Cr Vandervis on DCC project budgets

Sat, 16 May 2015 at 11:39 p.m.

via Malcolm Dixon’s Facebook page [link to Build Dunedin] /malcolm.dixon.528/posts/10152926652873106

Facebook - Lee Vandervis on DCC projects (via Malcolm Dixon link to Build Dunedin)

Related Posts and Comments:
7.5.15 DCC Draft LTP 2015/16-2024/25 —public submissions online
28.3.15 DCC Draft LTP 2015/16 to 2024/25 —CONSULTATION OPEN
25.3.15 DCC Long Term Plan: Green-dyed chickens home to roost
14.1.15 DCC Draft Long Term Plan: more inanity from Cull’s crew pending

█ For more about DCC and Cr Lee Vandervis, enter *vandervis* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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30 responses to “Cr Vandervis on DCC project budgets

  1. Calvin Oaten

    Imagine how different and more ‘vibrant’ this city would be today if Lee Vandervis’ 2006 list of 30 options had been actioned.

  2. Dunedin politics are the same they were 20 years ago; a bit like here in Auckland. On Waiheke, it is even worse. At the end of the day, Dunedin is lucky to have Lee Vandervis. There is not much integrity on the Council otherwise. Nonetheless, in excess of 20,000 people voted for Cull on two occasions, same numbers as for Chin. The vast majority of Dunedinites do not give a r*** ass about local politics and it is a folly to think otherwise. May the force remain with your blog!

  3. Philip T

    Just called common sense in the old days but back then we were about getting things done while today it’s about talking about doing things (endlessly)

  4. Anonymous

    I could walk into DCC tomorrow and cut 10% off the operational budget.
    So could any halfway-competent management consultant who got paid on the basis of outcomes achieved, not reports written.
    the current “we need to carefully account for every dollar spent” policy is strangling progress just as much as the previous laissez-faire, “invoice us for monthly expenses” one ever did.

  5. colin venables

    It’s a great pity this council did not listen to this, as per usual the councillors and mayor only think about rate increases, a large majority of ratepayers are on fixed incomes and cannot afford higher rates, good on you Lee. It’s really annoying to see this council treat an elected official this way, because he disagreed with bad council policy.

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    At one time Council had to approve any expenditure over – forget how much but say it was $1000. Used to be a large amount, then with inflation it became petty cash but Council was taking huge amounts of time approving 2 new lawnmowers so instead of going carefully, balancing responsible stewardship with getting things done, far too much was simply passed over to staff to go forth and spend. Typical babies/bathwater. Long time ago, about the time of amalgamation I think. Which bozo was that… Bradford was the genius who split electricity into generating and supplying because the more Market the better, the almighty Market can’t be wrong. Local body reforms was a different Man From Mensa. Loons.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    (a) I have x amount of money therefore I must control my spending and hope I have enough for my needs.
    (b) I have x wants, therefore I will force other people to control their spending irrespective of their needs.
    Identify, for 5 points.

  8. Calvin Oaten

    Hype, It was the highly esteemed idiot Michael Bassett who promulgated consolidation and amalgamation of local bodies. Dunedin inherited Port Chalmers, SilverPeaks (Mosgiel, Waikouaiti) and Middlemarch. The jewel in the crown Port Otago went to the ORC. Bradford forced the Electricity break up. Dunedin had to choose, either be a generator or be a retailer, not both. Cr Paul Hudson sold Waipori in a flash to some smart cookie and it was onsold in a very short time to Trustpower for a huge profit. That is now what is called the Waipori Fund. Shafted all round really by incompetence. Still are.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Thanks Calvin. Normally I cannot forget that smug pillock Bradford, however I was observing Vague Sunday.

    • Cars

      The worst result out of the Bradford cacophany is that we now have a monopoly where the CEO of Delta earns? $450k pa running a public service monopoly and a number of overpaid administrators who see themselves as property developers earn more than $100k, all to spend ratepayers’ money. Private Enterprise, Market – phooyee. Larceny by trick.

    • Correct about Micheal Basset, Calvin. And these local government amalgamations were forced. Because the law (which he wrote) said you could have a poll on whether to amalgamate if 10 per cent of the electors asked for it. Sounds fair? No. It was 10 per cent of BOTH local bodies to be amalgamated. So small local bodies like Waiheke or Devonport, about to be swallowed whole by bigger councils like the Auckland City Council at the time, had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting all of those other electors to even know or care about the issue, let alone participate in any poll. And Basset knew this and that’s exactly why he wrote the law like that. Smaller communities with a population of under about 5,000 were even denied this spurious poll provision. This destruction of local communities through amalgamation is the main reason why local government is now so distant from the actual people it is supposed to serve, has turned from democracy to managerialism with mostly ‘decorative’ elected reps and fewer and fewer of them per head of population all the time, the splitting off and effective privatising of essential city services with associated cost rises to the user and, finally and worst, a big pot of public money sitting unguarded and waiting to be captured and exploited for private benefit by those who know how to work the system. Well, actually in Dunedin, it’s no longer waiting – it’s already been stolen, plus a lot of future rates revenue as borrowings. In Dunedin, only Cr Vandervis seems to treat this public money with the same prudence and care as a responsible person would treat their own money. All the other councillors seem to have a “there’s more where that came from” attitude. Every new ‘project’ they take on has not only capital costs but then also, forever after during the project’s lifetime, maintenance costs. But this city struggles even to maintain its water and roading infrastructure already. I think new legislation is needed to put the ‘local’ back into local government.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Bravo Diane!
        Your comment should be printed as posters and stuck all over the “Dunedin” (including its unfairly amalgamated communities) region to remind people what’s behind the contempt with which they are treated and why local government works so badly.

  9. K McMillan

    Dunedin also does not need any more kerb protrusions, traffic islands or cycle lanes, those staff members designing these features or looking for more sites for them, could be better employed else where, eg Christchurch

  10. Phil

    Not so long ago I attempted to have a meeting with DCC staff via Lync. For those not familiar with Lync, it is a common MS video conferencing tool which the majority of global businesses use today as an easy means of sharing information without travel costs. It includes instant voice, video, file sharing, screen sharing. An all around great tool and extreme time saver. I have a lot of clients who live 500+km from me and the savings for them are considerable. Anyway, when I tried to start a Lync meeting with DCC, I found out that the IT department had locked out the voice, video, and screen sharing functions, leaving, well, a rather expensive email programme. The only alternative was to visit the staff in person, and to bill DCC for my travel time and expenses. Pretty sure that an outsourced IT department would have a slightly more modern approach.

    • Elizabeth

      Er…. Mayor Dave Cull, Liz Knowles (Dunedin Public Libraries staff / City of Literature coordinator) and Noel Waite (University of Otago academic staff) won’t be using Lync to avoid travel to the Cities of Literature conference in Japan at the end of this month.

      How much are ratepayers forking out to cover their travel costs ? [junket]

      • Elizabeth

        Then this query on 4 May:

        News of a local woman attending a conference about “branding of cities and city logos” – word was she worked for “Destination Dunedin” or such. The conference was in Poland – HAVE to assume it was DCC funded ?

        I was asked, did she call in on her way home at the DCC office in Shanghai for some tips on what to do with unlicenced cats!

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Branding of cities? Bollocking nonsense.
          What’s required is branding of councillors and senior management who cause huge debt for predictable FAIL projects. I include those who had engineers and architects working for untold months on the “Let’s make a flamin’ abortion of Harrop St” brainfart.
          Heat up those irons, branding is well overdue. Pour discourager les autres, including voters and future potential employers.

        • Elizabeth

          Hype, worthy yet harsh. Where do I sign up as City Brander? I hope there’s a uniform and a free trip to Poland too.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Cities of Literature? And they can’t exchange exquisitely phrased letters, by way of communicating with one another?

        • Hype: it’s just like products which have ‘features’. Local government has become a kind of ‘profession’ where its practitioners and professional organisations spend lots of time looking in the mirror to see how fashionable, leading edge and better than anyone else they are. Just read a report on any Local Government NZ conference (which ratepayers pay for so these people can ponce around and congratulate one another on their extreme cleverness and innovation). Sadly decadent. And then even more sadly, often enough, corrupt on top of that. And I think a lot of the reason for this is that it became ‘big business’ with amalgamation. Trying to rule the empire.

        • Cars

          There is another problem with council representatives going overseas to conferences. The aims of these conferences are rarely to improve water reticulation, sewage treatment or improving city ‘s necessary facilities. The aims are in order:
          1. Extracting more dollars per ratepayer
          2. Building an empire or labour pyramid
          3. Building income for the hosting city.

          In other words, the only logical aim for the DCC in its present parlous financial position is:

          Don’t go to any conferences except those held in Dunedin.

          Just the advice Lee Vandervis offered in 2011.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      What, Phil? They left the email program available for use? And you complain? It’s the kaupapa, mate. Highly expensive but capable of doing only a small amount of what was promised, thereby qualifying for the Council Award of Approval, the white elephant statuette affectionately known as “Oor Wee Fubarrrr” (possibly a quotation from Robbie Burns?).

  11. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Mon, 18 May 2015
    Increase rates? No thanks
    By Timothy Brown
    Dunedin residents who responded to an Otago Daily Times poll have overwhelmingly panned the prospect of rates rises above and beyond what the Dunedin City Council has already mooted. […] “I don’t think council decisions will be made on a media poll, regardless of the good faith it was done in,” Mr Cull told the ODT.
    Read more

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    “I don’t think council decisions will be made on a media poll, regardless of the good faith it was done in,” Mr Cull told the ODT.

    Poll reflects opinions of unimportant peasantry. “Gimme-gimme” demands on council come from people of standing (lying?) in the community.
    Who’s gonna do a councillor/mayor the most favours, “going forward”?

  13. Cars

    There is a poll in which such issues can be resolved and it is next year. The council elections. Let’s hope sufficient readers access “Whatif” otherwise they will probably be none-the-wiser. In which case the incumbents will remain in power, to our collective detriment.

    {Have your acquaintances google What if? Dunedin + bookmark the link / share it
    far and wide -Eds}

  14. Peter

    Of course councillors go staunch on spending on projects that don’t interest them, but come to their pet projects and it is all on. This is not good enough as there is more often than not a majority for a spend up… or it is alternatively part of a trade off deal…. you support my pet project, and I’ll support yours, even if I don’t agree with it. This, I think, is why we are in trouble. The spending up momentum is virtually impossible to halt until crunch time eventually comes. I think we have no alternative now, but to wait. No Greek moussaka for us soon.
    Call it human nature, to put off the inevitable. Sue Bidrose and Grant McKenzie need to bring reality and fiscal discipline to these councillors…. most of whom are not financially literate…. Or have they now become part of the problem? I had great hope for these two people, but now……? I think they are generally decent people, but do they have strength of personality to stem the rot? I am disillusioned.

  15. Diane Yeldon

    I still have hopes for Sue Bidrose. It’s a difficult position to be in – to try to organize, control and otherwise improve people who actually employ (or more accurately ‘appoint’) you. Like the Queen, I wonder whether legally she can do that much more than ‘warn, encourage and advise’. The present situation is a vast improvement on the ‘reign’ of Jim Harland.

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    Sue Bidrose has the additional handicap (that should be recognised as an advantage, but that’s not the way people tend to behave) of having been appointed from within, not head-hunted from elsewhere and presented with a trumpet fanfare by the recruiting company along with council that paid them a small fortune therefore is predisposed to believe it was money well spent.

    Besides she’s a girl, and irrespective of individual opinions she’s never going to be one of the [old] boys. She’s never going to enjoy Nanny Pipkin’s home-made apple pie with lashings of cream in the boys’ treehouse.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Discussion of Sue Bidrose’s role raises the governance/management issue. Anyone who has been involved in a community organisation with a policy-setting/ decision-making group, like a Board of Trustees, who are elected amateurs who then employ professionals in a management capacity, will be aware of the problems. You have to be extremely careful that the managers don’t end up running the show, which they often end up doing in a vacuum of legitimate leadership. The fact that governance people are usually elected and in their position only for a few years ( unless they get re-elected) while the employed staff may keep their positions for decades, increases the risk of goverance/management abuse. You know this is happening in a city council ( which has just this kind of structure) when you get articles in the local paper reporting on the Chief Executive’s ‘vision for the city’. It is completely improper for any CEO to have any kind of ‘vision for the city’, except perhaps privately, and it’s certainly improper for them to act on their private views.
      So don’t attribute ‘weakness’ to the present CE if she appears to refuse to do the job of the councillors and mayor when it is perceived that they, themselves, are not doing it, or not doing in well, (or my particular complaint,) not doing it legally.
      Saying to actively engaged councillors, “Keep out of it. Don’t try to discuss that – these are management issues, ” as our current mayor does, is not a legitimate objection, as long as the councillors involved are not directing staff. They are entitled to ask for information, have opinions and publicly express them. The current mayor also characteristically attributes nefarious motives to any councillors who make public statements and generally rubbishes them. This ‘control freak’ behaviour just encourages the generally wishywashy, sheep-like, complaisant behaviour of past and some present Dunedin city councillors, many of whom allowed themselves to be led around by the nose by past CEO, Jim Harland. And unfortunately there still seems to be an institutional culture remaining of various staff departments improperly making decisions and even withholding critical information from councillors.
      Too much of the tail wagging the dog still and the only realistic way this is ever going to be stopped is by a mayor with real leadership skills, not merely all the markings of a petty tyrant as at present.

    • Peter

      Generally speaking, some ‘girls’ are old boy proxies and quite capable of fitting in with the old boys….so to speak.
      You can smash through the glass ceiling by doing their game better.

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