Cr Lee Vandervis: Why I continue to vote. #email


From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: ‎Monday‎, ‎4‎ ‎May‎ ‎2015 ‎3‎:‎59‎ ‎p.m.
To: Chris Morris, Elizabeth Kerr, 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, Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham, News [Ch39]
Subject: Why I continue to vote.

Dear Mr Morris,

Mayor Cull’s ambushed change to the Council Code of Conduct resolution item claims that my apology on which my responsibility for being able to vote apparently hangs “is to be judged by the CEO or her delegate.”

Standing Orders J4.2 clearly says that Council may take Code of Conduct action against a member by means of a three-fourths majority of those present, and the action taken was to demand a genuine apology which I have provided.
I can only genuinely apologise as far as the evidence I am allowed to see permits.
Standing Orders does not empower a CEO’s delegate to rule on the appropriateness of my apology which ruling has the effect of denying my responsibility to vote on behalf of the thousands of Dunedin people that voted for me. That is for Councillors to decide and they have not been given that opportunity.
My legal advice is that there is no legal basis for the Code of Conduct censure being delegated to the DCC chief accountant.
Councillors must vote for such a Code of Conduct action and I believe that Mayor Cull knows he does not have the Councillor numbers to vote for such an action.

Consequently I will continue to vote as before, and it is up to staff whether my votes are properly recorded.
All of this is on the back of a constantly corrupted Code of Conduct process where I have not been allowed to see the evidential statements made against me from Councillors or from CEO Bidrose, and have therefore been unable to defend myself against those evidential statements.
I have obtained consistent legal advice from two different sources in addition to ex-lawyer Cr. Calvert’s opinion printed in the ODT, and these sources do not want the DCC to know who they are as they believe that may prejudice their opportunities for other work in Dunedin. I do not intend to sue Mayor Cull or Council at this stage as I am still hopeful of getting the Deloitte’s information that would be pivotal in any Citifleet fraud cases brought.
I am still not permitted to see the Deloitte Citifleet fraud investigation evidence which would allow me to establish whether Police have in fact, recently investigated appropriately or not.
Time will tell who has been misleading who regarding the Citifleet frauds issue of substance.

Cr. Vandervis

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

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Events, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, SFO, What stadium

32 responses to “Cr Lee Vandervis: Why I continue to vote. #email

  1. Will

    The last sentence says much. Would Lee Vandervis say this if he wasn’t sure of his ground?
    I imagine Sue Bidrose will help make her own position clearer tomorrow when she returns to work.
    All ears.

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    Lee to Elizabeth: “I don¹t know how much longer the powers that be will allow you to keep operating, but I am very grateful that you still do!”
    Seconded, with knobs on!
    It’s the go-to place for info on what’s going on in this burg, with analysis by writers with expertise on financial matters, and local government rules and regulations, and engineering and construction, and… so much more, including long-term memories of where various bodies were buried and what the carpet looked like before all that messy stuff was swept under it.

  3. Diane Yeldon

    Internet freedom of information still seems to be lawful here in New Zealand. I can’t see New Zealanders allowing that to change. In my opinion, it’s always been fundamentally unhealthy for local democracy here in the lower South Island (as it would be anywhere else) that Allied Press (Otago Daily Times, the Star and local TV Channel 39) has had a media monopoly for so long. I reject Otago Daily Times reporter, Chris Morris’ claim that ODT does not practise censorship or at least certainly limits the range of differing views which they present. The impressions I get of events at council meetings are often widely divergent from those of their reporters (who I sit right behind). Yet this website is the only place so far where I can publicly express my impressions. My comments about council meetings are often disallowed on ODT and always disallowed if I criticise the reporter’s having missed salient points or having unreasonably emphasised stuff that doesn’t matter a great deal, particularly the odd political skirmish. These are usually far from the constant bitter strife more unreasonably sensational news reports would lead you to believe occurs, especially through excessively dramatic headlines. You only have to watch Parliament in session to know that with politics the person who appears to be my bitter enemy on one issue today is just as likely to be my closest ally the next day. There’s a lot of show business in it when conducted with ordinary human decency which is one of the reasons I find it so entertaining. Apart from being informed on the issues as a responsible citizen.

    • Mick

      Diane Yeldon

      Diane Yeldon
      May 5, 2015 at 5:28 am
      What you say in your post is based upon your close up observation and is reason for all of us to be concerned and more watchful. It is so easy for us to wave it aside as being the view of only one person. In particular this statement: –

      “I reject Otago Daily Times reporter, Chris Morris’ claim that ODT does not practise censorship or at least certainly limits the range of differing views which they present. The impressions I get of events at council meetings are often widely divergent from those of their reporters (who I sit right behind).” is very worrying.

      For a very long time I have believed that David Cull has been ‘pwned’ (owned) by the ODT as much by his actions as anything else. It is not at all unusual that powerful business people abuse their power and in a small town they can even get to think that they own the town. In this respect the ODT is in a unique position.

      So when you say, “Internet freedom of information still seems to be lawful here in New Zealand. I can’t see New Zealanders allowing that to change” becomes very important. That the Allied Press has a virtual monopoly in this town is one reason why I read this blog.

      Newspaper owners often get the view that their opinion is pre-eminent and other views should be treated with contempt. I read a wide range of newspaper views and have noticed by comments elsewhere that this tendency is not unique to this particular grouping of media. I see this trait manifest in the attitude of our present mayor. I wonder where he got that.

  4. Anonymous

    Vandervis casts votes, but they count for nothing

    Doesn’t that sound like something Dave said once? But this from the Otago Daily Times? That reporter, with the backing of Allied Press, has shafted Cr Vandervis again. The tone is awful for professional journalism.

    Stick with it and make sure to read the last line. More and more ratepayer money is being wasted on their crusade to portray Cr Vandervis in a very bad way.

    Tuesday is here and still Sue Bidrose has not stopped this madness.

  5. Simon

    This council needs to grow a spine.
    First of all they pass a resolution to punish Vandervis.
    Secondly they delegate the responsibility of acceptance to the CEO, who does a runner, and delegates to the deputy, who gets the shits when asked to make a decision and calls in the lawyer who can only give an opinion. Yes only an opinion.
    Then Staynes passes the buck to the staff when questioned on costs.
    When will these Councillors grow a spine, and take responsibility for their actions ?

  6. photonz

    Could the ODT reporting on this be more inept?

    I’ve barely met a single person who knows what the Council vs Vandervis bunfight is actually about. That says everything about how appallingly bad the ODT reporting has been.

    Is there any other council in the country that is so useless and corrupt that it can lose MORE THAN 100% of their vehicle fleet, be tipped off by a councillor that something is wrong, and STILL not know about it.

    No wonder most of the council is acting like a pack of schoolyard bullies in trying to silence Councillor Vandervis, and desperately keep secret the fraud reports he wants in the open.

    The silence of the ODT over these aspects (that are 100 times more important than the bunfight), make the ODT look incompetent at best, and complicit at worst.

    • Mick

      May 5, 2015 at 10:05 am

      You say “Could the ODT reporting on this be more inept?
      Is there any other council in the country that is so useless and corrupt that it can lose MORE THAN 100% of their vehicle fleet, be tipped off by a councillor that something is wrong, and STILL not know about it.
      The silence of the ODT over these aspects (that are 100 times more important than the bunfight), make the ODT look incompetent at best, and complicit at worst”

      I think that you have to take this whole thing together as a parcel. The ineptitude and incompetence of the administration, the arrogance of the mayor and some of the elected council and the seeming complicity of the Allied Press people. The mayor is ‘pwned’. The silence of the CEO is another worry.

  7. Calvin Oaten

    It all smacks of “GUILT”. Guilt because the ‘Citifleet’ fraud fiasco has not been adequately exposed. Why? Because there are too many people throughout that building and elsewhere who are seriously compromised if not guilty of criminal offenses? Blame it on the dead man and let’s have done with it.
    But no, says Cr Vandervis, let’s not have done with it. Let’s have justice and put the citizens’ interests first. Oh hell! says Mayor Cull and his inner cabal, how can we shut this member up? I know, says one of the more voluble of that group, “let’s cobble up a code of conduct breach or two to exclude and shut him down till we can set up damage control.” And they did.
    But would Cr Vandervis lie down? Not on your “Nellie” he won’t, and nor should he. After all when you know that there is some strange things that were happening in ‘Citifleet’ as far back as 2011, and you specifically drew this to the attention of the CEO (at the time) only to see nothing being done, then being approached by people in the motor trade telling him some of the details which he passed on only to be ignored again, something had to be done.
    It was only when the ‘whisper trade’ got going and the untimely death of the ‘Citifleet’ manager that attention became focused. This resulted in an inquiry conducted by Deloitte, instructed by CEO Bidrose, which obviously brought to light more than was expected. What else can explain the total determination of Mayor Cull and the CEO to not release the full details of that inquiry to the councillors, who are elected to know these things which affect the citizens’ treasure? Why go to the bother of releasing a seriously redacted version of the report if there was nothing to hide? Why indeed, have several top level managers been either sacked or resigned without explanation? As this fraud has history, what of the complicity of previous CEOs, not to mention senior managers and recipients of the 150 vehicles which were allegedly misappropriated and sold off by the ‘Citifleet’ operation? What is the story behind the insurance company supposedly paying out for the misappropriated vehicles? Could it be a ‘dirty pact’ with recompense by way of adjusted future premiums? So many questions, so few answers.
    That folks, is the ‘nub’ of the matter which Cr Vandervis is rightfully determined to pursue. And by extension, it ought to be the role of the ODT. No-one will come out of this with any credit, least of all the mayor and those councillors who voted to punish their fellow member for simply being determined to do his job. A very very sad state of affairs within City Hall.

    • JimmyJones

      Good questions, Calvin. Any councillor who is satisfied with Dave’s kangaroo court procedure should consider that they might be the next victim.

  8. Anonymous

    Grant McKenzie seems to be panicking. And rightly so. But fortunately he seems to be supported by a splattering of justifications in this latest piece by Chris Morris. You do have to raise an eyebrow over how far the story goes to explain the council’s decision, including this bit of post-censure love: “Councillors also authorised council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose or her delegate to decide whether any apology received was appropriate.”

    Meanwhile, I get this uncomfortable feeling that the media is trying to tell me how to think.

    24/4 – Penalty urged for Vandervis
    30/4 – Vandervis apology deemed insufficient
    5/5 – Vandervis casts votes, but they count for nothing

    • Mick

      May 5, 2015 at 1:38 pm
      Too right he is panicking and so he should be. He was left holding the baby. The level of public opprobrium that is being heaped upon all of the actors in this farce will only increase.
      If the media thinks it can control our thoughts it is mistaken. We still await Dr Bidrose’s comment. Like we waited for the outcome police investigation into the fraud.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Anonymous, if you want to look up something really interesting about ODT, go back and look at headlines telling you :Cull opposes stadium. Then look at the actual articles. You will see that he never opposed the stadium at all but had a bob each way. His own words. Yet for a long time, ODT could not mention his name unless it was like this: “Dave Cull -who-opposed-the-stadium.” This was utterly a case of “Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth,” as in Brave New World. But actually far fewer repetitions were needed. Soon media outside Dunedin were picking up this factoid.
      And I will start to foam at the mouth if I go into the ODT media myth that Cr Vandervis ‘called the council staff dogs.’ Anyone who is interested can just check out the ODT archives for themselves.
      And you are quite right about the phrase: “Count for nothing”. This is not reporting: it is spitefulness.

  9. Cars

    We should raise a signed (by many) application to John Key to release the report in toto. Only then will the citizens of Dunedin have sufficient information to be able to judge who is guilty and who is not.

    Cull and the councillors are elected to ensure our assets are managed, dubious or not on behalf of the funders, the ratepayers, not to act for the staff to the detriment of the ratepayers.

  10. Elizabeth

    “It is probably I think now the fourth or fifth situation where I have been legally ambushed by a rate-paid lawyer. I am an elected representative and that, I don’t believe, is appropriate.” –Cr Lee Vandervis

    ### ODT Online Tue, 5 May 2015
    Vandervis casts votes, but they count for nothing
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis is vowing to continue defying his voting ban after attempting to ignore his punishment during stormy exchanges yesterday. He joined other councillors in casting verbal votes during back-to-back meetings of the council’s economic development and finance committees yesterday afternoon.
    Read more

    █ ODT Online [via DCC ?] allows no public comments or debate.

    • Mick

      @ODT Online Tue, 5 May 2015
      ‘Vandervis casts votes, but they count for nothing’ by Chris Morris.

      “Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis is vowing to continue defying his voting ban after attempting to ignore his punishment during stormy exchanges yesterday.”

      They, including the ODT are all at sea. The ‘Day of Madness’ continues unabated.

      “Mr McKenzie told the meeting he had sought legal advice before deciding last Thursday night Cr Vandervis’ apology did not comply with the resolution.”

      HE DIDN’T HAVE THE CONFIDENCE to make a decision on his own so he calls in Michael Garbett to hold his hand.
      His advice: “…Instead, the meeting’s minutes should record only that Cr Vandervis was not permitted to vote, Mr Garbett said.”

      We’ll ignore that this cost us $400 – peanuts in the scheme of things.

      “Cr Kate Wilson called for a point of order over the debate’s relevance”…
      The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed `Off with her head! Off–‘ no apology to Lewis Carroll.

      While Cr David Benson-Pope (I might shove a tennis ball in your gob) “muttered “sit down” and suggested Cr Vandervis circulate his own advice.”

      Cr (Humpty Dumpty) Staynes (from the wall) “invited Cr Vandervis to question council staff later about the cost, saying it was not for him – or the committee – to justify the decision.”

      Meanwhile Chris Morris fans the flames. Chris – let me tell you that none of this counts for anything. It is all ‘Through the Looking Glass’.

      All because only one councillor had the wit to see that all was not well in the village of the DCC. The rest are all characters from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
      And we pay for this!

  11. Rob Hamlin

    New York gave me the opportunity to observe organised crime in action. It is a totally parasitic business that relies upon its ‘organisation’ of the law development enforcement, interpretation and dissemination agencies to the point at which it is allowed to carry on its parasitic activities more or less unmolested. It is a peaceable institution that measures its response to unwelcome activity among its community (prey) with care. It seems to operate a triaging system:

    1) Nuisance – This includes most public commentators without actual decision making or investigative power, however loud or right they may be. The reaction is usually to ignore or gently suppress such folk with long-term discrediting typecasting.

    2) Obstacle – Usually takes the form of an individual with some decision making power who is not yet on message or is resisting the socialising/networking process. The first response is to increase socialising/purchasing effort. If this does not work, the individual is either blackmailed if the opportunity arises or professionally, financially or socially destroyed, after which they may or may not be left in place.

    3) Threat – This may be a previous obstacle who has either survived milder attempts to destroy them or who simply presents no suitable ‘handles’ for such processes to gain a purchase. In order to be a threat they must also have acquired considerable profile and position to go with their undesirable motivations. Such individuals may be subjected to far less subtle destruction mechanisms. These may include trumped-up legal processes, violence, intimidation and, in extreme cases, murder.

    There is one final type of individual who poses a threat to organised crime. These are individuals who know something, but are not fully ‘in the loop’ and may therefore be persuaded to reveal that information in a manner that makes significant legal sanction against individuals who are fully within the organised crime community ‘loop’ a real possibility. When dealing with such individuals, murder is usually the first spanner that comes out of the toolbox.

    And now … if you want to see what the future holds for your kids – get a load of this:


  12. Diane Yeldon

    Regarding the ‘threat’ type person: they also come into this category when they start to look like a promising outsider in what has generally been a two horse race, the race being for political office and the two other horses being owned by the same stable. So however exciting the race may be drummed up to be in the media, it really makes no difference which of the favourites wins.

  13. Elizabeth

    ODT 13.5.15 (page 26)

    ODT 13.5.15 Letters to the editor McMillan Fox Barber Miller Parker p26

    • Elizabeth

      ODT 18.5.15 (page 8)

      ODT 18.5.15 Letters to the editor Moroney Young Bulman p8

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Person voted in is required to treat ‘members of this city’ with respect, and according to Craig Moroney of N E Valley Cr Vandervis didn’t. Funny, I’d have said covering up theft of goods (cars) paid for with our rates money was disrespectful, refusing to give out the figures of how much the stadium actually earns – not how many overt and covert handouts and subsidies it gets – is disrespectful. Cr Vandervis disrespectful? Not so much. Some of the people who habitually give ratepayers the mushroom treatment object to being shown up by him, but that’s not disrespect, that’s common or garden not wanting to be seen in their true colours.

        As for Margaret Young of Mosgiel and her testimony that “the council and Mr Cull have made many good decisions” which follows her expression of preference for “positive” letters to the editor and a desire for more Pollyannaishness! Even with that outlook the good lady cannot avoid inadvertent “small praise” – many good decisions, but then there were the ones we don’t talk about because that would be negative nitpicking, OK?. Sometimes I think it’s unfair the way people talk about Mosgiel people like it’s mini-Hamilton of the south, and then I think, OK, maybe they’ve got a point.

  14. Calvin Oaten

    “I can assure your readers I share people’s deep concern about bullying abuse and intimidation –especially by councillors of staff. All elected members should take seriously their position.” Now one can only take from that, that Dave Cull is referring to himself. Because one only has to read the letters on the Vandervis issue to see that it is an almost universal support
    for him and total condemnation of the Code of Conduct action. The two pictures tell a story of equanimity over bluster.

  15. Diane Yeldon

    What a hypocrite Cull is. He doesn’t follow either Standing Orders or the Code of Conduct himself. Then mysteriously the unconfirmed minutes of the last Council meeting held on 28th April have a five minute adjournment appearing in them, with the claim that this adjournment was to give all councillor the time to read the resolution concerning the Code of Conduct issue. How convenient. Because this supposed adjournment covers the time when Dave Cull refused a councillor the right to read and understand a resolution and then tried to refuse the same right to the public present. But … oops! An adjournment has to be voted on by the whole meeting. So this cover up is pathetically obvious.

  16. Cars

    Give the people what they want. A complete unredacted Deloitte report. The discipline is a red herring designed to obfuscate the wishes of the people.

    Give us the full report.

  17. Sue Todd

    Yes, give us the full report.

  18. Hype O'Thermia

    “The above is a comprehensive account of the process.” Including the surprise unreadable Code of Conduct censure, Lee Vandervis himself and a member of the public having been initially denied a readable copy, before a couple of the last spite-resistant brain cells kicked in and Cull agreed, then for some completely unintended, accidental, dolly-did-it reason this added piece of ugliness was omitted from the record (minutes) of the meeting… what a blessing anyone who wants to find out what’s been did and what’s been hid can read about it here, Diane Yeldon having covered that episode in plain English, fact by fact by fact.
    “I will not be responding to further letters” (Cull).
    Someone must have reminded him of the advice to people who find themselves in a hole, what’s more those spite-resistant brain cells seem to have taken the advice on board. This time….
    Mind you there’s only 2 of them. Don’t expect miracles.

  19. Diane Yeldon

    Actually Hype O’Thermia, it was the council governance staff who kicked in, not Dave Cull’s two brain cells. What I am waiting to find out is whether any other councillors have multiple brain cells, enabling them NOT to confirm dodgy minutes. I have emailed four promising councillors explaining my concerns. I really do wonder if I should make a Public Forum submission before next council meeting as follows:

    In order not to bring the Dunedin City Council into disrepute, I urge you all to conscientiously follow your own Standing Orders, particularly with regards to the following:

    3.11.4 Procedural Motions
    All procedural motions to terminate or adjourn debate must be determined by a majority of those members present and voting. If lost, a further procedural motion to terminate or adjourn debate may not be moved by any member within the next 15 minutes.

    Information to be available to public
    All information provided to members at local authority and committee meetings must be available to the public and news media unless any item included in the agenda refers to any matter reasonably expected to be discussed with the public excluded.
    [s. 5 & 49, LGOIMA]

    Minutes of proceedings
    “A local authority must keep minutes of its proceedings. Minutes of proceedings duly entered and authenticated as prescribed by the local authority are prima facie evidence of those proceedings.”
    [cl. 28(1), (2), Schedule 7, LGA] (ends)

    In other words, minutes which are truthful.
    The Chair can also call an adjournment unilaterally if disorder persists but this did not happen. Even if if had, it would have been the meeting (all the councillors) who would have had to decide whether the meeting should resume after that. See below.

    Disorder in meeting
    The Chairperson may require any member whose conduct is disorderly or who is creating a disturbance to withdraw immediately from the meeting for a time specified by the Chairperson.

    Adjournment of meeting following disorder
    Should the disorder continue, the Chairperson has the right to adjourn the meeting for a time specified by the Chairperson. At the end of that period the meeting shall resume and decide without debate the question as to whether the meeting shall proceed or be adjourned. The Chairperson may also take such action in relation to disorder from
    other sources or in the event of an emergency. (ends)

    As a semi-retired person, I am happy to make myself useful to the DCC as a very economical educational resource. Being able to read.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Oh, I forgot to add that I would prepare copies of my submission to give to all councillors. ALL of them.

  20. Hype O'Thermia

    Diane Yeldon: educational resource and living treasure. I’m sure our elected representatives and His Sinkingship the Mayor in particular are thrilled to have your “resourceful” contributions.

    • Diane Yeldon

      I am a bit worried about this provision (below) in Standing Orders. However, it could be read as meaning that the Mayor may need to require HIMSELF to leave the meeting, if he doesn’t sharpen up his game as a chairperson!

      Chairperson may require members of the public to leave meeting
      The Chairperson presiding at any meeting of the local authority may require any member of the public to leave the meeting if it is believed on reasonable grounds that the behaviour of that member of the public is likely to prejudice the orderly conduct of the meeting if that person is permitted to remain.
      [s. 50, LGOIMA] (ends)

      On the other, I hope I might be promoting (rather than prejudicing) the orderly conduct of the meeting.

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