Stadium Review: Mayor Cull exposed

### Thursday 20 November 2014
Checkpoint with Mary Wilson
Dunedin Mayor: ‘Stadium is not a lemon’
A Dunedin City Council report has looked into demolishing the city’s covered rugby stadium built for 200 million dollars just three years ago.
Audio | Download: OggMP3 (4:48)


████ Download: Stadium Review Nov v 15 (585 KB, DOC)

● 15.3.11 Post: Cr Dave Cull speech to Town Hall Meeting [31.3.09]
● 27.4.09 Post: Contract signed

### Last updated 09:08 21/11/2014 | Southland Times
Stadium demolition option only for ‘lunatics’
By Wilma McKay
Dunedin’s mayor has said the city council only included an option to demolish the city’s stadium to shut down “a lunatic fringe”. In an interview with Mary Wilson from Radio New Zealand, Dunedin mayor Dave Cull said demolition was included in a review of stadium funding, ownership and operation “to put to bed the frequent and strident claims of a lunatic fringe”. Cull described the opposing group as “a small vociferous band of critics all the way along through this process who have said it would be much better to knock [the stadium] over”. “So, we said ‘okay, we’ll look at that option, we’ll cost it, and that should put it to bed once and for all’,” he said in the interview. As it turned out demolition proved unworkable economically, Cull said.
City councillors are to gather for an extraordinary meeting on Monday to discuss its recommendations out of the review, including one that ratepayers stump up $18.1 million extra over the next 10 years to keep the arena afloat.
Read more

Stuff: Stadium under fire as city eyes next steps | Southland Times


### ODT Online Fri, 21 Nov 2014
Stadium review ‘kick in the guts for ratepayers’
By Chris Morris
Dunedin city councillors are preparing for a fresh war of words over Forsyth Barr Stadium, following confirmation it needs another $1.81million a year from ratepayers. The extra costs, together with a nearly $1million budget hole to be plugged by mid-2015, would see nearly $20million in extra ratepayer funding pumped into the venue over the next decade.
The findings – outlined with the release of the Dunedin City Council’s stadium review yesterday – prompted a mixture of resigned acceptance and recriminations from some councillors.
Read more

ODT: ‘I don’t think we had much choice’- councillor
[Richard Thomson, chairman, DCC Finance Committee]

Agenda for Extraordinary Meeting | Monday 24 Nov at 1.00 PM
Venue: Edinburgh Room, Municipal Chambers

Related Posts and Comments:
19.11.14 Forsyth Barr Stadium Review
15.11.14 Stadium #TotalFail
12.11.14 DVML: Two directors gone before release of stadium review
8.10.14 Stadium: Liability Cull warns ratepayers could pay more to DVML
6.10.14 Stadium misses —like it would ever happen, Terry
4.10.14 DCHL & DVML: Call for directors
30.9.14 DCHL financial result
25.9.14 DVML on Otago Rugby and Rod
13.9.14 DVML and ORFU refuse to disclose 2012 Otago Rugby deal
10.9.14 Stadium: Behaviours at Suite 29 (intrepid tales)
8.9.14 Jim Harland and the stadium MESS
28.8.14 Stadium Review: dark yet rosy thoughts [joke, honest]
15.7.14 Stadium: Who is being protected?
15.7.14 Rugby stadiums not filling #SkyTV
29.6.14 Stadium: NZRU in the sights
24.6.14 Stadium: DVML, mothballing, and ‘those TVs’ #LGOIMA
18.6.14 Crowe Horwath Report (May 2014) – Review of DVML Expenses
13.5.14 Stadium benefits, what?! (Copeman)
11.5.14 Stadium: DCC proposes extra funds for stadium debt repayment
5.3.14 Stadium: Fairfax business editor pokes DCC’s Fubar
26.2.14 Stadium costs, read uncapped multimillion-dollar LOSSES
24.2.14 Carisbrook Stadium Trust: ‘Facts about the new Stadium’ (31.5.08)
22.2.14 Carisbrook Stadium Trust costs
2.2.14 Stadium: ODT editorial (1.2.14) —Garbutt debunks myths
1.2.14 Stadium: ODT editorial (1.2.14) —“Palpable claptrap” says Oaten
27.1.14 Stadium: No 4 at
24.1.14 Stadium: It came to pass . . . [stadium review announced]

█ For more, enter *stadium*, *dvml*, *terry davies*, *cst*, *dchl*, *dcc*, *annual plan*, *rugby* or *carisbrook* in the search box at right.
odt may 31 2008-1 (pdf cleaned)ODT 31.5.08 (advertisement) | PDF fax copy cleaned by whatifdunedin
[click to enlarge]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Carisbrook, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Democracy, Design, DVL, DVML, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Events, Highlanders, Hot air, LGNZ, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, ORC, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

65 responses to “Stadium Review: Mayor Cull exposed

  1. Elizabeth

    KaiparaConcerns gives mention to the Dunedin problem, cheers guys.


  2. Elizabeth

    Comment at ODT Online:

    Lunatic fringe
    Submitted by Stevesone57 on Fri, 21/11/2014 – 10:10am.
    Dave Cull when interviewed on Radio National called those wanting to demolish the Stadium as a lunatic fringe. That is a point of view but one wonders about the lunatics who voted to build the thing in the first place. The lunatics who said it would pay for itself, the lunatic who said, build it and they will come. The lunatics who decided ratepayers should bail out the ORFU with millions in rate payer money. Finally the pro-stadium lunatics who come up with statements such as, long live the stadium whilst calling those who dare to object to the vast amounts wasted on FSB the anti brigade. ODT Link

  3. Elizabeth

    Dunedin City Council – Media Release
    Forsyth Barr Stadium Review Released

    This item was published on 20 Nov 2014

    A transfer of debt, a change in ownership and a rent review are among options for the Forsyth Barr Stadium.
    The Dunedin City Council will on Monday discuss a report from DCC Chief Executive Officer Dr Sue Bidrose outlining details of the Stadium review and recommendations for the funding, future ownership and operation of the Stadium.
    The review states it is clear the Stadium budgets were, and continue to be, too optimistic and there is an ongoing budget shortfall that needs to be addressed. Regardless of the option chosen, additional ratepayer funding will be needed.
    Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says, “This review was carried out because of uncertainty over ongoing funding requirements for the Stadium. This has made it difficult for the Council to plan properly and difficult for Dunedin Venues Management Limited (DVML) to operate.

    “This review proposes some options for Councillors to discuss which would provide more certainty and transparency when we are planning our budgets and looking at affordability issues around Stadium funding.” –Dave Cull

    “It is my hope that, following consideration of the review, we will have an open and accurate funding model that allows the Stadium to operate effectively and makes it clear to ratepayers what they are contributing.” –Sue Bidrose

    If the Council accepts all the report’s recommendations, an extra $1.81 million a year of ratepayer funds will be required annually for the next 10 years to enable the Stadium to operate on a financially sustainable basis. This would bring the total ratepayer contribution to the Stadium to $11.65 million annually, of which in excess of $10 million would be for interest and debt repayment in the 2015/16 financial year.
    The review highlighted factors that need to be resolved – these are the lack of funding for renewals, the level of rent and the amount of debt. Three years of running costs have shown the annual $4 million rent is unsustainable. The level of debt associated with the Stadium is also an issue. The report recommends the rent be re-evaluated and that $30 million of debt be transferred from Dunedin Venues Limited (DVL) to the Council.
    The Stadium is owned by DVL and managed by DVML. Both companies are owned directly by the DCC. The report outlines a proposed change for the ownership of the Stadium companies and recommends they become part of the Dunedin City Holdings Limited group. The report also recommends separating the boards of DVL and DVML (which currently have the same directors) so they have different membership.
    The report does consider the option of closing [or] and demolishing the Stadium, but this is not recommended because the cost to ratepayers would increase by more than $3.7 million a year until the debt is repaid, with all the community and economic benefits lost.

    █ For a copy of the full report visit

    Contact Dave Cull, Mayor of Dunedin on 477 4000.

    DCC Link

  4. “Sideshow Dave” the man, who on national radio, branded those who are/ were opposed to the Forsyth Barr Stadium as “the lunatic fringe,” I can still see that apparition standing on the stage of the Town Hall vehemently criticizing the whole concept of that stadium. Now, chameleon like, he turns about and champions what time has branded as arguably the biggest blunder this city has made. So what’s changed? Is it that the ‘baubles of office’ have seduced him? Is it those same ‘baubles’ have given him a feeling of omnipotence? Whatever, the man amply demonstrates he has no base, just run with the flow, don’t be serious about anything really and rely on putting the tongue into gear before engaging the brain. History is full of those little Napoleons, all leaving a trail of disasters behind them.

  5. Russell Garbutt

    Cull would say that he is simply pragmatic – the stadium is there and that because of that we have to “make it work”. I think that approach is wrong for a number of reasons. Firstly Cull has not ensured that one person who had provided false or misleading information in the build up to the stadium decision was made accountable. You know and I know that some people have resigned in the wake of things, but they have done so quietly with not one public word of condemnation. There are some, and we all know who they are that made a heap of money out of the whole project and that they were part of the process. Some of those people should be financially culpable for their actions and everyone should know who they are. Cull seems to adopt a position whereby they quietly walk away.

    The second reason is that Cull seems to be terrified of professional rugby and their hidden powers. If Cull had a decent backbone then he should be making sure that professional rugby should be paying what they owe. He knows in intimate detail exactly how rugby rorted the pokie industry, how they welched on their debts and how the DCC is financially supporting them, but he refuses to do anything about it. If the stadium is to remain operational then rugby needs to pay what it costs to run and they also need to come up with their share of costs of building it.

    The third reason is that Cull knows there are a multitude of options other than the same old or bulldozing it down. Simply shutting it and only opening it for events that are willing to pay to open and operate it is but one, but we know that if you want something then you only give two alternatives – the one you want and the one you know will not be acceptable. So Cull is assisting in manipulation.

    The last reason is that if Cull truly believed that the stadium should not proceed for the reasons that it would basically bankrupt the City then he should still believe that. What he should be thinking about is ways in which the major risk can be mitigated and I haven’t seen one sign of him doing that. Instead he seems to be diverted by pointless Chinese forays and establishing dangerous cycleways hither and thither. I think that the guy is lost.

    The Council do need to let Sue Bidrose’s report lie on the table tomorrow and ask for more options other than the two considered. Neither of these are acceptable.

    • That’s it, isn’t it – “If Cull had a decent backbone”!
      The man has proved to be spineless. When strength of character is required he’s missing in action, playing happy families with sister cities. When decisive action is needed he lets the other side make the decision, thus crumbling before the rugby gents who disliked his little outbreak of clarity. At the first cry of “Lawyers at 15 paces” he handed over the money, just as he hands over our money for the stadium, and to appease fellow cyclists, and anywhere he figures it’s going to be too nervous-making standing up like a man and saying No.

  6. Cars

    The first paragraph – a transfer of debt! A transfer from ratepayers to ratepayers. Why is it that the good people of Dunedin cannot see that this is the classic shifting of deckchairs on the Trainwreck.

  7. Elizabeth

    [click to enlarge]
    "The greatest train crash ever filmed"

    *’The greatest train crash ever filmed’ []

  8. Elizabeth

    An earlier comment on mothballing as applies for the economic, built environment and or historic heritage context.

    Also see this post and comments:
    24.6.14 Stadium: DVML, mothballing, and ‘those TVs’ #LGOIMA

  9. Elizabeth

    ### November 26, 2014 – 5:39pm
    Your word on the stadium
    The Dunedin City Council has decided to use more ratepayer money on Forsyth Barr Stadium. It plans to increase the ratepayer contribution by $1.8m each year for the next decade. So the 39 Dunedin News Word on the Street team asked members of the public if they think the stadium is worth its cost.

    Low voter turn out persists at Ch39 online poll…..

    Is the stadium worth its cost?
    Yes 29%
    No 71%
    Total votes: 85

  10. Elizabeth

    Top comment at ODT Online:

    Role of the ODT in ensuring accountability
    Submitted by russandbev on Tue, 09/12/2014 – 11:45am.

    What is stopping the ODT from going back to the members of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust and seeking straight answers to some pretty basic questions? We all know that the ODT published what effectively was a prospectus from the CST which claimed that the stadium would be profitable. It was not, but it seems that either no questions have been asked by the ODT of those that were responsible for the published claims, or those responsible are ignoring reality. And now all the claims of being a stadium built for purpose including hosting live music shows are now also been proven to be worthless. Where is the accountability by those responsible, and where is the public accountability role aided by some forthright journalism? It seems that no matter what claims have been made in the past, the perpetrators can be sure of walking away from accountability by a combination of weak Councillors and weak journalism in seeking out some answers to some very serious questions.

    • Mike

      I followed up with this post but it hasn’t been published …..

      russandbev: I despair that there will ever be any accountability for this monstrous Fubar stuff up. I think the real problem is Dunedin’s good old boy business climate, they call themselves the ‘Tartan Mafia’, way too many smoke filled rooms, and I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine – as a result the DCC deals with carefully selected ‘stakeholders’ and cuts out input from actual ratepayers – when was the last time they held question time before a council meeting? It was something they got rid of to stop people asking embarrassing questions while they were deciding on whether to build the stadium.

      I think the old guard will always close ranks and protect their mates.

      Where possible I’ve avoided doing business with anyone in this larger group, I see no reason to join the CoC, I feel that if their members are not accountable to the public in something like this how can you deal with them in a more traditional sort of business arrangement where trust is so important. I’m encouraged by the newer, younger people working in the tech businesses, they seem to avoid the older business community and get on with it on their own.
      with the included link:

  11. Elizabeth

    Mike, you daring fellow !!! Tremendous LOL

  12. Rob Hamlin

    So the fact that this arena is simply acoustically not up to standard for major concert events has now been admitted. Unfortunately, ‘not up to standard’ means that the big acts will pass this arena by, bar the odd mummified relic from a galaxy far away and long ago – So it’s useless for concerts.

    I hear little that is good about the smaller spaces in this structure. The common refrain is that better can be had in several other local locations for less money. That goes with brass knobs on if the larger urban centres within this country are taken into account – So it’s not up to standard for conferences and smaller functions. So it’s useless for attracting these events too.

    Even if the grass on the main arena could be walked on by mere mortals, the fact that this is a covered rather then enclosed arena makes it useless for major exhibitions etc. – Who wants to spend the weekend chasing their pamphlets down the Harbour Cycle Track? – So it’s useless for them too.

    This leaves pro-rugby. This was after all the sole purpose for which this arena was really designed. But questions now emerge about the FB’s capacity in this regard too. The recent story about ‘resowing the pitch’ may be more significant than most realise. Most who have been to the FB regularly have noticed how the pitch has been progressively deteriorating year on year in a ‘saw tooth’ pattern. The pitch is in ruins by the end of the rugby season, a partial recovery then occurs over the short summer break followed by a further decline in the following season. Tricks have been tried. Restricting regular use to pro-rugby has been one, bar the odd token event. Buying unbudgeted extra lighting has been another. Green paint, I believe, has also been used.

    A pitch should last for 15-20 years according to the comment from a turf website I posted recently. This one is being ‘resown’ after just four. What exactly does ‘resown’ mean. Well I have not seen the pitch turn brown, so I presume that they are just chucking grass seed on it in the hope that some of it grows. This pitch has never ‘knitted together’ like a proper one does. If one opens up the squishy canopy on the FB grass, one finds large areas of bare earth directly underneath (I did this earlier this year at several points). The individual Desso strands are clearly visible and is not incorporated. There is no tillering and no ‘lock together’.

    Now while the Desso has saved this pitch from disintegrating at its first match – (which it would have done in the World Cup had this system not been put in) – it still relies on the grass to hold in position over the longer term. Desso is not ‘woven in’ as has often been claimed. Individual units of it are driven in at 2cm x 2cm centers. The idea is that the grass weaves itself around these individual deeply penetrating Desso units. Once natural weave in occurs, the depth of the Desso stops the grass being bodily pulled out, but the grass also holds the Desso strands in place on the surface at these 2cm centres.

    Grass is a clever thing. It puts its resources into acquiring the resource that is in shortest supply – the restricting resource. In Farry’s Plastic Bag that restricting resource has always been light, and this restriction will increase as the quarry dust and seagull shit relentlessly build up on the ETFE. As there has always been plenty of water and minerals available to it, the pitch grass at the FB does the sensible thing and grows a big green topknot to grab the rare light above ground and hardly any roots below ground to suck up the easy to acquire water and other tucker.

    As there are no large root systems, when a rugby player makes a sharp turn on the FB pitch two things happen: 1) the individual shallow rooted grass, plants which are neither woven into the Desso or each other rip out in numbers. These sad, doomed little plantlets can be observed lying all over the pitch after an FB rugby match – They are much rarer on a normal pitch. 2) The unsupported Desso smears at the surface and loses its own regular structure.

    The grass, given time, artificial light and eventually ‘resowing’, may recover to a degree. Not so the Desso. Once it is smeared its efficiency is reduced and the next time a rugby player makes a turn or stops on that particular spot the damage will be correspondingly greater. This of course will lead to a progressive deterioration of the surface that leads to an eventual point where the surface is unplayable and the whole lot (grass, Desso, soil, and irrigation) will have to be dug out and replaced. Replacement might be an optimistic outcome – Would even the DCC fund the millions necessary for the replacement of a system that had so manifestly failed?

    Having closely observed the ‘sawtooth’ deterioration of this surface over its first two seasons, I gave the FB a life of about 5-7 years as an effective pro-rugby venue. It was this evaluation that motivated me to actively agitate for the demolition of the mysteriously pristine Carisbrook, on the basis that I suspected that I was not the only one who had come to the conclusion that pro-rugby at the FB was living on borrowed time.

    That potentially ratepayer funded pro-rugby ‘bolt hole’ has now thankfully gone. They are ‘resowing’ the pitch. I believe it has less than two months before the next pro-rugby boot hits it at the start of the next interminable pro-rugby season – What are its chances of being ready in time or seeing out 2015 – 50/50? Five years is up.

    All of which makes it look like it might be useless for pro-rugby too. At that point biffing it seems not to be so lunatic after all.

    • Mike

      But Mr Farry promised us that grass would grow under EFTE, he did the experiments, we saw pictures of him in the ODT looking earnestly at tiny glasshouses – was he not being earnest enough? Or was he just going through the motions to make the council happy.

      It was obvious from the start that the cost of using the stadium as a conference venue was likely going to not be competitive, especially with the University right next door available for rent out of term time (and with cheap accommodation) – the two conferences I’ve helped organise since the stadium was built have been held at the Uni, the big one we’ve just started talking about will be too.

  13. Russell Garbutt

    Mr Farry and his Carisbrook Stadium Trust have now been proven to have published in essentially the form of a prospectus in the ODT that the stadium would be profitable. That turned out to be untrue.

    He, and his trust said that it would be built fit for purpose as a world class entertainment venue. That is also palpably not true following the now admitted serious shortcomings on acoustics.

    He, and his trust said that it would be a long term first class rugby venue (in fact the only realy purpose of the place). This relied on grass growing which, as Rob points out so well, it isn’t.

    What did the CST actually say or do that is able to be proven to be true?

    And now how about Mr Farry and the members of his private trust fronting up to some accountability? And how about the stadium Councillors doing exactly the same for their woefully inadequate governance abilities? And how about professional rugby and some “private” investors fronting up with some serious dosh that had also been promised?

    • Did anyone ever find out who the two accounting firms were that supposedly prepared reports in support of the CST financial wishful thinking? And has anyone seen these elusive reports, which I’m sure would have some mighty big disclaimers appended. Still I would like to think someone must have them? If they don’t exist, then it would appear that the CST were telling porkies, in their haste to plunder ratepayer cash for a few rugby games each year. Was this Trust not trustworthy?

      • Elizabeth

        Yes. Bev Butler can answer this question.

        • Bev Butler

          Attached is the information in response to the ombudsman complaint re the CST’s full page ODT advert and the accountancy firms.

          This information took about 8 months to receive instead of the regulatory requirement of 20 working days. I emailed Mr Malcolm Farry on numerous occasions and it was only through yet another ombudsman complaint that I finally received the information.

          The two accountancy firms referred to in the full page ODT advertisement on 31 May 2008 were:
          1. PriceWaterhouseCoopers
          2. Horwath HTL

          Strangely, the documents where the CST claim confirmation were the PwC peer review and Horwath HTL report.

          Some of the relevant sections are listed below.

          Sections showing accountancy did not confirm the statements in the ODT advert:
          PwC A2(ii) page 9, section 3.11
          “We emphasis that we cannot give any assurance that the Forecasts will be achieved. Our focus has been on the reasonableness of the assumptions used.”

          PwC A2(ii) page 9, section 3.9
          “The key issue is that there is no certainty that actual results will be consistent with the Forecasts. The only certainty is that the actual results will be different to the Forecasts.”

          Horwath HTL A2(i) page 5
          “Some assumptions inevitably will not materialise, and unanticipated events and circumstances may occur. Therefore, actual results achieved during the period covered by our analysis may vary from those described in our report (including forward looking statements and projections) and the variations may be material.”

          Sections showing will NOT make a profit:
          PwC A2(ii) page 5, 2.5
          “It is of interest to note that Westpac Stadium and Eden Park both generate surpluses, or at least break even after allowing for depreciation and interest costs (both have debt of around $20 million)….AMI….break-even….after allowing for depreciation and interest.
          This compares to the [Dunedin) Stadium, which is forecast to break-even without including any costs for depreciation and interest….”

          PwC A2(ii) page 5, 2.6
          “…..Given the uncertainties in the Forecasts, we would not categorise them as conservative.”

          PwC A2(ii) page 4, 2.3, bullet 3
          “Our overall view is that the revenue forecasts are at the upper end of expectations. We would not describe them as conservative.”

          Sections contradicting statement “will have no debt”:
          PwC A2(ii) page5, 2.5
          “….forecast excludes interest and depreciation….”
          My comment: these are normal business costs so to exclude them is deceptive.

          PwC A2(ii) page 1, 1.4
          “…..The Council, in its capacity as owner, will be responsible for funding depreciation. Hence the Forecasts focus on cash costs and do not include depreciation. The Council does not expect the operating revenue of the stadium to fund depreciation.”

          No annual subsidy statement:
          My comment: Mention is made of the necessity of an event fund….can’t remember the reference to this one.

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    Peter Jackson is pictured in today’s ODT with his well-deserved star.
    Back home in NZ, in lil’ ol’ Dunedin, the winner of the Flaming Trousers Award is ……………. wait for it …………. [bugger, it’s hard to build up anticipatory tension when it’s so damn obvious]

  15. Calvin Oaten

    It all seems to point to the inevitable conclusion that the whole concept was the result of compounding design failures. First, was is the concept of professional rugby being self-sustaining in a nation of just 4.5 million souls. This because it simply adopted the models of much more populous nations which were already creaking at the seams. Secondly, was the conviction that if ‘it was built they would come’ strategy, was the answer. This is a forlorn, discredited argument which a brief look at history would have shown. Thirdly, when you start by nominating a finished cost and then set about designing the complex it is always a recipe for escalation. That followed here, even though the problem showed up early on but was ignored, and worse, lied about. Fourthly, the decision to become a world first with natural turf under a light inhibiting enclosure has proven to be a fatal move, and as predicted, is following out its terminal process. Without a turf the complex is no more. Fifthly, the concept of ‘multi-purpose’ was no more than a fiction designed to placate the shareholders. This has resulted in escalating costs and running deficits. Sixth and most heinous contention of all, was the proposition that the complex would be profitable and therefore be self-supporting without shareholder subsidising. The overwhelming result is that the shareholders have been left with a non-performing asset requiring the injecting of funding amounting to over $22-23 million per annum in direct cash, loss of opportunity, and ancillary costs to discharge a debt of over $200 million, being the ‘sunk value’ of the project. In a word, an unmitigated disaster, but with no accountability or remorse.

    • Elizabeth

      And as we all know, Calvin, not one single individual at Dunedin City Council is going to make any effort to reduce the consequential ongoing rort performed on ratepayers. All too busy looking after their comfortable positions and salaries until they find a better job somewhere else (unlikely for most), have paid off their mortgages, and or start looking grey round the gills thus seeking retirement on their multiple private superannuation schemes we have so generously funded on their behalf. It starts from the top down.

  16. Mike

    I’m kind of aghast by this story that just appeared on the ODT:

    So you can get away with severe assault – breaking someone’s jaw – just because you might be good enough at rugby one day that people might pay him – if I ever find myself I court I wonder if I can pimp my possible future rugby career to get out of something far less serious like a parking fine, or a speeding ticket.

    I’m equally aghast because the ODT has decided that no one should be allowed to comment on this judicial favouritism because I guess drunken violent potential rugby playing hoons are untouchable.

  17. Russell Garbutt

    So completely typical of the judicial system. More concerned with the lawbreaker than the victim. The victim didn’t have a chance once the rugby card was played.

  18. Rob Hamlin

    “But the consequences of such a conviction would be out of proportion to McDowall’s overall culpability, Judge Phillips said, granting a discharge without conviction.”

    The plague continues, and like Ebola, it will spread. Although, unlike Ebola, its contagion is only likely to involve the wealthy and well connected (and their victims of course).

  19. Calvin Oaten

    Still, Mr McDowell has been spared the ignominy of the former All Black now residing in the Queenstown area. He has been outed despite the judiciary’s attempts at protection. In this case the young fellow is only a potential acolyte yet to be received into the inner sanctum of the Gods. The victim on the other hand, although receiving a broken jaw and loss of a tooth is of a much more ‘lowly cast’ barely warranting any consideration at all. The cosy relationship between the judiciary and our national religion of ‘thugby’ is still in very good hands, even though the cathedrals are pulling scant attendances.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 11 Dec 2014
      Concerns after rugby rep avoids conviction
      The case of a young Dunedin rugby player who avoided a criminal conviction after breaking a man’s jaw in a street attack has again raised concerns that sportspeople in New Zealand have a “get out of jail free card”. […] University of Auckland law professor Dr Bill Hodge warned that there should not be separate laws for sportspeople. “If this was an apprentice welder or potential builder, I would hope the judge would’ve gone about it the same way,” he said.
      Read more

  20. Jacob

    And the Carisbrook Stadium Trust is the same model that is being used out at Mosgiel for the new pool development. With some of CST supporters being on the pool committee, thinking that they are going to have a whale of a time.

  21. Peter

    Woe betide any future young rugby player who robs from, assaults or rapes a member of a Judge’s family. A different verdict I suspect.

  22. Whippet

    Interesting comments from Brent Edwards sports journo, in today’s ODT.
    “Christchurch decision not to recommend the building of a new stadium until 2025 has given Dunedin more time to get its act together .”
    Jezz I thought that a decent journo would have done enough investigative reporting before construction of our white elephant, that would have ensured that Dunedin had its act together BEFORE building the stadium.
    I wonder how many free seats he gets, or doesn’t he have to declare any pecuniary interest before he goes to print?

    ODT 10.12.14 (page 23)
    ODT 10.12.14 Sport Brent Edwards 'Dunedin's chance' p23

    {Scanned item added. -Eds}

    • Lindsay

      Snork! It’s not like the ODT has any history of investigative reporting when it comes to the stadium. Where was the in-depth analysis of the figures produced by CST or questioning of what each movement of the “line in the sand” would mean in the long term for the ratepayers.
      Let’s stick a photo of some old rugby playing coot praising the vision of the project instead of asking where the actual financial support from the rugby community is. Better yet, how about a series of stories about how the private fundraising is approaching and then reaching its target when anyone with a full set of cells knew that was a total lie.
      All we have got from them is an endless series of stadium photo ops any time somebody sets foot inside and parroting of council and DVML press releases. Cut and paste journalism at its worst. They are an embarrassment to newspapers in general. Whatever you think of the sacks of rancid yack fat that pushed this thing through, at least they never pretended to be independent.
      “Voice of the south”. Don’t make me laugh! And they wonder why circulation continues to fall.

      • Peter

        I have a laugh with the kind of question to a visitor when asked ‘what do you think of the stadium?’. Like asking a foreign tourist, what do you think of Dunedin or New Zealand?
        Now, most of us are polite and answer in the affirmative regardless what we might really think. Sometimes we can lay it on thick to sound convincing.
        (Americans, I find, are particularly good at this.)

  23. Peter

    By the time Christchurch even considers a roofed stadium, it will be apparent, by 2025, that it is not a good idea. They will just look down the road to Dunedin. They will more than likely see a mothballed stadium, standing even emptier, with mounting maintenance costs that go beyond the projected $50m plus over the next twenty years. It will become a question as to why should the maintenance be done. Every city has decaying eyesores. It happens. The stadium will become one of them.
    The stadium review’s talk of making the stadium more ‘sustainable’ will become one of those lightning rod remarks thrown back at the fools who soldier on helplessly doing nothing effective to staunch the stadium bleed.

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    Isn’t this the same “protect those with good prospects” sentencing as for the son of the Maori King? I wasn’t impressed with that either. What about the rule that those with better than average prospects have greater than average obligations to behave better than average?
    Besides a poor kid from a no-hoper background, whose best prospects are getting a steady job as a shelf-stacker deserves far more mercy, because he’s had such a crappy start in life, probably no support or encouragement to attend school regularly and work hard. He’s the kid who won’t have an easy task getting jobs, and a conviction only makes his future even bleaker.

  25. Elizabeth

    Ch39 News (11.12.14) talks to Phil Somerville about the ODT Opinion page.
    We’re told it’s about bringing forth ideas. Different views from different perspectives – but STOP.

    What are some of the main recurring topics?

    “Often they tend to be on the main news of the day. For a while of course they were on the stadium, try to avoid that now, most views are extremely entrenched. Probably could run something on climate change every week….”

  26. Mike

    I attended a Uni graduation ceremony today, Kereyn Smith was the guest speaker, before she spoke the Chancellor gave a long list of her achievements, conspicuously missing was any mention of the rugby stadium, I guess it’s not something that she, or the Uni are proud of.

  27. Elizabeth

    Mike, hahaha!
    Poor bedraggled Kereyn Maree Smith…. or indeed as may apply to the University of Otago attempting to hold her up high via her old mate the doe-eyed Chancellor, whom I suppose will never mention either how she (and the old mates) used HIGHLY IRREGULAR funding trails when previously she was CEO of the Academy of Sport and the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport. Nope, best keep quiet about those.

    *highly irregular is a euphemism of stern kind
    Of which the “appropriate authorities” have been made aware and have knowingly developed constipation over.

  28. Peter

    Now doesn’t that speak volumes. She will want to keep her name distant, in the future, from that debacle as it continues to unfold into even greater scandal. Too late, love.

  29. Calvin Oaten

    Mike, didn’t the Chancellor have any comment about the stadium at all relative to Kereyn Smith’s illustrious career? I know I could think of a few ‘one liners’ guaranteed to convulse the audience.

    • Mike

      Not a word, I bet a lot of the audience were from out of town and the issue might have flown right by them. She did look a bit out of place on stage with all those in full academic regalia and her with just a plain gown (not actually having a bachelors degree, just a diploma).

  30. Rob Hamlin

    Here’s a quiet one that I found by accident on the DCC’s consultation website.

    Just as well it wasn’t the Botanic Gardens. Mind you maybe Giant Tiddlywinks NZ inc. have plans for that. Note that a license to occupy generally includes the right to exclude (not a lot of Chingford left unexcluded if this goes through). One has the choice of an arrow through the earhole or a disc around one’s neck. The price does not appear to be specified anywhere. Anybody here play disc golf? Anybody here ever seen it played? Anybody here know what it is?

    • Mike

      I have a bunch of friends who do (not in this city) it’s IMHO a pretty innocuous sport that shares space in public parks with others. On the same sort of order as an exercise course. Not like a golf course that bars everyone else.

      What they are doing here is that they are getting permission to install ‘holes’ which are baskets that one tries to throw one’s frisbee in, the city is likely charging them nothing but wants a contract so they can kick them out if there are any issues. This is something anyone with a frisbee can play, likely it will draw more people, especially students, to the park.

  31. Rob Hamlin

    The agreement says this:

    “The Licensor grants to the Licensee the licence and right to temporarily
    occupy the land for a term of [4] years commencing on 1 April 2014

    Licence Fee
    2.1 The Lessee will pay the said rent together with any Goods and Services Tax that may be payable to the Council without deduction in advance by one instalment payable on the 1st day of July in each year.

    This is not a permission to set up a few hoops that ‘share space in public parks with others’. This is a commercial agreement to occupy (not share) the ground for four years, for which an specified annual rental is paid to the DCC by an identified organisation. The ground is very clearly defined in the accompanying map, and it seems to include a substantial part of the flat areas of Chingford Park.

    It is also notable that this clause is in here:

    “The Licensor and the Licensee have agreed that the Licensee shall receive a Licence to occupy the land for the purpose of providing Disc Golf and have entered into this Agreement to record the terms and conditions governing the grant of that Licence.”

    Now note that not here or anywhere else in this agreement is it specified that this ‘Disc Golf’ will be supplied free of charge. Once Disk Golf Dunedin Inc. have acquired the right to occupy, subsequent access to this ground may be contingent upon either paying a direct fee for access or paying a membership subscription to Disc Gold Dunedin Inc.

    The document appears to be very similar to other DCC license to occupy agreements that I have seen, in which the licensor can (and does) exclude all other users. In these other cases the nature of the proposed ‘occupation’ is clearly understood before the agreement was entered into – I fear that it may not be here.

    While I have no issues with a disc golf course in Chingford Park, I do have issues with one being established under circumstances that allow the users of that course carte-blanche to dictate terms of access and use to other users of this publicly funded park for four years. This is especially so if those doing the dictating are potentially small in number and not from that area, while those who are being dictated to are.

    I am not impressed by arguments based on partial exercise of rights and intermittent rather than permanent exclusion. If access to a facility like a park cannot be relied upon, people very rapidly start not using that area, at which point a case for higher levels of exclusion can be made on he basis of lack of other users and so it goes on. It’s a classic trick from the UK that is used to close public access.

    For what it’s worth Mike, I think that they will get their license to occupy. Within five years everybody will have forgotten that it was ever a public area, and it will become yet another ratepayer funded dedicated club-sports facility.

    More information here:

    • Elizabeth

      Rob, if you please could you address this most serious issue to DCC – in an email to the Mayor, all City Councillors, the Chief Executive, and all DCC General Managers.

      It’s not like they will want to admit to reading it here.

    • Mike

      Rob you may well be right, I agree that the contract could mean that, or it just may be boilerplate – it’s certainly worth finding out.

      My experiences of disk golf courses overseas is that they all share space with other people in public parks – it’s also a fairly dangerous sport in that many of those I know who play it have tended to retire with various torn ligaments and the like – next up will be bike polo I guess.

  32. Jacob

    Rob. This may be a forerunner to what is to happen out at Mosgiel. This new pool trust wants to establish on council reserve land, and of course there is an element of commercial activity being proposed in conjunction with the pool. This disc golf arrangement would fit neatly with the pool proposal. After all one of the pool trust members is a developer, and has mentioned publicly about possible commercial development operating both within and alongside the pool.

  33. Elizabeth

    Transferred from another thread:

    Rob Hamlin
    Submitted on 2014/12/15 at 10:14 am
    I have now looked up this mob on the incorporated societies register. One of the 15 signees of the document is the prior owner of this site.

    The society to whom the DCC wish to sign over one of our major parks for four years is itself less than four months old and is run from a residential address in Waverley. I can find no information on membership, officers, committee structure etc – which is not surprising given the fact that it’s only been going for four months. There is absolutely no evidence that I can find of demand over and above current park usage, and no case as to why current usage should be displaced.

    A similar mob are trying to make a grab for an even larger (18 hole) lump of Lismore Park in Wanaka, but the residents’ association, who may be a bit wider awake that the North East Valley Project mob, are actively resisting as of last month:

    As to the nature of occupation – three points of the Dunedin Disc Golf Society’s constitution stand out:

    Objective #1:
    “Develop establish and [sic] permanent golf course in Dunedin”

    Seems to indicate longer than four years is envisioned.

    “Membership shall be subscription or events based”

    In other words it appears that you can pay for your disc golf (access to proposed Chingford Park occupying course?) by either being a member of this club and paying a subscription or paying a one-off fee to this club for an event that may be an organised event/contest or a single visit to play. A practice that is pretty much in line with mainstream golf clubs.

    Control and investment of funds
    “Persons may be reimbursed for expenses incurred or paid reasonable remuneration for services rendered…”

    This is not an unusual clause, but it does mean that people could draw an income from the Chingford Park operation.

    All in all I would let them put in their baskets and then play for a few years more as equal members of the wider Chingford Park users’ community, and see how they get on, before signing the place over to them willy-nilly and over and above the interests of its current and much longer term community of present local users.

    • Rob Hamlin
      Submitted on 2014/12/15 at 10:14 am
      I have now looked up this mob on the incorporated societies register. One of the 15 signees of the document is the prior owner of this site.

      From what I can make out from your comment is that this is a ‘fly by night’ outfit that the people in the DCC Parks people ought to be well aware of. I don’t know much about the present activities at Chingford Park but there used to be a soccer club, a cricket club, harriers and archery all domiciled at this park. All had user rights. Interestingly Nick Smith (of ODT) was a prominent member of the cricket club in those times.

      My point is that these activities all occurred harmoniously under the system of seasonal use that suited their interests. This was not an exclusive use right as would have been for a golf course. What seems to be wanted by this group is an exclusive use right. That would automatically alienate all casual users of the reserve.
      Seems daft to me. I cannot imagine that council staff would even countenance this.

      • Mike

        Again, this is a frisbee golf course – basically you install ‘holes’ – chain baskets, in an existing park and throw frisbees at them – all the courses I’ve seen have been installed in parks that don’t get much use and don’t stop other users from using the park.

        It really depends on what this group have in mind, my guess (purely a guess based on my previous experiences) is that it’s a bunch of people who want to buy some baskets and install them in an underused park – if that’s what’s going on I have no problem with it, wouldn’t it be nice if the rugby people did the same and paid to maintain their playing fields and equipment.

        On the other hand if they plan on installing this equipment and not allow other people to use the park (or even the equipment when it’s not being used for tournament play) then yes I would have a problem.

        • @Mike
          December 15, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.
          You say – all the courses I’ve seen have been installed in parks that don’t get much use and don’t stop other users from using the park.

          If that is all there is to it – no problem but if they expect people to pay them for it there are a few questions to ask. Like who stops me from using it for free, who maintains and pays for the maintenance of the area, how are conflicts of use avoided and policed (walking the dog or smelling the roses). Then there are questions of alienation of public rights of use to consider and how they might be balanced against allowing this concession to a specific user.

        • Mike

          In any park there’s going to be contention, be it between the people walking their dogs and people having picnics … putting goals in the parks probably does cause added contention, especially if you set up your picnic right next to one – but then maybe it’s a form of golf and you have to play around the natural obstacles.

          As I said it really depends on the intentions of the people involved, if they’re planning on adding a feature to a park that everyone can use, and so they can hold occasional tournaments between club teams and that’s great, in my view they’re good public citizens. On the other hand if their goal is to restrict other people from using the park well then that’s not good at all.

          They do claim it’s going to be a “public 9-hole disc golf course”.

        • Mike
          December 15, 2014 at 8:01 p.m.

          You say ‘In any park there’s going to be contention, be it between the people walking their dogs and people having picnics.’
          Yeah right but that is quite different from a facility where there is an expectation of payment for use. That introduces a special right over and above the ordinary public use you describe. It is a quite separate situation legally.

          I have just had a look at the plan. It seems to me to be a ‘something or nothing scheme’. It is certainly ‘out of the way’ and might get a bit of use. It is just an overlay on the area of landscape space and casual use. It seems innocuous enough and could be fun. It is however about 1.5 ha in area – quite substantial and there is a fair bit of maintenance in that.

          The claim of being ‘public facility’ however still raises the questions of who pays and who maintains it for whom. I suspect that they might get to put the baskets in and they might have a system of collecting money from some users. But I doubt if there will be any policing of the set up nor do I imagine that the DCC would charge for the full maintenance of the area or collect much if anything in the way of fees. Seems to be just a nice ‘something or nothing’ idea.

  34. Elizabeth

    Transferred from another thread:

    Hype O’Thermia
    Submitted on 2014/12/15 at 10:52 am

    “All in all I would let them put in their baskets and then play for a few years more as equal members of the wider Chingford Park users’ community, and see how they get on, before signing the place over to them” – yes Rob, but what if in 4 years there’s a council that’s not sleepwalking through cloudless cuckoo land?

  35. Rob Hamlin

    If they intend to share the park then they don’t need a license to occupy, and should not be upset if they do not get one. If they do not get a license to occupy, or are actively opposed and are upset about either of these, then that would indicate sharing is not part of the agenda.

    • Mike

      I suspect they want permission to permanently install their baskets.

      If they are upset about being opposed I don’t think that necessarily means they’re not planning on sharing.

      I used to run a (very vaguely) similar sort of activity in a park in another city, we had permission (and insurance and ….) and happily shared with a whole bunch of people – after several years one group had part of the park fenced off as a dog park, and eventually had us removed because we ‘scared the dogs’ – we were upset about being opposed but had no intention of not sharing the space.

  36. Rob Hamlin

    Your dog park users probably quietly got themselves a license to occupy; otherwise how could they have suddenly ‘had you removed’ – ’nuff said.

    I am surprised if that’s your experience that you’re so relaxed about it.

    • Mike

      Actually they got the council parks committee to call a meeting while I was on vacation, I came home to a letter in my letterbox inviting me to a meeting a previous week (I don’t think they knew I was gone and did it on purpose).

      More I’m just trying to make a plea to not just assume bad motives without doing more checking first – what you’ve uncovered is certainly worth investigation but may simply be the way the DCC’s lawyers do paperwork – they may only have one set of boilerplate for use of the parks.

  37. Elizabeth

    Carol Morgan asks why can’t the Fubar stadium be sold…. and receives this reply from Mayor Daaave, ‘talking his fool head off’:

    ODT 11.2.15 (page 14). . . .
    ODT 11.2.15 Letter to the editor Morgan Cull reply p14

  38. Hype O'Thermia

    Happens all the time, you’re mooching around contemplating your cycle helmet and thinking the Spanish got it right with their siesta after lunch when a person naturally feels a bit unfocused, and a guy comes up to you and punches you on your upper arm which is quite annoying when you aren’t expecting it and then he says, “That stadium that’s haemorrhaging money, I heard a rumour it could be for sale, is that right? How much are you asking for it?”

  39. Peter

    The last paragraph of Dave Cull’s reply to Carol Morgan is interesting and shows that the council is at least open to the idea of selling the stadium. Why shouldn’t they be? What is there to lose?
    Typically, the ODT hasn’t picked up on this….or doesn’t want to.

    • Elizabeth

      What a terrific liability for anyone to purchase!! No hope of the population’s discretionary dollars being anywhere enough to support a ‘populated’ sport and events programme, and the overall inflexibility of the structure itself – not forgetting the large sums needed long term to maintain it as fit for use, what use. The dead duck or bedraggled albatross will never be anything other than a liability to all who sail in her. An economic hole from day one. Not viable. Doesn’t look bad on its site though.

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