Please Mayor Daaave, to pasture NOW

Better that than the knackers yard —we have some notion of human rights! But let’s get rid to back paddock. Some natural justice.

dave-cull-photos-bw1Daaave’s opinion piece in today’s ODT is crippling, rustling with financial ineptitudes, and no clothes.

Sadly, his gratuitous fiction is simply No Match for the lavish, colourfully illustrated ODT love fest with Councillor Lee Vandervis, shown up in the Mix magazine spread on Saturday.

The small town of Dunedin was last murderously accosted by Malcolm Farry and Thugby. Here is yet another short man taking the Citizenry OUT: Mr Death Cull.

No-one seriously believes Daaave’s askew bleats given the state of DCC finances. The debt graph following the council’s recent Long Term Plan decisions should be quickly redrawn by independent honest people, and widely publicised.

Oh dear. Oh dear. Soon there will be no-one left capable of paying the rates, or shrinking council debt. Autumn has passed, along with the last fig leaf.

Investing in our city necessary to attract the people we require
Dunedin must invest or wither, writes Mayor Daaave Cull. Dunedin’s aspiration is to be one of the world’s great small cities.

photonz at ODT gives a very fair summation. The tight echo from all round.

DCC gross debt (DCC Draft Long Term Plan)Before final LTP decisions in May 2015

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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94 responses to “Please Mayor Daaave, to pasture NOW

  1. Anonymous

    God they’re full of crap. Council is run by day dreamers and seat warmers. Meanwhile the rest of us have to face surface flooding and blocked drains again – not forgetting the threat of road impairment to emergency vehicles – because they’re too busy “investing” in professional sports, glory projects and vote buying. Let’s see how people feel after another washout.

    • Anonymous

      Reports circulating of businesses with ground level or basement access being flooded earlier on and it’s still pouring. First rainy day and it rapidly turns to custard for local businesses. The stream behind Glenross has turned into a dangerous looking beast and high enough to be near the walking track. Probably not the best time to wander along there!

      • Anonymous

        Reports coming in of sewage pipes backing up too… maybe Cr Richard Thomson could offer those million dollar cricket lights to the front staff who will have to deal with it in the dark. And then maybe the ratepayers could use them to peer into the quagmire of shit that pours out of the council.

        See new post. -Eds
        Civil Defence response to Dunedin FLOODING

  2. Lyndon Weggery

    I totally agree with Anonymous. While walking through water early this afternoon from King Edward St to PAK’nSAVE I thought about the Mayor’s opinion piece in the ODT today. We have a Stadium but antiquated 100-year-old stormwater pipes and drains that simply can’t cope with this heavy rainfall. It’s third world conditions and shows up the lack of priority spending in basic infrastructure that used to be the norm in Sukhi Turner’s day as Mayor. Everyone from the affected businesses in Filleul St to the house owners on the South Dunedin flat have pleaded with Council to speed up pipe renewal but to no avail. We were warned years ago that Dunedin would suffer more weather bombs like today (it’s called climate change) and that’s where our priority spending should have gone as well as paying off debt.
    As I said, trudging through the flooded streets of the South Dunedin CBD showed me how bad this Council has let its ratepayers down.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Lyndon Weggery put me in mind of those “new democracies” where the rule is, don’t vote for anyone except Papa DaGrande if you want anyone in your extended family to ever walk again. Supporting “democracy”, aid money comes rolling in esp if there are important resources or strategic routes.

      The poverty is heartbreaking, women trudge half a day for the family’s water from a manky stream. Meanwhile General Great Chancellor His Excellency President For Ever Even Beyond The Grave Lord Papa DaGrande’s 3rd holiday palace gets a tidy-up with fresh lapis lazuli on the verandahs and gold-plated doors on the 15 limousine garage.

      He’s not insane, he’s thinking of his people. It is his mission in life to give them reasons to be proud of the glories of their most excellent democratic country.

  3. Elizabeth

    FROM THE HEART | Comment at ODT Online:

    Here we go again
    Submitted by rogernz on Wed, 03/06/2015 – 12:35pm.

    Another one of those pesky ‘one in a hundred year’ floods. How many does that make in the last few years?

    Rates continue to increase far beyond inflation (or my pay!), the drains are full of leaves (autumn came as a surprise, it seems) and vanity projects take precedence over basic infrastructure.

    Come on Cull, get it sorted. How much longer can ratepayers and businesses put up with this ridiculous situation?

  4. Elizabeth

    Constant sirens for last two hours in central city, as heard from dry roost in lower Pitt Street.

  5. Anonymous

    Gigatown was the single most important thing that would lead to additional investment. Then it got delayed 8 months because of no funding…from the DCC.

    Then there’s the 10K new jobs, $10K increased salary and what was the other 10K thing again…?

    What we need are people, it’s true. What we don’t need are carpetbaggers who steal from the City Treasury and live in other centres.

  6. Peter

    Granted this downfall is extraordinary, but how much of the flooding could have been ameliorated by better maintenance of infrastructure? On TV1 News one Dunedin resident put the blame on the DCC for his driveway being washed away because they had not been vigilant in upkeeping nearby drains and gully traps. Has this happened as
    part of ‘cost cutting’ to pay for feasibility studies on the Mosgiel Pool, cricket lights at Logan Park, stadium goodies etc.
    Climatic events such as this, which seem to be more frequent, need more council attention to ensure basic infrastructure is adequately maintained. Ironically any neglect is happening under a council that is more receptive to Green / Sustainability issues than previous ones.
    As an aside, the erosion of the sea wall and cliffs of St Clair continues and the council fiddles while the seas do their darndest. What is the plan, DCC?

  7. JimmyJones

    Peter asks: What is the plan, DCC? Well, our elected representatives have recently approved the Long Term Plan (LTP). They have decided to pander to minority interests (bicyclists, Mosgiel swimmers etc) rather than maintaining the city’s infrastructure.

    The Government auditor of the Long Term Plan consultation document has some useful things to say about the backlog of water infrastructure renewals – he mostly means buggered pipes that should have been replaced years ago. He reveals that our DCC has created a $60 million backlog of water infrastructure renewals (page 43). That means that many parts of our water, stormwater and sewerage systems are several years overdue for replacement and no longer work properly.

    This backlog of work has grown over several years because successive Councils decided to divert the money to pay for various money losing pet projects. Dave Cull and his Greater Deception comrades have continued this tradition and they intend to continue to get even further behind with the water renewals over the 10-year life of the LTP. The LTP (page 18) tells us: If all of our forecasting assumptions are correct, the total value of renewals in backlog will continue to increase slowly over the next 5 to 10 years.

    The LTP also tells us that over the next 30 years that the renewals will be underfunded by another $88 million ($700m needed, $612m funding). Dave Cull’s council is planning to divert even more money away from essential infrastructure. Because of this underfunding we can expect our already fairly useless stormwater system to become even worse over time. Expect more floods.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      JimmyJones, “many parts of our water, stormwater and sewerage systems are several years overdue for replacement and no longer work properly.” And there’s something else. In parts of town, parts with very old never renewed pipes, stormwater goes down the sewers.

      As for why renewal of crumbling basic necessities is ignored in favour of new shiny projects, look at who’s employed. City engineer, city drainlayers etc? No – events coordinators, streetscape decor managers, worm farm coordinators and designers of road bunions for the safety of cyclists and prevention of emergency services getting to the site of emergencies.

      Expect the next manager to be Cycling Services Facilitator – ambo and fire crews on bicycles. Because motor vehicles kill cyclists and kill the planet, but Dunedin can lead the way AND save low-lying islands from drowning, pity about low-lying parts of Dunedin with shagged-out drains.

    • Cars

      Jimmy, the floods are caused by global warming not unserviced pipes!

      The cycleways will stop all rain events, earthquakes and volcanoes.

      Just be patient.

    • Diane Yeldon

      And expect more subsidence. Stormwater failure affects hills too (like the Wakari Helensburgh hill I live on). But mostly INVISIBLY. I can clearly see that the stormwater infrastructure here is overloaded because of full mudtanks and very localised surface flooding where I know underground council stormwater drains are. Because of the slope, most surface water runs downhill to bother other people. But there is all sorts of nasty stuff going on underground in the hills, especially related to the many underground feeders to the Kaikorai Stream. Problems which now and increasingly in the future are the cause of expensive woes for landowners and their immediate neighbours and which are not covered by either household insurance or EQC. Most of this is the Council’s fault through negligence but that’s impossible to prove. Any water moving (even intermittently or ephemerally) through or collecting in any ‘depression’ whatsoever they claim is a ‘natural watercourse’, whether piped or not. And they hold the landowner responsible – while maintaining their (actually limited) legal right to discharge public stormwater into all ‘natural watercourses’. They can only discharge stormwater like this if they do not cause any damage – but once again, that’s impossible to prove. And the landowner won’t even know until too late if it’s underground.

  8. Simon

    How will Cr Lord answer his farmer cronies tomorrow. When the cry goes out for more money to repair the rural roads on the Taieri, damaged from this weather event.. Will he tell them: Sorry mates I have just spent the last $10,000,000 on the Mosgiel pool to ensure my future. Contact Kate to see if she can help.

  9. K McMillan

    Traffic Islands and kerb protrusions that emergency services (fire brigade) can’t get around, just to satisfy a few (non existent?) cyclists.

    • Elizabeth

      K McMillan, the insanity as you point out is chilling, if not audacious!!!! Mayor and Councillors who are not Lee Vandervis let this happen, via recourse to undisciplined council staff action and gross managerial ineptitude.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Elizabeth, you left something out – “gross managerial ineptitude” AND gross managerial oversupply. Once you’ve got all those managers of this and that and one thing and another, they’ve got to do stuff. If they don’t do stuff they can’t get extra staff and if they don’t get more people reporting to them, they don’t whizz up the salary scale.

    • Elizabeth

      Yes Hype, thank you. Quite.

      CEO Bidrose, will you please halve the staff managers, and make sure those left have common sense and a practical mind for fixing and replacing old and worn infrastructure. Then too, sacking the prettifying, paver-mural BENT, urban design crew – wearing all their hats of Conflict – would make a fine start.

  11. Cars

    Cut staff, Elizabeth? That would mean 10,400 new jobs in the next ten years.

    Now if Dave were to retire 400 managerial staff at $150k and employ 250 drainlayers, digger drivers @ $65k average and one good engineer @ $125k to manage them, that would be progress.

  12. Alex Brown

    The media reports that the Highlanders tweeted about not letting a bit of rain ruin their training in Dunedin during this weather bomb – how nice.
    I bet they did not stop to consider that it is the stadium debt bomb that has contributed to a lack of sewer and stormwater upgrades and the cutting of core council services!!!

    • russandbev

      Alex, this thought would not have entered their collective heads. For the most part they are only in Dunedin temporarily in any case so couldn’t give a stuff. Their collective sense of entitlement is staggering, but less staggering than the collective stupidity of this, and previous Councils in ignoring their basic responsibilities in the provision and maintenance of core infrastructure in favour of building and maintaining expensive facilities for professional sport. The diatribe by Cull published yesterday in the ODT couldn’t have come at a worse time for him – so many people will now start to realise just how irresponsible he, and his Council have been in not dealing to the things that are actually important, rather than the things that fit the personal agendas of the Councillors.

      Maybe after this rainfall it is time to revisit the Long Term Plan and reprioritise the budget – get rid of all the vanity projects and deal to the things that are actually important.

      • Peter

        Russell. I’m not sure whether they ever have had ‘priorities’. I have hardly ever heard the word uttered. Basically, during the plans the council seems to have vested interest groups come up to them for money during the consulation hearings….they might say no….. sometimes….but more often they assure us they ‘will find the money from somewhere’ because the said interest group is proposing something that makes us all feel good/is ‘postive’ and ‘we can move forward’.
        You would think they would first collectively decide on a firm percentage rate rise, list priorities, and anything not high enough on the list gets the chop for that year or beyond.
        We were intially told, for example, the cricket lights for Logan Park were off the spending agenda but, lo and behold, they found some lost money to spend. This is not about funding priorities, it is about finding new ways to spend.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “I’m all right Jack.”
      Elsewhere ratepayers were sandbagging, moving stuff onto tables, collecting their kids who had been evacuated from school by unimog, but thanks to Guardian Angels Malcolm, Harland and Chin and all the cherubim and seraphim the important activity still went on.
      Sensitivity. It’s a word.

  13. russandbev

    Just heard Cull on National Radio news. Apparently the issue in South Dunedin of flooding will have to be dealt with in the next 20 or 30 years because of climate change. That is SO comforting.

    • Elizabeth

      Cripes, more important things like impassable cycle lanes to put through in South D.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Aren’t we lucky our mayor is full of it, positivity I mean. Not like that awful negative Cr Vandervis who’s always going on about lovely new things being unnecessary, and bleating about the need for functional infrastructure and getting out of debt.
      Top marks to our mayor, hand waving cheerily despite storm water and debt.
      Some people are so negative their upstretched hands signify “not waving but drowning”. Our Daaave didn’t stand for the mayoralty to represent people like that. He’s certainly not standing for them voicing negativity as councillors.
      If we’re not prepared to be vibrant and positive, well, “lalalalalala” – the national anthem of La-La land.

    • Peter

      Easy for Dave to say. He won’t be around by then to see anything happens for South Dunedin. They might have a nice library though. I suggest the library be built on tall piles, like old Queenslander houses.
      Let them read books.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Hey no worries, it’s a 1 in 100 year event.
      Back to saying Yes to positive projects for vibrant people for the next 95 years.

      • Diane Yeldon

        I’m not sure the DCC water infrastructure is upgraded to a 1 in a 100 year event – or even that they have this as a priority. I remember reading something about ORC pressuring them to do this, maybe as part of a local body’s relatively new legal requirement to ‘take climate change into account’.

  14. Elizabeth

    Hopefully get the Cull radio comments up soonish – with the current power outage I’m reducing smartphone use for posting.

    Power was restored to Pitt St at 3:58 p.m.

    • Elizabeth


      ### Thu, 4 June 2015
      Morning Report with Susie Ferguson & Guyon Espiner
      Dunedin Mayor updates situation after deluge
      08:11 The Mayor of Dunedin is Dave Cull.
      Audio | Download: OggMP3 ( 2′ 16″ )

  15. Lyndon Weggery

    Jimmy Jones is so right about very bad lack of budgetary planning over pipe renewals in the current LTP. Also the fact that the independent auditor has raised the red flag about the DCC’s ability in the next 30 years to fund an “assessed $60M backlog of in water and waste assets that have exceeded their useful lives and are not capable of delivering the designed service levels”. Yesterday’s tragic flooding of South Dunedin has raised some hard questions and council should be made to front up and re-assess our priorities. The next meeting of the Council Infrastructure Committee (chaired by Kate Wilson) is Tuesday 9 June at 1.30 p.m. There is a 5 minute speaking right to a Public Forum beforehand. I can’t go (have a funeral to lead) but is there anyone else out there willing to go and have them on and in particular ask the question about sorting out the pipe renewal that is particularly plaguing South Dunedin? And why instead of funding from “savings” can’t some of the new projects be put on hold and our money spent on the basic necessities in an accelerated programme of renewal of stormwater and waste assets?

    {Highlighting by whatifdunedin. -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      Lyndon, thanks for pointing out the public forum at DCC – might be a few local residents, businesses and emergency service representatives (volunteers, the professionals already have their channels into DCC) keen to speak!

    • Diane Yeldon

      If anyone does want to speak, they will have to book with governance staff ( Pam Jordan) as soon as possible. I think it is supposed to be three working days in advance and say what your topic is. Other local bodies don’t make this requirement. DCC seems nervous of what members of the public might spring on them.

  16. russandbev

    Have a look at question time in Parliament today – question 1 from the Greens focussed on the flooding in Dunedin and amazingly (not) seemed to blame climate change for the flooding and ignored the basic fact that the DCC Councillors have consistently failed in their basic duty to install, upgrade and maintain essential infrastructure.

    There is no doubt judging from the questions and how Cull was quoted that the intention is to blame central Government for not somehow funding those works that are the role of local Government.

    I’ll put this a bit more bluntly. For years and years the inadequacies of Dunedin’s infrastructure has been known and ignored in preference to vanity projects and things associated with political philosophies. To blame climate change for flooding of a rain storm is nothing short of cynical crap – in exactly the same way that some people will no doubt blame climate change on the next big earthquake.

    By the way, an interesting interview on National Radio about the Alpine Fault – recent research shows that the average time between major events on this fault is 300 years. It has been 298 years since the last one.

    • Elizabeth

      Growing up in the 1960-70s included storm events every bit as bleak as this one. Climate is not weather.

  17. Alex Brown

    The Greens lose credibility with me as they attempt to pass this problem on to central government. Local Councils are responsible for maintaining and upgrading sewage and storm water, the most basic of its core functions. Maybe If Dunedin people had seen regular upgrades to these services they may be more forgiving of their Council but they have not.

    I hope this flood wakes people up to what the DCC has been spending our rates on and how they have indebted the city to the point that core services must be cut to meet their excesses. Just the other day $2 million dollars was discovered by Council but quick as a flash Councillor Thomson spends it on lighting for a cricket ground.

    We all claim to detest welfare bludgers – the ones who spend their entire benefit on booze, fags and pokies and then blame someone else when they can’t put food on the table for their kids. Isn’t this exactly what the Greens and the DCC are trying to do at this time??

  18. Lyndon Weggery

    I have noted with interest the comment by DCC Civil Defence that yesterday was a 1:100 year flood because of the size of the rainfall -anything above 100mm is 1:100 year. Ours was 175mm.Just in case they think that logic lets them off the hook. I would like to point out that the Green’s question in Parliament today relating yesterday to climate change was halfway there to the shocking truth. The other half that failed to get a mention was our Local Government (DCC)’s failure to prepare for extreme weather bombs such as this by not attending to our stormwater system and urgently upgrading it. That is my personal bone contention because I can recall the Labour Government warning us 10 years ago that climate change would bring more intense rainfall to the eastern portion of the South Island. I remember this vividly because it motivated me personally to spend good money on quality roofing repairs to certain portions of our house. One has to practice what they preach!!! So my contention still stands that notwithstanding us enduring a 1:100 year flood yesterday the fact remains that with the threat of climate change (which incidently is slowly but surely raising the water table on the South Dunedin flat) such events as yesterday will happen again. Therefore DCC needs to change its modelling and respond accordingly. That is stop spending our money on vanity projects and re- direct the funds to renewing our stormwater and wastewater assets; even if it means reassessing the decisions made in the recent LTP budget round. 200 householders in South Dunedin will not be so forgiving when it happens again.
    By the way if anybody can front up next Tuesday afternoon to the Infrastructure Committe meeting; all it takes is ringing the DCC and giving them 24 hours notice to book your 5 minutes.A lot of householders on the flat will appreciate your efforts.

    • Diane Yeldon

      What I want to know is whether the DCC believes that they have budgeted enough money to maintain and sufficiently upgrade the city’s stormwater infrastructure to a good enough standard quickly enough.
      I certainly have no expertise in the matter of rainfall and drains but am like the vast majority of Dunedin residents in this. So I would like the DCC to explain the following.
      What percentage of Dunedin’s stormwater infrastructure can cope with a 1 in 50 year weather event? How much with a 1 in 100 year event? How does the DCC quantify or define these events? Are the current definitions realistic taking into account climate change? Are they consistent with definitions used by other authorities? What proportion of the city’s stormwater infrastructure depends on privately owned natural watercourses, whether piped or unpiped, above or below ground? Considering that the definition of ‘natural watercourse’ which the council uses is so wide, is it both fair and prudent to depend on private maintenance of so much of the stormwater system?
      Anything else I should ask the Infrastructure Committee if I am able to go and address them at their Public Forum?

      • Diane Yeldon

        But Mayor Cull’s weasel words in today’s ODT will take some unpacking!

        • Alex Brown

          Cull says – “the Ratepayers will have to pay for this.” Of course we’ll have to pay for this, just like we have paid for everything else including pet projects, rugby bail outs, poor budgeting, fraud, top heavy management and the mountain of debt that followed.

          Instead of stating the bleeding bloody obvious, Cull needs to tell us how he intends spending our money, what pet projects are to be canned or no longer subsidized so that we the ratepayers can get the absolute essentials we believed we’ve been paying for all these years.

      • Cars

        Diane, one comparative question. What proportion of budgeted expenditure is spent on infrastructure upgrade in Dunedin comparative to other New Zealand and First world countries. Infrastructure should be itemised as:

        Roads as a percentage.
        Stormwater as a percentage.
        Sewage treatment as a percentage.

        Not to include stadia, cycleways, pools, museums, gardens, or Stedman’s Island.

        • Diane Yeldon

          Good point. I suspect the DCC has been underfunding roading maintenance too. Is information like this already available in the Annual a Plan documents. I have vague memories of pie charts.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        “What percentage of Dunedin’s stormwater infrastructure can cope with a 1 in 50 year weather event?” Also, does a 1 in 50 or 100 year event only mean rainfall within 24 hours / continuously? Because I have experienced similar roaring of streams, fountains from storm water manholes, when rainfall has been over several days with some breaks, when ground is saturated and then the next heavy rain a day or two later runs straight off.

        • Diane Yeldon

          Hype O’Thermia, you are on to something here. Because EQC will only pay out for damage caused by a ‘single event’. Which they, of course, define. Similarly, most household insurance will not cover any kind of ‘gradual’ damage. They will even say that a retaining wall suddenly failing is the result of ‘gradual’ damage because water was backing up behind it over time. So the damage which can be expected to be immediately and directly attributed to one of these extreme rainfall events is only the beginning of people’s woes. To say nothing of extreme stress and depression resulting from having to deal with insurance companies and EQC who will go to great lengths not to pay out.

  19. Elizabeth

    I’m not going to dignify the outrageous claims by the idiot Green Party on climate change, people have very short memories.

    As for the dickhead DCC types that think their claim about this flood being a 1 in a 100 year event (FFS like that matters) is an excuse for covering up the SIGNIFICANT underspend on primary infrastructure and services.

    Go to hell. Or get a bloody education.
    CEO Bidrose time to ACT.
    Mayor Cull, Step Aside.

  20. Alex Brown

    Should be plenty of photo opportunities for Cull and Bidrose wandering amongst the broken sewer and stormwater pipes. Let’s hear their excuses and promises about core council business.

    Carisbrook may have been old but it was a functional and non-essential expenditure item for ratepayers and I suspect many will now wake up to that fact. The DCC both past and present knew full well its replacement would overwhelm the city’s finances and result in the situation we now find ourselves in. Bravo DCC!!!

  21. JimmyJones

    Lyndon: Dunedin experienced two bad floods, one in 1923, and another in 1929. More rain fell in the 24-hour periods than what we got on Tuesday/Wednesday. In the first 1923 flood, 229mm (9.02 inches) fell (measured at Musselburgh) and in 1929, 279mm (11.0 inches) fell (measured at Ross Creek reservoir). Figures are from “City of Dunedin”, a history by K C McDonald. Our recent big rain was only 175mm in 24 hours. Probably it wasn’t severe enough to be called a one in 100 year event.

    Based on these three measurements, it looks like severe rainfall in Dunedin has become less frequent and less intense. And if Tuesday’s flood was caused by Global Warming, then what caused the other floods? If it was the weather that caused the earlier floods, then why would you think that it wasn’t the weather that caused the recent flood?

    A very serious problem for crusaders that blame extreme weather on Global warming is that for at least the last 17 years there has been no warming trend of global temperatures. In fact there has been a slight cooling trend. The conclusion is that anything that has happened over the last 17 years can not have been caused by Global Warming (because there has been none). Don’t expect to get credible scientific advice from the Labour Party, Dave Cull or Jinty MacTavish.

    • Cars

      Up until 7 years ago – Global Warming
      Now – Climate Change
      In 10 years time – Weather alteration

      More excuses to rob the gullible and catch the rest in the collective net.

      The greatest beneficiary of carbon credits – Al Gore
      The greatest advocate for action on anthromorphic climate change –

      Al Gore!

  22. Elizabeth

    Flood will cost ratepayers: Cull
    Dunedin’s massive deluge will hit ratepayers in the form of delayed projects and funding reallocations, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull concedes.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Well, I just did a bit of checking and the Resource Management Act was amended in 2004, putting the responsibility fairly and squarely on to local councils to budget and plan for and take responsibility for reasonably anticipated effects of climate change. There’s a guide about what local councils have a legal responsibility to do on the website for the Ministry for the Environment ( – local government and climate change).
      So Mayor Cull’s contention that central government will or should bail out Dunedin is as fatuous as a similar claim I read in a past Annual Plan document (2011, I think) that central government would (might?) bail the city out if it got into financial strife after committing to the stadium expenditure. (No central government would set such a precedent, rewarding financial irresponsibility on the part of a local body!)
      Mayor Cull’s claims that maintenance is up to scratch and that 100-plus-year-old pipes held up as well as could be expected are ridiculous. He is merely asserting that the DCC is not at fault in any way. And trying to offload the responsibility for any climate change effects on to central government when councils have known since 2004 that it was a local government responsibility. Even if you think climate change is a myth, it seems prudent to protect a city against a 1 in a 100 years weather event. I wonder if the DCC can truthfully say they have been doing that.

      • Elizabeth

        Very good, Diane. Watch the mayor dig his/our hole deeper in council statements and meetings to come. The Dunedin public know very well the undergound infrastructure is not up to speed, although the GCFO Grant McKenzie might like to update us on the status of our (DCC) post flood insurance cover for assets above and below ground.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        “Mayor Cull’s claims that maintenance is up to scratch and that 100-plus-year-old pipes held up as well as could be expected are ridiculous.”

        The 1984 Hilux performed as well as could be expected at Bathurst.

        Team DCC were given a civic welcome on their return, organised by DCC’s events manager. In his speech Mayor Cull wittered witlessly about the boost to tourism that will occur with thousands coming to see the Hilux, painted in blue and gold Otago colours, parked in Dunedin’s other greatest asset the Fubar Stadium.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        RMA, Diane Yeldon points out, was “amended in 2004, putting the responsibility fairly and squarely on to local councils to budget and plan for and take responsibility for reasonably anticipated effects of climate change.”
        Nifty wording.
        Reasonably anticipated eh. By whoever Jocelyn Harris gets her info from – we’ll all be drownded in our beds, Neddy! or by measurements of less than 2mm a year, or what?
        And when is flooding due to climate change, or to shit-happens periodic weather events as already noted?
        If Sth Dn is reclaimed swamp, is the water table and drainage issue down to compressing (getting lower) reclaimed & swamp material? To its percolatibility, if there’s such a word – I mean if it were low-lying solid rock the outcomes of heavy rain and high tides would be different wouldn’t they?
        Is inadequate pipes plus reduced water absorption on surrounding higher ground anything to do with climate change?

        Just wondering.

  23. Anon Anon

    Cull thinks infrastructure shouldn’t be upgraded because South Dunedin should be returned to the sea. He’s talking depopulation of some areas to the media – what a loser of a mayor this city has and now I see there is a draft Environmental Strategy about to be considered by the DCC next week where we are effectively told humans are bad and nature is good so let’s screw ourselves over to protect the world. This city is suffering from green lunacy at Council and widely within the staff ranks. Time for them to go.

    • Elizabeth

      As Anon Anon mentions, the draft enviromental strategy to be tabled at next week’s Community and Environment Committee meeting:

      Click to access ma_CE_r_2015_06_08_TeAoTuroa-Environment.pdf

    • Hype O'Thermia

      It’s not about returning it to the sea, it’s about recognising that whether there is climate change rise in sea levels. they’ve been too high for yonks. It’s a damp place, water is only a deep-dig of the garden away. Keeping homes warm and dry is too much of a mission. And then there’s the problem of removing the amount of water that flows downhill, from larger and larger areas that are not available for it to sink into because it is covered with buildings, driveways and roads. I’ve talked with people who lived in some parts of the city, out south, and the high water table meant tree roots hit permanent wetness and the plants failed to thrive. The houses even when well maintained were cold. It’s just not a good place for housing. Rebuilding or major refurbishment of old residential properties should not be permitted, it’s just inflicting expensive (heating, dehumidifier) unhealthy living conditions on people for even more years.

      • JimmyJones

        Hype O’Thermia: As a former South Dunedin resident, I think your conclusions are unjustified. Being away from the hills means that for most residents the place is warm and sunny. There is no reason why the houses should be damper than anywhere else – the ground at my place was just like anywhere else. For a fence-post, I once dug a hole about 700mm deep and it didn’t fill with water – I think people exaggerate. And because of the sun, many citizens have nice, healthy gardens. Trees grow. It is a good place to live.

        You say: the problem of removing the amount of water that flows downhill, from larger and larger areas that are not available for it to sink into because it is covered with buildings. The problem of removing run-off from the hills is an essential part of the design of the DCC’s stormwater system. Over time we have seen stormwater deficiencies in the area during other periods of heavy rain. I see Clare Curran is scaremongering again – telling people that their flooded homes will stay permanently damp.

        • Elizabeth

          JimmyJones, you’re largely right but there are properties with real problems and these are known to DCC (long before the flood). Curran is wrong to make politics, this is typical airhead behaviour of hers. We must ignore her excess; people know who to contact if they’re in need – property inspections are duly underway, by building inspectors. From there flow the system(s) remedies. Some of these won’t be fast.

        • Diane Yeldon

          South Dunedin is not the only place affected by underground water and run off patterns. Here in Wakari, I know of houses on hills which risk dampness and worry their owners because surface water runs downhill under their houses. Some properties, especially with long right of ways, have impermeable driveways and their drainage channels overflow in heavy rain, taking run off straight down the hillside instead of directing it into stormwater drains. Same thing with large roof areas. Last spring, I dug two planting on my property in heavy clay soil – but it was the one higher up which filled with water! Did I hit a small underground runner? You can get sink holes suddenly appearing from these! Dunedin is a city of hills and creeks. You can actually see the drainage maps free on the DCC website if you go through the motions of buying one and then at the last moment, don’t complete the purchase. (I don’t know why they are not just clearly made public like the subdivision maps.) The Kaikorai Stream has a massive spread of tributaries. There are creeks and watercourses everywhere and the protection of the city from floods really depends on these. How much of the flood water in South Dunedin actually came from rainfall over that exact area and how much from much higher up?
          And regarding mud tanks, I wonder if the DCC should try an ‘adopt a mud tank’ programme. There’s a critical mudtank at a street corner near my house (I know where it leads, having looked at the drainage maps) and my neighbour is always clearing it. Clearing and cleaning are two different things, of course. But at least people living locally can observe whether the water is travelling down or over the top.
          Anyway, IMO it’s the whole city (catchment) that needs to be properly understood and managed, not just lower-lying flat land like South Dunedin where the symptoms make themselves obvious.

  24. Anonymous

    Run a sweep on when the words “managed retreat” will be used seriously in a Council (either governance or operational) document and officially to media. I’m picking early 2016.

    • Cars

      There used to be a number of managed Retreats for persons with these type of afflictions. It’s a shame Sunnyside et al is not operating. There’s a number of city operatives that spending time in a “Managed Retreat” would be of great assistance to the long suffering ratepayer.

    • Diane Yeldon

      The idea of ‘managed retreat’ was seriously considered in documents written by the Christchurch City Council many years ago, long before the Dunedin City Council ever used it. If you just parked the issue of sea level rise and considered the present geographical nature of the flat land near the sea around South Dunedin, then, if it was presently vacant, I doubt that a prudent council would consider it fit for building homes on. It was, after all, just a sand bar. Similarly, if anyone was now building a city from scratch in the present location of Dunedin city (assuming the area was presently empty), then, without a doubt, water of all kinds would be conserved and re-cycled, not allowed to be polluted and put into the sea. This is because providing potable water to cities and getting rid of water deemed ‘waste’ is simply becoming too expensive to continue to do in the traditional and conventional way. Insurance companies may very well be the ones who determine land value in the long run – few people will buy uninsurable residential land and no bank will lend a mortgage on it. So the land value of South Dunedin may simply not be worth water infrastructure replacement – the high expense of which the rest of the city’s ratepayers would be subsidising. So the issue for Dunedin residents is perhaps not whether they ‘believe’ in sea level rise but whether insurance companies do.
      Actually, I think Elizabeth just raised the issue of whether the city’s infrastructure is properly insured. I think not. But there is also the issue that in South Dunedin new water infrastructure might be uninsurable.

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    This week’s was significantly humungous rainfall in a short time. It was worse in Sth Dunedin than I remember, but in other parts of town it was helluva similar to what I have seen innumerable times when there have been several days of heavy-light-heavy rain till the ground got saturated and then whatever fell from the sky ran straight down, heading for the sea. The Leith roaring, close to or even over its banks? Yes. Water spouts from the manholes all the wayy down North Road? Yes. Slips, road closures…………
    yes, yes, yes.
    So what that it didn’t happen all in one 24 hour period, same-same was the observable fact that the drains didn’t cope. Round student area, student crap blocked the gratings and would have no matter how often they were cleared, because in Dunedin students are allowed – expected – to pig up their surroundings. Our street’s grating blocked too, I unblocked it which stopped water going an alternative route along the footpath. It’s just past autumn and leaves are still falling. It would be good if someone cleared the gratings but really that’s not a sensible demand on DCC services, not this time of the year, so how about neighbourhoods act neighbourly towards their gratings? Make friends with the little slotty chaps and they’ll do their best to take care of you and maybe help keep your place from inundation.

    So that’s something that can be an individual/local responsibility. Not so the drainage and sewer systems. Time for a rapid turn towards Planet Sensible, Daave & yes-persons. Time for “Sorry Mosgiel, we were wrong, we couldn’t afford it last week and we definitely can’t now. Save your whining, we’ve taken up a collection and bought a full set of earplugs for councillors and the CEO.”

  26. Lyndon Weggery

    Diane – so pleased you are going next Tuesday to represent us all. You only need to ring the relevant Governance Officer by 4pm Monday to book your 5 mins’ say.
    You asked about the relevant question?
    I think, on behalf of all ratepayers, is Council in the light of last Wednesday going to recast its LTP budget for 2015/16 and greatly accelerate the stormwater/wastewater upgrade program and particularly for the South Dunedin flat with supporting adequate funding that still meets their financial strategic target of no more than 3% rates increase this year.
    It may be still 3.8% as long as the extra goes to pipe renewals and upgrade pumping stations.
    Don’t be kind on Kate Wilson either. As chairperson she took over from Andrew Noone and it rankles with me that she has no democratic elected mandate from 80% of ratepayers. Certainly, Lee Vandervis will give you the utmost support.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Actually, Lyndon, there is a problem here because the issue is with the council as a whole and the Infrastructure Committee can’t speak for the council. And it would be stretching it say I was representing anyone but myself. I really think it would be better to wait for the next public forum at the next full council meeting. However I suppose both can be done. And I agree pretty much about the key question – in the light of the recent flooding would the Infrastructure Committee recommend to council that storm water infrastructure should be upgraded faster and increased in capacity more than presently planned? However I am pretty sure the Annual Plan and associated budget are legal requirements which cannot readily be retracted or revised if at all. But no harm in asking, I suppose.

      • Lyndon Weggery

        Diane – I have taken up your excellent suggestion to submit a written “5 minute” submission to the Committee in my absence. I talked to Lynne Robins who was willing to receive my email but said acceptance and tabling is at the discretion of the Committee Chair. Here’s hoping. Basically, I have taken it upon myself to ask that the pipe renewals funding be speeded up with special attention given to South Dunedin and various “unfunded” projects that were starting to gain traction in the LTP discussions; revert back to “on hold”. Given my own hassles with local mudtanks in our road I also asked Councillors to not take at face value the assurances of the contractor and seek some clarity for themselves. This morning’s ODT front page bears this out.

        • Diane Yeldon

          Sounds good. Eventually I may suggest to them that they try an ‘adopt a mudtank’ programme, similar to a waterways clean up ‘adopt a stream’ programme. And in conjunction with that, make the DCC drainage maps available for everyone to view online free. Then property owners and residents will have some idea where the mud tanks lead to. I’m sure there are plenty of Dunedin citizens who would like to help and often notice mud tanks not functioning properly.
          Hmm, maybe I should send them that in writing too….

        • Diane Yeldon

          Lyndon: I will try to make it as an observer at least.

        • Diane Yeldon

          Those water services maps are now available on the DCC website.
 council-online/web maps/waterservices
          You can put an address in the search box.
          It says: This map is primarily intended for use by utility contractors and professionals to aid the planing of their work.
          Nevertheless I think some property owners might learn more about their properties by checking it out, Watercourses are often not on titles.

  27. Anonymous

    If the DCC got out of their bunker and observed the actual physics of the rainfall, they would have seen:

    – small clay pipes inadequate and filled quickly
    – subsequent runoff overflowing gratings and running down streets to form pools
    – pools overflowing into electrical infrastructure and buildings
    – blocked gratings (leaves and debris)
    – the delayed effect of the rising water table (takes 8-10 hours after heavy onset) meaning that the initial apparent draining in South D no longer happens
    – runoff invading sewers

    The overflow runoff has a knock-on effect. Preventing it is of the utmost priority. Taking water away from the saturated South D water table minimises later night flooding. Taking water off the streets avoids ponding and building overflow.

    DCC water/waste management records many incidents of sewerage overflows annually. This is unacceptable as in a heavy event like the last few days, contamination becomes a major issue affecting cleanup.

    The immediate priority for DCC should be:
    – rip up the signed off annual and LTP
    – devote full attention to stormwater and sewer management with the goal of managing a 100 year event, and reducing sewer overflow events to zero

    No vanity projects. No Mosgiel pool. If this limits new people coming here who would have been attracted by such, then fine. Let’s protect and improve the quality of life for those already here (including the most vulnerable) first.

    Any suggestion of a managed retreat from South D should be firmly opposed.

    • Elizabeth

      Anonymous, where should we send the truckload of chocolate fish. You are the winner! On second thoughts, you could sell this merry plan to Mayor Daaave, for a large sum of money (prize enough) – if he wants to salvage what’s left of his political career.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Great post, Anonymous. Great suggestion, Elizabeth. Large sum of money will probably work. He’s had free sense handed to him on innumerable plates and turned away from it as if it were rotten sheep guts. Something really expensive, however, is sure to get his juices flowing.

  28. Elizabeth

    Comment at ODT Online:

    State of emergency
    Submitted by marious on Sun, 07/06/2015 – 10:23am.

    A state of emergency should be declared on our council’s spending priorities. A common theme to many comments to this paper have underlined vanity and luxury spending disasters over needed infrastructure.

    The only responsive councillor worth his salt is Lee Vandervis.

    Caring less for public perception and more for real issues.

    Cull and co need to go.

  29. JimmyJones

    Dave Cull is expected to be talking on Radio Dunedin about now (7.00am to 8.00am).

    • Elizabeth

      Missed it. Wonder if there’s an audio file? Will hunt.

    • JimmyJones

      There was a 6 minute talk on 4XD (Radio Dunedin) with Dave Cull. He said:
      – he doesn’t know how many people currently can’t live in their houses
      – he mentioned the Mayoral Fund (a PR exercise)
      – 100 year-old pipes are not good enough for a probably one in 150 year flood (he means rainfall not flood)
      – the short answer is that the stormwater system couldn’t cope with that
      – and you probably wouldn’t justify building a system that would cope with a one in 100 or 150 year event
      – sea-level rise and Climate Change are coming so we can expect more of these events (comforting words for the affected citizens).

      A lot of this might sound sensible if you accept Dave’s claim that we experienced a one in 100 or 150 or 200 year rain event (it keeps changing). He is, however, wrong. Although we don’t have a definitive figure yet, the rainfall seems to have been a one in 25 or 30 year event. Rain that heavy can be expected to cause some minor flooding, but not flooding so severe that people were flooded out of their homes.

      It looks to me that successive Councils have diverted money away from water renewals and thereby created a degraded stormwater system that has an unacceptably low capability. The new LTP continues this foolishness by planning to get even further behind with the water renewals. The renewals backlog (now $60 million) will be even worse over the next 10 years of the LTP.

      We are in a dangerous situation now, and they want to make it worse. Councillors that vote for this LTP should be prosecuted and sued for damages. People have a right to be angry. Lets hope they are still angry by the time of the next Council election.

      Dave Cull and temporary CEO Sue Bidrose don’t want to talk about how low the stormwater capability is, in case they are forced by public pressure to spend money to upgrade it. This would upset their spending plans – the fripperies would have to go – and the Stakeholders wouldn’t be happy.

      • @JimmyJones
        June 8, 2015 at 5:47 pm
        There was a 6 minute talk on 4XD (Radio Dunedin) with Dave Cull.

        Seems pretty muddled stuff if your summary is accurate:

        – he doesn’t know how many people currently can’t live in their houses – really who would?
        – one in 150 year flood when was that then?
        – sea-level rise and Climate Change are coming – Yup – bit like the 2nd coming.

        This guy has lost it – that is if he ever had it.

        You say “The new LTP continues this foolishness by planning to get even further behind with the water renewals. The renewals backlog (now $60 million) will be even worse over the next 10 years of the LTP.”

        How right you are.
        But it is not just the water and drainage renewals Jimmy, it is the whole deflection away from the basic function and purpose of local government and its preference for pursuing unnecessary extras rather than doing the basics. The luxuries come AFTER getting the basics right.
        And I still come back to Trevor William’s (ex City Engineer) observations about this present acute incident – which if considered properly show administration in a poor light. The contractors are quick to protest their innocence. They would wouldn’t they? The administration will concur – of course – cover arse is the imperative here. And Cull will talk darkly about ‘climate change’ and sea level rise.
        Bloody hell!

      • Hype O'Thermia

        It’s not just about the rain that falls on South Dunedin, it’s also about water flowing downhill. Every time vegetation is replaced by buildings and concrete and tar seal there is less opportunity for rain to soak in and either be taken up by plants or gently make its way downhill, slowly. Where the hill pipes are also too small, mud tanks not maintained and gratings blocked with leaves and chip packets, water flows the quickest way downhill. If that’s under a bloke’s kitchen leaving it dangling – well, water isn’t worried. Someone should be though, and I don’t just mean affected property owners.

        • JimmyJones

          I agree. I think we should all be concerned, after all stormwater is one of the basics and is what we pay them for. Yes, more buildings and concrete and tar seal means bigger pipes are needed. Also, because South Dunedin has a higher water table, the capabilities of the stormwater system should be greater so that it can cope with a one in 30 year event (or whatever), just like the other parts of the city.

          By the way, some of the stormwater mains are 2.7m in diameter (quite big), but could be full of silt and crud. Some other pipes are 100 years old and far to small. There are much bigger problems than the blocked mud-tank grates.

  30. JimmyJones

    As a way of hiding the reckless (and probably illegal) decision-making of DCC staff and councillors, the DCC weather experts have told us that a one in 100 years rain event corresponds to a rainfall of 120mm over a 24 hour period. Because last week’s heavy rain measured more than 120mm (175mm in 24 hr), Dave Cull has called this a one in 100 year flood.

    I mentioned, above, that in the last 100 years Dunedin has had three big rains of 175mm or more (1923, 1929 and 2015).
    The 120mm DCC threshold seems wrong. In Saturdays ODT (6/6/15) Prester John gives some more figures: as well as 1923,1929 and 2015 heavy rain fell in 1944 (120.4mm), 1968 (158mm) and 1982 (137mm). That makes 6 times in the last 100 years that rain over a 24hr period exceeded 120mm.

    That means that 120mm is not a one in 100 year event (closer to 17 year) and a 175mm rain is likely to happen much more frequently than Mayor Cull would have us believe. I believe that Dunedin’s stormwater system should have been able to prevent most of the flooding damage that citizens experienced last week. Dave Cull is trying to exaggerate the severity of the rain, as a way of hiding how dilapidated the City’s stormwater system has become.

    • @JimmyJones
      June 8, 2015 at 5:47 pm
      There was a 6 minute talk on 4XD (Radio Dunedin) with Dave Cull.

      Seems pretty muddled stuff if your summary is accurate:

      – he doesn’t know how many people currently can’t live in their houses – really and who would know?
      – one in 150 year flood when was that then?
      – sea-level rise and Climate Change are coming–Yup – bit like the ‘2nd Coming’ we’ve been waiting since 2000 for that – and counting. Very religious.

      This guy has lost it – that is – if he ever had it.

      You say “The new LTP continues this foolishness by planning to get even further behind with the water renewals. The renewals backlog (now $60 million) will be even worse over the next 10 years of the LTP.”

      How right you are.
      But it is not just the water and drainage renewals Jimmy, it is the whole deflection away from the basic function and purpose of local government and its preference for pursuing unnecessary extras rather than doing the basics. The luxuries come AFTER getting the basics right.
      And I still come back to Trevor William’s (ex City Engineer) observations about this present acute incident – which if considered properly show administration in a poor light. The contractors are quick to protest their innocence. They would wouldn’t they? The administration will concur – of course – cover arse is the imperative here. And Cull will talk darkly about ‘climate change’ and sea level rise.
      Bloody hell!

      • Cars

        Well Said, Douglas, the issue really is that as ratepayers we want the DCC to work towards being able to cope rapidly with every flood, whether it be 1/150, 1/100 or 4/100 which from the evidence seems likely. For all the posturing and spin by Dave is a red herring, when will he get it that ratepayers want attention to detail on basic services and the majority do not want an upgraded council building, to house the employees, a Chinese garden to attract hoteliers, a rugby stadium to cost us $20 million to run annually, for the purpose of allowing us to continously support the ORFU and the rugby union, and we definitely did not want a beautiful early settlers museum that is not interesting enough to have an entry charge.

        We also don’t want 10,000 extra public servants to enable his prophecy to come true.

  31. Cars

    Click to access 20150609_080445_TI6_PRXD5VVCIIM1MQQF.1.pdf

    This company Linc Energy is involved in coal to diesel, large scale oil production and has a raft of excellent assets. Under performing at the moment due to the price of oil, like many miners.

    Just the kind of company that the DCC would not invest in.

    However the directors of Linc have agreed to a 20% cut in their annual salaries to assist to ensure the company’s survival. Just the type of action necessary for the healthy survival of the DCC. When private sector salaries are going up due to increased profits, public sector wallahs want to get on the bandwagon. When private sector returns go down, this argument is null, void and forgotten.

    Lawrence Yule calls for more taxes to keep salaries going up.

    No one mentions service failures at this time.

  32. Gurgler

    Sadly, once you have a trough, you will have pigs noses in it.

    SDHB- Swann- cars – 20 + other fraud not yet detected yet.
    No other employee punished (they had superiors)
    DCC- 152 cars other fraud not detected yet. No one punished. (He had Superiors whose job was to manage ratepayer’s contributions.)

    Without realistic investigation, discovery and severe punishment, fraud, defalcation, theft and “Perks” will go on.

  33. Gurglars

    The heading on this thread needs to change to “Cull not up to it, he must go not at the next election, but as soon as”.

    The pronouncements more hystrionic, the actions in council and at council meetings not doing anything to restore the DCC’s financial ability to weather storms real or hypothetical.

  34. Hype O'Thermia

    “As for the dickhead DCC types that think their claim about this flood being a 1 in a 100 year event” – Elizabeth, please keep up. Now inflated to 1 in 150 years.

    • Elizabeth

      Mayor Cull is out on his own is my only defence. McKerracher has no hope in keeping the lid on the wayward mayor who sees green fairies at the bottom of his garden, oh wait, that was Jinty. Delirium times.

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