DCC reality check —‘CEO Bidrose confirms no Vandervis complaint with a hug’

Received from Lee Vandervis
Sun, 15 Feb 2015 at 7:08 p.m.

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2015 19:07:29 +1300
To: Chris Morris [ODT], Debbie Porteous [ODT], EditorODT, Nick Smith [ODT]
Conversation: CEO Bidrose confirms no Vandervis complaint with a hug.
Subject: CEO Bidrose confirms no Vandervis complaint with a hug.

Dear Chris and Co,

CEO Bidrose has this weekend confirmed in public, with a hug, that she has not made any complaint of me, that she was out of town when she received my latest email alerting her to a legal issue in the non-public section of the Council meeting underway when we spoke in the hallway, and that her secretary had not read through the email to the legal issue and alerted her prior to the meeting in which Mayor Cull attempted to push the issue through.
The legal issue related to Mayor Cull’s false claim that he was personally empowered to select the membership of the Code of Conduct Committee [against me], when this power is clearly that of the whole Council as detailed in Standing Orders J4.1 and in the Committee Structure and Delegations Manual.
This came on top of Mayor Cull’s falsely claiming statements supposedly made by me at the 3/11/14 Council meeting, and his then immediately demanding that I withdraw these statements which I did not make. Mayor Cull then used my refusal to withdraw the statements as a pretext to eject me from the meeting, all of which the video proves. This was the essence of my Code of Conduct Complaint against Mayor Cull of 10/12/14. Two subsequent Code of Conduct Complaints against me by Greater Dunedin Chairpersons do not mention any swearing or expletives and seem to be personal ‘tone’ attacks to deflect from on-going Mayoral abuses of his position and the Mayor’s attempts to silence my concerns.

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

PS Chris – You are back to recorded medium only comment from me. You have again invented news rather than honestly reporting it.
—— End of Forwarded Message

Related Posts and Comments:
6.2.15 Cr Lee Vandervis apology
5.1.15 DCC: Chairman denies true and correct Council record

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

4 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics

4 responses to “DCC reality check —‘CEO Bidrose confirms no Vandervis complaint with a hug’

  1. Calvin Oaten

    If what Lee Vandervis is saying to Chris Morris is true (and I see no reason why he should say it if it wasn’t, as it is all verifiable) then it suggests once again that it is nothing more than a ‘beat up’ by Cull to kneecap Lee. The man is obviously very uncomfortable in his skin, buoyed only by the backing of his ‘Greater Dunedin’ lackeys. I guess it is turning into an embarrassing situation for the CEO and other senior staff. It will be very interesting to see how the ODT handle this. Either way, it will tell.

  2. Diane Yeldon

    Below is my recent email conversation with ODT reporter, Chris Morris. I am very surprised that any reporter might seem not to be extremely happy to receive such a lot of accurate information on a topic of interest in the form of original emails.

    From Chris Morris:

    Hi Diane,
    Chris Morris from the ODT here – I’m interested in your complaint to the Ombudsmen over Cull’s ejection of Vandervis from the November council meeting. I’m planning to write something on this today.
    Can you answer a few questions to expand on your move?
    1. When did you lodge the complaint, and (assuming its a recent thing) why now?
    2. Why did you take that step – on what grounds, and what was it specifically that concerned you about Cull’s actions?
    3. What response have you had from the Ombudsmen? Have they agreed to investigate, or just contact the council about it, and what timeframe have they given you?
    4. Have you discussed your move with either Vandervis or Cull? What has their response been?
    5. What motivates you to get involved?
    Cheers,
    Chris

    From Diane Yeldon:

    Hi, Chris, all this will keep you busy! I want as much publicity of this issue as possible in the hope that the DCC will become far from the worst performing local body in New Zealand – and I have seen vast improvements in the 12 years or so that I have been in Dunedin […] Here is my email thread below with Sue Bidrose, also a number of my emails to Office of Ombudsmen – backwards time order. I don’t have any emails to or from Mayor Cull. I emailed him a couple of years ago about the Council Controlled Organizations Working Party and he replied saying it was okay ‘because no decisions were being made’ which made me think it was a waste of time communicating with him any further because IMO he didn’t even understand the issues I was raising.
    To put Cr Vandervis’s ejection from the Council meeting in context, he was objecting to the membership of State Highway 1 Cycleway Working Party as ‘stacking’ this working party with pro-cycleway councillors. I completely agree that he was right to say this and in fact, should have gone even further and objected to the use of a working party for this purpose at all. If you watch the meeting video, you will see that many of the councillors speaking were not clear in their minds whether it was a working party or a committee or a subcommittee or the difference between them. They have all sworn or solemnly affirmed to uphold the law as part of their duty as councillors. So in my view, they should all take the trouble to find out exactly what the law is.
    Mayor Cull claimed that Cr Vandervis was offensively claiming that membership of the committee had been made on the basis of personality but Cr Vandervis made no such claim. Then Mayor Cull said membership had been made on the basis of ‘position’, meaning the members were committee chairs. Why would a council meeting choose only committee chairs only for a ‘fact finding or information gathering purpose’.

    Here is an email I sent to the Office of the Ombudsmen on this point [not dated]:
    Dear Catriona, I just thought – why (in the meeting video) would Mayor Cull have said (in rebuking Cr Vandervis) that the members of the cycleway working party were not chosen on the basis of personality (Cr Vandervis didn’t make that claim anyway) but rather on the basis of position? By ‘position’ Mayor Cull meant (and further made explicit that these people were committee chairs). Doesn’t this indicate that they were being entrusted with a certain responsibility which seems a bit odd for a working party?
    Kind regards
    Diane

    The other odd and objectionable thing clearly shown in the meeting video was that Mayor Cull asked Cr Vandervis to retract his statement that construction of the cycleway would reduce car parking available on the one way system. Cr Vandervis refused to retract this clearly true and pertinent statement so Mayor Cull ejected him from the meeting, while muttering something about Cr Vandervis’s remarks being ‘offensive’ when, in my opinion, they were nothing of the sort but, on the contrary, part of Cr Vandervis’ responsibility as a conscientious councillor.
    In answer to your question about what motivates me, I don’t believe our good, New Zealand, democratic and participatory system of local government works unless members of the public actually do participate and with more than just voting. Councils have a legal duty (obviously!) to comply with the law and I think city residents and ratepayers and voters have a moral duty to see that councils do. So my own question is why don’t more people here do a bit of council watching.

    My email to the Office of the Ombudsmen about ‘stakeholder only’ consultation via working parties [31/01/2015]:
    Dear Catriona, one further point – Cr Vandervis has just sent me an email saying that he believes that the State Highway1 Cycleway Working Party will indeed be undertaking ‘consultation’, with groups and individuals deemed by the working party to be ‘stakeholders’. Certainly in my opinion, if the working party does ‘consult’, they will be picking and choosing who they consult with and not making this a public, open and inclusive process. And then I believe they are likely to report back to a committee or council meeting with recommendations, treating consultation as a fait accompli.
    Sue Bidrose told me that legal advice given to the DCC said that ‘consultation’ can be seen as a “statutory function, duty or power of council.” So it seems to me that this would make this working party unlawful.
    Sincerely
    Diane

    On 30/01/2015 3:28 a.m., Diane Yeldon wrote:
    Dear Catriona,
    Here is my final response to DCC CEO Sue Bidrose. It should be self-explanatory. I would still like your Office to consider the issue of local body working parties in general, using the specific examples given of the DCC’s use of them over a long period of time. Any advice your Office could give on how the public could be more confident that working parties were not being used by councils to evade the legal provisions for inclusiveness (both of the public and all elected reps), transparency and accountability would be most welcome.
    Sincerely,
    Diane Yeldon

    From Chris Morris:

    Hi Diane,
    Yes, that is a lot to wade through. I’ll have a read, but for clarity’s sake, can you just respond specifically to the following questions – addressing each one in turn in a few words or lines.
    1. When did you lodge the complaint, and (assuming it’s a recent thing) why now?
    2. Why did you take that step – on what grounds, and what was it specifically that concerned you about Cull’s actions?
    3. What response have you had from the Ombudsmen? Have they agreed to investigate, or just contact the council about it, and what timeframe have they given you?
    4. Have you discussed your move with either Vandervis or Cull? What has their response been?
    Cheers
    Chris

    From Diane Yeldon to Chris Morris:

    Sorry. I’m flat out at the moment. I don’t have any more time to wade through it myself.
    Kind regards
    Diane

    From Chris Morris to Diane Yeldon:

    I wouldn’t think it’d take more than a few minutes to respond to those few questions, but it’s up to you. I’m attempting to write something regardless, but I may be limited in what I can include from you without those points specifically addressed.
    Chris

    {Reformatted and abridged. We take it you don’t want to answer the reporter’s questions, why not just say that. -Eds}

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Chris Morris to Diane Yeldon:
    “Yes, that is a lot to wade through. I’ll have a read, but for clarity’s sake, can you just respond specifically to the following questions – addressing each one in turn in a few words or lines.” and “I wouldn’t think it’d take more than a few minutes to respond to those few questions, but it’s up to you.”

    Translation: I can’t be arsed making myself familiar with the issues raised, just gimme some Quik’n’Lite answers to my questions. I’ve already framed my article including its focus on you as a “personality”, not too much about the issues that got you riled up enough to appeal to the Ombudsman. Our readers aren’t interested in issues in any detail, they want to know about people we can broad-brush portray as weirdos with bees in their bonnets.

    Another question, if you find time to answer – who is your favourite out of our superb Dunedin fashion designers? Our readers are interested in things like that, Diane, and it’s my job to keep them informed.

    • @ February 17, 2025 at 2.46 am
      Yes Hype
      He could have just stopped with ‘I wouldn’t think’. That seems to have been his limit. However, the conversation was pretty revealing. Thanks Diane.

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