Cr Vandervis co-operates with investigators #mediaslant

Updated post
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 at 4:50 p.m.

███ [Deletions at the behest of Dunedin City Council – instruction by recorded voicemail received from Communications and Marketing Manager on Thu, 17 Mar 2015 at 4:24 p.m.]

Received from Cr Lee Vandervis
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 at 3:48 p.m.

█ Message: Please feel free to print all of the emails and attachments below, as at least some of the Dunedin public should know what they actually contain.


—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2016 11:06:18 +1300
To: EditorODT, Nicholas George S Smith, Julian Smith, Vaughan Elder
Conversation: My job is to represent ratepayers’ concerns and allegations…. [words deleted]
Subject: My job is to represent ratepayers’ concerns and allegations…. [words deleted]

Dear Editor,
Your ‘reporter’ Chris Morris has [word deleted] in the article below [word deleted] claimed:

– “The ODT understands Cr Vandervis has also refused to co-operate with investigators examining his latest claims.”

This is provably untrue as evidenced by some of my communications with Crowe Horwarth through my lawyer as attached. [It also slurs my previous claims, especially regarding Citifleet almost all of which have been publicly proven.]
All it would have taken to get the reported co-operating truth would have been for your reporter to call Crowe Horwarth and establish that I have been responding to their inquiries and have gone to some trouble to supply them with an affidavit and supporting email showing how wrong again Mayor Cull was to claim that I had not provided evidence to him, the DCC CEO or our previous CEO. As well as evidence I have provided verbally, I have included my affidavit and one example of an evidential email, parts of which must remain redacted for obvious reasons.

My previous 19/9/15 complaint of Chris Morris ‘reporting’ which may be of interest to you is also below. There have been many others, yet Morris has wondered why I will not talk to him.

[paragraph deleted]

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

Vandervis inquiry ongoing
Home » News » Dunedin
By Chris Morris on Sat, 27 Feb 2016
News: Dunedin
6 1 Share This
The outspoken councillor levelling fraud claims at the Dunedin City Council is remaining tight-lipped as the investigation continues.

Cr Lee Vandervis, speaking at a full council meeting in December, claimed to have paid a backhander to council staff to secure a council contract.

The allegation prompted a furious exchange with Mayor Dave Cull and an investigation by the council’s internal auditors, Crowe Horwath, which was continuing.

Cr Vandervis has repeatedly refused Otago Daily Times requests to produce his evidence and has not responded to fresh requests for comment this week.

The ODT understands Cr Vandervis has also refused to co-operate with investigators examining his latest claims.

That followed a series of allegations levelled against council staff by Cr Vandervis in recent years, only for the councillor to then refuse to co-operate with council staff by providing evidence to back his claims, emails released in December showed.

Council group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie, contacted this week, would only say the latest investigation was continuing with no set date for completion.

Asked if Cr Vandervis had been spoken to, or provided evidence, Mr McKenzie would only say: “The investigators are still working through their process, which includes hearing from Cr Vandervis.”

Crowe Horwath was expected to provide a report to the council on its findings but subsequent steps – and the timeframe to complete the inquiry – depended on what was discovered, he said.

“We’re waiting on some information. Once we know what that information says, that will then drive where the next step is in the investigation.”

Mr Cull was reluctant to comment while the investigation continued but hoped any evidence would be forthcoming.

“Clearly, it’s in everyone’s interests for any allegation, or any wrongdoing, to be brought to light and dealt with.”


{Link: -Eds}

From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 2015 09:06:12 +1300
To: EditorODT, Nicholas George S Smith, Julian Smith
Cc: Chris Morris, David Loughrey
Conversation: Reporters reporting gossip instead of serious Council issues
Subject: Reporters reporting gossip instead of serious Council issues

Dear Editor,

Your reported Chris Morris has [again] seriously misrepresented me in today’s ODT story “Information requests irk Councillors”.
In this story where Council chairs Benson Pope and Thomson are fully indulged, reporter Morris fails to find balance or grasp the real issues [again].

Minimal quotes from my emails [fully published on What If] should have included:

“Do you not realise that most of my LGOIMA request arise from questions and allegations from members of the public that I represent?”

“don’t you dare suggest that my approach has failed to identify fraudulemt behaviour, as you similarly do not know what has gone into, for instance, Citifleet…. [words deleted].

Additional insightful material from my emails that has been ignored includes:

“If all my 2011 LGOIMA requests for Citifleet information, including all credit card information had been made available as requested under LGOIMA, think how many subsequently stolen vehicles would have been saved and perhaps even the life of a bent manager. Put a price on that David and make sure to request the full cost thereof.
The horrendous cost of not having required relevant information on which to make decisions is the reason we have LGOIMA.
In my opinion, not using the LGOIMA process suggests that you are not doing your job as an elected representative.”

“if rate-paid reports like the $300,000 Deloitte investigation information were made available to us who need to make related decisions, none of this tedious LGOIMA process would be necessary. It is a shame that I have to go to so much effort just get basic information, and that so few others can be bothered.”

There is real meat in what my emails reveal here [you should take 4 minutes to read them in full] Morris’ gossip columnist treatment of the non-issues, making me look perverse in the process, is the main reason I no longer risk talking to him.

Ditto Loughrey who recently reported mainly Thomson’s comment re sale of Wall st. ignoring Cr Calvert’s excellent questions and debate, and completely failing to report the much bigger Finance Committee discussion issue of $15 million per year interest costs on DCC debt and the urgent need to investigate the sale of DELTA and Aurora to deal with DCC debt.

Perhaps you might be interested in meeting to discuss?

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

(6) Attachments:

CCE03152016_0001 Affidavit of L Vandervis 1/3/16
CCE01212016_0003[1] GA Paine, Barrister – letter to L Vandervis 21/1/2016
CCE12212015_0016 GA Paine, Barrister – letter to L Vandervis 21/12/2015
CCE12182015_0005 GA Paine, Barrister – letter to L Vandervis 18/12/2015

croweH1/2.jpg [click to enlarge]


croweH2/2.jpg [click to enlarge]



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

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics

48 responses to “Cr Vandervis co-operates with investigators #mediaslant

  1. Elizabeth

    Received from Cr Lee Vandervis
    Mon, 14 Mar 2016 at 4:27 p.m.

    █ Message: It has taken Mayor Cull almost a week to acknowledge my lawyer’s letter and affidavit of 8/3/2016.


    —— Forwarded Message
    From: G A Paine – Barrister-At-Law
    Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2016 13:50:17 +1300
    To: Lee Vandervis
    Subject: FW: Acknowledgement from Mayor Dave Cull – to Alistair D Paterson – re Councillor Lee Vandervis


    From: Alistair Paterson
    Sent: Monday, March 14, 2016 1:45 PM
    To: G A Paine – Barrister-At-Law
    Cc: Lee Vandervis
    Subject: FW: Acknowledgement from Mayor Dave Cull – to Alistair D Paterson – re Councillor Lee Vandervis

    Acknowledgement below

    Regards Alistair

    Barrister and Solicitor (NZ)
    Australian Commissioner For Oaths (Aust)

    From: Monique Elleboode On Behalf Of Dave Cull
    Sent: Monday, 14 March 2016 1:02 p.m.
    To: Alistair Paterson
    Subject: Acknowledgement from Mayor Dave Cull – to Alistair D Paterson – re Councillor Lee Vandervis

    Dear Mr Paterson

    I acknowledge receipt of your letter of 8th March 2016 regarding Cr Vandervis. I will consider its contents and respond in due course.

    Yours faithfully

    Dave Cull
    Mayor of Dunedin

    —— End of Forwarded Message


  2. Elizabeth

    5of6 Attachments supplied have been restored at the post above.

    The Affidavit of Lee Vandervis (1 March 2016) has been withdrawn – advice being taken. This file will be available tomorrow.

    Site Editor

  3. Diane Yeldon

    The guts of Chris Morris’ ODT story of 27th February is that it paints a picture of Cr Vandervis as the shepherd boy who called wolf. When there wasn’t a wolf. But a reporter’s job is to report, not to push their own opinions. So Chris Morris’s reporting of the council meeting in December 2015, when Mayor Cull during the meeting repeatedly and angrily called Cr Vandervis a liar (most reprehensible behaviour for the chair of a public meeting and contrary to the DCC Code of Conduct) amounts to Morris saying, more or less, “Look, Cr Vandervis is at it again, making unfounded allegations which he then won’t back up.” Which is simply not proven to be true. The evidence IMO goes very much the other way. Morris’s story deflects any attention from the actual issue, which is whether in the past any DCC staff did ask prospective contractors for backhanders. It also completely ignores and makes no reference to Mayor Cull’s bad behaviour which struck me, as an observer of this meeting, as extremely newsworthy. Good thing the meeting video is available for people to see for themselves.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “But a reporter’s job is to report, not to push their own opinions.’ Too right, Diane. Still less is it their job to push the mayor’s or the council’s or the DCC’s opinions. When they cannot find the truth to report the least they should do is report the most reliable information they could find, on both sides.

  4. Elizabeth

    ODT is providing coverage tomorrow, so DCC tells me.

  5. Calvin Oaten

    Diane; would it be fair to say that Mayor Dave Cull shows a degree of paranoia in respect to Cr Vandervis’ searching and inquiring actions over all these matters of disturbing goings on within the DCC/DCHL group? It would seem that Cull is desperate to clear these details off the table lest they besmirch his reputation as a transparent mayor as claimed. It’s the “three monkeys, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, and all will be well syndrome. With the GD cabal coming apart he runs the risk of being cast adrift by the rocks. The best place for him.

  6. Elizabeth

    DCC Channel YouTube

    Dunedin City Council – Council Meeting – 14 December 2015
    Published on Dec 15, 2015

    Go to 2:07:20
    Cr Vandervis speaking to contract procurement (historical recall of “cosy relationship problem” at DCC – states he had to pay a 10% backhander to a DCC manager; as a result Mayor Cull calls Cr Vandervis a liar and ejects him from the meeting, after which Mayor Cull again calls Cr Vandervis a liar, in his absence)

    Related Post and Comments:
    15.12.15 Santa Cull’s idea of standing orders 14.12.15 #xmasface

    • Diane Yeldon

      Deputy Mayor Chris Staynes did not further investigate a Code of Conduct complaint against the Mayor for this behaviour.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Okay – to be fair NEITHER of them follow the rules. Cr Vandervis continues to speak when the chair (Mayor Cull) tells him not to. And Cr Vandervis further continues to speak when the chair stands, at which point Standing Orders say everyone must immediately stop talking and pay attention to the chair. But (It gets worse!), instead of the chair focusing on the fact that a member of the meeting is persistently NOT following his instructions and so ejecting them from the meeting (which is the only possible course of action for a chair under these circumstances to keep order), Mayor Cull keeps arguing the point and starts calling Cr Vandervis names and making defamatory statements. Is this council or kindergarten?

  7. Peter

    On the front page of Saturday’s ODT there was a brief mention of ‘a new commitment to long-form, in-depth and investigation journalism’.
    There is going to be a unit headed by Insight ‘director’ and Senior Reporter, Chris Morris.
    I just about fell off my seat with derision.
    Nothing has changed except for a new name for this ‘initiative’. lt is interesting though in that the ODT has taken on board the criticism of its failure to get depth to its news.
    The ODT emphasises it is ‘independent’ which is correct in the sense that it is not part of a chain like Fairfax, but that is not the same as being courageous in the face of powerful interests.
    The ODT does have some decent journos. Unfortunately without naming names….because we don’t need to….we know who lacks respect for their work and who cannot be trusted. I would value a reputation for integrity as a journalist and can’t for the life of me understand why embedded journos can live with themselves.

  8. Diane Yeldon

    But, sadly, Chris Morris’ ‘historical backgrounds’ to local political stories too often strike a sour note which amounts to finding a villain and recounting their supposed misdeeds over and over again. Especially Cr Vandervis, who, as we all know, due to being constantly reminded by reporter Morris, once ‘called council staff dogs.’ Morris’ council reporting often also takes a ‘where’s there’s smoke there must be fire’ approach, so that allegations of bad behaviour lose their quotes marks and morph into statements of fact. For example, over the issue of whether Cr Vandervis’ behaviour is ‘bullying’ or not. Same as whether or not Cr Vandervis actually swore at people. I don’t recall any story where Chris Morris has EVER criticised Mayor Cull (please correct me, anyone, if I’m wrong). Yet Mayor Cull often uses his powers as chair to shut Cr Vandervis up and yet then continues arguing the point himself! He even did it to me once, as a member of the public making a public forum submission, which NO-ONE is allowed to debate at the time, immediately turning to me and contradicting what I’d said when I had no right of reply. This is not fighting fair. Have never before seen a chair ‘win’ an argument by disallowing his opponent the right to speak while he goes for it himself hammer and tongs.

  9. russandbev

    Time for a complaint to the Press Council?

    When the video of the actual Council meeting is viewed and the ODT report is read, can anyone cross their heart and say that the report was a fair, dispassionate account of the meeting? Has anyone in MSM actually reported Cull’s repeated slanderous comments? Cull, as has been observed on this site, accused Cr Vandervis of being a liar and then, after Vandervis was ejected from the meeting, again called him a liar. In public, on a recording, and addressed to the full Council.

    What more does Cull need to do to ensure that defamation proceedings proceed?

    • Diane Yeldon

      Also keep in mind Mayor Cull’s pontificating in a full council meeting about upholding the council’s Code of Conduct when it was about censuring Cr Vandervis. But the Code of Conduct does not apparently apply to Mayor Cull himself. Hypocrisy! Look at this council meeting:
      Starting at 2:05:38
      Dunedin City Council – Council Meeting – April 28 2015

  10. The insider

    Any complaint to the Press Council would need to specifically request Sir John Hansen step aside from the proceedings. Sir John Hansen is current Chairman of the Press Council and has very close ties with the ODT owners.

    • Andrew

      Plus, of course, he was the former Chairman of the DVML Board. A pompous man who has a high opinion of his worth.
      Call me John he implores to some people he wants to ingratiate himself with.

      {Moderated. Actionable. Have allowed strong opinion. That sort of day where DCC is concerned. -Eds}

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Yes, these conditions rampage through a workplace, loose stools and tight sphincters, yellow streaks and brown noses.
        Hope this queasiness is of short duration.

  11. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 15 Mar 2016
    Vandervis’ backhander claim fails to stir Cull
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis has upped the ante in his fraud claims by signing a sworn affidavit alleging he paid a $200 backhander to secure a Dunedin City Council contract. But the document was quickly dismissed by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, who told the Otago Daily Times yesterday it contained “allegations, not evidence”.
    Read more

    [italics by What if?]

    The affidavit and emails were released to What if? yesterday. However the affidavit can not be published until a fully redacted copy is supplied by Lee Vandervis’ lawyer (pending).

    Embarrassing comments by the Mayor of Dunedin and supported (through no contest!) by the Otago Daily Times.

    FOR DAVE CULL SPECIFICALLY – evidence, affidavit…..

    From the Ministry of Justice website:

    Evidence – statements of fact made to the court
    The New Zealand judicial system is adversarial. This means the judge relies on at least two parties presenting opposing submissions and, where appropriate, evidence. Evidence is presented to the court when the parties do not agree on the facts relating to a proceeding. This can be done by a witness in person or by affidavit. When a person is giving evidence, they are allowed to make a statement of fact only. They are not allowed to offer opinions about what decision should be made. The parties must make their closing submissions based on the evidence presented.

    Affidavits and affirmations – written statements of fact
    Affidavits and affirmations are documents that contain information said to be true by the person who swears the affidavit or affirms the affirmation. Affidavits and affirmations are used to present evidence in written form. The document is known as an affidavit if its contents are sworn on oath on a religious scripture. The document is known as an affirmation if its contents are said to be true but an oath is not sworn on a religious scripture. The rules for making affidavits and affirmations are found in rules 9.68-9.89 of the High Court Rules. These rules refer to affidavits but apply to affirmations as well.
    Go to

    • Hype O'Thermia

      We know What If –
      What if Cr Vandervis brought along the St Peter and the Archangel Gabriel as witnesses who had looked down from heaven and seen the cheque change hands?
      “You’re ALL liars!” screeches Our Unchained Malady.

  12. Elizabeth

    Affidavit of Lee Vandervis dated 1 March 2016 (fully redacted) now appears at the post at top of thread, for downloading.

  13. Elizabeth

    GCFO and fraud control officer Grant McKenzie says, via ODT, the report by the council’s internal auditors Crowe Horwath is about two weeks away from completion.

    The emails published here provide detail on the scope of the investigation concerning the backhander historically paid to a DCC staffer by Lee Vandervis.

  14. Elizabeth

    julian's in office with stooges and lee [Douglas Field 15.3.16] 1Julian’s in office with stooges and Lee. Douglas Field 15.3.16

    [click to enlarge]

  15. Anna

    Looks like Jules baby wants to give him a colon investigation.

  16. photonz

    It seems the mayor’s full time job is sweeping council stuff-ups under the mat.

    And rather than leveling any criticism at the mayor at all, the only thing the ODT ever does, is pass him the broom and help lift the mat.

    • Elizabeth

      Julian and Nick should be figuring out how not to fund Dave’s next mayoral campaign since fewer love him judging by view stats today.

  17. Elizabeth

    The ODT finds the real target smallThe ODT finds the real target. Douglas Field 16.3.16

  18. Elizabeth

    Updated post at top of thread. Redactions made at the request and instruction of Dunedin City Council.

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    Goodness me, they’re frightfully sensitive! Comparing it with the original it’s disturbing to see what these mushroom farmers don’t want Dunedin people to read.

    • Elizabeth

      If ever there was a dark alley and a gentleman was met there – who would come off worst, the one that threatened via reference to a document, the fricking BULLY emboldened while someone else was away.

      On that note —
      MSN News: Hager to watch as police destroy files
      Mr Geiringer said police had refused to allow media to capture the destruction of the clones on Friday.

  20. Elizabeth

    Which mayoral campaign was it, I forget, that Mr Cull promised openness and transparency as his ‘council’ platform, amongst other things. Perhaps we are coming back to the elegance of that age.
    What if? is busy hanging out the washing on fine windy days. Ah Autumn :D

  21. Elizabeth

    Two facts.

    1. Lee Vandervis has for a long time drawn public attention to perceived corruption and potentially fraudulent activity at Dunedin. He uses a number of means to achieve this.

    2. Lee Vandervis is an elected representative at Dunedin City Council. Cr Vandervis has a popular public following.

    One hope.
    That Lee Vandervis stands in the October 2016 local body elections to continue his run as a proactive, thinking and thoroughly engaged representative on behalf of his supporters and the wider community.

    What we don’t need.
    A council returned in October that can be seen as a YES COUNCIL. Or a Labour-led or ‘obtusely green’ Council. Those choosing to stand as strong Independents should be given full consideration at voting time.

    Never doubt the following.
    Lee Vandervis will not and can not be silenced. Democracy is at work.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Agree. Cr Vandervis is intelligent, reads agendas, including between the lines, and takes action, whatever it takes to get the job done. All very rare for a DCC councillor, which is why I have backed him for mayor for a long time. It is not true that he has a mean streak. On the contrary, he has a nice streak. Both supporters and opponents can work that out – and watch out! But he will make an excellent mayor for Dunedin, a lot better than Tim Shadbolt, another initially surprising choice, has been for Invercargill.

  22. Elizabeth

    One more thing.
    If in your dark suit you look and sound pathetic – you are pathetic.

    The cartoon character known as Slender Man is tall and thin with a featureless face []

    The cartoon character known as Slender Man is tall and thin with a featureless face via

  23. Elizabeth

    Barbara Kruger. Billboard. Untitled (Art is as heavy as sorrow, as light as a breeze,…) via

  24. Elizabeth

    I note there was NO attempt to eviscerate Barrister Gordon Paine’s letter which speaks to fraud, suspected fraud and alleged fraud – in relation to, for example, Citifleet and Noble (DCC by association). God forbid. So the housework yesterday was to attack (through sheer convenience; this after a more senior staffer had said they didn’t “care about the emails” on the day they were published here) and remove the strong opinion of Lee Vandervis, thinking the hoovering would assist person(s) that are evidently not Lee Vandervis himself. Extraordinary behaviour. Let’s keep kicking the whistleblower is the attitude. Institutional folly.

  25. Calvin Oaten

    I think perhaps these people are somewhat nonplussed by Lee Vandervis’ frankness, and the sworn affidavit has caught them short. Dave Cull will be scuttling for advice as well, I shouldn’t be surprised. There is too much stuff going back too far on too many issues to be able to bully his way out of this. He could well be facing a defamation suit which would not go down well in election year.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Yes Calvin, a defamation suit on top of disappointment, loss of credibility, contempt………..
      ….”would not go down well in election year.”

    • Diane Yeldon

      Interesting questions about whether affidavits are ‘evidence’, which Elizabeth brought up. My guess (and I’m speaking only in the most general terms here, with no reference to any particular affidavit) is that it’s similar to a court deciding whether you are a ‘credible witness’ or not. So taking the whole situation into account, if you don’t have any obvious motive for lying and are known to have been an honest person in the past, with a known good character, then I suppose a court assumes you are telling the truth. Don’t think a court could function at all unless there was this general presumption of honesty. So I would suppose that in the vast majority of cases, yes, an affidavit IS evidence. But this is purely conjecture in general terms on my part. Will be interested to find out a legal ruling.

      Regarding Cr Vandervis’ move in producing an affidavit and not suing for defamation, very clever. Because suing for defamation completely changes the topic from whether fraud was committed to whether defamation has occurred. So if your goal is to settle the original question, the issue of defamation is a red herring.

      Since the affidavit is the property of Cr Vandervis, I can’t see how anyone can prevent him from making it public. Ball definitely in DCC’s court now. Is the work of the Audit and Risk Subcommittee all sham and/or do they let bygones be bygones, even if that looks like sweeping the dirt under the carpet? I think history demonstrates that the truth always comes out eventually. Great short story title by Tolstoy: ‘God sees the truth but waits.’

  26. Elizabeth

    Wed, 29 Jun 2016
    ODT: Vandervis stands by backhander claim
    An independent auditor has found “insufficient evidence” to back Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis’ claim he paid a backhander to a council manager. Cr Vandervis yesterday stood by his claim he paid a 10% backhander to a council manager in 1984.

    Vandervis: ‘The investigation by the council’s auditors, Crowe Horwath, was a waste of time, as he had already found the paperwork relating to his contract to supply an audio system had been removed from council records, as per council policy to retain invoices for seven years.’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s