Today at DCC in pictures

Updated post Wed, 29 Apr 2015 at 12:07 p.m.

Meeting of the Dunedin City Council on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 1:00 PM, Council Chamber, Municipal Chambers

Agenda – Council – 28/04/2015 (PDF, 96.6 KB)

Report – Council – 28/04/2015 (PDF, 172.7 KB)
Conduct Committee Report to Council

Resolutions passed at meeting of Dunedin City Council 28.4.15 (14. Conduct Committee Report to Council)

█ Download: Conduct Committee Resolution 28 April 2015

AFTER ALLOWING COUNCIL TO SPEND ONE AND A HALF HOURS DEBATING TWO ROCKS AT WARRINGTON THAT MUST BE REMOVED – OTHERWISE THE COUNCIL WILL BE ACTING UNLAWFULLY….

WHEN IT CAME TO CR VANDERVIS’ CONDUCT AND COUNCIL SANCTIONS, WELL….

DAAAVE PROMPTLY FORGOT DUE PROCESS AND LOST IT FOR DEMOCRACY IN A VERY OBVIOUS MANNER THEN WAS SEEN TO LOOK LIKE A STUNNED MULLET, SUDDENLY

[SHOW TRIAL] HOWEVER, DAAAVE DID MANAGE A RESOLUTION (AMBUSH DOCUMENT) TO SANCTION CR VANDERVIS, HE PUT IT TO THE VOTE WITH ONLY CRS CALVERT, HALL AND LORD AGAINST.

ultra vires maxresdefault [ytimg.com]Justice- I can't breathe  tumblr_ng1j9u4squ1qgiurvo1_1280 [tumbler.com]

IN SUMMARY, CR VANDERVIS WAS SANCTIONED IN HIS ABSENCE AND WE WOULD SAY DAAAVE’S FUTURE AS MAYOR OF DUNEDIN IS DISSOLVED OR WAS IT CRASHED
UNLESS DEAR OLD ODT CAN FIGURE SOME NEWS STORY TO SAVE HIM.

Approach [acting-man.com] 2.3

Received from Lee Vandervis
Tue, 28 Apr 2015 at 8:06 p.m.

█ Message: Below is the statement I gave to [Chris] Morris as I left the meeting today. Be interesting to see what he does to it. —I also gave him a copy of my initial apology.

I completely reject the claim that I misled the Audit and Risk committee, and that I was not open and honest.

– What I did do was voice my concern that the investigation into DCC Citifleet fraud was narrowed down to a single category of fraud, and that the blame has been narrowed to a single deceased individual.

– Since then I have seen no hard evidence of the DCC fraud investigation being widened.

– Accusers should have had hard evidence of a widened investigation as was continually promised but not delivered, before even considered accusing me of acting in bad faith – never mind now considering sanctions against me.

– I am still hopeful that the DCC Citifleet fraud investigation that I began in 2011 will be actually widened, seek my offered evidence, and fully investigate the whole range of fraud, including Citifleet.

Regarding complaints of loudness, due process has not been followed to allow me to defend anonymous claims that go beyond loudness, so I’m not in a position to recognise them.

Cr. Lee Vandervis

From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 2015 21:22:32 +1300
To: Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham, Andrew Noone, Andrew Whiley, Chris Staynes, Doug Hall, Hilary Calvert, John Bezett, Jinty MacTavish, Kate Wilson, Lee Vandervis, Mayor Cull, Mike Lord, Neville Peat, Richard Thomson, David Benson-Pope, Aaron Hawkins
Cc: Chris Morris [ODT], Debbie Porteous [ODT]
Conversation: Apology for hallway loudness
Subject: Apology for hallway loudness

Dear Sue, Sandy and Councillors.

If it was thought that my Council hallway questioning of CEO Bidrose yesterday was considered to be too loud or inappropriate, I unreservedly apologize to those who thought so, especially if that included Dr. Bidrose.

I recognise today that I had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of CEO response to my earlier emailed governance complaints, and that an unacceptable Council agenda item was imminent as a result.

Happily some time was subsequently allowed for possible resolution of the Governance issues I complained of.

To prevent a recurrence of overheard unpleasantness, I undertake to make any future complaints of staff or elected representatives in a recorded medium.

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

For more, enter the terms *vandervis*, *cull*, *bidrose*, *citifleet* or *deloitte* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images (tweaked by whatifdunedin): (from top) ytimg.com – Ultra vires [maxresdefault]; tumbler.com – Justice, I can’t breathe [tumblr_ng1j9u4squ1qgiurvo1_1280]; acting-man.com – Approach

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43 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics

43 responses to “Today at DCC in pictures

  1. Peter

    I was there at the show trial and was absolutely appalled that this was happening in the first place and that the due process was so distorted to the point of being corrupt.

    Initially the censure resolution was put up on the screen and there was no written copy for councillors, including Lee Vandervis, or the public to properly read. Lee Vandervis had not been given a copy beforehand for him to mull over and respond to. He was indeed ambushed and at this point left to consult his lawyer. The wording on the screen was so difficult to read that it was illegible. We were all, including many councillors, squinting our eyes to read it. This was pointed out to Cull and initially he was going to refuse to do anything about it. He wasn’t at all concerned that the public gallery was being left out of the process by literally blinding them.

    Sandy Graham, on realising the implications of this faux pas in terms of correct process, dashed up to Cull and quickly set things right. It looked like she quietly told Cull he couldn’t do what he was going to do. Photocopies were quickly ordered and distributed. Cull looked totally flummoxed by his own actions and inactions. It was quite amusing to watch in a way. He made a complete fool of himself.

    Meanwhile Benson-Pope, who has no credibility as a man or as a politician, blathered and so did Bezett. They both did a big grease about Professor Anderson and his role. I couldn’t see how this was directly relevant to the charges laid against Vandervis. Hilary Calvert spoke and was the one who made sense in a clearly logical lawyer sort of way. From memory, I think MacTavish said something but she is difficult to hear properly with her high-pitch voice.

    The whole debacle didn’t take nearly as long as the removal of two rocks at Warrington which was a one and a half hour debate. Yes, I’m not kidding. That is another story.

    Only three councillors, Calvert, Hall and Lord, had some sense of justice and basic human decency towards a fellow councillor. You can see those who voted for the resolution hate Lee Vandervis presenting a contrary view on things and want him silenced. They seem to have an intolerant world view that they are right with their agenda and others are wrong. Real debate is not wanted.

    It’s a funny world when you see people with liberal, Labour/ Green connections… people like Benson-Pope, Thomson, MacTavish, Peat and Hawkins participating in this obscene manouevre to silence a critic, by bullying him with yet another forced, abject apology and then taking away his voting rights for two months. Fascism at its worst is what this is. This hurts and deeply offends me when, politically, I am on the same side of the fence. I don’t agree with all Lee Vandervis says, but I respect him as a human being and his absolute right to be contrary and, yes, even to be difficult at times.

    Lee Vandervis has all along been a champion for seeking truth and accountability for very bad stuff that has been going on in Dunedin for years.

    This is not the end of the matter. The council has lit a bonfire and today they poured more petrol on it. The council desrves to be taken to the cleaners.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Yes Peter, “Lee Vandervis has all along been a champion for seeking truth and accountability”.
      I’ve no doubt that sometimes he is wrong. Given the way difficulties are put in his path when he seeks facts, figures and reports it’s no wonder.
      The way to deal with someone who has presented incorrect information, or promotes actions based on incorrect information, is to promptly squash them with correct information.
      NOT to squash them with process-abusing, bully-mob, silence-enforcing vindictive tactics!
      That way we on the outside, observing, can’t help wondering “what are they so afraid of? Why won’t they allow disinfection by sunlight to shine into the murky corners?”

      And what right do these mob-rule disrespecters of democracy have to remove the right of a councillor I voted for, to do his job the way he – I and others who freely chose him – believe it needs to be done?

    • Diane Yeldon

      Peter: as another witness present, I support the accuracy of what you say. The proposed resolution was not in the agenda, it was unreadable on the projector screen, Cr Vandervis said he couldn’t read it and asked for a printed copy and Mayor Cull refused! This was like something out of Kafka.
      As I have earlier stated here, following my interjection (because I could not reach any governance officers), Mayor Cull initially refused to make copies of the proposed resolution available to members of the public present and then initially refused to give them time to read it.
      He attempted to justify this action by telling me that (as a member of the public present), I was ‘not part of the meeting’. I have made a complaint to the DCC about this, saying I felt insulted and want an apology from the Mayor. I’d also like an assurance that he won’t do this again. And I want the apology to be genuine to my satisfaction.

  2. Brian Miller

    I too was there today, and found it very difficult to believe what I was seeing and hearing. Can you imagine an act that is a cross between Monty Python and Yes Minister, but this wasn’t by any means funny. In fact it is a sad day for Dunedin, when we have one of our democratically elected local body representatives taken out of play by foul play.
    Unfortunately while waiting for the Code of Conduct debate, I had to sit through the curtain raiser of a one and a half hour performance, about the removal of two rocks out at Warrington, and Councillors consider that they deserve a 9% pay rise, for taking one and a half hours on this curtain raiser when 15 minutes at the most should have been sufficient to acknowledge that council, like the rest of us, must comply with the law. Oh the dramatics over these rocks by Cr Noone, very nearly brought tears to my eyes. His argument of supporting the community response for these rocks to stay may possibly yet get a nomination for best supporting role of the year.
    Back to the main feature of the day, and the foul play. How is it that if four are involved in making, or being involved in making a formal code of conduct complaint, and two others are involved in the decision making of the code of conduct committee, they can then be allowed to debate and vote on the decision of the code of conduct committees recommendation.
    A Kangaroo Court ? You be the judge.
    The one bright spot in this whole debacle came from two Councillors, and Cr Lord, a truly rural representative, and a man of few words. In fact only one word, and that was NO to the resolution to take an elected representative out by foul play.

  3. Mike

    I’d like to note again that the ODT was obviously so embarrassed by this issue and the Mayor’s behaviour that they initially disabled comments on today’s article, fortunately they changed their minds – but then I commented on the previous article on Lee and they disposed of my posting and shut down comments – who knows if what I just posted will see the light of day – just in case I post it here:

    —————————————-
    How Undemocratic

    It has rather been a bit of a kangaroo court hasn’t it – and as a result the council has voted to silence the representative of about 10% of the city’s citizens – the whole point about STV elections is to provide everyone with a representative, you can’t just take their vote away when they start asking difficult and embarrassing questions of the police.

    The Council’s choice of disenfranchising a large chunk of its citizens is inherently undemocratic, the sort of thing you see in 3rd world countries with non-functioning democracies.

    I would like to note that the Local Government Act requires that the Council’s decision making must be “democratically accountable”, it doesn’t say “democratically accountable only to some citizens, we don’t care about the rest”.

    Even though I have never voted for Lee I’m ashamed by the Council’s actions in this matter.

    • Mike

      well they did publish that one, let’s see if they will take response to Russell’s posting – note that it does not mention that-which-cannot-yet-be-named also the ODT has no coronial reason to censor it.

      —————————————————————————————-

      Russell: yes this really troubles me – apparently Lee is in trouble because he asked too many questions about why only one person was being investigated for the fraud around sales of city vehicles – from what I’ve seen in the media it looks like the Council is trying to sweep a larger problem under the carpet.

      Surely if there are people who are currently council employees, or ex-employees who have acted illegally they should have been prosecuted – censuring Lee because he asked why no investigation has been done smacks of a cover up. I think it’s time the Council stood back and the Central Government started an independent investigation of fraud within the DCC. The Councillors have overplayed their hand here and should stand aside.

  4. Peter

    I remember now Jinty MacTavish’s contribution. Being the policy wonk that she is, she suggested the first two punishments be joined together. This was for her a nice, tidying up exercise…another day at the office doing official business.
    She was interested more in the two punishments rather than the issue of natural justice.

  5. Diane Yeldon

    I have a feeling that Cr Vandervis is down but not out.

  6. Kieran trass

    My comments posted to the ODT today (awaiting moderation by ODT at present):

    Why no fraudit’s Mr Mayor?

    Submitted on Wed, 29/04/2015 – 10:18am.
    Having attended the council meeting in respect of this item I observed that in Mayor Cull’s opening remarks he said he was adding an additional resolution, which had not been distributed to councillors nor anyone else.

    The Mayor told us he had drafted it of his own volition, there was no mention of any olive branch at this point.

    As the new resolution was about to be introduced it was placed on an overhead screen but the words were illegible.

    Mayor Cull asked if there were any objections to the process so far and the process now.

    It was at this point in response to Mayor Cull’s request that Cr Vandervis took the opportunity to object to the introduction of an uncirculated resolution, apart from the fact that he and other councillors and the attending public couldn’t read what the resolution said on the screen.

    Cr Vandervis stated that he thought this process was illegal and he would seek legal counsel before commenting further, then he left the chamber.

    Meanwhilst Mayor Cull agreed to have printed and distributed printed copies to all councillors. A short recess was called.

    Cr Vandervis returned shortly afterwards to announce his legal counsel advised him not to partake in the process as it was illegal and he departed.

    It does appear that this whole situation is in fact more about diverting attention away from a narrow police investigation into matters of fraud involving DCC entities that Cr Vandevis had the guts to try and expose several years ago.

    To date only one aspect of the Citifleet fraud has surfaced and the entire blame for that has been laid on the deceased Mr Bachop.

    Even that ‘investigation’ appears sadly lacking as it is public knowledge that “no less than five senior managers resigned over the scandal.” but no charges have been laid or any findings of guilt or exoneration of those five has been released. (Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/64282198/dunedin-15m-council-car-fraud-pinned-on-brent-bachop)

    That fact begs the question… Why would a senior manager resign as a result of someone else’s fraudulent activity?

    The Citifleet fraud went unnoticed (apparently) for over a decade so isn’t it about time for a THOROUGH investigation (a ‘fraudit’) into the financial activities of all DCC entities to ensure no other fraud is occurring right now?

    If the DCC had a thorough ‘fraudit’ every 2-3 years then frauds such as Bachop’s and others could be identified much sooner and criminals outed from sitting in ‘the seats of financial flow being fed by unsuspecting ratepayers’.

    Anyone trained in analysing a balance sheet and bank accounts can relatively quickly identify significant fraud, it’s not that hard to do so why isn’t it being done Mr Mayor?

  7. Calvin Oaten

    Diane Yeldon’s telling of events make for riveting reading, when put in context. This is the Mayor no less, orchestrating things as he goes. Not content to have a prepared agenda, he decides unilaterally to make up his own resolution, puts it up on the screen in an indecipherable form and when the most vulnerable member asks for a printed copy as he can’t read the screen version, he is refused. That, dear folks is the man leading our city. He is showing all the signs of a desperate man, defensive, protective and forlorn. His long litany of gaffes’, mistakes and plain stupidity is now at an embarrassing stage. That he retains the support of the majority of equally inept councillors is one of the strangest situations one could imagine. But the extreme tragedy is the damage both reputation wise and to the financial integrity of the city. As has been said by others it is time for him to go. But that is unlikely as he will retain the support of his ‘lackeys’ because if he falls so too do they.

    • Peter

      Calvin. It makes you wonder if the Audit Office and the Minister of Local Government have an updated ‘heads up’ concerning the parlous state of affairs within the DCC. The city council should, at the very least, be placed on Watch as it is surely in the high risk category for self immolation.
      If I was the Minister, I would be very concerned.

    • Mick

      @Calvin Oaten
      April 29, 2015 at 10:57 am
      Diane Yeldon’s telling of events make for riveting reading, when put in context. This is the Mayor no less, orchestrating things as he goes.

      Yes Calvin, Diane’s account bears little resemblance to Chris Morris’s story in the ODT this morning. Chris focuses upon an “Angry Walkout’ vowing not to recognise the ruling. Morris talks about a ‘choice’ that Vandervis was presented with. Yes it was a Hobson’s choice that Cull had cobbled together in true Third Reich style.
      So you have the ODT account that is plainly contrived to belittle and marginalize Vandervis in the public eye.
      Fortunately, there were members of the public present who can narrate an accurate account of events.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Early this morning, I made a comment on the ODT story headlined “Angry walkout and no apology” giving a ‘different perspective’ and retold how the new, unseen resolution was produced and Cr Vandervis was not allowed to have it in a readable form and how later, Mayor Cull initially disallowed the right of members of the public to have printed copies of the proposed resolution and time to read it. I said that I was astonished that the ODT reporter (who I was sitting directly behind) could have failed to report on these most salient points. This comment was not posted, so was effectively censored by ODT.

        Below is an email thread between Chris Morris, the ODT reporter responsible for this story, after a discussion I had with him in the public gallery before the last full Council meeting. I make no comment but let readers judge for themselves.

        On 24/03/2015 5:57 PM, Diane Yeldon wrote:
        Hi, Chris, I realize this issue might be out of date by now but here is the info as discussed at the meeting today. I am sending it as an attachment because it’s quite long. Also the Ombudsmen’s reply came by snail mail so both scanned pages attached.
        Kind regards,
        Diane

        On 25/03/2015 10:30 a.m., Chris Morris wrote:
        Hi Diane,

        Thanks for sending that through. I have read it this morning and, to be honest, do not see the story in it that I thought existed. It was my understanding that your complaint related specifically to Vandervis being thrown out of the council meeting, not the more general issue of the council creating and using working parties in the way you say they do.

        Having said that, I would still have considered writing a story about your complaint, if the Ombudsman had agreed to investigate and/or concluded there was something of concern in what the council was doing.

        However, by my reading, the Ombudsman is simply saying it can’t investigate the creation of working parties, and suggesting you use LGOIMA to seek information from the working parties. I don’t see much of a story in that, I’m afraid. We have reported in the past about Vandervis’ concerns over the way the DCC was using working parties, including his gatecrashing of one, so I’d need something that takes the issue on significantly before I’d write something fresh.

        Feel free to keep me in the loop if you obtain any further information about the council’s working parties that you are concerned about, and you think might warrant a story.

        Chris.

        On 25/03/2015 10:40 AM, Diane Yeldon wrote:
        Fair enough, Chris. And although I accept you ‘own’ the stories you write for the ODT, after thinking further about our conversation yesterday, it occurred to me that I would ‘own’ any stories I wrote on FaceBook or some other open media. So I am just warning you in advance that I may very well start doing my own ‘Council meeting reporting’ as I become more familiar with these alternative media. And since I value openness, I would post uncensored any comments and differing points of view from you and any other ODT reporters – where, of course, possibly understandably for a newspaper, the reverse is not the case. (ends)

        (from Chris Morris)
        That’s fine. Anyone’s free to do that at any time. I would though reject any suggestion of censorship, and point out that we do report “differing points of view” – you only need to look back through our coverage of council meetings to see that, if you really want to.

        Chris.

        • Diane Yeldon

          I also fear later censorship of the meeting video by the DCC. If this video were to disappear, that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt on the part of the DCC. However, if it remains intact in the public domain, it will be a very useful educational resource for the DCC on how not to conduct a council meeting. For example, Cr Benson-Pope made a ‘point of order’ (interrupting Cr Calvert speaking) which was not a proper point of order at all but rather presented as an undeniable fact a view different to Cr Calvert’s. Mayor Cull acknowledged that this was not a point of order but still allowed the viewpoint of Cr Benson-Pope to stand as ‘fact’.

          The Agenda item [No. 14] was not on the topic of the accuracy or otherwise of the Code of Conduct Committee’s recommendation but solely on whether the Council would vote to adopt that recommendation. Yet Mayor Cull, as chair, accepted and participated in considerable out of order discussion re-affirming details of the Code of Conduct Committee as indisputable facts. By doing this, he mostly prevented Cr Calvert from speaking to the motion with common sense. The point she was trying to make was that the reality was that Cr Vandervis was not going to apologise for ‘lying’ (as the proposed resolution required), because he honestly believed that he had not lied. Further, that Cr Vandervis had in fact already made an apology for ‘loudness’. It was only with great difficulty and persistence that Cr Calvert was able to convey this meaning. She finally manged to express to the council, despite these obstructions, mostly from Mayor Cull, that she believed removing Cr Vandervis’ voting rights would penalise and disenfranchise the voters who voted for him.

          There is no doubt in my mind that watching this unedited meeting video will demonstrate that a vastly improved standard of chairmanship is needed at the DCC.

          A final point: there is no such thing as a ‘point of information’ – in other words, a councillor cannot interrupt another councillor speaking in order to correct what they believe is a ‘factual error’. Yet such ‘corrections’ are very often presented by some councillors as ‘points of order’, merely enabling them, whenever there is weak chairmanship, to talk over and talk down other councillors in what amounts to a bullying manner. I am very surprised that Cr Benson-Pope, with his considerable political experience, demonstrated that he did not seem to understand this during this meeting.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Diane, do you know if this video you mention:
          “I also fear later censorship of the meeting video by the DCC. If this video were to disappear, that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt on the part of the DCC.”
          has been copied and made available elsewhere?

        • Elizabeth

          Butting in – the video of the council meeting was shot by Dunedin TV (Ch39); and as for all public meetings of the Council the footage eventually (after considerable delay) appears on the DCC’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/user/dunedincitycouncil

          Dunedin TV is owned by Allied Press Ltd. Presumably, Dunedin TV is in contract to DCC. It appears that DCC publishes the YouTube clips. Who owns the copyright under this arrangement?

  8. Will

    We have recently had the same old story of police inaction leading up to the tragic Livingstone affair. They have apologised for serious omissions, but we have no knowledge of what has really transpired behind the scenes to discipline/sack the police involved. Commissioner Coster has given us reassurances which we have no means of verifying. This is not good enough. This bares an uncanny resemblance to a lack of reassurance re a wider Citifleet Fraud investigation. Given the police history here in Dunedin, why wouldn’t Cr Vandervis be dubious about their investigative efforts….especially when they haven’t yet visited him?

  9. Calvin Oaten

    An interesting thought. Would Mayor Cull’s performance yesterday of perverting the course of justice not suffice for a Code of Conduct breach being instigated? I would imagine that stickler for protocol Cr Jinty MacTavish must be wrestling with her conscience at this very moment. Here is her chance to do the right thing.

    • Mike

      Calvin: do you mean the bit about being “open and honest”? or the bit about maintaining public confidence in the office to which they have been elected? or maybe the bit that says that he “should act in a manner that encourages and values community involvement in local democracy” rather than disenfranchising them? or maybe the bit that says “Any allegation of a breach of a code of conduct must be in writing” not in tiny print on a screen that no-one can read?

      Interestingly, the Code of Conduct points out that under some circumstances a member of public may make a complaint of breach of the Code of Conduct about the Mayor ….

      • Diane Yeldon

        I initially did make a Code of Conduct complaint about the Mayor’s contemptuous (and contemptible) behaviour towards members of the public at that meeting. But I have withdrawn it because I am on shaky ground because I had no right to interject. Also the enormous power imbalance between a member of the public and the mayor makes me doubtful about whether this right of members of the public to complain has any substance or is just merely for show and to look good,
        Certainly, something I would like to complain about is Mayor Cull’s refusal to allow Cr Vandervis the right to read the resolution. What kind of even greater chaos would council meetings be in if such a bizarre ruling were to ever be accepted as normal? I wonder if, as a member of the public, I can be said to have an interest in the orderly conduct of meetings and so can make a Code of Conduct complaint against the Mayor on this issue. I suppose I had better try it and see.

        • Diane Yeldon

          I got a reply from council governance staff about a member of the public making a Code of Conduct complaint about the Mayor’s behaviour at the Council meeting on 328 April 2015.

          Technically, you can …. BUT!

          Half the evidence has already disappeared from the official record. This is what the unconfirmed minutes of the Council meeting of 28 April 2015 say:

          UNCONFIRMED MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL HELD IN THE COUNCILCHAMBER, MUNICIPAL CHAMBERS ON
          TUESDAY, 28 APRIL 2015, COMMENCING AT 1.00 PM

          14 CONDUCT COMMITTEE REPORT TO COUNCIL
          It was moved (The Mayor/Staynes): (the resolution censuring Cr Vandervis)

          The meeting adjourned from 3.40 pm to 3.45 pm to allow Councillors time to read the
          proposed resolutions.
          Councillor Vandervis advised during the adjournment that he had received legal advice
          that he should leave the meeting, which he did at 3.45 pm.
          (ends)

          But this is NOT what I saw happen. What I saw happen was that Cr Vandervis said he couldn’t read the resolution, asked for a printed copy and the mayor said NO! After that Cr Vandervis left the room. I did NOT hear the Mayor call recess. During this time in response to my interjection the Mayor initially refused to give members of the public present a copies of the resolution or further time to read it.
          I am absolutely certain that no recess was called before Cr Vandervis left the room because there were such rapid interchanges between Cr Vandervis and the Mayor that there would have been no time. I was paying close attention.

          I have asked staff when the meeting video will be available – it isn’t online yet (and nor in the March one). So there’s a delay of nearly three months for even the March one. Not very good because many of the matters discussed will have been forgotten and out of people’s minds with such a time frame.

          So yes, a member of the public can make a complaint, but the staff cannot make explicit what constitutes grounds. If it is a complaint about the Mayor, the complaint must be made to the Deputy Mayor who will then determine whether there is grounds. And I suppose if it wasn’t about the Mayor, a member of the public would have to direct their complaint to the Mayor. But in both cases, the Mayor or Deputy Mayor’s ruling is final and does not have to be justified in any way. So this seems a totally meaningless ‘right’ of a member of the public to complain. You are not allowed to know in advance exactly what you can complain about and then one elected rep can just privately shut the whole thing down with no explanation or accountability. Just because they feel like it…

          In the case of the Council meeting of 28 April 2015, it is 99.999% certain that the Deputy Mayor will find no grounds – because the unconfirmed Minutes are likely to be confirmed as a ‘true and correct’ record of the meeting. The meeting video, when it finally comes out, if uncut, may show what actually happened (staff told me they are looking for it) but there has been a serious discrepancy between confirmed Minutes and a meeting video before and not a single Councillor except Cr Vandervis seemed to mind.

          I don’t think discussion of the unconfirmed Minutes is allowed so all councillors can do next meeting is vote either for or against these incomplete and misleading unconfirmed Minutes. (which really lead people to believe that the meeting had been conducted in a fair and orderly manner which it is simply not true.) I will be very surprised if any councillors care enough about this issue to vote against them. Well, maybe they themselves will be the victim of such unfair chairing one day.

          I wonder if any members of the public who had been present were to make a signed statement of what they saw and collectively present this to Cr Staynes to support a complaint (from me) whether it would make any difference.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Sure, Calvin, but would it be ecologically sustainable?

  11. Elizabeth

    Received from DCC, the following Resolutions passed at the Council meeting yesterday have also been added at top of post.

    [click to enlarge]
    Resolutions passed at meeting of Dunedin City Council 28.4.15 (14. Conduct Committee Report to Council)

    █ Download: Conduct Committee Resolution 28 April 2015

    ****

    Cull: The council had “bent over backwards” to provide Cr Vandervis with a fair hearing.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 29 Apr 2015
    Angry walkout and no apology
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis has been given 24 hours to offer a “genuine” apology for his behaviour or be stripped of his voting rights. But the outspoken councillor has already vowed not to recognise the ruling, after staging a walkout during a debate over his punishment. His move came amid acrimonious scenes at yesterday’s Dunedin City Council meeting, as Cr Vandervis made his own allegations of illegal behaviour, and members of the public interjected from the gallery.
    Read more

    • Ray

      “staging” means acting as in stage acting. Lee wasn’t acting as if on a stage he was doing what was right under advice from his lawyer and boy does he need one!

    • Brian Miller

      If we look at the article in today’s ODT 1/05/2015 headed
      Mayor dismisses legality questions
      The one statement from Cull says it all.
      “Preparing in advance was simply for the sake of efficiency.”
      It would appear from this statement, and the resolution prepared before the item was open for discussion. That Cull had made up his mind, and predetermined that Vandervis was guilty, before item 14 Conduct Committee Report To Council on the DCC meeting agenda of the 28/04/2015 was opened for discussion.
      Such a resolution, if one is to get a fair hearing, needed to be made after, and not before a full discussion of the pros and cons of the Conduct Committee report. Not before.
      It should be obvious to us all that the statements that Cr Vandervis had made about the Citifleet issue, had been made with the evidence that he had collected, and obtained. Therefore his statements, whether right or wrong, were his genuine beliefs, and it should be noted that he has never been presented with any substantial evidence to show that he was wrong. Other than what appears to have been a verbal assurance, without any hard evidence to back up any verbal assurances.

      Predetermination as determined in a ‘Report of the Controller and Auditor- General.” is described as follows:
      “The rule against predetermination requires decision makers to remain open to persuasion and not to commit themselves to a decision until after having heard all evidence. Predetermination on the part of one Councillor alone may be enough to invalidate a decision.”

      What an opportunity that Cull had ceased upon, before any discussion on the Conduct Committee’s report was open for discussion, by asking in the resolution for:
      b) A genuine expression of remorse.
      Would he have not known full well that Vandervis, being the man of integrity that he is, would never have excepted that.

      Then of course there was item 3 on the agenda:
      Declaration Of Interest.

      Would it have been wise for Cull at that time to declare his interest. That he had prepared a resolution on Item 14. Before the item had been opened for discussion?

      {Link added. -Eds}

      • Diane Yeldon

        The resolution technically was okay – I’m sure of that, although its content was unfair. The appalling thing is that Mayor Cull refused to allow Cr Vandervis an opportunity to read it. It was on the projector screen in small font and Cr Vandervis asked for a printed copy and the Mayor said no. This behaviour can only be called aberrant.

        • Brian Miller

          It is not the resolution in itself Diane, but the way the guardians of the process turned a blind eye.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Actually Brian, you draw attention to what is actually a serious defect in Standing Orders – the fact that a resolution can be formulated before the discussion of an agenda item takes place. So the mayor or any councillor can come to a meeting with a complicated, bamboozling and sometimes downright deceptive and devious resolution and with an intention to deceive on the part of the proposer and seconded ( the seconder always being jacked up prior to the meeting, if not also the numbers needed to pass the resolution.) The remedy seems to be for the council to alter Standing Orders in this respect and seems a worthwhile topic for a future Public Forum submission. People may be cynical of this process and say it doesn’t work but I have found that shining a light on such matters and persisting in bringing attention to the issue for as long as it takes usually has results. Although it can takes years and years ……

        • Brian Miller

          I well recall a similar instance when the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board tried to close me down. Something similar to what Council is now doing to Lee. The Mosgiel Taieri Community Board chair at the time, had a prepared written resolution. In much the same way as Mayor Cull did to Lee, to put me up before the standing orders committee. Just another Kangaroo court.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Brian: it seems that the Minutes of the council meeting of 28 April 2015 will be quite silent on that ambush. The unconfirmed Minutes currently say that a five minute adjournment was called between two very precise times.
        So anything which occurred during that five minutes was NOT part of the meeting and need not be recorded in the Minutes or the meeting video.
        The unconfirmed Minutes say that the adjournment was called to give councillors time to read the proposed resolution (Agenda Item 14: the Code of Conduct complaint against Cr Vandervis).
        But this is an unusual ‘reason’ to call an adjournment because reading proposed resolutions is a normal part of a council meeting. It is further unusual, indeed downright peculiar, to call an adjournment during which councillors are expected to continue with the business of the meeting.
        Rather, as anyone present would know, the pause in proceedings was for the purpose of the staff actually making copies of the proposed resolution which neither councillors nor members of the public had previously been able to read. (Part of the ‘ambush’.)
        Cr Vandervis’ first withdrawal from the Council table (to ring his lawyer for advice) is not recorded in the Minutes (and any exit and entrance of councillors during meetings should be recorded exactly.) But this lack of recording may be because the adjournment had been called BEFORE he left the table the first time. (What happens during an adjournment is not part of the meeting so need not be recorded.) I didn’t hear either the adjournment called or the meeting resumed to order so I don’t know the exact timing of this. However I am sure that Cr Vandervis left the meeting the first time BECAUSE he had told the Mayor he could not read the resolution on the screen, asked for a printed copy and the Mayor had said NO. Omitting this from the unconfirmed Minutes, in my opinion, means that they are not a fair and true record of the meeting. Even if the adjournment did occur with split-second timing, I find this version of the ‘reality’ of that meeting impossible to swallow. I will draw this matter to the attention of Crs Calvert, Lord and Hall who have the power next council meeting to vote against the unconfirmed Minutes if they don’t believe they are accurate. Maybe other members of the public present at that meeting might feel inclined to do the same thing.
        I may seem unreasonably tenacious but I really get riled when officialdom tries to tell me black is white. This is the thin edge of the wedge with dire implications, even consequences, for all individuals in society. You might be next.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Diane, thank you HUGELY for your clear, precise, detailed report of that meeting. You began your posts about it before you saw the minutes, right? So your initial beef was about the unreadable ambush censure resolution. Kieran Trass also posted a clear account of the meeting. He was responding to the report in the ODT.
          Clearly neither of you invented your accounts in part or in whole to distort the facts or cast the legitimacy of the minutes in disrepute.
          Anyone reading your accounts and the “official” minutes can make up their own mind, bearing in mind whether anyone has a motive for evading transparency – or a history of distorting Plain Facts till even their own progenitors wouldn’t recognise them.

        • Brian Miller

          Diane. It maybe of help to you to check out the council Standing Orders, I think that they cover the running of meetings, and the responsibilities of the Mayor etc.

  12. Peter

    I haven’t been to a council meeting for a long while and it was interesting to observe behaviours before the Code of Conduct trial.
    There was a fair degree of mutual backslapping when councillors are happy with council reports that go their way and the odd bit of dumping on when they don’t go their way. Mr Ollerenshaw and Ms Stokes [General Manager Infrastructure and Networks] would have noticed this. What you would expect, you might think.
    However, what struck me with the happy campers was the praise that was laid on with a trowel, to the point of being sick making. If you want to praise someone for what you consider good work, why not do so in your own time by making a personal approach instead of wasting council meeting time showing everyone else there how nice you are to people? Talk about a mutual admiration society.
    What this tells me is there is a personal neediness there for these people, for people to adore them. It is also a manipulative means of enforcing a group love-in, to the exclusion of people like Lee Vandervis, to keep your niceness group hugged around you and loyal.
    It doesn’t take much thinking as to who the main players of this game are.

    {Name and position added. -Eds}

  13. Simon

    An issue that arises from Cr Vandervis having his voting rights taken from him by the Kangaroo court for the next two months, is that during the two months ban the council will be making decisions on the Long Term Plan that will affect the city for the next ten years. In effect this Kangaroo court has extended the penalty on Cr Vandervis to cover issues on the future plan for the city for the next ten years. It would appear that those who voted for the ban had their own long term plan for Cr Vandervis.

  14. Elizabeth

    The fawning, yesterday, by Mayor Cull, Cr John Bezett and Cr David Benson-Pope, over University of Otago law professor Stuart Anderson’s service as chair of DCC’s Code of Conduct Committee, in thanks for Cr Vandervis having had the opportunity of a “fair hearing”, is the hallmark of a scurrilous and corrupt council.

    The Mayor should resign.

  15. Peter

    Poor Dave organised a firing squad for Prisoner Vandervis, but has ended up getting himself shot. It makes you cry. With laughter.

  16. Brian Miller

    Peter. As I said earlier. A cross between Monty Python and Yes Minister, but sadly the whole affair was no joke.

  17. Peter

    At the meeting l noticed Anderson Lloyd lawyer, Rachel Brooking, in the gallery opposite the public gallery.
    What was their advice to council and Dave Cull in particular? How would it be contested in a court setting where papers would be released on discovery?

  18. Cars

    More importantly Peter, why has the council set up its lawyer to be present at council meetings at $400+ an hour, talk about Big Brother Trev, except in this case it is Big Sister!

  19. Diane Yeldon

    Brian: You say: Diane. It maybe of help to you to check out the council Standing Orders, I think that they cover the running of meetings, and the responsibilities of the Mayor etc. (ends)
    Yep, done that. Anyone interested can find these on the DCC website. Link:
    http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/councillors
    where there’s a right sidebar headed ‘Related information’. Standing Orders are there and the Council’s Code of Conduct is included in the Appendix starting page 74.
    It might help if the Mayor were to read Standing Orders. At the meeting of 28 April 2015 he made the following public statement:
    “If as a council, we ignore or excuse blatant abuse or breaches of the Code then my contention is that we are even more responsible for this because we would be saying to our community and our staff that the standards of the Code of Conduct that we have agreed on don’t matter.”
    But this is EXACTLY what he is saying to the Dunedin community by his own actions – that the standards of the Code of Conduct don’t matter – unless, it seems, that they can be used incorrectly and improperly as political ammunition against a political opponent.
    Further to this (as Cr Calvert pointed out, thank goodness!) the Council at that meeting spent well over an hour debating whether to comply with the law with respect to the removal of the illegally-placed Warrington boulders.
    Yet all councillors have taken an oath or made a solemn affirmation to uphold the law, apart from the Code of Conduct requiring it.

    So, yes, the Dunedin City Council is indeed ignoring or excusing blatant abuse or breaches of the Code of Conduct: their own – and the Mayor (who has a leadership role and responsibility to see that this doesn’t happen) is the biggest HYPOCRITE of the lot.

  20. Cars

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, here is another great example.

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