Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : [rephrased] Conflict of Interest

Election Year : The following opinion is offered in the public interest. -Eds

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Dear Readers and What –if Mobsters

Your correspondent is given to understand there are several of you who enjoy his posts, which is certainly gratifying to him, if not to the DCC. However readers are taxing mistresses, they demand fresh and current material for their reading pleasure.

Discerning readers of taste and sophistication, of which you are without exception, are firmly of the view that there is nothing as old as yesterday’s news, and tonight’s post is indeed recycled and somewhat elderly. But wait, as Noble Investments Ltd said to the Judge Osbourne, I can explain why I have reneged on my obligations….

This week Mr Graham Crombie did more than re-release Delta CEO Grady Cameron’s press release. He advised What if? that he considered this post below “defamatory” to Mr McKenzie. And said that in effect he will soon have a letter from his lawyers about this. Although, What if? hasn’t actually seen the letter yet. We think it is in Mr Crombie’s other pocket, tangled up with some minties wrappers and the latest Harcourt’s update on the Noble Subdivision mortgagee sale process. Yes, that document has gone missing too.

This Correspondent was cut to the quick. Him ? Defamatory ? A Tom Kain Klone ? Forsooth, he faints at the sight of his own blood !

Friends, Romans, Dunedinites, I come not to bury Mr McKenzie but to praise him. (Eventually).

Here is the post, with all traces of defamation removed…. for Mr Crombie’s reading pleasure….

****

Certain of you, have commented how in recent Council meetings DCC GCFO Grant McKenzie has several times now said he has a “conflict of interest”, when the question of the DCHL financial performance is raised by Councillors. He does not look comfortable in those situations.

OK, so what is this conflict of interest ? Mr McKenzie is the financial eyes and ears of the DCC. He is employed to preserve and maintain the financial stability of the DCC. This includes managing the hundreds of millions of debt that the DCC and its DCHL companies have; and having full oversight of the DCHL companies, which are in theory meant to be significant revenue generators for the DCC. (But, as Mr McKenzie admitted to Cr Lee Vandervis recently, DCHL companies will generate ZERO income (ie dividends) to the DCC for the next three years at least). However, despite the lack of dividends, they are still very significant DCC assets and it is completely right that Mr McKenzie should know in detail what is going on at DCHL.

This correspondent does not see how a conflict of interest can arise.

DCHL companies, owned by DCC, are for the sole purpose of generating a financial return to ease the rates burden. The historical amount of contributions provided by DCHL is shouted from the rooftops at every available opportunity by DCHL boosters. To this correspondent, there are only two ways in which Mr McKenzie could have “a conflict of interest” as he describes it. One is if the actions of the DCHL companies exceeded the risk profile that Mr McKenzie felt was appropriate for a DCC owned entity. The other is if the DCHL Companies were not in fact providing full or accurate information about their activities or intended activities to DCC or the elected representatives, and placing DCC at risk that way.

Readers, and Mr McKenzie, need to remember that Mr Larsen said in his report that the DCC needed to have a very low threshold for commercial risk, and much better communication. Mr McKenzie is there to make sure that DCHL doesn’t exceed a very low risk threshold and to tell us what he has found there. Tick the boxes for those items.

But who is paying Mr McKenzie ? The answer is the DCC. Therefore Mr McKenzie does not have a conflict of interest. He has a clear obligation to disclose to Council and ratepayers anything that is of concern at DCHL. He is not paid by council to shuffle from one foot to the other and claim a conflict of interest when asked questions of DCHL financial performance.

The clash_revolution-rock-w2 tee [www.the-rudy.com]

We should spare a thought for Mr McKenzie. He is the senior DCC staff member that has to represent the DCC’s interests. Those interests, first and foremost are to ensure that those DCC owned DCHL companies operate with a very low threshold for commercial risk. On the other hand, against him are legions of DCHL directors, who, if nothing else, appear extremely good at sugar coating bad news, or cloaking it in such a way as to make discerning the facts extremely difficult. (Mr Crombie, please read the Auditor-General’s report before you go reaching into your pocket). Add that to the subtle and not so subtle peer pressure, and it is easy to see Mr McKenzie has a tough job safeguarding the interests of ratepayers in respect of DCHL.

Refer to the video record (Part 1 and Part 2) for the full council meeting of 22 February 2016. This correspondent believes there is a (very) high possibility Mr McKenzie has not been told the full facts about Delta at Noble, or it has been spun to him with a few key, inconvenient facts omitted. If this is in fact correct and he acknowledged this, and then advised the city what he does know and provided an accurate assessment of the actual risk to ratepayer funds against the allowable “very low risk” threshold, he would have the support of DCC upper management and probably a job for life – if he wanted it.

Mr McKenzie would not have to look too far to find inspiration or a precedent in Dunedin. Just a couple of blocks away at the Hospital in fact. In 2008 the recently appointed Health Board Chief Financial Officer, Robert Mackway-Jones, discovered some unusual transactions that was of course the $16.9M Michael Swann fraud. Mr Mackway-Jones didn’t let up, pushed the issue and found that neither the Board Chair, Mr Richard Thomson, nor the Board CEO, knew of the transactions. Mr Mackway-Jones was the hero of the Swann case; and Mr McKenzie only has to present the facts to Dunedin ratepayers to achieve the same status.

This correspondent understands Mr McKenzie is already well regarded within DCC upper ranks. But if he did this he would be so popular with Dunedin ratepayers he could run for Mayor next time around….

Dunedin ratepayers just need Mr McKenzie to represent their interest, and forsake the tea and cakes, and mutual backslapping with DCHL Directors.

This will mean clashes with the DCHL directors at times……..

Tis food for thought, mobsters (as the Clash would say…. Revolution Rock, London Calling, 1979).

Related Posts and Comments:
● 11.3.16 Delta peripheral #EpicFail : Stonewood Homes & ancient Delta history
● 6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Tea & Taxing Questions
● 6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Nobel Subdivision : A Neighbour responds
● 5.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision —Epic Fraud
● 4.3.16 Delta —Noble Subdivision #EpicStorm Heading OUR WAY
● 4.3.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : Councillors know NOTHING
● 2.3.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : A Dog, or a RAVING YAPPER?….
● 1.3.16 Delta #EpicFail… —The Little Finance Company that did (Delta).
29.2.16 Healthy views Monday midnight to 6:00 p.m.
● 29.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : NBR interested in bidders
● 28.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble… If I were a rich man / Delta Director
● 27.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision Consent : Strictly Optional
● 27.2.16 Delta #NUCLEAR EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Incompetent…
● 25.2.16 Delta #EpicFail: Mayor Cull —Forced Sale Fundamentals 101
● 24.2.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision: Cameron, Crombie & McKenzie
● 23.2.16 DCC: DCHL half year result to 31 December 2015
19.2.16 Delta: Update on Yaldhurst subdivision debt recovery
15.2.16 Delta / DCHL not broadcasting position on subdivision mortgagee tender
30.1.16 DCC Rates: LOCAL CONTEXT not Stats —Delta and Hippopotamuses
● 29.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision ● Some forensics
● 21.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision
21.1.16 DCC LTAP 2016/17 budget discussion #ultrahelpfulhints
10.1.16 Infrastructure ‘open to facile misinterpretation’…. or local ignore
15.12.15 Noble property subdivision aka Yaldhurst Village | Mortgagee Tender
21.9.15 DCC: Not shite (?) hitting the fan but DVL
20.7.15 Noble property subdivision —DELTA #LGOIMA
1.4.15 Christchurch subdivisions: Heat gone?
24.3.15 Noble property subdivision —DELTA
23.3.15 Noble property subdivision: “Denials suggest that we have not learned.”
17.3.15 DCC —Delta, Jacks Point Luggate II…. Noble property subdivision

● Gold Band Finance Prospectus No. 31 Dated 22 April 2015
View this 126pp document via the NZ Companies website at: https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/321896/documents — go to Prospectus uploaded 23 Apr 2015 14:33

● 14.5.14 (via DCC website) Larsen Report February 2012
A recent governance review of the Dunedin City Council companies was conducted by Warren Larsen.

● 20.3.14 Delta: Report from Office of the Auditor-General
Inquiry into property investments by Delta Utility Services Limited at Luggate and Jacks Point

█ For more, enter the term *delta* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: the-rudy.com – The Clash Revolution Rock w2 tee

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3 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Infrastructure, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Resource management, Site, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design

3 responses to “Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : [rephrased] Conflict of Interest

  1. Calvin Oaten

    Question: Does Mr McKenzie take heed of CD’s seeming confidence in his ability and act decisively, or does he simply follow tradition and continue the pattern of acquiescence as in the past, thus short changing the ratepayers?

  2. Diane Yeldon

    I think the DCC could do better with financial reporting about its companies. I find all this financial stuff hard to follow and when councillors ask questions about it at meetings, then I feel that often they are asking the sort of things that I would like to understand better. For example, whether a dividend of zero is a dividend or not. Accounting has been made mysterious by experts but its original meaning was ‘to give an account’ ie tell a true story or paint an accurate picture. I expect any person with the responsibilities which the DCC’s senior financial officers have to be doing exactly that, by presenting complete, accurate and non-misleading reports to council meetings and answering councillors’ questions in a straightforward and helpful manner. And making an effort not to appear as if they are hiding things, whether or not that is, in fact, the case. I still find it hard to believe a council report talked about financial ‘movement’ without clarifying whether this was up or down. Whether you have more or less money seems the most important thing to report on. ‘Shifty’ is the word I would choose to describe the public profile of Dunedin’s council owned companies in the past. Hope the city can move forward from this and hope any present shiftiness is merely embarrassment about knowing where the bodies are buried and the various skeletons in the closest rather than any current strange dealings. Although Delta looks like an ongoing embarrassment.
    It’s a bad sign IMO when, instead of engaging with public comment by giving good and helpful explanations and corrections if necessary, representatives of council companies try to shut people up with threats of defamation proceedings. Bad PR and just aggravates any public perception that they have something to hide.

  3. Elizabeth

    ### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 18:33, March 21 2016
    Infracon liquidation results in Tararua council netting $750k
    By Jono Galuszka and Georgia Forrester
    The liquidation of a multi-million-dollar roading construction company, which saw 220 people lose their jobs, is expected to end with all debts paid.
    Infracon was placed into liquidation in August 2014 by its two owners, Tararua and Hawke’s Bay district councils, after making an ongoing financial loss.
    The company was soon snapped up by Manawatu roading firm Higgins – which itself has since been sold, subject to Overseas Investment Office approval, to Fletcher Building – for $7.6 million. Infracon which was owned by two sets of ratepayers, has netted enough money to pay all the bills.
    Read more

    * 200 jobs at risk after roading firm’s liquidation
    * Failed roading company Infracon sold for $7m to Higgins
    * Infracon staff ‘shafted’ by news 89 jobs to go

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