DCC laundering – wring out Regent Theatre Trust, pump DVML

Regent Theatre, Octagon [via flickr 5039845005_c715d44921_b] 1Photo: Dunedin NZ

Received from John Evans
Mon, 18 May 2015 at 5:29 p.m.

P26 ODT Saturday May 16.

In an article headed Stadium sound on agenda, included some apparent proposed changes for DVML, one being the stripping of the rights to sell DMVL venues from the Regent Theatre Trust, considered an anomaly by the DCC or DMVL or both.

The nett effects

1. Immediate reduction in income of $110,000 to the Regent Theatre Trust. However the DCC are going to suggest a donation of $110,000 as a grant to the trust (unearned).

2. An increase in staffing levels for DMVL (to sell the tickets).

3. No reduction in ratepayers’ costs.

4. A presumed increase in DMVL income (gross but not necessarily nett) DCC looks better in financial accounts (hopeful).

5. Lost opportunity costs (the recipient of the $110,000 if the DCC did not give it to the Regent trust).

This is what is called by forensic accountants, creative accounting.

Humans call it robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Concerts, DCC, DCHL, Democracy, Design, DVML, Economics, Events, Heritage, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Tourism

15 responses to “DCC laundering – wring out Regent Theatre Trust, pump DVML

  1. Bev Butler

    Does anyone know what day this is being discussed in non-public?

    • Elizabeth

      No idea, Bev.

      • Richard Thomson

        Just before this issues develops not just legs but a full chassis on wheels, can I point out two things. One, it is not being discussed in non public, but is on the public agenda. Two, in the various comments starting with Johns post there has been an important part missed out. To quote from the paper, the proposed resolution is “that Council approves the transfer of an additional annual grant of $110,000 to the Regent Theatre Trust… and a reduction in Dn Venues management Ltd subsidy by the same amount.” the second half of this resolution seems to have been not noticed. There is no proposed increase in Council costs. It is cost neutral. It will however mean that if DVML increases the concerts and shows at the venues it runs then it will receive any additional benefit derived from that ticketing rather than the Regent. The $110,000 grant to the Regent is substantially in advance of what they were earning from ticketing at DVML venues prior to the Town Hall upgrades and in effect the proposal leaves that additional windfall with them at the expense of DVML. – Richard Thomson, Finance Chair.

        • John P.Evans

          Not revenue neutral at all Richard, the last cab(s) off the rank in the DCC handout queue will not receive the $110,000 you are now going to gift to the Regent. Or horror of horrors you are going to borrow another $110k.

          In order to be revenue neutral you have to ditch the Regent theatre. That play I would go the Regent to watch. Get Roger Hall to write it, put it on at the Regent, there will be packed houses, tomatoes and eggs aplenty and all of us ratepayers will at least get a laugh out of being rorted.

          The Regent will get their $110k legitimately, the only losers? The actors playing at being city management. They will have eggs (and tomatoes) on their faces.

        • Calvin Oaten

          Richard, this thing is way past growing legs, it also has around seven heads and is out of control. You mention the second half of the resolution not being noticed. It says “there is no proposed increase in Council costs. It is cost neutral”. Richard, the first time I heard that phrase was when the “late great” Jim Harland told us the sale of the DCC in-house engineering design dept to Montgomery Watson Harza would be “cost neutral”. Tui joke of the year that one! Do you honestly believe that the Regent Trust’s earnings of $110,000 in revenue did not have some costs attached? Further, do you honestly believe that DVML will achieve that revenue for the same or lesser costs? Get real you daft twit, this is a diversionary tactic to try to make DVML more viable even after all the other evil manipulations you and your mates have contrived. Like reducing DVML’s stadium rental and passing the difference across to the ratepayers. The $110,000 compensation to the Regent Trust (per annum) of course has been passed to the ratepayers in this latest three thimbles and one pea trick. Richard, you are so out of touch with reality that I am really concerned for your sanity.

        • Bev Butler

          I was referring to the main item in the ODT article “Stadium sound on agenda”. Sorry if that was not clear. It does state that the stadium sound discussion is in non-public.
          Does anyone know on what day this is being discussed?

        • russandbev

          Two questions.

          Why does DVML believe that it has been hampered in its primary work by not selling tickets to the venues? Apparently 3 CEO’s of DVML have all raised this as a serious issue. Why? The Regent is centrally located. What exactly is the problem that the CEO’s were so concerned about?

          Has the Regent provided an inferior service? Have they sold tickets for which there were no seats? Or what? Have they failed?

          Obviously there are costs associated with this service and it appears that these have not been considered.

        • Diane Yeldon

          I am delighted to see another councillor posting here. I do appeal to people – give them a hard time over the issues if you like but please do not discourage them with ad hominem attacks. The more information and points of view people have (NOT censored or otherwise controlled by ODT) the better the outcomes.

        • Elizabeth

          Diane, not running the website for just ANY OLD Councillors – they have their own websites and Facebook futilities to patronise. This is a war room in development :)

        • BlueBottle

          There are two reasons why no-one should believe that DVML would receive any reduction in ratepayer subsidies. Council staff and Councillors have a long history of telling lies about the disastrous stadium finances. This dishonesty and secrecy continues to this day. The other reason is that the revenue streams of DVML are completely opaque. A breakdown of DVML’s revenue has never been provided. This isn’t shared with the public and is not shared with Councillors (as far as I can tell). It’s a dirty little secret between DCC staff and DVML. The point is that because of this secrecy, Councillors should expect staff to not comply with their instructions to reduce the subsidy. Staff non-compliance won’t be discovered because our Councillors are not aware of the total level of subsidies and so can’t determine if a reduction or increase has occurred.
          This measure is money laundering; the end result is that DVML gets a bigger subsidy at the expense of ratepayers. Another example of DCC money laundering is the grants given to community groups to enable them to use the stadium. The DCC pays these groups exaggerated amounts to use the stadium. The overpayments are made to look like genuine revenue, but are, in fact, another secret subsidy. The events attraction payment is another secret subsidy.

  2. Elizabeth

    Report – Council – 18/05/2015 (PDF, 163.5 KB)
    Ticketing Arrangements for the Dunedin Centre and Revenue Replacement Options for the Regent Theatre

  3. Anonymous

    DCC outsourcing to Trusts is a bad model. It is supposed to be arm’s length. Nobody believes that fiction.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    This latest proposal for DVML to shoulder aside the Regent Trust from the business of ticketing services to the show business is an act of sheer desperation in order to free load DVML into the business of taking on the ticketing of events in virtually all venues in Dunedin.

    It is bad enough that the DCC has gotten itself into the venue operation business at all. It is not, and it never has been in the jurisdiction of local governments to involve itself in high risk businesses which require a very high degree of knowledge if it is to make money. It has already spent the city to the edge of bankruptcy providing venues way beyond the needs or capacity of Dunedin.

    The Regent Trust is to be cut out of an assessed revenue of $117,000 pa which is hopefully to be diverted to DVML thus making it more viable. But we see the old two card trick in which the DCC compensates the Regent Trust by an annual grant of $117,000 pa. So in order for DVML to increase its revenue by $117,000 , less its costs of doing so, it relieves the Regent Trust of those costs but compensates its revenue. Looks like a ‘win win’ for the trust and a ‘lose lose’ for both DVML and the ratepayers.

    It is very similar to the since ignored fact, that when the Elite Sports building was erected adjacent to the stadium at a cost of $10m it was to be funded by the DCC and Elite to service and pay down the debt over ten years at a cost of some $510,000pa. But contemporaneously it was moved that the DCC would make an annual grant to Elite of $510,000pa. Never hear about that now, buried in the accounts somewhere I suspect. Same again it seems.

    The fact is, ever since the DCC got involved with rugby and the stadium it has gotten deeper and deeper into the sunken costing of the whole business. The story so far is so fanciful that it couldn’t have been made up.
    Watch this council pass this rat infested programme and DVML will be cap in hand before next LTAP time seeking more hand outs, under the guise of improving the sound system or increasing toilet space or some devious trick. And guess what? This bunch of ‘suckers’ will rise to the bait. I hope the DCC can locate a special deal for red ink.

  5. Elizabeth


    No point in following the CST model to the letter.

    Expect DCC CEO, GCFO and Councillors to PROTECT Dunedin ratepayer interests this time, rather than dangle and lose all our money down the stadium/CST route.
    Your job is to protect the vulnerable.
    While you exercise prudence.

    (are you listening !!!???!!!)

  6. John P.Evans, formerly concerned citizen, now nonplussed and tearing hair out

    I often hear of MATH being taught, some councillors may have been taught MATH, but none of them have ever learnt ARITHMETIC. That’s where the minuses go against the pluses and if the minuses are greater than the pluses you have to find the shortfall from somewhere. In this DEMOCRATIC society they get the money from you (and unfortunately me). That is why when you get to the next elections the first question you need to ask of candidates is this.

    1. Can you count
    Secondly can you account
    Thirdly, do you understand the Implications of spending on projects which you and me have to pay for. And finally how are you going to pay for the past litany of spending errors of the last ten years and particularly the last five, including but not necessarily limited to the Stadium, the Chinese Garden which are so negative financially and the Toitu museum which whilst a great facility and well constructed and attractive, adds to losses, and latterly the bloody cycleway which satisfies less than 1% of the city’s transported whilst stuffing the roads for the 99% who do not.

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