official reciprocal Scottish tourists by return when the Scottish winter bites.

At least Harland pretended to come back with a viable Scottish wind power design.

Kind regards,

On 6/08/14 4:26 AM, “Quickoffice” wrote:

Hi Colleagues, Attached a preliminary report on the Edinburgh experience. Dave

The following is a preliminary report/reflection on our recently completed trip to Edinburgh while it is still fresh. There is considerable detail and learnings yet to be brought together from our various meetings.

This Sister City visit to Edinburgh was timed to coincide with the opening of the NZ in Edinburgh Programme. That included a national kapa haka group being a central part of the tattoo, an exhibition by Commonwealth artists partly curated by Aaron Kriesler of DPAG and many more performances/exhibits. NZ was the country of honor at the umbrella Edinburgh Festival. Our Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae was a guest of honor with the 2nd Lord of the Admiralty at the Tattoo opening night.
Dunedin received invitations to Edinburgh from the the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Creative Scotland and the British Council.
The visit was timed to coincide because one of the objectives of going was to reinvigorate the sister city relationship, potentially through the medium of arts and culture. This was timely as Dunedin is currently developing an Arts and Culture Strategy, our Economic Development Strategy recognises the important potential of the whole creative sector and we are awaiting confirmation of UNESCO City of Literature status. The two cities obviously already have many cultural connections, going back to Dunedin’s founding and naming by Scots.
So most of our time in Edinburgh was devoted to meetings with Edinburgh arts and cultural organizations, people or institutions. They include Creative Scotland (equivalent of Creative NZ), Edinburgh University (2 depts), Councillor convener of arts and future committee, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh City of Literature, British Council, Institute of Scottish Studies, and Centre for the Book Edinburgh Napier University. We also met with the Lord Provost, attended the Tattoo and the opening of Aaron’s exhibition.
We are still processing what we learned, but a number of things made us very positive about the potential opportunity Edinburgh, and our relationship with her, could offer Dundin. First everyone, without exception, has been welcoming and has gone out of their way to engage, spend time with us and provide any information we asked for. Several organizations have express a desire to collaborate with Dunedin. One or two came to meetings with specific proposals! We have even had an approach from the Edinburgh suburb Corstorphine asking about partnering with Corstorphine, Dunedin. The bigger picture is that Edinburgh has essentially reinvented itself as a cultural/festival city. Certainly after World War II Edinburgh’s economy diminished drastically. Edinburgh was the first UNESCO City of Literature. Now festivals of various cultural complexions bring hundreds of millions of pounds into the city. Edinburgh views and defines itself as a creative, literary artistic city. So if nothing else Dunedin can learn an
enormous amount from Edinburgh’s experience across a range of initiatives. In addition there is considerable potential for collaboration and exchange between Dunedin and Edinburgh institutions, to their mutual benefit. There was emphatic interest in Dunedin performers performing in both Edinburgh and Glasgow at major events. Indeed Neville and Cara saw the Chills in Glasgow on Saturday night.
So while we have yet to fully de-brief and weigh up what we learned, it is clear that there is huge potential culturally, economically and academically for Dunedin in refreshing and developing our relationship with Edinburgh specifically and Scotland in general.

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Filed under Business, COC (Otago), DCC, Economics, Events, Geography, Hot air, Name, New Zealand, Otago Polytechnic, People, Politics, Project management, Tourism, University of Otago, What stadium

34 responses to “Mayor Cull’s reflections on Edinburgh #SisterCity #Junkets

  1. Anonymous

    “Potential is not a quality”

  2. So he has not yet fully de-briefed. Sheesh! didn’t he take a change with him? If that was so I bet Edinburgh was glad to see him go. It would clear their air.

  3. Rob Hamlin

    Interesting photos here of a typical outcome of massive public investments in major pseudo-corinthian sporting facilities on the basis of ‘economic impact’. Mind you, it can’t be denied that they did have an impact – just not one of the type that was suggested, by their plastic-toothed proponents!

  4. Hmmmmm? And in just ten years. So our stadium might be there in seven?

  5. Elizabeth

    Dunedin City Council – Media Release
    High level Shanghai Delegation for Sister City 20th Anniversary

    This item was published on 15 Aug 2014.

    A high level six-member delegation from China’s Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress (SCSMPC) will be in Dunedin from 19 – 21 August to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dunedin’s sister city relationship with Shanghai. Dunedin City Council Business Development Advisor – International Relations Margo Reid says, “The delegation represents the office of the Mayor of Shanghai, but as the SCSMPC sits above the Mayor’s office in government terms, the visit demonstrates the seriousness with which Shanghai regards the relationship between the two cities.”

    The delegation is being led by Vice Chairman of the SCSMPC Standing Committee Mr Xue Chao. He is accompanied by SCSMPC members: Chairman for the Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee Mr Shen Zhixian, Vice-Chairman of the Urban Construction and Environmental Protection Committee Mr Xu Jieliang, Director of Petitions Office of General Office of SCSMPC Ms Wu Liqun, Deputy Director of the Office of the Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee Mr Liu Jinpeng and Deputy Director of the Office of the Urban Construction and Environmental Protection Committee Mr Lin Haiping.

    Ms Reid says the delegation has expressed particular interest in learning about environmental protection, air pollution and sustainability. Its itinerary therefore focuses on those interests as well as showcasing the city. This includes a presentation from the Otago Regional Council, led by its Chairman Stephen Woodhead, and a visit to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

    The most significant event in terms of the 20th anniversary celebrations is the naming of the Shanghai Room in the Dunedin Municipal Chambers on Wednesday, 20 August. This will be attended by the entire delegation, Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull and invited guests.

    “On the same day the delegation will visit the Dunedin Chinese Garden,” says Ms Reid. “They will take part in two ceremonial activities, releasing new fish into the pond and planting a weeping willow tree. The weeping willow’s shape is elegant and its branches bend but rarely break, showing strength and sustainability.” A civic dinner will be held that evening in the Dunedin Town Hall. University of Otago School of Law staff, including Professor Mark Henaghan, will meet with the delegation to talk about New Zealand environmental law. A tour of the Otago Polytechnic will include a meeting with the Director, Sustainability, Centre for Sustainable Practice, Jean Tilleyshort. The delegation will depart Dunedin for Australia on the afternoon of 21 August.

    Contact Margo Reid, Business Development Advisor – International Relations on 03 474 3507.

    DCC Link

  6. Elizabeth

    Good grief. Mr Cull pulls the sister-city trick as a newsworthy item amidst the snowballing story of his own and the city council’s moral turpitude. Does he dare claim that he has diplomatic immunity ?!

    ### ODT Online Mon, 1 Sep 2014
    Sister city trip benefits extolled
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin stands to benefit from a flurry of diplomatic activity on the world stage, Mayor Dave Cull says. Mr Cull made the comment after returning home from a recent two-week trip to Edinburgh and Otaru, Japan, and then playing host to a high-powered visiting delegation from Shanghai. […] Mr Cull told the ODT the council’s costs – at less than $20,000 for Edinburgh and Otaru – were ”very modest”, and the trips were not junkets. Costs for the Shanghai delegation’s trip to Dunedin were not yet available, but also believed to be modest.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Modest schmodest, $20,000 plus “Costs for the Shanghai delegation’s trip to Dunedin [which] were not yet available” return pie-in-the-sky in the opinion of ratepayers but would make a significant difference to the physio pool fund. And the physio pool is an actual physical, see it, feel it, swim in it asset not a helping of Council Cafe’s Junket Jus -tification with Bullshit Brownie.

  7. Simon

    Did Davey mention to his old mates in Otaru Japan the other day while he was being wined and dined by them. That we in Dunedin don’t like the way that they come down this end of the world and kill all those whales. Surely he would have taken them to task over that. Wouldn’t he?

  8. Anonymous

    I imagine the good citizens of Otaru, if they were not bound by strict politeness, would show Mayor Cull a large picture of sealing and whaling colonies around Otago Peninsula from the time the colony was founded.

  9. Elizabeth

    Here we go! More job creation at DCC’s new soak hole for disappearing ratepayer funds, Enterprise Dunedin…..

    From the report below:

    Enterprise Dunedin’s EDS projects budget is $518,000 for the current 2014/2015 financial year and has yet to be ratified for the 2015/16 year and future years. This budget pays for progressing EDS projects and includes payment for the project co-ordinators and project management costs.

    That the Committee:

    1. Approve the earmarking of $190,000 on an annual basis from the Economic Development Project Budget for the purpose of employing two project co-ordinators.

    2.That this funding be included as two line items within the Economic Development Project fund for a period of three years:
    - Export Education Uplift Co-ordinator – $95,000
    - Project China Co-ordinator – $95,000

    Report – EDC – 20/10/2014 (PDF, 126.7 KB)
    Economic Development Strategy Projects Budget – Project Co-ordinators’ Funding Request

  10. Calvin Oaten

    Notice that the Grow Dunedin chair is ‘Okley Dokley’ Ned Staynes. Say no more.

  11. Peter

    John Christie’s appointment plus the two $95k jobs. That’s three jobs towards the projected 10,000 jobs in 10 years. Nice.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      How does $95k compare with the average and the medium wages? How does it compare with the average in Dunedin, ie the average Dunedin ratepayer’s annual income?

  12. Elizabeth

    ### November 5, 2014 – 7:25pm
    Nightly interview: Chris Staynes
    A large mayoral delegation has just returned from China, where stronger ties were forged with the cities of Shanghai and Qingdao. Deputy Mayor Chris Staynes was part of the delegation, and he joins us to talk about its importance.

  13. Brilliant!
    He’s nailed that polly trick of taking a length of plain string into a cat’s cradle to present with a flourish as “Plain Truth”.

  14. Elizabeth

    In Otaru, Mr Cull met representatives of organisations such as Otaru Aquarium/Marine Research Centre and discussed the possibility of sharing a research project with Otago University Marine Research Centre.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 25 Nov 2014
    Sister city junkets ridiculed
    By Shawn McAvinue
    All that Dunedin City Council junkets to international sister cities created was reports with ”vegetarian” platitudes and no meat on economic benefits, says Cr Lee Vandervis. But Cr Neville Peat says the sister city relationships could attract J. K. Rowling and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo to Dunedin.
    A report on international council delegations in August was discussed in the community and environment committee at the Municipal Chambers yesterday.
    Read more

  15. Further to my suggestion on another thread, I would strongly advise that the DCC should provide ‘vomit bags’ in all council settings. Particularly when discussing councillors’ perks and privileges. They do it on airlines, and God knows our lot have seen the inside of plenty of those. Andrew Noone seems to wallow in “the superb hospitality and generosity” he experienced on his junkets. Wonder what else he could immediately bring to mind? “Duh!” Quick! “vomit bag” please!

  16. Elizabeth

    Try to contain yourself Calvin, I did note the erstwhile no one was under some sort of strain at the meeting yesterday, it exhibited as an impatience – not translating as contrition in any way. He should remember local government is ultimately thankless. Especially for acts of stupidity, lack of independence and extortionate debt-making. No doubt he joined Syd after the meeting for a stiff gin.

  17. What? J K Rowling doesn’t make up her own mind where she visits and can be sent hither and yon like a chain letter among the City Sisterhood? I ever so much don’t think so! If anything would persuade her to come, the likeliest would be an invitation from her peers – other authors – and other admirers, readers young and old. J K Rowling had a period of being on the bones of her bum when she would probably have been grateful for a free holiday trip to the other side of the world. Now? Ummm Cr Neville Peat, she’s made a few dollars by her own efforts, in case you haven’t caught up. She’s got several functioning brain cells. She’s just not that desperate. You may have got her confused with a Page 3 girl or a footballer’s girlfriend.

  18. Elizabeth

    ### November 27, 2014 – 5:36pm
    International delegation trips called into question
    There have been numerous civic delegations to different countries this year. Scotland, Japan and China have all recently been visited by the mayor and other community leaders, in an effort to boost economic and educational ties. But whether such delegations are worth their cost has been drawn into question.

  19. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Dec 2014
    Sister city Dunedin honoured on world stage
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin’s burgeoning relationship with Shanghai has been put on a pedestal at an award ceremony attended by world leaders in China. Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose returns to Dunedin today from the 2014 International Friendship Cities Conference in Guangzhou, China.
    At the event Dunedin was named as one of three cities – alongside San Francisco and Hamburg – to receive a sister city exchange and co-operation award from Shanghai, which has more than 70 sister cities around the world.
    Read more

    “I think we are on the threshold of making a quantum leap in the level of our relationship with Shanghai.” –Liability Cull

    ODT: Chinese trade deal for city firm — Green Island-based oat mill Harraways

  20. Peter

    ‘Quantum’ seems to be one of Dave’s favourite words. I think it is meant to sound knowledgeable, and impressive, about whatever he is talking about.

  21. Hype O'Thermia
    In physics, a quantum leap or quantum jump is a change of an electron from one quantum state to another within an atom.[1] It appears to be discontinuous; the electron “jumps” from one energy level to another very quickly, after existing briefly in a state of superposition.

    Although changes of quantum state occur on the submicroscopic level, in popular discourse, the term “quantum leap” refers to a large increase (Oxford English Dictionary).

  22. Elizabeth

    ### December 2, 2014 – 5:39pm
    Chinese business delegation in town
    A business delegation from China is in Dunedin. Mayor Dave Cull has welcomed the delegates to the city, during a function at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. The visitors are from the Qingdao Bureau of Commerce. Dunedin already has several business ties with the Chinese city, which is where the Haier Group is based.
    Read more [no video available]

    • @Elizabeth December 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      Well I suppose the Mayor should be running out the red carpet for these people since they pretty well own the place – one way or another. Nope – no red tape for these geezas,

      Look where all the jobs have gone since F&P left town. Here’s a short summary:-

      Thursday April 17, 2008 Source: ONE News

      Double blow for Dunedin
      F&P electronics moving to Thailand
      F&P moves washing machines off shore
      One of Dunedin’s biggest employers, Fisher & Paykel, is slashing more than 400 jobs. F&P will close the whiteware production lines at its Mosgiel plant
      Workers at the Mosgiel plant received the grim news on Thursday morning.
      It meant an unexpected afternoon in the pub for some of them and alongside the forced hilarity was huge disappointment and shock.

      In 2012, Haier has purchased over 90% of Fisher & Paykel Appliance shares

      We kinda owe them – but they kinda own us.

  23. Peter

    Yes, ‘quantum’ makes it all look more ‘scientific’. Much better than the simpler, ‘large increase’.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Isn’t it interesting the way common usage grabbed “quantum leap” as a cool expression and assumed it meant, “Heyyy, BIG-AS bro!!!” instead of a finite change by something very very tiny. And now it’s been used so often to mean big (usually implying, “and that’s thanks to my/our brilliant efforts”) that dictionaries non-judgementally list that meaning.

      • Mike

        Yes this bugs me no end, all those years of Uni physics, a quantum change is the smallest possible change you can make that’s not no change.

  24. Peter

    Funnily enough I was reminded how Farry likes ‘quantum’ too. Must be in vogue with the guys. You hang around together too long and start talking the same bullshit…..unconsciously…. usually.

  25. But Peter, it is the unconscious that primarily talk ‘quantum’. Farry is a classic example and Dave Cull is on board as well. The smallest possible change that isn’t a change is hardly how one would describe the mayhem those two ‘bozos’ have caused.

  26. Peter

    I reckon a fair amount of ‘group think’ goes on at council…and to be fair…with a lot of other organisations too. Usually in these situations you get a dominant person or two who speaks at length and tolerates no other views to his/her own, either by ignoring what else is being said by someone or by putting that person, who differs, down.
    Before too long the others have been exhausted into submission and, like new recruits who have been sleep deprived within the cult, end up speaking in the same dead language. They have all succumbed to ‘group think’. Before we know it, ‘there is no other way’ and ‘we all have to move forward’.
    Occasionally you get someone who is a resistant type and who prefers to question everything because that is their intellect or nature. This person is usually portrayed as ‘negative’ by the group thinkers and, in private, is considered a f..king nuisance trying to hobble the grand plan.
    There is still the discussions, debates and consultations, but the decisions have really already been made. The numbers around the table have been already worked out and once the palaver of debating etc is over, it is a matter of pushing the button for the go ahead.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      …a.k.a. moving on, going forward.
      Not relitigating the past a.k.a. refusing to learn from experience, or anything else.

  27. Peter

    That’s the one, Hype. This is a good way for them to deal with stuff that is uncomfortable or too difficult to deal with. Far better to make it other people’s problem…like the grandkids…. down the road.
    ‘What did you do on council, Grandad/Ma? What was your legacy to us?’

    Another thing. It is a truism, in international teaching circles, that you come across three types of teachers. I think there is an analogy here with the kind of people you get on council.

    Firstly, there are the ‘mercenaries’. In this case it is not just the money… in terms of salary it is not that high…. but what your influence, behind the scenes, can do for you in terms of your main business outside. I am thinking of something like furthering property interests for example. A good screw for these people to get into local government.

    Secondly. There are the ‘missionaries’ who do actually go into the job, for good reasons, to improve the lot of those whom they serve. Of course, they do not always get it right (they are human) and they let their ideology ignore practical application. Being missionaries, they tend to plough on regardless. Sometimes, they manage to affect good change and everyone genuinely benefits.

    Thirdly, there are the ‘misfits’. These are the ones who somehow manage to get on council through native cunning. They haven’t really made it on the outside, in terms of what they previously did (their CV is weak), and you can always rely on these ones to say something, or do something, absolutely barmy. They are often all over the place with their illogical thinking. Dare I say it, but they are possibly part of the ‘lunatic fringe’! Of this type, we finally dispose of some of them, only to elect their replacements.

    Ok, there may be some overlap, but you get the idea in a general sense.

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