DCC LTAP 2016/17 budget discussion #ultrahelpfulhints

ODT 19.1.16 (page 6)

ODT 19.1.16 To the point McCutcheon p6 FrameScrollCornerJPRfinished red

Comment at ODT Online:

Still on about ‘rising ground water’
Submitted by flatout on Thu, 21/01/2016 – 8:05am.

When will you…Dave…and the council admit it was a lack of mainenance that caused the flooding in Dunedin? Stop blaming climate change and rising ground water. Stop talking about high cost plans of moving South Dunedin and buying properties. Stop your endless council staff meetings about the issue of ‘what to do with South Dunedin’. Do maintenance on the stormwater. Do invest in South Dunedin to keep it a place to live and work in. All you need to do is clear drains and stormwater system that has coped with worse floods in the past…1968 for example.

REMOVE THE IRRITANT
Dave framed [FrameScrollCornerJPRfinished] 2

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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62 Comments

Filed under Business, Cycle network, DCC, Delta, Democracy, Dunedin, DVML, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Resource management, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design, What stadium

62 responses to “DCC LTAP 2016/17 budget discussion #ultrahelpfulhints

  1. Elizabeth

    Updated post [above]
    The DCC bullshit on South Dunedin INFRASTRUCTURE is immense.

    The Dunedin City Council has one eye on economic development, and another on the “massive” challenge posed by South Dunedin, as it prepares its budget for another year.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 21 Jan 2016
    Invest to lift city’s economy
    By Chris Morris
    ….Councillors will gather on Monday to consider a pre-draft annual plan for 2016-17 that includes a possible 1.5% rates rise, well below the council’s self-imposed 3% limit. It also featured $1.34million in proposed extra spending that councillors will consider adding to the budget, which, if agreed to, could push the rates increase up to 2.84%.
    Read more

    ****

    IMMEDIATE FLAW : Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the council was not prepared to go further in its “austerity drive” by striving for a zero percent rates rise. Link

    MAJOR ISSUE : In addition, council staff have signalled work will begin shortly to explore greater use of shared services by councils across Otago. That could even include considering the need for a new council-controlled organisation (CCO) to own or run parts of Otago’s water infrastructure, it was confirmed yesterday. Link

    LTAP related news items:

    ODT: New report on beach erosion proposed
    ODT: Study into sharing services
    ODT: DCC to review literature city trust
    ODT: $7.5 million for cycleways network
    ODT: Proposed rates rise of 1.5% and debt reducing faster
    ODT: Festival still strong despite absences, DCC says

    ODT Editorial: A festival of absence

    COUNCIL MEETING
    The meeting on Monday 25 January and Tuesday 26 January will start at 9am.

    [updated times 25.1.16] The meeting will continue on Thursday, 28 January starting at 9.00 am (to be further advised) and Friday, 29 January starting at 9.00 am if required.

    When
    25 Jan 2016 9:00am – 29 Jan 2016 5:00pm

    Where [venue updated 25.1.16]
    Edinburgh Room, Municipal Chambers, The Octagon, Dunedin

    Agenda – Council – 25/01/2016 (PDF, 40.2 KB)

    Report – Council – 25/01/2016 (PDF, 69.9 KB)
    Revised Timetable

    Report – Council – 25/01/2016 (PDF, 356.5 KB)
    Support for Place-Based Community Groups

    Report – Council – 25/01/2016 (PDF, 477.6 KB)
    Overview of Significance, Materiality and Strategic Alignment of Options for Dunedin

    Report – Council – 25/01/2016 (PDF, 125.9 KB)
    Exploring Shared Service Opportunities in Otago

    Report – Council – 25/01/2016 (PDF, 479.8 KB)
    Temporary Alcohol Restriction for Orientation 2016

    ████ 2016/17 Annual Plan Material for January Council Meeting
    This is a copy of the print folder of budget information and reports that was issued to Councillors and Community Board Chairs prior to the Christmas break. This content was embargoed until 6 am Thursday 21 January 2016.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Fast reading for me. Wonder if a print out will be available at the Customer Service Centre. Or whether this information will be in the meeting’s agenda. How I WISH DCC would link Agendas to Meeting notifications on their website. Will ask AGAIN! Grrr!

      • Elizabeth

        As you point out Diane, very simple for DCC to link those items at their website; or allow residents/interested parties to register if they want to be sent text alerts for meetings of the council and standing committees. Both could/should happen.

        Sandy if you’re reading this, pretty please.

  2. Diane Yeldon

    Good to see these DCC budget discussions have been set up as proper legal meetings of the council, open to the public and not as public-excluded or ‘stakeholder’- only ‘workshops’ or ‘working parties’, as in previous years. (Well, I hope there have been no private workshops – I think not – too early in the year.) I will be going to watch (and ready to report back, Elizabeth. Might see you beforehand.)
    First meeting starts at 9.00 am Monday. 25 January, Council Chamber. Continues Wed starting at 1.00pm. And if moe time needed contnues on Friday starting at 3.00pm.
    Should hear what councillors are thinking of spending the year’s pot of rates money on and why. Settting the financial priorities. Will be hard for Mayor Cull to put an end to any DCC ‘austerity drives’ as ODT report suggests – because t is impossible to put a stop to something which doesn’t in the first place exist. ODT reporter seems to have already spent the budget on ‘economic development’. Fortuntely, it is not the ODT’s decision to make.

  3. Diane Yeldon

    Agenda, meeting reports and the formerly embargoed AP documents are already loaded here. -Eds

    [moderated]
    Have just emailed [the agenda] to myself so I will have it accessible on my iPad at the meeting.
    Now – are the reports there? [Yes] Including the embargoed one [Yes] which councillors have been thinking about over the Christmas break and which the public gets to see 24 hours before the meeting. NOT a level playing field for public participation. If the ODT (or press in general) have had it BEFORE the public will be very annoyed. [most certainly they have in order to go to print today – that’s the meaning of embargoed, for MSM in particular] Also agendas must be publicly available at least two days (and it might be three days) before the day of the meeting. And this LARGE embargoed report forms a critical part of the Agenda – so that is another FAIL on the part of the DCC, making it very had for the public to participate. And DCC’s Code of Conduct is to encourage public participation. Tsk tsk.
    Anyway, have emailed the previously [Annual Plan embargoed report] to myself as well so will have it at the meeting. Thank you for posting it, Elizabeth. Public scrutiny of both process and content required. I wonder what interesting content there will be at this meeting. Haven’t got that far yet. I guess I can wonder if budgeting to fix South Dunedin drains will take any kind of priority (as Lyndon has commented on) or whether it will be toys for the boys as usual.

  4. Diane Yeldon

    Oops, no, sorry to DCC. They got it right. Report was embargoed till 21 January which IS two working days before meeting. (Thursday and Friday). Pretty short notice but I think that is all that is legally required.

    I must look on the website for notice of embargoed reports in future because I am going to be trying to read this very large report over the weekend in time for a council meeting with a 9.00 am start on Monday. Easy for Superwoman but NOT for me! Or the ordinary member of the public trying to earn a living and with better things to do in their spare time. But DCC’s process seems to be improving considerably.

  5. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz Thu, 21 Jan 2016
    DCC reveals next annual plan
    The Dunedin City Council is about to cement its plans and budgets for the next financial year. Staff have prepared a new annual plan, which councillors will start considering on Monday. But residents still have a part to play in shaping the document.
    Ch39 Link + Video [ft. CEO Bidrose]

  6. Elizabeth

    Douglas Field Published on Jan 20, 2016
    ODT tit bits 21 1 16
    Mayor Dave Cull told the Otago Daily Times council staff had done well to trim spending again, reducing what was last year forecast to be a 4.9% rates increase for 2016-17. He has a ‘spin doctor’ – but nobody is fooled by this when we all know that the CPI is running at 0.4% and Dunedin is full of pensioners and students who know how many beans make 5.
    Dunedin City Councillors will gather on Monday to consider a pre-draft annual plan for 2016-17.
    It also featured $1.34million in proposed extra spending that councillors will consider adding to the budget, which, if agreed to, could push the rates increase up to 2.84%.
    So….the increase might be up to 2.84% then.
    And he talks about an ‘economic ‘strategy’. Tell that to the pensioners.
    The extra spending fell into areas including the city’s economic development strategy, which it was suggested should receive an extra $790,000, including a $300,000 boost for city marketing.

  7. Elizabeth

    ODT 21.1.16 (page 12)

    ODT 21.1.16 Letter to editor Bowie p12 (1)

  8. Elizabeth

    Diane Yeldon recorded today’s Draft Annual Plan session, in part. The Councillors meet again starting 9:00AM tomorrow morning.

    I caught the later part of Enterprise Dunedin’s bid, led by John Christie, this afternoon. Noted the hundreds of thousands of dollars being sought by ED for NO MEASURABLE BENEFITS.

    Crs Calvert, Thomson and Vandervis were particularly onto this – the rest talked like sloppy cats distributing EXPENSIVE RUBBISH Christmas presents to JC without ANY qualms on behalf of their low-income constituents. The fatcats get fatter.

    Hugely aggrieved. Councillors and Staff have yet to learn anything.
    THUMP THEM through submissions on the Draft Annual Plan – PLEASE I’M BEGGING YOU ALL. Yep I’m that desperate after hearing the crap artists today.

    [Diane’s and my comments have crossed]

    At another thread, Diane’s comment on DCC IT.

  9. Gurglars

    Opm

    Other people’s Money.

    Quite easy to spend really, said the green witch with a cigarette dangling from a 1920’s holder.

  10. Diane Yeldon

    I have to say this meeting was very well conducted with good process and no-one throwing wobblies/ temper tantrums (not even me) and no-one else getting distraught and incapacitated in response to such behaviour. But I might also add, no-one did anything particularly exasperating to provoke unruly behaviour either. So the meeting started at 9.00 am and I left about 4.00 pm with head spinning somewhat from so much input. However two points stick in my head.

    The first is that Cr Benson-Pope said that cleaning up the streets (and I think he meant of piss and the other stuff) would go a long way to contributing to the economic development of the city in terms of visitor (and tourist) numbers. I think he is right. Most people clean the house up before guests arrive. It makes a good impression. Dunedin would demonstrate its self-respect by doing the same. And the central city could do with some affordable public legitimate pissing spots, perhaps as in France.

    http://www.paris-update.com/fr/hot-topics/cest-ironique/21580-the-flow-of-history-the-mercifully-dwindling-presence-of-the-parisian-pissoir

    Pissoirs may be considered archaic but NOTHING (as we mostly have now) is much worse. Young men full of beer cannot stay full forever and older women, especially those who have had children, often have to plan their walks taking into account available ‘comfort stops’. And, of course, children have often not yet learned to wait. Keeping the town hall rest rooms (with their excellent lockers) open 24 hours is a great move. These are a great taonga of this city, arguably the best and cleanest restrooms in New Zealand. As a car-less person, I make considerable use of the lockers there. But I don’t recall anything on a clean up being actioned at the meeting.

    The other extremely odd thing about this meeting was that, at the very beginning, CEO Sue Bidrose read out the amendments to the Local Government Act which have modified the purpose of the Act. The power of ‘general competence’ has been removed because councils all around New Zealand, given the right to do anything whatsoever to improve the welfare of the people of their area, went on a big spending spree and didn’t get their priorities right. Now the stated purpose of the Act is much more circumspect. As follows:

    Purpose
    The purpose of this Act is to provide for democratic and effective local government that recognises the diversity of New Zealand communities; and, to that end, this Act—
    (a) states the purpose of local government; and
    (b) provides a framework and powers for local authorities to decide which activities they undertake and the manner in which they will undertake them; and (c) promotes the accountability of local authorities to their communities; and (d) provides for local authorities to play a broad role in meeting the current and future needs of their communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions. (ends)

    Now the meeting took considerable time deciding whether to spend a staff recommended allocation on $558,000 on ‘Enterprise Dunedin’ ie ‘economic development which has previously incorporated “Tourism Dunedin”.

    I left before the final vote but I am pretty sure the vote was in favour. BUT!! ….it strikes me that this resolution does NOT comply with the Local Government Act as now amended. The intention of the amendment was to restrict local government spending to things which could be properly considered to be local government responsibilities. I would argue that promoting tourism is a central government responsibility, which is why we have a Minster for Tourism and a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. See: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism
    which, according to its website, “brings together the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Department of Labour and Department of Building and Housing”.

    So does “LOCAL economic development” and “LOCAL tourism promotion” qualify as a ‘local public service’? It’s certainly not ‘regulatory’ and nor is it ‘infrastructure’. Just who would [receive]’local public services’ benefit? IMO they benefit ALL the inhabitants of the region all the time directly and unquestionably. (Forget the ‘trickle down’ as now totally debunked.) Whereas efforts hoping for ‘economic development’ and ‘tourist promotion’ MAY benefit SOME of the local people MAYBE. (A number of speakers at today’s meeting expressed their concerns about the uncertainty of the cost-effectiveness of the proposed expenditure.)

    Another criterion in my mind about whether a service is ‘local’ or not is asking the question: “Does central government do this?” If they do, then I wonder why local government should do it as well. Or using a slightly different emphasis, you could ask the question, “If local government does NOT do this activity/ provide this service, will it be left completely undone and will that matter?” (eg make provision for crematoria).

    If the answer to this question is, “Yes”, then IMO that’s where prioritisation of local government spending should begin – with ESSENTIAL services, with those which, if local government doesn’t provide them, no-one else will. Since that includes roads and drains, just see how much money you have left over for ‘economic development and ‘tourist promotion’. Zero, IMO. But you would be correctly carrying out this amended purpose of the Local Government Act.

    • Elizabeth

      Excellent write-up, Diane. Much food for thought in how submissions on the Draft Annual Plan can be couched in light of what Sue Bidrose brought to the table (LGA amendment).

      Early days, this was a coasting day. It will get harder for councillors before long. I’ve never personally experienced a bad Annual Plan process at DCC and by now I’ve participated in a fair few. Others I admit have not faired so well either due to the chair or the odd individual councillor. I’m well used to a little bit of the adversarial if it happens but it rarely arises. It’s theatre to old hands and frightening for many newbies. If you’ve done your research in seeking funding support by seeking matched funding, for example, for something vitally essential for the community of benefit to many, then you can expect to be treated fairly and might end up with some degree of help by way of council resource not necessarily ‘cash’. Bringing a substantial offer to the table can make a power of difference.

      In saying that an enormous number of organisations sit there with their hands out (begging bowl mentality), and if there to support for their selfish interest a Council-initiated pet project…. then the rest of us are doomed, and we have been for many years if asking for funding to core council business. Today was embarrassing watching ED grovelling with very poor analysis or cause – something we used to see coming from CoC submissions in the past.

  11. JimmyJones

    Diane: The purpose of the Local Government Act is a bit indirect and isn’t as important as the purpose of Local Government. I hope Sue Bidrose was clear about that and that she reminded the councillors and herself what the the purpose of Local Government is. It is reasonably clear – see section 10. The guts of it is this:
    The purpose of local government is—
    (a) to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
    (b) to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.

    For me, the obvious question is – has the DCC meet the current and future needs for good-quality local infrastructure?
    The changes to the purpose of local government has made no difference to the DCC – the law has changed but there is a lack of monitoring and enforcement from central government. My guess is that the $60 million backlog of infrastructure work will increase as more funds are diverted away from the essentials to the wasteful and frivolous.

    • Diane Yeldon

      JimmyJones: CEO Bidrose did indeed warn the councillors and read out the text of the amendment. But the term ‘local public services’ does not seem to have been defined. Nor does the balance or relationship between the three permissible categories of expenditure (1. good-quality local infrastructure, 2. local public services and 3. performance of regulatory functions).
      I wonder whether councils are using a dodgy kind of circular definition, arguing that WHATEVER they do is a ‘local public service’, merely because they are a council and are doing it. I doubt that this is the intention of the amendment. It looks to me as if councils, certainly the DCC, simply cannot believe that they have lost the ‘powers of general competence’ and are just ploughing on regardless, as if nothing has changed. Perhaps what is required is a legal challenge. Certainly, here in the DCC’s case, I suspect that the law would be interpreted as NOT permitting the DCC to spend $556,000 on ‘economic development including tourism promotion’ AT ALL, let alone when a backlog of $60 million infrastructure work is outstanding.

  12. Diane Yeldon

    JimmyJones: you are correct clarifying the distinction between the purpose of the Act and the purpose of local government, as stated in the Act. A fine distinction which at first escaped me. Yes, Section 10 is the critical statement – and that was what CEO Bidrose read out – because I remember the key words: ‘most cost-effective’. I made a sound recording of this meeting so could transcribe that part too.

  13. Elizabeth

    Ch39 stories:

    26.1.16 $90,000 for community assistance
    City councillors are giving more support to neighbourhoods not covered by community boards. They’re allocating $90,000 towards assisting groups operating in those fringe communities. But community board representation is subject to change.
    [Video] http://www.dunedintv.co.nz/news/90000-community-assistance

    26.1.16 Council seeks feedback on bylaw changes
    Three local bylaws are being changed, pending community feedback. The city council has drafted changes to its bylaws about dog control, the keeping of animals, and the work of beauticians, tattooists and skin piercers. It’s mandatory for the council to review bylaws every 10 years. The changes are based on surveys of residents, and are open to public feedback until the 25th of February. They include more restrictions on walking dogs in public, especially on beaches and around wildlife. The council’s proposing to give greater freedom in some respects to beauticians, tattooists and piercers, but it’s cracking down on unregistered operators.
    [Video] http://www.dunedintv.co.nz/news/council-seeks-feedback-bylaw-changes

    25.1.16 DCC asked to address Waikouaiti erosion
    Severe erosion at Waikouaiti is prompting community board members to ask for help from the Dunedin City Council. The issue came up during the first day of annual plan deliberations at the DCC. Board members say if the problem isn’t addressed, it could cost the council dearly in future.
    [Video] http://www.dunedintv.co.nz/news/dcc-asked-address-waikouaiti-erosion

    22.1.16 Parking costs increasing
    The cost of parking is set to increase under the Dunedin City Council’s new annual plan. Parking permits are rising in cost by as much as $18. Fees for the next financial year are outlined in the draft annual plan, which councillors are due to start debating on Monday. The council’s expecting to receive just under $2.5m in parking revenue each year for the next decade. Costs associated with abandoned vehicles and the commercial use of footpaths are also increasing. The council’s planning a 3% increase in most of its fees and charges.
    [Video] http://www.dunedintv.co.nz/news/parking-costs-increasing

  14. Elizabeth

    REACTION TO Dunedin finances improve

    Comment at ODT Online: [not an extreme position]

    ‘Agreeable position’
    Submitted by IWAS on Tue, 26/01/2016 – 8:36pm.

    Stop raising rates Mr Cull and Co. Then you can say that we have an “agreeable position”. In the meantime stop wasting our money. Ratepayers are not cash cows for the council, not for the employed in council jobs, or those who are supposed to support and work for us the ratepayers. Council works for the ratepayers, not for the current government, old boys networks or other lobbied commercial interests. You all work for us, and we work our behinds off to put food on the table. If the council stops representing us, then we will get rid of the council.
    Think about it.

    ****

    Another….

    Mayor happy?
    Submitted by Otakou on Tue, 26/01/2016 – 10:37am.

    Mayor Cull is happy that the DCC debt has been reduced by $20 million. Individual ratepayers indebtedness to the DCC has apparently reduced from $15,800 to $15,300.
    There have been 2000 fulltime equivalent jobs created according to Cr Peat.
    Where then are the 2000 new persons filling these jobs?
    There are lies, damn lies and statistics, but these pronouncements are merely council hopefuls attempting to spin a mountain from a molehill.
    The huge council debt is the real barrier to private sector growth in Dunedin. Stop this ridiculous council spending on pet projects, reduce staff and start maintaining and fixing the poorly maintained infrastructure we own.

  15. Elizabeth

    ODT 27.1.16:

    ‘Liberal’ council spending a worry
    Cr Andrew Noone is concerned about how “liberal” the Dunedin City Council has been when it comes to spending ratepayer money.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/371033/liberal-council-spending-worry

    Where is the rest of Tuesday’s meeting coverage ODT ????????
    HOPELESS

    Will need to read half page at tree ODT.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Today’s ODT editorial scratches the gold paint with which the “Dunedin finances improve” narrative was sprayed.

      “The comments from Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull that the city is in “a very agreeable position” as it considers its budget for the next financial year is both heartening and concerning.
      Dunedin, despite income over many years from council-owned companies that must be the envy of many districts, has endured hefty rate increases along with a hefty debt burden….. But the council overspent in various ways, both on projects and in the way it was run…. Although most councils face their own rates issues, and rates just about everywhere have outstripped rises in wages and benefits, Dunedin’s position has deteriorated markedly……..”
      Read it all at http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/371015/caution-council-budgets

      • Elizabeth

        Thanks Hype, just out of a hearing – hadn’t got to editorial yet. Must read!

        • Hype O'Thermia

          But look who’s still keen on taking our non-percentage-increasing incomes to redistribute hither and yon. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the money was left in our own pockets, and we as individuals got to choose which of the “range of other services and activities” we thought deserved our dollar dropped in their donation box. Could have an array of secure support boxes in the Octagon, perhaps, and maybe by arrangement with .some banks that want to look like they’re doing a spot of civic duty not just repatriating Dunedin loan interest $$$ to their Australian owners.

          ‘Cr Richard Thomson said it was a “political statement” to saysome the council should not be spending on areas outside its core services.
          “There are other councillors who believe that council has a role to provide a range of other services and activities that are not core services,” he said.’
          http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/371033/liberal-council-spending-worry

        • Elizabeth

          We have the ODT Editor citing sea level rise. Clearly NOT a well read man. Please ALL, write to him and crash his stupidity.

          How many letters from JimmyJones and others does it take to refute the sea level rise myth propounded by the dissembling Mayor besotted with the greenie for guru.

      • Elizabeth

        Further. DCC finances seem oblivious to the Delta fiasco at the failed Yaldhurst Land subdivision in Christchurch. Multimillion-dollar exposure for Dunedin ratepayers. Far beyond what Jacks Point and Luggate cost us. Same team of knowitalls: McLauchlan, Coburn, Peak Projects… THIRD TIME UNLUCKY GAMBLING WITH OUR FUNDS AND LOSING OUR FUNDS.

        McKenzie and Crombie aren’t talking.

        • Gurglars

          Elizabeth, just a fine point, first time unlucky, second time foolish, third time culpable theft, whixh should be prosecuted.

          As to those who continue to rely on these muppets, they also should be prosecuted.

      • Diane Yeldon

        This editorial and the ODT coverage of the Annual Plan meetings is, not to put too fine a point on it, utter rubbish. The photo accompanying the first report by David Loughrey was NOT one of the council chamber at all, let alone taken at the meeting reported on. It was instead a picture of people at the Art Gallery, as I heard Cr Wilson inform ODT reporter, Vaughn Elder, who it seems had drawn the short straw and got the job reporting the second day.

        I was sitting outside the meeting room in a public area having a nice cup of coffee and a biscuit (thank you, DCC – now just provide chairs that are not torture devices for members of the public). So if people are going to talk in loud voices right next to me, I suppose they don’t care if I report on what they say. I also heard Vaughn Elder ring up the office to get them to fix the photo (in the online edition) and say he didn’t need a photographer down there because there wasn’t anything interesting happening – more or less – this is not a direct quote.

        Now am i breakung privacy laws reporting this or is it in the public interest to report on how …er, well journalists are discharging the duties of ‘the fourth estate’, particularly with regard to political issues, since the quality and standard of their reporting informs and influences voters. So maybe I can claim to be an amateur investigative journalist myself and what I am investigating at this precise moment is the extremely, abysmally non-investigative local press.

        I was at Monday’s meeting from 9am to about 4.30pm (it finished at 5pm but my back was killing me from the hard chairs). Then back again on Tuesday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, during which time I saw both Elizabeth and Lyndon. I have sound recordings of both meetings and will be writing them up.

        Plenty of interesting stuff but key points: DCC debt is still at a dangerous level yet the council continues to spend on non-essentials while neglecting core services. But you all knew that already, didn’t you? Trouble is the ODT doesn’t and neither do most of the councillors, notable exceptions being Crs Vandervis, Calvert, Lord, and very likely Noone and Hall. Just my impressions at the moment from listening to the speakers and taking written notes. But I can get greater accuracy later by referring to my sound recording.

    • Mike

      Noone didn’t seem to feel that way when he voted for the stadium, this year’s budget issues are chicken feed compared with that and its ongoing effect on rates and debt.

      Maybe it’s an election year ….

      • Elizabeth

        Cr Noone is capable of learning from the stadium debacle.

        Aim needs to be taken at Mayor Cull and the GD councillors (not including Cr Lord), Hawkins (Green Party) and weirdo independents such as Crs Peat, Bezett and Benson-Pope – together a complete tragedy.

        • Wingatui Flyer

          (not including Cr Lord) The Councillor that can’t decide which fence to sit on.

        • Diane Yeldon

          I am very surprised by Cr Benson-Pope, usually so good with process. I don’t think he has caught up with the amendment to the Local Government Act either. Because when he commented on the ‘economic development incorporating tourism promotion spend’ (of $558,000), he said something to the effect of, “It’s a matter of half of it working but we don’t know which half.”

          Now if you think about this rather snappy sounding comment, you will see (well, according to my analysis anyway) that his vote in favour meant that he, himself, believed he was probably WASTING $279,000! Certainly not going for solutions which were clearly the ‘most cost effective’ as the amendment requires.

          Cr Calvert was much clearer and said that she couldn’t see any evidence that there was any clear benefit to the ratepayers from this spend. John Christie, in charge of Enterprise Dunedin and formerly Otago Chamber of Commerce, was enthusiastically promoting this spend and saying that you mightn’t see results in the first year, or even in the second but eventually you would. He didn’t produce any evidence for this assertion though. The use of the word ‘invest’ struck me.

          This allocation in the council’s budget was continually referred to as an ‘investment’. I am pretty sure Mayor Cull has used the expression ‘invest’ or ‘investment’ with respect to it, and the ODT may have too, perhaps quoting him. And I think it likely that John Christie did too. But I saw no evidence whatsoever that it was an ‘investment’.

          I expect ‘due diligence’ to be done on any investment, showing me the interest rate and the projected return and also have sound reasoning given why I might expect that stated return on the money put down. So I think it is mischievous, if not downright irresponsible, to call this an ‘investment’ when it looks more like a gamble – and a pretty wild one at that.

          I think its effects, if any, are actually impossible to evaluate now, or in a year’s time or in ten years’ time. There are simply too many
          variables in Dunedin’s economics fortunes and tourism market to be able to determine what is causing what.

          Indeed, Cr Hawkins, later talking about the council’s wish to attract young adults in the 25 to 35 age group to re-settle in Dunedin, said that that demographic (which he himself belongs to) would see through their marketing and not be the slightest bit fooled by it – am not quoting but that was the gist of it – that this age group are wise to advertising promotions, having seen it all before and so rather cynical.

          Which suggests to me the possibility that some kind of update of “It’s all right here” or “I am Dunedin” might very well be counterproductive and frighten people away! Certainly if a private company selling financial products tried to sell an ‘investment’ like this one the DCC proposes to make in local ‘economic development and tourism promotion’, then I think those responsible might end up in jail for fraud.

        • Elizabeth

          The old false prospectus trick.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        In order to believe they have integrity then, Mike, you would have all stadium supporters continue to support all non-core spending, forever? I think stadium fabulousness became a sincere belief, resistant to facts such as Dunedin’s population & airport, and world-wide failure of (sports) stadia. The rock concert, multipurpose pitch was genius – even now “it’s a success” because of funny-money accounting that leaves out most of the costs of concerts.
        Noone _was_ wrong. Isn’t it OK for him to now be right? Or is it “one strike and you’re out”?

  16. Elizabeth

    Thursday’s pre-Draft Annual Plan meeting starts at 10am in the Edinburgh Room, Municipal Chambers. Be there to sample your council and its staff in action. It’s Election Year – at least be aware of how budgets are struck, for better or worse….

    • Diane Yeldon

      Drat. 10.00 am start means members of the public will miss out on morning tea with biscuits.

      • Elizabeth

        Maybe the tea cart will be in stairwell in case we feel faint before 1pm lunch break ?!

        Today’s resource consent hearing began with tea and coffee offered before the 9am start…. AUSTERITY IS OVER or it never really began at DCC.

        Nah, hey, it was humanising – a nice gesture.

    • Gurglars

      One of and perhaps the most important determinants of fraud in a prospectus is the signature of the supposed fraudster. As probably only Cull and Bidrose sign such docs then they are the only recipients of any possible fraud charge.

      • Elizabeth

        I couldn’t possibly comment.

        In the past CEO Harland was named in the successful prosecutions brought by New Zealand Historic Places Trust (now Heritage New Zealand) for serious breach of archaeological provisions with regard to earthworks for the Wall Street Mall development.

        As a result he now has a record.

  17. Calvin Oaten

    Diane, your comments re John Christie’s fogging of the justification for the requested $558K spend is a classic case of ‘selling the sizzle’ in the hope that somewhere down the track he can produce a sausage or two. That he never will is of no consequence as this will all be forgotten and he will keep pushing the sizzle to be seen to be active. It’s what is also known as job protection. His own. Obviously Cr B-P has caught the waft of the sausage, can’t see it, but half heartedly voted the funding in the hope of getting fed. Watch this space for the further sizzling of the Moray Place five star hotel. Never mind about due diligence, that’s just tiresome.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Calvin: an entirely different kind of sizzle was being sold when various councillors tried to allocate funding and staff for ‘place-based community development’. I will have to refer to my notes to try to get something concrete about this fuzzy-wuzzy, feel-good social capital promotion, led by DCC cheerleaders. But basically the idea seems to be a kind of “Claytons community board” for those ‘places’ no longer allowed to have community boards or which never had one in the first place. An attempt to be fair. The problem is that making people feel better in various ways, and making them feel better together, collectively and in community, and on their home patch so they get a feeling of ‘belonging’, no matter how worthy, is an utterly bottomless pit. And asking someone enthusiastic about social work, social development or the building of social capital how much money and staff they need for this is like asking a barber if you need a haircut. A can of worms the DCC should IMO not even open. Leave this to Central government and the private and voluntary sector because (like the very hungry caterpillar in the children’s book) it will just chew right through your entire budget if given the slightest chance.

      • Elizabeth

        And then, Diane… with this funding we open up rorts again just like what happened with Mosgiel Taieri Community Board. Nobody at DCC watched them properly – use of ratepayers’ grant money is yet to be properly accounted for, having gone out of the board’s jurisdiction to favourite projects of (woops, COIs) best shapeshifters with so many hats on they forgot which to wear on which occasion (of spend). VERY MUDDY

        And y’know what J Mactavish as seen on Ch39 News appeared to get righteous tearful again in dispensing this glad tiding to ‘social development’ – with Cr Thomson bang up the rear. Further, JM did handwringing urging for a new coordinator frigging position, as well.

  18. Elizabeth

    39 Dunedin Television 27.1.16

    Funding boost for art and culture
    Local leaders are enhancing the city’s art scene, in an effort to attract more residents and boost Dunedin’s profile as a great small city. Almost half a million dollars is being earmarked for arts and culture by the Dunedin City Council. The money’s due to be spent over the next two years, but not before residents are invited to have their say.
    [Video] http://www.dunedintv.co.nz/news/funding-boost-art-and-culture

    Your word on council spending
    The Dunedin City Council is going through its next annual plan, setting budgets for the coming financial year. Residents will be asked to have their say on the final draft before the plan’s formally adopted. So with that in mind, our word on the street team asked members of the public if they’re interested in council spending.
    [Video] http://www.dunedintv.co.nz/news/your-word-council-spending

    ****

    Ch39 Local Opinion Poll
    Are you interested in council spending?
    Yes 94%
    No 6%
    Total votes: 49

    This poll is still open at
    http://www.dunedintv.co.nz/poll/are-you-interested-council-spending

    • Gurglars

      One of the problems with polls is that you get a result you intend a far better question would be

      “Are you interested in the council curtailing spending”

      Apart from 1000 odd employees and a dozen councillors I’d say that the remaining 119,000 residents would be very supportive of auch a sensible action.

  19. Lyndon Weggery

    Attended the last session of Council today on the draft Budget hearings and while pleased to hear 2016/17 rates increase is tracking to be no more than 2.8% it seems “business as usual” when it comes to a DCC response to the South Dunedin Floods. It’s not going to be put in the draft Annual Plan as a specific item for consultation and in fact I was shocked to hear a senior staff member calmly announce that currently “there is no budget line change to South Dunedin floods”.Top marks to Councillor Vandervis for at least trying to get it included.

    • JimmyJones

      Lyndon: The official position seems to be to deny all responsibility for the severely deficient state of the city’s stormwater system and to shift the blame to other causes (Global Warming, Sea-level rise etc). It is reckless for Dave Cull to promote this denialist view given that until the stormwater system is upgraded to reach at least the DCC’s minimum standard, the citizens affected by the June flood will be the same citizens affected by the next flood. The risk of a repeat 2015 flood is exactly the same this year as it was in 2015.
      The citizens of South Dunedin and elsewhere do not deserve to have to live with the risk of another flood. Under Mayor Cull’s leadership the DCC gambled that there would not be a heavy rain event. They did this so that they could divert funding to wasteful/unwanted projects. He continues to do this. The failure of our mayor and councillors to maintain the infrastructure needs to be an election issue. Our idiot mayor and the brain-dead councillors need to feel the consequences of their reckless behaviour. In addition to Cr Vandervis, let’s hope that some other councilors develop the courage to do the right thing.

      • Elizabeth

        Hilary Calvert was onto this at Tuesday’s Annual Plan meeting. It’s not over only Mayor Cull thinks it is.

        The point made today is if the public choose to make submissions on topics/budgets outside those listed this week for Council progression to the consultation stage then the Council has to discuss and debate them.

        Make submissions people and DO use the LGOIMA process to ask stiff questions in seeking information being buried for WHATEVER REASON.

        • Diane Yeldon

          I agree with Elizabeth here. DCC CEO made it clear that the law requires only projects which have been materially changed from the council’s Long Term Plan to be mentioned in the coming year’s Annual Plan consultation document. So some major projects which the DCC is or arguably should be doing will not be mentioned in this consultation document. But Dunedin residents can comment on anything at all. So , for example, if you want to say that you think the DCC should be spending more money on water infrastructure and not on cycleways, you can do that.

  20. Diane Yeldon

    Pretty low-key wind up to the Annual Plan draft budget meeting today. But something I did notice which irritated me. The Mayor, as chair, gets the last word – he can sum up the discussion and add his own views. And no-one else gets any right of reply. To refer to comments other councillors have made during the discussion as ‘rubbish’, I think is clearly offensive and an abuse of his powers as chair.

    If someone claimed what I was saying was ‘rubbish’ and gave no reason why they were totally discrediting my opinion, in such a rude way, I would want a right of reply. This kind of thing makes Dave Cull a BAD chair because he is not sufficiently impartial and doesn’t recognise when there are times in a meeting when he can legitimately give his own personal opinion about an issue and other times when he should keep his opinions to himself and concentrate on the orderly conduct of the meeting.

    Once, when I was making a Public Forum submission, something to the effect that the DCC was not being sufficiently transparent, at the end of my submission and after councillors had asked questions, his Worship addressed me directly and told me how Audit NZ was very pleased with the DCC’s performance. I knew I had no right to reply. But the mayor didn’t seem to realise he had no right to be addressing me directly and contradicting the essence of my submission. He was obviously personally offended and nettled by my point of view, but completely oblivious to the fact that his role as chair at that point was to shut up and let me express it.

    Same goes for anyone else making a public forum submission. They don’t need the mayor telling them immediately afterwards and in public that they are wrong. And councillors are elected to express their honest and informed opinions at meetings. But there is hardly a meeting which goes by where Mayor Cull doesn’t include in his summing up offensive statements that councillors whose opinion he disagrees with are talking RUBBISH or even being MISCHIEVOUS or BAD or IRRESPONSIBLE.

    And of course it is Cr Vandervis who gets the brunt of this. Maybe I should do a meeting video compilation to thoroughly make the point. RUBBISH RUBBISH RUBBISH. Whatever happened to open-minded, respectful, inclusive debate, looking at an issue from many different viewpoints. That’s why we have jury of 12 and a council of 13. And not a single DESPOT!

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “But there is hardly a meeting which goes by where Mayor Cull doesn’t include in his summing up offensive statements that councillors whose opinion he disagrees with are talking RUBBISH or even being MISCHIEVOUS or BAD or IRRESPONSIBLE.” Diane, this would be not merely unacceptable in any other workplace, it would result in censure and fines. It is abusive behaviour, it is bullying by the person highest in the pecking order.
      I urge you to make a recording to share here and on youtube, to inform voters and the Minister of Local Government in New Zealand, Paula Bennett. It’s no use going through the “proper channels” regarding anything this far south. Out of sight, out of mind and not even swing voters. Only inescapable information that could pop up anywhere, in any discussion, has a chance of getting through.
      People we vote for do not deserve to be bullied and publicly humiliated when they are doing the job we elected them to do, not even when they’re ninnies on a par with His Worshipful Chainliness – though interestingly enough the more on a par, the more immune from verbal abuse, Likewise people engaging in the democratic process, making submissions. Perhaps there is an intention to remove that democratic annoyance, reduce it to only the people (“stakeholders”) who come with a mutual-benefit attitude, a you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours attitude.

    • Gurglars

      Diane, I completely concur with your remarks. I have purchased a little old book, the Chairman and his responsibilities to gift to the mayor. I have not yet given it to him because it probably will be confined to the round file.

      Arrogance has no advisors.

  21. Elizabeth

    28.1.16 Lengthy road closure frustrates
    Otago Peninsula residents are angry a section of Highcliff Rd is set to remain closed until September, more than a year after a massive downpour swept it away during last June’s downpour.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/371174/lengthy-road-closure-frustrates

    ****

    DCC PUBLIC CONSULTATION

    28.1.16 Submissions sought on bylaw changes
    The Dunedin City Council is seeking feedback on its proposed changes to three of the city’s bylaws. The council is seeking submissions on the Dog Control Bylaw, the Keeping of Animal (Excluding Dogs) and Birds Bylaw and the Beauticians’, Tattooists’ and Skin Piercers’ Bylaw until February 25.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/371164/submissions-sought-bylaw-changes

    Dunedin City Council – Media Release
    What do you think about the DCC’s proposed bylaw changes?

    This item was published on 25 Jan 2016

    The Dunedin City Council wants to know what the community thinks about proposed changes to three of the city’s bylaws – the Dog Control Bylaw, the Keeping of Animal (Excluding Dogs) and Birds Bylaw and the Beauticians’, Tattooists’ and Skin Piercers’ Bylaw.

    The first two bylaws encompass Dunedin’s animal rules with the Dog Control Bylaw covering dogs and the Keeping of Animal (Excluding Dogs) and Birds Bylaw covering all other animals kept in residential areas.

    “We are legally required to review our bylaws every ten years, so we have gathered feedback from the community and as a result have proposed a series of changes,” says Manager Environment Health and Animal Services Ros MacGill. “In these changes we have tried to strike the right balance between giving people opportunity to have choices while limiting threats to public health and the nuisances animals may cause to others. We now want to know what residents and stakeholders think of these proposed changes.”

    The following changes are being proposed.

    Dog Control Bylaw
    ● To improve protection for wildlife in their natural habitat, dogs will be required to be leashed and kept at least 10m away from protected wildlife, and the prohibited area at Brighton Beach will be extended.
    ● Dog owners will be able to take their dogs to St Clair Esplanade on a leash and exercise dogs off the leash on Peninsula Beach Road in Port Chalmers.
    ● Dogs will be required to be on a leash on DCC owned sports grounds and will still not be allowed on marked playing fields.

    Keeping of Animals (Excluding Dogs) and Birds Bylaw
    ● Once all other avenues have been exhausted DCC staff will be able to set a limit on the number and species of animals and birds, which can be kept at a property or by an individual when these animals are causing a nuisance.

    “We know that many people in Dunedin have animals and the proposed changes will impact them, so we encourage people to visit our website and tell us if they think we have got the balance right,” says Ms MacGill.

    Beauticians’, Tattooists’ and Skin Piercers’ Bylaw
    Changes to the Beauticians’, Tattooists’ and Skin Piercers’ Bylaw include the following.
    ● Provisions to allow for mobile and temporary trading.
    ● Provisions for business operators to provide evidence of staff competency and ongoing staff training.
    ● Clarification about what constitutes being a registered beauty therapist, tattooist or skin piercer to distinguish registered operators from unregistered illegal ‘backyard’ operators.
    ● Changing where an operator’s licence certificate has to be displayed so the public can easily view it.
    ● A general update of terminology and clarifying definitions in the bylaw, with a risk based approach being adopted.

    Visit http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/consultation from Monday, 25 January to find more information about the proposed bylaw changes and to make a submission on these.

    The consultation period will run until Thursday, 25 February. If required hearings for the bylaws will be held later in the year and the public are welcome to make a submission, in person, at these.

    Contact Manager Environment Health and Animal Services on 477 4000.

    DCC Link

  22. Elizabeth

    The Mayor has become entirely blasé as to what a MILLION DOLLARS here and a MILLION DOLLARS there actually means to the lives, homes and businesses of Dunedin constituents.
    Glad Otago Daily Times has ‘reported back’ on the Mayor’s deprecatory comments towards the newspaper and its Wednesday editorial, made at yesterday’s pre-draft Annual Plan meeting. Perhaps a new chapter in his relationship, or not, with the owners and editor of the ODT, in Election Year.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 29 Jan 2016
    Mayor defends rates increase
    By Vaughan Elder
    Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has hit out at critics who say the city’s rates are rising sharply as the council signals a 2.9% rate increase for the upcoming year. The mayor made the comments as councillors yesterday approved a draft annual plan for 2016-17 which included $1.88 million of “extra” spending, lifting the rates rise from a possible 1.5% increase.
    Read more

    As reported, only Crs Lee Vandervis and Hilary Calvert have “expressed opposition” to the proposed rates increase. Both deserve to receive strong backing from Dunedin resident and ratepayer submissions on the draft annual plan in the ‘consultative’ weeks ahead.

    Item 1 (italicised) needs to be slashed to death – there is NO guarantee or science [Enterprise Dunedin produced little or no analysis to back its ask] that tells us there is any foreseeable benefit to the community for this intended spend.

    The decisions (via ODT)

    $790,000 extra funding for economic development.
    $100,000 for Ocean Beach erosion report.
    $75,000 for wider Dunedin coastline erosion report.
    $50,000 extra for City of Literature initiative.
    $245,000 for arts and culture strategy (Ara Toi).
    $90,000 for groups in areas not served by a community boards.
    $50,100 rent rebate to an organisation which rents council property.
    $18,000 for graffiti removal.
    $200,000 placeholder budget for South Dunedin climate change review.
    $150,000 placeholder budget for council environment strategy implementation.
    $100,000 extra for service and projects grants.
    $20,000 extra for small events grants.

    TOTAL EXTRA SPEND: $1.8881million bringing the proposed rates rise to 2.9%.

  23. Elizabeth

    Fool colours showing as a short-term ex Labour cabinet minister et al. Oh, we’re wary all right, of the exact person. Locals cuddling up to him in the pre-election period need to wake up or wreck their own political fortunes through that entanglement. NO votes to them or the wannabe’s. To be writ large in the coming months.

    Be wary, Benson-Pope says
    ….The Otago councils have agreed to work together to consider greater use of shared services as a result of a Government requirement to review the cost-effectiveness of all their services. […] Mayor Dave Cull said if anyone was going to benefit from sharing services, it would be the smaller councils in Otago which had limited resources.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/371274/be-wary-benson-pope-says

  24. Anonymous

    If you take out the $790K to Enterprise Dunedin (hey why not throw more money down the black hole, been doing it for years) and the City of Literature pet project, you get a 1.5% rates rise.

    Easy as that.

  25. Elizabeth

    That, Anonymous, is what we all have to demand in SUBMISSION, as many of us as possible. Meanwhile more digging on Delta to add fuel to the flames. 2016 is looking neatly INVESTIGATIVE and CONTESTABLE. Or at the very least, like TROUBLE… plus throw in 2GP legals not already budgeted for (given the scope of protest). I’m so loving this year already.

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