Cr Lee Vandervis: LGOIMA request – Citifleet Investigation – Deloitte Report

Received from Lee Vandervis
Fri, 13 Mar 2015 at 9:32 a.m.

█ Message: Your readers may be interested in an example of how extraordinarily difficult it often is for Councillors to get information from staff – especially if that information is about staff.
An important example is highlighted in the following email trail – important because as the original Citifleet whistleblower in 2011, I am still getting flack and having information withheld that could help to get to the bottom of DCC frauds.

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2015 21:25:53 +1300
To: Grace Ockwell [DCC]
Conversation: LGOIMA request – Citifleet Investigation – Deloitte Report
Subject: Re: LGOIMA request – Citifleet Investigation – Deloitte Report

Hi Grace,

Thank you for this sudden response after more than 3 months of nothing.

Further follow up LGOIMA requests are as follows;
Why has this multiple LGOIMA request not been acknowledged or decided upon within the required 21 working days?
When you say that this is “our response” who exactly has been responsible for the decisions in the response?
Are you aware that the last time I went to the ombudsman to hurry up an information request, it took several attempts and 11 months to get an answer?

Looking forward to a response by return.

Cr. Vandervis


On 11/03/15 4:03 PM, “Grace Ockwell” [DCC] wrote:

Good afternoon Lee,

Thank you for your email of 20 November 2014 and your follow-up email requesting information about the Deloitte Report on Citifleet. Your request has now been forwarded to me to process. It has been considered under the provisions of LGOIMA and the following response is provided. I have repeated your request (or parts thereof) to give context to our response.

a full copy of the original Deloitte Report on Citifleet [including all appendices] as referred to below.

The Police have yet to conclude their investigation of this matter and therefore a copy of the full Deloitte report is still withheld pursuant to section 6(a) of LGOIMA to avoid prejudicing the maintenance of the law and the detection of offences. It is also withheld pursuant to section 7(2)(a) of LGOIMA to protect the privacy of individuals.

As part of the full report from Deloittes I also wish to have, again on grey paper if necessary, the separate Deloitte investigation report and recommendations to CEO Bidrose regarding investigations into the activities of ‘certain DCC employees’. [2.10(b)]

The information provided to the CEO in relation to staff is withheld pursuant to section 7(2)(a) of LGOIMA to protect the privacy of individuals and pursuant to section 7(2)(c) as the information provided is subject to an obligation of confidence.

In addition I wish to see the Deloitte file ‘to support a complaint to the Serious Fraud Office/Police’, and any Citifleet related advice to Council’s legal advisors.

All correspondence between the Council and our legal advisors (including correspondence between Deloitte and our legal advisors on the Citifleet matter) is withheld pursuant to s 7(2)(g) of LGOIMA to protect legal professional privilege. Additionally, some but not all of the material is also withheld pursuant to section 6(a) of LGOIMA to avoid prejudicing the maintenance of the law and the detection of offences.

Finally I wish to have sent to me the electronic copy preserved by Deloitte of information that DCC controls as referred to in 2.10(a) and any associated analysis results.

The Police have not yet concluded their investigation of this matter and therefore the preserved electronic copy of information held by Deloitte which the Council controls is withheld pursuant to section 6(a) of LGOIMA to avoid prejudicing the maintenance of the law and the detection of offences. It is also withheld pursuant to section 7(2)(a) of LGOIMA to protect the privacy of individuals.

As you are aware, as we have withheld information, you have the right pursuant to section 27(3) of LGOIMA to have our decision to withhold information reviewed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Yours sincerely

Grace Ockwell
Governance Support Officer
Dunedin City Council


From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2015 09:37:03 +1300
To: Sandy Graham [DCC], Sue Bidrose [DCC]
Conversation: Further LGOIMA requests
Subject: Re: Further LGOIMA requests

Dear Sandy and Sue,

Can you please update me by return on where these LGOIMA requests have progressed to?

Cr. Vandervis


On 24/12/14 10:13 AM, “Lee Vandervis” wrote:

Dear Sandy,

Again I request a full copy of the original Deloitte Report on Citifleet [including all appendices] as referred to below.

I can accept that the full report may have to be provided on grey paper.
As part of the full report from Deloittes I also wish to have, again on grey paper if necessary, the separate Deloitte investigation report and recommendations to CEO Bidrose regarding investigations into the activities of ‘certain DCC employees’. [2.10(b)]
In addition I wish to see the Deloitte file ‘to support a complaint to the Serious Fraud Office/Police’, and any Citifleet related advice to Council’s legal advisors.
Finally I wish to have sent to me the electronic copy preserved by Deloittes of information that DCC controls as referred to in 2.10(a) and any associated analysis results.

Ratepayers have paid quarter of a million dollars for the production of this information and I wish to see all of it as a public representative in the public interest.

It is not acceptable to me to have only been provided with the public redacted report along with the public at such a late pre-Christmas stage.

Cr. Lee Vandervis


On 13/10/14 10:32 PM, “Lee Vandervis” wrote:

Dear Sandy,

You have not answered the question as to why one elected representative [the Mayor] seeing the entire Deloitte report [and parts of the report appearing in Audit and Risk Subcommittee agendas] is not likely to “prejudice the maintenance of the law including the investigation and detection of offences.” but that this is still an excuse for not showing the entire report to other elected representatives like myself. Especially given the number of comments the Mayor and CEO have been making to the media regarding the subject of the Deloitte Report.

Your claim that the Stadium review is not yet completed and is still in draft form directly contradicts the advice of the quoted Audit and Risk agenda of 7/10/14 which plainly says that the Stadium “external review has been completed”. If the former, since it can’t be both, why can’t I see it anyway? And why have we then been misled in the A&R agenda?

Being “of course entitled to have that decision reviewed by the Office of the Ombudsmen.” is a farcical affront, given the last response from this dysfunctional excuse for a government department took ELEVEN MONTHS to reply to my request to see the faults list for the long completed Town Hall redevelopment, which you also refused.

This systematic stonewalling of this elected representative by DCC staff is unacceptable to me.

Cr. Lee Vandervis


Related Post and Comments:
23.2.15 Lee Vandervis on DCC Code of Conduct process #emails #naturaljustice

█ For more, enter the terms *vandervis* and *citifleet* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Name, New Zealand, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, Stadiums

69 responses to “Cr Lee Vandervis: LGOIMA request – Citifleet Investigation – Deloitte Report

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    Lee Vandervis complains: “as the original Citifleet whistleblower in 2011, I am still getting flack and having information withheld that could help to get to the bottom of DCC frauds.”

    Hasn’t it occurred to him that it could be for that precise reason, that he was “the original Citifleet whistleblower in 2011”, other people may have pressing reasons for withholding information “that could help to get to the bottom of DCC frauds”?

    There are people who would rather let sleeping dogs lie, one sleeping in the arms of Jesus, others simply lying.

  2. Calvin Oaten

    ODT have at last put some perspective into the running saga of the Cr Vandervis ‘Code of Conduct’ breaches. Look at the main cast and it becomes increasingly clear that this is a ‘Greater Dunedin’ cabal attempt to “get” Cr Vandervis. Led by the embittered Cull, these sycophants, Crs Thomson and Staynes have desperately searched for something with which to ‘damn’ the man. They complain that they, a council subcommittee, were “deliberately” misled over the scope of the Citifleet investigation and that the Councillor acted aggressively at the same meeting. The pathetic ‘wimps’ were too thick to see that Cr Vandervis was referring to discussions he had with the ‘plod’ involved in the investigations. He was not influenced by subsequent discussions between CEO Bidrose and area commander Guthrie; then they cited a second incident over Cr Vandervis’ conduct at the meeting, saying he expressed his disappointment at a decision made by audit and risk subcommittee independent chairwoman Susie Johnstone in an “aggressive and disrespectful manner which we found abusive and offensive”. This because Cr Vandervis was disappointed Ms Johnstone ruled a paper on the council’s financial strategy was included on the agenda for noting but not for discussion. What a heinous crime that would be. He spoke in a loud and menacing way while standing. He then left the room. Gee!
    What is one to make of all that? Firstly, the councillors are all elected by the people and are expected to act in the best interests of those electors. If this means being at odds with a sycophantic bunch of ‘wimps’ who see it as their right to pervert the course of governance then so be it. Further, when that bunch of ‘wimps’ are led by the nose by a Mayor who has demonstrated a pathological hatred of the persecuted Cr Vandervis for no other reason than that he opposes items of policy with which he disagrees, then democracy no longer survives. That this Mayor would then ‘stack the deck’ by appointing a panel consisting of an independent ‘law professor’ as chair, a seriously discredited former government cabinet minister currently city councillor, and an over the hill tired old councillor, then further compounds the situation by refusing to provide the defendant with a written outline of the supposed misdemeanour committed to enable an adequate defence to be prepared. It will be interesting to hear the chair handle the points of law about that.
    Finally, Cr Vandervis has yet to indicate his turning up for the hearing. Justice says he ought to treat the whole ‘charade’ with the ‘contempt it deserves’ and be elsewhere.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      …..Get out the rates-paid paintbrush and paint Vandervis blacker than the coals of hell:
      “He spoke in a loud and menacing way while standing. He then left the room.”
      Imply he stood so as to be “menacing”.

      Alt. explanation: many people stand before leaving the room. Not being the type who habitually crawls, Vandervis is a typical member of the “stand before walking” fraternity.

      Hanging’s too good for the likes of him!

      Crawl. Lee. Learn to crawl backwards with eyes shut to anything Dave and his besties want ignored. You’ll get on so much better as a councillor. You’ll be of no value whatsoever to voters, but you’ll fit in with the other gentlemen and ladies of our local government snafu-hood.

    • Calvin Oaten
      March 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Calvin you say:-
      ‘They complain that they, a council subcommittee, were “deliberately” misled over the scope of the Citifleet investigation and that the Councillor acted aggressively at the same meeting. The pathetic ‘wimps’ were too thick to see that ‘Cr. Vandervis was referring to discussions he had with the ‘plod’ involved in the investigations’.

      Whatever you might say Calvin, the word is out that Lee is telling ‘porkies’. It happens that I was at a meeting this morning and the subject of Lee and his relationship with the mayor and councillors came up. The view held by all these people was that is a shame that Lee has to resort to telling lies that mislead people. These were all professional people who, I have to say are sympathetic to Lee and have respect for him. No matter what I might think about the truth of the matter, the fact is that the story that seems to be accepted is just that. Lee is not being truthful. Damning stuff.

      So the damage is done. Once it has been ‘put about’ it is very hard to pull it back. Lee has quite a job on his hands I’m afraid.

  3. Elizabeth

    Article to which Calvin refers:

    “I said what I believed to be true.” –Cr Lee Vandervis

    ### ODT Online Sat, 14 Mar 2015
    New fraud inquiry details revealed
    By Vaughan Elder
    A code of conduct complaint against Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis has revealed fresh details about the police investigation into the alleged $1.5 million Citifleet fraud. Cr Vandervis is facing a code of conduct committee hearing on Monday over two separate complaints.
    Read more

    █ Insp Guthrie said in a statement yesterday the “investigation into the DCC fraud is active and still in progress”. (ODT)


    ODT has disallowed comments although this one still features at top of the Comments page – clicking on the title/link takes you to the article as a dead end. We can’t discern who the author is.

    ODT Online 14.3.15 Comment 'New Fraud Enquiry' (author not stated)ODT Screenshot: ODT Online 14.3.15 – Comment ‘New Fraud Enquiry’ [click to enlarge]

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    Yeah, it’s really annoying when you’re trying to portray Cr Vandervis as a lying toerag but commenters don’t accept that version.

  5. Whippet

    Maybe this is supposed to send a “don’t go there or this might happen to you ” message to anyone who would start digging further into the disappearance of many millions that have gone missing in this city recently.

  6. Elizabeth

    Conduct Committee meeting – 16 March 2015 at 9:00AM, Mayor’s Lounge

    Report – Conduct – 16/03/2015 (PDF, 31.8 KB) – in effect, the Agenda (if incorrectly labelled at DCC website)

    Note: Item 2: Hearing of Code of Conduct Issues referred by Council
    Chairperson to explain process to be followed for hearing.
    a) Staynes and Thomson/Vandervis
    Councillors Chris Staynes and Richard Thomson will be in attendance to speak to their complaints. Refer to pages 2a1 – 2a18.
    b) Wilson/Vandervis Councillor Kate Wilson will be in attendance to speak to her complaint. Refer to pages 2b1 – 2b5.
    Councillor Lee Vandervis will be in attendance to respond to complaints.

    Report – Conduct – 16/03/2015 (PDF, 802.0 KB)
    Staynes and Thomson/Vandervis

    Report – Conduct – 16/03/2015 (PDF, 165.2 KB)

  7. Elizabeth

    Mick – this from another professional for whom I have nothing but high regard. Depends which circles are debating the issue.

    “What a disgraceful stitch up!”

    They said more but that could prejudice what happens on Monday.

  8. Elizabeth

    But yes, you’re right – Cull likes heaving the black paint around at the same time he’s supporting criminal gangs. Doh.

    Also, (hypothetically!!?) perhaps the people saying Lee has lied are friends of friends of local car, tyre and parts dealers, or they might be DCC staff/ex-staff or professional consultants on the DCC books, or maybe they’re just financial members of Greater Dunedin’s incorporated society (we published a list of their members not that long ago). Such types of little own detective intelligence.

    And given the police investigation continues. What more is there to hide at DCC and in the depraved back alleys of this Tartan town. Things people don’t want dug up.

    Remember too, DCC took absolutely no prisoners with Brent Bachop post his death. DCC blamed the whole multimillion-dollar Citifleet fraud upon him – one person! – while DCC could collect on its insurance (just $1.5 million, joke – just 152 cars, joke – investigation limited to 2003 onwards ONLY, joke…….). Dave Cull and Sue Bidrose won’t talk about that and are toughing it out buried deep in the Civic Centre basement garage hoping no-one will ever find them there. Ohh to maintain those hefty stipends and salaries, and an ounce of professionalism, what.

    While humanly, we might see someone under a bus, it behoves us to look hard at the people who threw him there. And use and rely on provable EVIDENCE – not brought by Deloitte who have conflicts of interest in their several roles with Dunedin City Council and Otago Rugby. Although, clearly NZ Police (Dunedin Central) are looking a wee bit lacking if not conflicted too.

    I leave from mention a raft of characters within DCC at this importune time.

    19.12.14 DCC: Limited Citifleet investigation about insurance

    24.12.14 Dunedin: Watching the detectives

    25.12.14 Daaave stole Christmas from #DUD

    • Elizabeth
      I have had a look at Staynes and Thompson’s report. It has all the attributes of kindergarten children’s snivel.

      The main thrust seems to be here:-
      ‘Our concern is that Cr. Vandervis having received this information on 20th November 2014, proceeded to make statement to the Audit and Risk Committee meeting on the 3rd December 2014 in the full knowledge that what he was conveying to the meeting was untrue. We believe that he deliberately misled the subcommittee.’

      I presume that they were at that meeting and that the ought to have known as much (or more) as Lee knew at the time. Why could they have not dealt with his statement then and there on the spot as grown-ups would have done and ‘put him right’? At a guess, I would say that they were asleep.

      Then you have this information from Lee stated here at ‘What If’:-

      ‘Received from Lee Vandervis Fri, 19 Dec 2014 at 11:54 a.m.that
      The fact remains that the investigating officer Detective Matthew Preece was adamant when he interviewed me on what I understood to be the last week of his investigation that he was not able to pursue my concerns of wider fraud other than missing vehicles, such as allegations regarding DCC contracts, and credit card and other financial spending fraud, because the complaint laid related just to missing vehicles.’

      It seems plain to me that this is what Lee was referring to at that meeting of 3rd December.
      Looking at the email copies from Guthrie et al that have been presented by Staynes and Thomson, that this was a desperate attempt on their part to construct the offence.
      Whether it was or not is rather beside the point to me. The main point for me is that these two so-called councillors were acting like kindergarten children. Not grown-ups. I am pretty sure that I know how Cliff Skeggs would have dealt with them.

      As for the Wilson complaint – I simply can’t be bothered to read it. I know it will be worthless.
      All in all, this is a pathetic farce – all at our expense.

    • Elizabeth

      The people you met with, Mick, are probably perfectly nice honest people – so then we have to look at the way ODT portray Cr Vandervis in sound bites, especially since the newspaper owners have backed Cull for Mayor these last two terms. The penny drops into that (news)paper box.

      • Elizabeth
        Yes that is true (about being nice and honest) but these people also know all the players in this farcical opera buffa. The problem is that mud is being thrown and it tends to stick. Figaro has to watch his back. Why the ODT chooses to back Cull is a mystery to me. He has as much charisma as Antonio’s gillyflowers in winter.

        • Elizabeth

          I see. Mick, your appreciation for opera and literature will serve you well in thinking up comments for What if? in the next days of theatre, I deeply suspect.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        I wouldn’t be so convinced of the rightness of Lee Vandervis’s position were it not for the previous actions of the Mayor and other councillors.

        They accuse him of lies and/or inaccuracy.

        Yet he has been excluded from accessing information. He has been kept “out of the loop” – by whom? His requests for information are complied with at snail’s pace – is that as fast the “owners” of the information can move, or are they given either direect instructions or strong hints that delaying and denying release of information to Cr Vandervis is the preferred way to do things in Daaaave’s Army?

        Considering the constant need for economies to be made, concurrent with the establishment of new Granny-suck-eggs Education and Empowerment positions for lucky recycled personnel, it would be a reckless employee who ignored the wish that Cr Vandervis be sidelined & sideswiped whenever the opportunity arises.

        • Elizabeth

          Hype O’Thermia, there is indeed an offensive smelling rat in the way you trace things here. Without guessing further, however, I have been told there is a pile-up of LGOIMA requests to process; I don’t know what bulk of these have gone beyond the 20 working day limit but I currently have two LGOIMAs outstanding – it’s not like I don’t check the state of play when another whole month goes by with “nothing”.
          Whereas a Councillor’s requests should never be outstanding – they can’t do their job without information to their fingertips. I will stop here in my tracks to note some councillors do their job without any new or subsidiary information at all. Can’t call that good governance – it’s simply turning up for work to eat lunch, washed down with a sugar drink.

  9. Simon

    What a disrespectful blot this episode is on Dunedin City. When so much jealousy, hatred and ratepayer money is being spent on this cattiness and vindictiveness. For what?
    Especially when this city is so desperate for employment, lower debt and social equality. They would rather waste the ratepayers’ money and resources on this nothingness.
    They are signalling a clear message for the world to see, that those who profess to govern Dunedin City do not have the ability to get past square one. Narcissism.

  10. Rob Hamlin

    I suppose that it is disrespectful, catty and vindictive, but one has to look very carefully at what is at stake here. Vandervis is now the only councillor with any track record (and I mean any) for bucking and reporting upon the agenda that appears to be planned for them. If Vandervis had not worked so hard and so long on the Citifleet scam, would ANY of it ever have come out? I personally doubt it.

    As has been noted on this website, the fallout from this incident has been restricted by dumping the lot on one conveniently deceased individual. It’s an implausible story, as I understand that these 152 ‘missing’ cars were neither immediately parted out for anonymous spares after they went missing, nor were subsequently all found intact and under covers in Mr Bachop’s garage. But, as so often happens these days, everybody seems to have got in well behind the official ‘He done it’ line and no court cases have been or ever will be brought – or so it seems.

    Given what has emerged with regard to this incident, the insurance company seem surprisingly happy to take the loss and pay out in full. I do not know, but I am pretty sure that if I left my car in the Octagon overnight with the engine running and the doors open, my insurance company would either not pay my claim for theft, or would not insure me again. For some reason this situation seems to be different. However, I would be interested to see what their premiums for insuring the DCC against fraud are now!

    But one suspects that some real frights may have been had around and about this town over the last few months. Many gin and tonics may have gone down the wrong way, with many Italian silk ties irreparably stained by the consequent barf. Maybe some future ‘ideas’ have been stillborn and some ‘dead-cert’ gongs have also quietly wriggled off the hook too. One would presume that if this has indeed occurred, then Vandervis would have been identified as a primary cause of such wasted natural resources, lost opportunity, destroyed beauty and thwarted entitlement.

    Anybody who has familiarity with how things work in other economically liberal and progressive countries such as the USA to which this government looks for inspiration will know that local politicians that get themselves promoted from the status of ‘nuisance’ to that of ‘threat’ in the eyes of the local well-connected tend to live rather dangerously thereafter. In many cases they cease to live at all. They have nasty accidents or they just decide that life is just not worth living anyway. Others have ‘bimbo eruptions’, or some other issue with their lives suddenly crops up and annihilates their career. Yet others simply find that they are hounded from office by a combination of organised obstruction and frustration – and a final group may find that they are specifically denied access to certain aspects of the political process, and then find that a lot more business starts getting done via these channels.

    Whatever happens to such politicians, it’s invariably a miserable experience for these usually principled individuals and their families. It is often made all the more so by the indifference or misinformed hostility of the masses for whom these considerable sacrifices were made.

  11. Elizabeth

    Rob Hamlin, you’re a fine thinker and a twisty writer with it – this is another good example of how you process and ‘go places’ for us to confront what we’ve got, or not got. Oh so very legible (literally and figuratively). Let’s hope many will mull over your comment when the sun comes up later this morning.

  12. Calvin Oaten

    Well…the sun has now come up! Nothing looks different. The same corrupt twisted conniving goes on. As Rob so artfully details, it is the best people who, because they tend to swim upstream, become the victims of the system. Cr Lee Vandervis is constantly being victimised simply for taking the institution out of its comfort zone by exposing the rotten underbody of negligence and stupidity that abounds. When you get a group of mediocre talent (and we certainly have that in this bunch of people) led by a very small obsessive personality, then anyone who points out the vapid emptiness of their actions is bound to be rounded upon. We see this in spades with the Cr Vendervis’ persecution, but the day will come when the ‘plebs’ out there wake up and ‘throw the sods out’.

    • @Calvin Oaten
      March 15, 2015 at 11:08 am
      Well…the sun has now come up! Nothing looks different. The same corrupt twisted conniving goes on.

      Calvin this Hearing of Code of Conduct being conducted on Monday has all the attributes of the infamous Show Trials that used to be conducted by the Soviet Union. The outcome of which is likely the same. Sadly we have no salt mines to dispatch Mr Vandervis to but perhaps Lake Grassmere might do or even better perhaps put to work with the to be newly appointed grass mowers under the watchful eye of the chief Mongrel. He might even learn not to shout at people while at it.

      I have some difficulty with the value and sincerity of the complaint lodged by Crs Staynes and Thomson in that (firstly) the information given by Cr Vandervis could have been questioned at the time by either of them and dealt with as adults. That they didn’t is perhaps an indication of their effectiveness on such committees whose purpose required them to be on top of their game. That is perhaps a measure of their true worth.

      It is clear however that Mr Vandervis’ intent was to ensure that the whole matter of fraud perpetrated upon the council and ultimately the city was dealt with appropriately. For his trouble these two ‘worthies’ missed the whole point of their appointment to that committee but have used it to cause damage to a fellow councillor. I find it ironic that one of these complainants was so vigilant in pursuing Mr Vandervis on a very minor matter has a record (a habit?) of letting major frauds go unnoticed. The action that these two people have taken smacks of these Show Trials.
      As for the mayor’s part in all this …you don’t think about it.

  13. Calvin Oaten

    Mick, you’re absolutely right. That Cr Thomson – in his capacity as Chair of the SDHB – missed by a country mile, the infamous “Swann Fraud” shows the irony, as you say of this ‘nit picking’ of Cr Vandervis. That Mayor Cull let his ‘dogs loose’ on this one also demonstrates his venomous streak. Having said that, the ‘dogs’ are really only lap toys that yap yap at their master’s feet. Couldn’t really create a puncture wound in a real fight. “Show Trial”? More like a circus, complete with the ‘ballerina’ flouncing in with her little ‘tittle tattle’ I heard some bad language. Pathetic!

    • Calvin
      Circus – sideshow – diversionary tactic – anything but getting on with what they should be doing. Juvenile.
      As for what the police will actually do – don’t hold your breath folks – so in practical terms it goes back to what Mr Vandervis said that he was told by the detective in the first place.

      All the faux huffing and puffing by these two clowns will amount to sod all – except for (don’t you remember) the dismissal of a few lowly DCC staff members who didn’t pick up on the discrepancies. The real villains got through unscathed.
      W.S. Gilbert would enjoy this plot. He might even have made a little list himself of people who would never have been missed, starting with these three huffers and puffers. And the other ‘pretender’.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      There must be people here who knew Dave Cull as a child > youth > pre-councillor.
      Was he inclined to being obsessively vengeful, building certain people up in his mind as such bad enemies that he couldn’t sleep easy till he had “vanquished” them? Just wondering.

  14. Rob Hamlin

    You assume that Cull is giving the orders here?

  15. anon

    Why does Lee need to use LOGIMA at all? there is provision on page 69 of the DCC standing orders:

    I2 Supply of information to members
    I2.1 Every member has the same right as the public generally to request information under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. The same grounds for refusing information under Section 7 of the Act and the same rights to charge for information will also apply.

    I2.2 Information required by members for the conduct of the Council’s business shall be supplied to them by the Chief Executive, and when such information is supplied in writing, a copy shall also be supplied to the Mayor and the Chairperson of the appropriate Committee.

    I2.3 If the information required affects the confidential business of the Council and/or is public excluded pursuant to Order I1.1, and the Chief Executive is uncertain that it should be supplied, he/she shall refer the matter to the Mayor who will decide the extent to which such information may be given.

    I2.4 The Chief Executive is authorised, where in his/her view, information is highly confidential or legally privileged, to make this available to members under privilege and in any reasonable manner to protect the security of information. Pursuant to Section 7 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, no members shall disclose such information or copies or extracts therefrom to any person.

    I2.5 No information obtained by any member including pursuant to orders I2.3 and I2.4 shall be used for purposes other than the proper discharge of functions as a member.

  16. Calvin Oaten

    This for starters in the ODT web site:
    Watch tomorrow for the next installment. Cr Vandervis did the sensible thing and left the ‘Kangaroo Court’ before the character assassination began. Cr Kate Wilson with her pathetic pleading on behalf of CEO Bidrose and Governance Officer Sandy Graham. Surely they both have big enough shoulders to take their own complaints if they felt justified. The rest makes sickening reading. Where, you would have to ask is the will to see justice done.

    {We provide the ODT link since we cannot publish their full articles without breaching copyright. -Eds}

    ### ODT Online Mon, 16 Mar 2015
    Vandervis accused of bullying
    By Vaughan Elder
    Dunedin City councillor Lee Vandervis was accused of “bullying” at a code of conduct committee hearing this morning. The committee heard evidence relating to three incidents this morning, but Cr Vandervis was only present when one was discussed, leaving part way through the hearing after saying there was a lack of evidence about the other two.

    • Vandervis accused of bullying Home » News » Dunedin Mon, 16 Mar 2015

      Cor Blimey

      Cr Kate Wilson spoke to her complaint “Cr Vandervis” “very aggressive” behaviour during the conversation was “well over the line”, she said.

      So….She doesn’t define ‘very aggressive or well over the line’. She doesn’t say what he actually did in being ‘very aggressive’ nor did she demonstrate what or where the ‘line’ was…. but quickly jumps to this conclusion, “should be a “normal workplace” where “bullying” should not be acceptable. In short Ms Wilson WHAT DID HE ACTUALLY DO OR SAY?

      And, Ms Johnstone told the hearing he became “furious” and “red-faced” when an item included on the agenda for noting and not for discussion.

      Ditto for Ms J, please say what constituted ‘furious’ and WTF is terrible about red faces. (I notice the Cr Vandervis’ face in the photo that goes with the ODT article has a ruddy complexion) I would say that he is normally rather red-faced.

      I notice from the complete ‘kangaroo court’ fiasco that Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, Crs Jinty MacTavish, Andrew Noone and Hilary Calvert all gave evidence at the hearing.

      Of course they were there. Hyenas always come to the party to have a pick at the carcass. Just as well Cr Vandervis did leave the meeting.

      All children.

  17. Elizabeth

    I was present for all public parts of the conduct hearing with the exception of a couple of minutes in Reception with an associate; and the non-public sections in which staff gave evidence – this included CE Bidrose’s account of what had happened, the subject(s) of the Code of Conduct complaints against Cr Vandervis.

    At start of hearing – the public section, which it is council policy to record…. the Various Assembled were told by conduct committee chair, Professor Stuart Anderson, that “Recording is suspended for the meeting.”

    Asked why by Cr Vandervis, chair Anderson replied to the effect, ‘no reason’. To which Cr Vandervis replied, “Then I don’t have to be here.” He did however stay to respond to the allegations of Crs Staynes and Thomson in one of the two complaints they made. No Recording was the ‘scene setter’ for the gratuitous Kangaroo Court – here was enormous Good Will For Fellow Men. The hearing process quickly descended into triteness and a full lack of natural justice, led by the (law) professor who described the hearing as “DOMESTIC”.

    To be noted, Susie Johnstone, chair of the Audit and Risk Subcommittee (ARS), wore quite peculiar white shoes – it had been raining. She is stupidly short. Another member of the ARSA from Invergiggle was skyped into the meeting – lawyer Janet Copeland – who actually admitted she was short. Delicate flowers both. Not been yelled at like sheep dogs before. How dreadful ~!!

    Cr Wilson wore THOSE meaty Pearls that shorten short necks (if you bit into them, I wondered, would they be real, cultured or cheap plastic – hard to tell in that light).

    A short-age all round. Silly women, in much ado about nothing.

    Most of the questions directed to Cr Vandervis by the conduct committee centred on the chain of email correspondence produced in evidence by Crs Staynes and Thomson tied to their claim that Cr Vandervis had misrepresented facts to the ARS (given, Cr Thomson sobbed, the presence of external auditors) about the [limited] extent of the Citifleet investigation by local police. Cr Thomson did look terribly ill today. Cr Staynes, like one of the little people at the bottom of a Tremain cartoon.

    I have 25 pages of handwritten notes (legible to me only) as summary of the whole hearing which ended this morning. The conduct committee cast the public out and headed into their deliberations – they must make a recommendation to the full Council on their findings. That recommendation will be discussed in public with media present according to standing orders – unless some political contrivance happens like it evidently did before hearing start today. The conduct committee had already met before hearing.

    The only member of the ARS not formally invited to give evidence to hearing was Cr Calvert. However, she (having been called by Cr Wilson) and Cr Noone were rather useful in that they had no idea what had happened between Cr Vandervis, CE Bidrose and GM Sandy Graham – the subject of Cr Wilson’s (abusive) complaint. Crs Noone and Calvert individually noted they had come upon something like an “atmosphere”, or rather a “tension” (as Cr Calvert preferred to put it, after careful consideration). But heard no words, rather an “elevated discussion” (as Cr Noone reasonably/diplomatically indicated). I applaud them; on their own cue, Crs Noone and Calvert do a great line in the non-specific. Jinty, apologies, Cr MacTavish, read her statement. A statement Cr Vandervis was not given ahead of hearing as lawfully required.

    This from an email I sent after proceedings closed to the public:

    I am biding my time, mulling as I walk what I might post up about this morning – given ODT rushed to print almost immediately, with more tomorrow. Someone said of the chair, “This guy is a peanut !”

    [my mind wandered, had I seen the 1996 movie?]

    Mayor Cull with his account of happenings, was restrained, offering some benefit of doubt.

    So it appears none other than Cr Thomson was the hatchet man today – grasping for Cr Vandervis’s scalp which is totally out of reach. Dammit Cr Thomson is short – not unlike Mayor Cull. Cr Thomson tries to make up for this in other ways, in smarmy style like “he’s your friend” (schoolyard dynamic) but hey he wants to scythe your balls like he might have a hope of doing. More politely, a rugged game of tennis Cr Thomson thinks he plays. But really, it’s plain old good cop bad cop. Psychology 101 and looks as dumb.

    And where was the scythe anyway, legally, against Cr Vandervis.

    After today, counter to my delusions about sharp objects, I have the far-fetched idea that Cr Vandervis is probably not a potential axe murderer. He could very well be a person who knows the value of a metaphorical kick up the tail when dealing with plodding knaves and fools. God help me for thinking about this too simplistically, in the face of the heights of altruism and courage shown by his Councillor colleagues this morning in pursuit of a NORMAL WORKPLACE.

    “The People” giving evidence today seemed largely disconcerted by sudden rage heating in a strong face. You know how that happens. Yes it was Cr Wilson wanting DCC to be a “normal workplace” – both she and Cr Thomson were concerned DCC might lose CE Bidrose who I’m sure has experienced far worse as a senior manager in her time. Jesus weeps. So many Tortured Souls on show today.

    I have lately been reading that the genders should stay as different in their practical tasks as possible for better relations, an old theory revisited, something about pancakes. I’m not sure where Cr Wilson sits in this, although she admitted to living on a farm and being used to swearing! But couldn’t recall the words… Cr Mactavish professed to hearing the word “tyranny” from Cr Vandervis in the context of “…if you’re going to allow this tyranny to continue…”. But couldn’t remember swearing.

    Don’t you think tyranny is much more poetic than lies, yells, misrepresentations, cussings, and the big one, DCC’s +++$1.5 million-dollar Citifleet fraud and insurance scam. Before all the other staff frauds get whitewashed away.

    The hearing ended with chair Anderson saying (paraphrasing), in regards to Cr Wilson’s complaint that we have the tail of it but we need what happened earlier. Cr Wilson said she can get that – but where on earth was it TODAY. Maybe she will trade pearl beads for people to cough.

    I’m holding back from publication of my other learnings until after ODT does its ‘next thing’ tomorrow – then I might let rip since this is just a taster. Letting it all flow over me! Yeah, condensing the line of comic duty is a high and precipitous art.

    Dunedin City Council – Standing Orders (PDF, 1019.0 KB)
    The Standing Orders set out rules for the conduct meetings of the Dunedin City Council and includes the Code of Conduct for Elected Members, as adopted at the inaugural Council meeting Oct 2010.

    DCC Committee Structures and Delegations Manual (PDF, 328.7 KB)
    This document details the constitution of the Council, Committees and Subcommittees, and the delegations to the Chief Executive.

    • Elizabeth
      The main ‘takeaways’ I have got from you account are these:-
      1. Making the staff’s input ‘non public’ and suspending its recording emasculates the process. Seems a waste of time. We will never know the full story.
      2. Prof Stuart Anderson’s reply to Cr Vandervis of ‘no reason’ was high handed and contemptuous. A little humility from him would not have gone astray. At the very least he should have provided him the courtesy of a reason. Arrogant.
      3. Again the description of the procedure by Anderson as being ‘Domestic’ is comically apt. It should never have got this far and has been blown out of all proportion.
      4. Crs Calvert and Noone, Heard no words, rather an “elevated discussion” (as Cr Noone reasonably/diplomatically indicated). Thank goodness for their honesty and restraint.
      5. Mayor Cull’s restrained account gives rise to my suspicions that Thomson was his ‘attack dog’ (Echoes of Kerr’s Cur) leaving Cull to seem remotely unbiased.
      6. Evidence by Crs Staynes and Thomson tied to their claim that Cr Vandervis had misrepresented facts to the ARC. We have seen the written stuff which seems contrived to me.
      7. Cr Thomson did look terribly ill today. And so he should have.
      8. So all in all a non event. Just more stupid from a stupid and incompetent council.

  18. Peter

    My God, you have to wonder at the mental state of some of these people with this carry on. Politics, by its nature, breeds passion in all its varieties. It also breeds neuroses for those who get caught up with it.. Some of these people need to ask themselves if they find themselves having difficulty sleeping at night, are prone to tears, vent their anger and frustrations on their wives/husbands, suffer guilt from telling lies and so on. If they do find such symptoms they need to get out for their own sakes….and ours.
    I am truly incredulous at what l am seeing. It is sick.

  19. Elizabeth

    Yes what I wrote above is fairly acontextual, in my defence though (and Mick your points 1-8 hit the mark) I was so irate after the event I couldn’t do a straight report ~!!!

    ### Updated at 4:26 pm today
    Councillor accused of unprofessional behaviour
    By Ian Telfer, Otago Reporter
    A code of conduct hearing against a Dunedin city councillor has heard he was aggressive and bullying to staff and independent professionals. The three complaints against Lee Vandervis were aired this morning at a hearing at the city council offices. The complaints are being heard by a three-person Code of Conduct committee chaired by Otago University law professor Stuart Anderson.

    Intimidating and abusive
    Two councillors, Richard Thomson and Chris Staynes, complained about two incidents at a closed-door meeting of the council’s audit and risk subcommittee last December. They said first Mr Vandervis unprofessionally criticised the police investigation into fraud at the council’s Citifleet department to an external auditor based on information which he knew to be false. Mr Vandervis was not a member of the committee, but attended all its meetings in his capacity as councillor. The councillors said later in the meeting Mr Vandervis yelled abusively at the committee’s independent chairperson, Susie Johnston, from across the meeting room, after he was angered by her stopping discussion of a report he had spent hours reading.
    They both said Mr Vandervis started yelling while sitting down, then got to his feet and continued before storming out of the meeting. They described the behaviour as intimidating and abusive. Mayor Dave Cull largely agreed with their descriptions.

    Another independent member of the committee lawyer Janet Copeland said Mr Vandervis’s behaviour was completely unnecessary and extremely unprofessional.

    Councillor Kate Wilson also laid a complaint, about Mr Vandervis’s behaviour in a hallway outside a council meeting last month (in February). She described how Mr Vandervis yelled in a hallway at the council’s chief executive. Sue Bidrose, in an aggressive way she found frightening. Other councillors who witnessed the incident, agreed they heard Mr Vandervis yelling, and were worried the situation might be unsafe for the staff. They said they went to see Dr Bidrose afterwards to check she was okay.

    Dr Bidrose also gave evidence about her experience, but the public and media were excluded by the committee, on grounds of privacy for council staff.

    Lee Vandervis refuses to respond
    Mr Vandervis defended his criticism of the Citifleet investigation, saying he sincerely believed it at the time, and had good reason to question the police and council’s roles given past experience. But he refused to respond to the charge of aggressive behaviour, and left, saying he would not be ambushed by verbal evidence.

    The committee is writing a report on the incidents, which is expected to be discussed at a council meeting in two weeks’ time.
    RNZ News Link

    Council under fire after fraud report
    Dunedin council car fraud totals $1.5m
    Keep Dunedin stadium, report says
    Alcohol plan would ‘unleash the beast’
    Council delays closing off Octagon


    RNZ National – Checkpoint with Mary Wilson & Jim Mora
    Bad conduct hearing for Dunedin councillor
    17:26 A Dunedin city councillor accused of bullying staff, colleagues and outside professionals is under investigation.
    Audio | Download: OggMP3 ( 4′ 35″ )

  20. Peter

    In a former life I was a secondary school teacher. You got to see different personality types of the kids you taught and wondered what they would be like as adults. Much the same, I conclude, as personality is formed very early. By about three years old, I understand.
    Some of these types may, or may not, fit wherever you see politicians at work. You decide.
    There is the girl who does not have much going for her in any department, but she is a survivor. She knows how to ingratiate herself with the big girls and boys by telling them she is their friend and ‘cares’ for them. She knows who is in, and who is out, and acts accordingly. She tells tales when it suits her. Poor girl is very insecure.
    There is the boy who sits at the back of the classroom and gets the other dopey boys, and girls, to do his dirty work…. and they cop the flak. He has sussed out who is the real threat to his own machinations and will willingly go for this person because they often show up his own inadequacies. He is competitive. He can be pleasant, when it suits, but otherwise…… He often feels tight because he is always on edge, planning his next move.
    There is the dweeb who is bright enough, but knows his personality limitations and aligns himself to the backroom boy. He does as he is told.
    There are those who just get on with their work in class. They are just nice, regular kids from good homes.
    There is the kid who is a real character, who takes risks, maybe is the class clown, but who is not a fool. He is a pain in the arse at times, but there are those who admire his guts, nevertheless. He is fearless and the back of the room boy loathes him, if not fears, he is going to show him up. He is a cocky kid at times, but he will be remembered by the teacher, and others, for years to come. He doesn’t give a rat’s….
    There are the ones who always do their homework. They are bright or just hard slog workers. They are reliable, but high wired, and want to be noticed by the teacher and they seek constant praise, from all, for their good work. They get upset if they get something wrong or teacher hasn’t given them a high enough grade. They demand a lot from themselves, but need a bit of levity in their lives or they will become dull.

    Look at parliament, or any council in the country, and you will find these kind of school kids. As adults.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, me to a tee! There is the girl who does not have much going for her in any department, but she is a survivor. She knows how to ingratiate herself with the big girls and boys by telling them she is their friend and ‘cares’ for them. She knows who is in, and who is out, and acts accordingly. She tells tales when it suits her. Poor girl is very insecure.

    • Peter
      Well observed and confirming two well known sayings that go like ‘show me the boy at seven and I’ll show you the man’ – and ‘leopards do not change their spots’.
      I find it true – the essential characteristics of a person are laid down early in life.

  21. Calvin Oaten

    Peter, the boy you describe as the manipulator who gathers his errand boys and girls, a sort of control director. If that boy had been bullied by his father at home would that influence his behaviour?

    • Peter

      I fear so, Calvin. Also when mothers don’t breast feed, or not for long enough, the consequences can be dire for a little boy or girl.
      I also recommend a priest be brought in to give a homily on seeking forgiveness and on being forgiving.
      I note the Chair, according to the Radio New Zealand report, was bemused by the carry on and told a woman observing the proceedings why she would want to go outside in the rain instead of watching the ‘domestic’ entertainment inside. Funny.
      This brings those responsible for this childish charade no credit at all. They deserve any mocking they receive from the public.

  22. Rob Hamlin

    I find it extraordinary that no record was kept and attempts to create an unofficial record were forbidden. As to what might have been a good riposte to the ‘no reason’ would be ‘Well there must be no reason why I shouldn’t then is there?’ (It’s always easy to think of these cool things to say after the event when you have the leisure!).

    I cannot see why the chairman would not want a complete record kept of all stages (public and private) – as much for his own protection as for anybody else’s. While this thing is undoubtedly a joke, as is Mc.P.’s coverage of it today (a very bad one though), it could be very damaging to any outsider who’s credentials are being used to give legitimacy to it.

    • @ Rob Hamlin

      “I find it extraordinary that no record was kept and attempts to create an unofficial record were forbidden…….and I cannot see why the chairman would not want a complete record kept of all stages (public and private) – As much for his own protection.”

      God knows but his conduct of this farcical meeting invites even more speculation – this bald and unexplained statement by Professor Stuart Anderson, “Recording is suspended for the meeting” and – the hearing is ‘Domestic’ makes one consider what he really thought of the situation. Then you begin to think about who chose and briefed him to do this job. Oh dear! At this stage I think these councillors who have brought this thing on have only succeeded in making utter fools of themselves. No wonder Cr Thomson was looking ill as Elizabeth observed. As for the worthy Professor he might have thought the less record of this farce the better. But there we go again – all we have is speculation.

  23. Russell Garbutt

    One question that in my view deserves answering is whether the DCC has become dysfunctional.

    When one looks at the dictionary meaning of the term when applied to a group of people, dysfunctionality is defined as “a breakdown of normal or beneficial relationships between members of the group”.

    What do we have here? A group of people who were elected by the ratepayers of Dunedin to look after the interests of the ratepayers and whose relationship with the 3rd highest polling candidate has broken down to the point where it is no longer beneficial. Indeed it could very well be described as toxic and damaging. The city is still facing major issues that require the full attention of those that were elected and it seems that the body as a whole has become focussed on anything but governing the City.

    I cannot understand for one moment the procedures being followed by this latest demonstration of dysfunctionality with apparent breakdown in following any normal course of action in the case of inappropriate behaviour, especially the lack of a complete record of what happened. I also think it unwise in the extreme to be allowing hearsay comments from those that seemed to be disconnected to any incidents that may or may not have happened.

    I wonder just how many people would vote tomorrow in the same way that they voted in 2013 knowing what they know now. I suspect that some of the current behaviour would not be viewed in a positive light.

  24. Elizabeth

    The reporting by ODT, seen against my unofficial meeting notes taken yesterday, does show strong partiality. This is no surprise. For starters, the reporter fails to address the process followed at hearing in as much as the extremely poor actions of the chair in not guiding the hearing in a fair and just way for all parties; thus the independence of the chair is cast in doubt and deserves media attention. Clearly, it is not right and proper for the newspaper to then set itself up as sole arbiter, unchecked in its propensity to discredit and defame the respondent by failure to account in a balanced way for the range of statements he made during his appearance, particularly about the limited scope of the police investigation, before the chair shut him down. This is another overwhelmingly immoral and slanderous day, aided by the privately owned, highly coloured, so-called independent press.

    • Elizabeth

      Site Admin.
      What if? is now in receipt of a series of emails that go to the substance of the limited Citifleet police investigation. These will eventually feature as screenshots in chronology. They speak for themselves.

      (formatting in process)

  25. Tom

    The question is Elizabeth. Can you believe anything that is printed in the ODT. Last week in the ODT’s Taieri Times in screaming big black bold headlines it proclaimed: ‘Board welcomes health centre proposal’. While in the guts of the story that followed it stated: ‘The board had not discussed the matter’. Creative journalism ?

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    Another Scoop By Psychic Reporter

  27. Rob Hamlin

    On the same note I see that McP. have disabled comments on this morning’s effort. I seem to recall that the comments facility was there, but nothing appeared for a long time. Now the facility is gone. I guess that they weren’t getting the right kind of comments – Or am I just having a reverse John Banks moment & it was never there?

  28. Rob Hamlin

    Here’s a horridly hypothetical situation to consider. You’re a journalist, and one with high principles, but you’re over forty and the industry’s shrinking. Journalism jobs are like chicken’s teeth everywhere, but in your area they’re like dodo’s teeth – even for the young’uns. For a specialist of your age, its curtains (or a zero hours contract) if you fall off your career bike.

    You’ve got two kids at the expensive age and a mortgage. However, if you are in a backwater area, even if you didn’t have a mortgage you couldn’t move to somewhere where there might be SOME work, because that would involve borrowing another $400,000, and you’ve get less than 20 years on the employment clock.

    And then somebody asks you to systematically lie by omission or commission to the very community that you are personally highly motivated to inform. As you are a journalist you are well informed on local matters. Thus you know that you are lying for a purpose, and that your lying is going to harm that community. You also know that many in that community are going to know that you are lying and breaking journalism’s version of the Hypocratic Oath in the process.

    But you also know what the consequences for you and your family of even attempting to tell the truth will be. Your employer probably has established a ‘whistleblower committee’ – but not for the purposes of encouraging whistling!

    So – what do you do in that situation? Well you lie, don’t you? – and you cry by night – I would.

    • cinimodjunior

      That’s why Alison Rudd the most investigative journalist @ ODT in the last 20 years went missing. She was bold enough to report the truth. Oddity will argue that she was shifted to some sister publication in the south but the reality is that during the Stadium campaign they could not afford to have a reporter on board that reported the truth.

    • Peter

      All true to a point, but in the end you have to get out if you are being forced to lie by besmirching the reputation of decent people. It is no different than having to leave a job because of other stresses. A choice between a psych ward or maintaining your sanity? What would your family want? It is not worth selling your soul. Too many people use this excuse and I believe in the end, if they have a conscience, the stress of being dishonest will kill them early.
      Not many people are of the calibre of an Edward Snowden who made choices with far greater consequences than some hypothetical or real journalist on a hick, provincial rag. At least Snowden can sleep at night.
      By the way, Rob, were you thinking of any newspaper in particular? Or journalist? (Not the one with high principles obviously.)

      • Hype O'Thermia

        People make great sacrifices for their loved ones, especially their children, after all they caused these young people to exist, the least they should do is make sure they have as secure a start in life as possible, including good education.
        It’s all very well having high principles and chucking in a job rather than compromise one’s integrity. Where does duty to family come in? Is it OK to make a sacrifice that impacts severely on one’s dependents, the people to whom one has the greatest duty of care in the world, so as to sleep easy? It’s not as if in your example, Peter, anything good would come of it. The lies would still be published, someone else would write them. Someone else would support his/her dependents, would perhaps manage to be useful rather than a high-principled beneficiary or burger flipper – if he could bring himself to participate in the high-fat obesity-causing sector. Meanwhile the person doing his old job may be collecting the unprintable facts and carefully leaking helpful hints to bloggers that can be trusted. There’s more than one way of killing a cat than drowning it in cream.

        • Peter

          With that kind of thinking is it ok to sell bad dope ‘to support your family’ and to tell lies about doing so? People do have choices.
          Well paying jobs disappear all the time, people are left with high mortgages and other bad debt. It is sad, but it is not the end of the world. You have to make the necessary adjustments.
          No point keeping your wits about people who lose their honesty if you make excuses for them as in this hypothetical situation of a journalist needing a job.
          ‘The lies would still be published, someone else would write them.’ Sounds like the argument that ‘everyone else is doing it’, so I may as well too. Talk about the slippery slope.

  29. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s one of the things that makes this site so valuable, the amount of “Local memory”, some already recorded here, and more periodically turning up in new posts. There’s so much factual material that is “safely” hidden because it’s a bit smelly, shows a view of past actions that don’t inspire confidence in wisdom, integrity or even sanity. But if we forget it, chances are nobody will ever learn anything, no smarter decisions will ever be made. Goodness knows there are people who manage to forget their wisdom and honesty within weeks of being elected, so the rest of us need to keep our wits about us.

  30. Rob Hamlin

    The loss of confidence in the democratic process is a serious matter and can have serious consequences. Representative democracy is an elective dictatorship. A pragmatic process that allows society to adjust how it is governed on a more or less regular basis, rather than directing decisions on a day to day basis.

    The process can be destroyed in two ways. The more unsubtle approach is simply to suspend its adjustment processes (elections) – in the way that many African countries have been governed on the basis of ‘one man one vote once’ – Mugabe being only one of a number of such Presidentissimos. They stay around for a long time, but when they go, they tend to go violently in an uncontrolled welter of delayed social and political adjustments.

    In the West democracy has been destroyed by a more subtle process in which the elite control the flow of information upon which decisions are made leading up to elections, and the actions of the politicians (plus increasingly the supporting civil service) who govern as an outcome of these elections.

    The result is that elections still happen regularly, but nothing happens as a consequence of them. A situation that the elite currently appear to find most satisfactory as their share of all the stuff in the World steadily increases at the expense of everybody else. The token hand wringing and Davos is exactly that – the process not only continues, but accelerates.

    However, they may not be happy for long. I liiken democracy as we used to practice it to be akin to the safety valve on a locomotive boiler – through which the excess pressures generated within can be released in a harmless and non-destructive manner.

    In the West that safety valve has been screwed down hard for around thirty years, and in most countries the pressure within has been rising dangerously for quite a while. The safety valves have been ‘blowing off’ in the form of increasing electoral results for the National Front in France and Pegida in Germany for quite some time. The rise of the SNP in Scotland is a similar manifestation in the Scots’ perception that the ‘City-bought’ Westminster system can no longer deliver the desired changes. Most other countries show similar symptoms – including here, in Northland. The next ‘Bishop Tamaki’ may be much harder to get under control.

    The elite’s response to this irritating hissing has been to screw the safety valves down even harder – and the hissing has at least been reduced – Winston may still drown under a deluge of taxpayer’s money and partial media coverage. The nastiest hissing, the actual election in Greece of a Socialist Government which promise an end to debt driven austerity has been subjected to particularly vigorous ‘screwing’ treatment. The relevant politicians now appear to have either been intimidated or bought in a matter of weeks and the hissing appears to have been chocked off completely – and all is quiet again.

    But it isn’t is it? Within the boilers of society the pressure continues to rise without any means of organised escape. The Greek and Scots hissings may have been the elite’s last warning and opportunity for a controlled release. The Greek nation in particular now know there is no recourse for them via what used to be the democratic process. Eventually, in Greece, and maybe elsewhere, these pressures will start to force their way out via channels that were never there previously and that were never designed to release such pressure in an organised and controlled manner. Could we see a Scots Republican Army – sure, if enough people perceive that there is no other way to achieve change and relief. That is exactly the mindset that spawned the Provisional IRA.

    When a boiler explodes, for a split second the source hole may be no bigger than the safety valve that could have avoided it, but that rapidly changes as the previously solid structure of the boiler of state that previously contained the pressures within society violently tears itself apart in a massive and uncontrolled explosion or relieved pressure that blows it, the now useless safety valve, those who had been sitting on top of it – and everybody else – to Kingdom Come.

    Dunedin is just a miniature edition of what’s going on everywhere else. The democratic process ceased to function effectively a while back, but we don’t have a Presidentissimo on which to focus our frustration. Well actually we do, but they aren’t really running the show and can easily be replaced with a hand-picked successor (as their predecessor was) via the electoral process if they get a bit too ‘shop soiled’ in order to make sure that nothing actually changes. Papier-machier presidentissimos and their disciples are very useful for that purpose alone. The safety valves (one of which is Vandervis) stay well screwed down from one election term to the next and the money continues to drain out into the correct receptacles. It works – for a while (hiss-hiss).

  31. Calvin Oaten

    Remind me to never catch a steam train. Rob the engineer knows full well the mechanics of confined agitated energy and how it can only be contained as long as the strength of the vessel is sufficient. The pressure of course is sustained by the fires of debt. And this is being added at an alarming rate world wide. I suspect when it gives way there will be a chain reaction and the steps the world’s engine drivers take will be ‘big ones and mighty frequent’. Watch here in little old Dunedin as the a…holes in charge follow suit. It won’t be pretty, but it will be satisfying.

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