ODT: Vandervis v Cull

Dave Cull merge v1

‘Mr Cull maintained he was correct to call Cr Vandervis a liar during a furious bust-up at a council meeting last December, telling the Otago Daily Times yesterday “a lie is a lie”.’

### ODT Online Sat, 7 May 2016
Threat to ‘double damages’
By Vaughan Elder
Councillor Lee Vandervis has threatened to “double the damages” from defamation action after Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull stood by calling him a liar. […] Cr Vandervis launched the defamation action this week, saying Mr Cull calling him a liar during a discussion on a new council procurement policy was incorrect and defamed him. A letter sent to Mr Cull by Cr Vandervis’ legal counsel, Alistair Paterson, said he would be willing to forgo defamation action if Mr Cull paid his legal costs and made a public apology in a full council meeting filmed by Dunedin Television and in the presence of Allied Press [Otago Daily Times] reporters.
Read more

Channel 39 Published on Dec [14]*, 2015
Councillor asked to leave meeting
Councillor Lee Vandervis was instructed by Mayor Dave Cull to leave a Dunedin City Council meeting today. The request came after Cr Vandervis alleged that tender contracts could not be secured unless a relationship was developed with staff. The Mayor rejected his claims, saying he had no proof. Cr Vandervis then proceeded to continue discussing the matter and was asked to leave.
Note: Incorrect date of meeting given at YouTube entry.

Dunedin City Council Published on Dec 15, 2015
[full meeting video – relevant segment near end from 2:07:19]

Unconfirmed Minutes of Meeting (14.12.15)
No reason given for minutes as yet unconfirmed by Council.

Related Posts and Commments:
14.3.16 Cr Vandervis co-operates with investigators #mediaslant
20.12.15 More emails —DCC aftermath of full council meeting 14.12.15
19.12.15 Member of the public lays Conduct complaint against Mayor Cull
15.12.15 Santa Cull’s idea of standing orders 14.12.15 #xmasface

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

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year —this post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: dunedintv.co.nz – archivemash by whatifdunedin

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67 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Events, Finance, Media, Name, New Zealand, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Site, Travesty

67 responses to “ODT: Vandervis v Cull

  1. Elizabeth

    via ODT
    Cull: “Crowe Horwarth have found that there was no evidence, then, or later.”

    kidrobot-x-capcom-mega-man-figure-1 [creativegazette.com]kidrobot x capcom mega man figure [creativegazette.com]

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “…Cr Vandervis alleged that tender contracts could not be secured unless a relationship was developed with staff. The Mayor rejected his claims, saying he had no proof.”
      Here, if correctly reported, it is shown that the person with no proof was the Mayor yet he announced the lack of proof as if he knew it for a fact. Cr Vandervis merely had not PRODUCED any proof at that time.
      It was absence of proof, that’s all.
      And absence of proof is not proof of absence.

  2. Calvin Oaten

    It would appear that we have a stand off here between Mayor Dave Cull and Cr Vandervis. With the election looming, it is not surprising, as Mayor Cull is in the invidious position, if he apologises and publicly announces that fact, then it would inevitably reflect in the ballot box. On the other hand, if he goes through the court process and is found against, that gamble would have failed. Even if he is found for, it would just about be ‘game set and match’, with seeds of doubt sown in the voters’ minds, the mayoralty could be gone from his grasp. A classic “Hobson’s Choice”.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Singing (off-key), dancing (around the truth), pouty-shouty-grudgy comedy-drama coming to a courtroom near you!
      Featuring faded star of television past!
      Book now… eventually… in October…

    • There’s another issue here besides a stand off between Mayor Cull and Cr Vandervis. A more important one, I think. And that’s that the Dunedin City Council does not take its own Standing Orders or Code of Conduct seriously. No councillor made a Point of Order when Mayor Cull abused Cr Vandervis in this way. And no councillor made a Code of Conduct complaint.
      They are ALL responsible for the orderly conduct of meetings (not just chairs) and they are ALL responsible for ‘upholding standards’. I hope with the newly elected council we see less gutlessness.

  3. Elizabeth

    The chances of this getting to Court before the October election, probably not great ?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      What is the legal standing of a sworn affidavit? Who is entitled to reject it, all and sundry, anyone who doesn’t like what it says? Police? Government-appointed investigator of some sort?

  4. Calvin Oaten

    Still, the damage will have been done as the mud slung in the campaign would be lethal.

  5. Elizabeth

    Radiohead Published on May 6, 2016
    Radiohead – Daydreaming
    Taken from the new album released digitally on 8th May 2016 at 7pm BST.
    Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
    Production: Ghoulardi Film Company, m ss ng p eces

    They never learn
    Beyond the point
    Of no return

    And it’s too late
    The damage is done

    This goes
    Beyond me
    Beyond you

    We are
    Just happy to serve
    You

    Efil ym fo flaH
    Efil ym fo flaH

    The music video features Thom Yorke repeatedly walking through various doors which lead to locations uncharacteristic of the door which lead him there. The video ends with Yorke walking up a snow topped mountain and crawling into a cave where he lays by a fire as reversed, warped, and slowed vocals overtake the song. Yorke appears to be singing, “Half of my life” or “I’ve found my love.”

  6. Elizabeth

    New release – popular music/ video animation

    Radiohead Published on May 3, 2016
    Radiohead – Burn The Witch
    Burn the Witch shows why Radiohead are masters of the hype game.
    Director: Chris Hopewell
    Production: Jacknife

    Red crosses on wooden doors
    And if you float you burn
    Loose talk around tables
    Abandon all reason
    Avoid all eye contact
    Do not react
    Shoot the messengers

    This is a low flying panic attack
    Sing the song of sixpence that goes

    Burn the witch
    We know where you live

    As of Thursday morning, the Burn the Witch video – launched at 4pm BST on Tuesday – had chalked up more than 6.6M views on YouTube. Using animation in the style of the Trumptonshire trilogy, the children’s animations made between 1966 and 1969 and set in an all-white, happy rural England, the video portrays a community where paranoia and rage go hand in hand with bucolic peace – the clip ends, seemingly, with an outsider being burned alive in a giant wicker man.
    Guardian Music Thu, 5 May 2016 at 08.41 BST

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    Cosmologist Martin Rees’ maxim, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” is apposite here.

    Argument from ignorance (from Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam), also known as appeal to ignorance (in which ignorance represents “a lack of contrary evidence”), is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that: there may have been an insufficient investigation, and therefore there is insufficient information to prove the proposition be either true or false. Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four,
    true
    false
    unknown between true or false
    being unknowable (among the first three).[1]
    In debates, appeals to ignorance are sometimes used in an attempt to shift the burden of proof. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

    • ab

      Uh Oh, a priori. Marty’s maxim is applicable to Climate Change..Duallists, always the same: Good God says no cc, v Bad God (demi urge) says yes cc.

  8. Peter

    I would have thought Dave Cull could have simply stated he believed Lee Vandervis was wrong or barking up the wrong tree and left it at that. But, no, he went further and, without proof, called Lee Vandervis a liar. Would this not be pertinent in a court case?
    This is not the first time Dave Cull has fired off his mouth and bad temper to ill effect on us all.

    • Invercargill City Council has managed a similar incident much better than the DCC or, more specifically, Mayor Cull seems to be able to do.
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3842651/Council-debates-get-nasty

    • Hype O'Thermia

      I wonder if a person believed he would not have to pay his own legal expenses, would see this as a great opportunity to engage in a complex action with many opportunities for delays, that would seriously deplete his adversary’s funds and take up his time.

      Were this to coincidentally occur at a time when both parties were vying for the same opportunity – lead role in The King and I, or a running event in the Olympics, or running for office in upcoming elections just as random examples – a chance to nobble the opposition would be hard to resist. One would have to be a person of high moral character to pass it up.

      However it could backfire in the court of public opinion. Even before the lawyers clicked their 5-minute timers for the first time, indignant theatre-goers, or track and field enthusiasts, or voters who feel strongly about the importance of “keeping it clean” would probably have started a crowd funding appeal for the one they thought was being treated unfairly. We’re Kiwis, we don’t like unfairness. We get antsy when we think the underdog’s not getting a fair go.

  9. alanbec

    Apology ‘in the presence of Channel 39 and the ODT’. That will depend entirely on the newsworthiness of the event. You can’t set it up taking for granted it will be covered as news. However, if resolution is contingent on media participation, you would have to pay the media to attend.

    • Richard Stedman

      I think you will find that the media concerned can be cited as second defendant […] As I understand it the [DCC inhouse] legal team is employed to advise council and not to act against any particular member of the council.

      {Moderated. It is council policy that all in-public council and standing committee meetings, including public forums, shall be videoed as a ‘matter of record’ – in the interests of access, openness and transparency. In addition, members of the public can formally request to make sound recordings of these sessions. Then too, MSM in attendance are a welcome tradition for democratic reasons – how they chose to exercise their reporting is variable but in this case publicly important for close examination of our local government in a situation of strife. Diane Yeldon has in the past discussed speaking under privilege, for mayor and councillors. Perhaps Diane would care to raise that again at this thread. -Eds}

      • Richard Stedman

        That’s fine and all the more reason why restraint is needed when tempted to brand a person as a liar, and policy or not it does not exonerate those responsible for repeating/broadcasting the statements from liability.

        • alanbec

          I misread the original story, carelessly. The ref to media presence was part of Cr Vandervis attempt to resolve the dispute, conditionally. And not a requirement of DCC.

          As for media as defendants, isn’t that dealt with by the Press Council?

      • Mayor Cull (as usual) has just shot himself in the foot – by repeating the defamatory statement OUTSIDE the public meeting, in a comment to the ODT. He has no ‘qualified privilege’ here! He can get himself off the hook as easy as – just by retracting and making an apology. Wish he would, so councillors and the council could get on with their proper business.

        I am sure the media making a fair and accurate report of any public meeting has qualified privilege. So Channel 39 is okay because nothing could be more ‘fair and accurate’ than a video recording. Print media will probably be okay as long as they don’t put on any extreme spin. All in the public interest for the media to report it.

        Interesting question, though, whether Mayor Cull’s qualified privilege as a councillor speaking at a public council meeting allows him to defame someone. To call someone a liar is to generalise about their character in a way which is likely to make an ordinary person think less of them. He could have just said that he didn’t believe the specific claim which Cr Vandervis was making was true.
        I don’t think this has ever been tested in a court – and the law regarding defamation was changed not that long ago. Unfortunately, I read the law (purely a layperson!) as saying that maliciousness does not allow a person to challenge qualified privilege. Which makes me wonder what would be allowed to challenge it. Lack of fairness and accuracy, I guess. Looks like this law was drafted to keep the media reporting council meetings under control, rather than making councillors accountable for making completely unnecessary defamatory public statements which are in no way in the public interest and no part of the councillor’s responsibility as a councillor.
        Councils have to have a Code of Conduct – it’s a legal requirement in the Local Government Act. And the Code of Conduct has legal force. All councillors have sworn an oath or made a solemn declaration to uphold the law – which includes their own Code of Conduct and Standing Orders. And the Code of Conduct can be read as forbidding defamation of anyone. They must treat each other, staff and members of the public with respect.
        Unfortunately, it seems that when councillors do not uphold the Code, there is no legal remedy. The only person(s) the council is accountable to is its ratepayers. It’s a good principle in law to give local communities as much self-determination and autonomy as possible when it works – but a nightmare when it doesn’t – as stadium process protesters will know. It would be a risky exercise for an individual to try to take a council to court for not upholding its Code of Conduct or Standing Orders. Obviously, the council can use the ratepayers’ money against them. Members of the public can make a Code of Conduct complaint – at least there’s nothing in writing at the moment that prevents this. But there’s also nothing which prevents the councillor to whom this complaint is addressed (mayor or deputy mayor) from simply ignoring it.
        Am inclined to think that court will decide that ‘free and frank discussion’ at a public council meeting is of greater value than protecting elected reps (or anyone else) against defamation from councillors. So my guess is that claims of maliciousness will not ‘outrank’ qualified privilege regarding what is said in public during a council meeting. But this is not really going to matter – since Mayor Cull has repeated the offensive allegation OUTSIDE a meeting!

        Diane’s comment is published in its fullness in the public interest. Election Year. -Eds.

        • More about qualified privilege and defamation – important to political bloggers too!
          19 Rebuttal of qualified privilege
          (1) In any proceedings for defamation, a defence of qualified privilege shall fail if the plaintiff proves that, in publishing the matter that is the subject of the proceedings, the defendant was predominantly motivated by ill will towards the plaintiff, or otherwise took improper advantage of the occasion of publication.
          (2)Subject to subsection (1), a defence of qualified privilege shall not fail because the defendant was motivated by malice.
          Compare: 1954 No 46 s 17(2)
          http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1992/0105/latest/DLM281231.html
          (Legal amateurs, like me, must be wary of unknown amendments! But this is best effort.)

          From what I have read on the internet, in many cases, not just in NZ, qualified privilege has failed as a defence against defamation if the defendant was not using it for the purpose for which it had been granted ie properly and fairly. Or, as the law says, ‘taking improper advantage of the occasion of publication’. This seems to me to be in accord with natural justice.
          It seems to me that if an elected rep, especially one with the wide powers of a chair, was breaching the council’s Code of Conduct when they were speaking, then they would not have a defence of qualified privilege. Because they could not have been making those statements as part of their duties and responsibilities as an elected rep.

        • Elizabeth

          Diane, enjoying your visits here with thoughtful topical oversights, said the political blogger who is set to become “more infamous” this week if ODT works its subtle magic. Although, won’t merit a two-page profile like the one in Saturday’s newspaper. I gather that has set up hard ripples.

  10. Richard Stedman

    The Press Council is a self-regulating body with limited scope similar to Broadcasting Complaints. Neither has the authority of the courts. Unless there is a willingness to withdraw and apologise this case has the potential to become very messy indeed and see the media become embroiled and asked to defend its actions.

  11. Elizabeth

    Alerted. Can imagine who complained.
    Comments have now been closed at ODT Online.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/382423/threat-double-damages

    • ab

      Closed, you say, Tilda. Were they ever open? Says ‘printer friendly version’.

    • Richard Stedman

      Irrespective of any complaint, the ODT will now have a big red flag on this scenario as it unfolds. Everything on the subject from now on will be checked for legals by the lawyers to limit liability. Its called damage control, so expect little in the way of access for public comment. They cannot risk anything provocative sneaking in under the radar, in case they are dragged into litigation. However, I would be surprised if the matter is not settled before it gets that far.

      • Elizabeth

        Both men seemed comfortable speaking to ODT for the story – to put their views and for the public to be aware. Of course, we are now put in the know about the use of rates funds to pump one side’s defence – given that Lee Vandervis has not, it is stated, brought damages against the council.

  12. Calvin Oaten

    I’ll watch with great interest as this ‘melodrama’ plays out. Looking at the Channel 39 interview with Dave Cull on the aftermath of the meeting with SDAG and DCC chaired by His Worship … suggests a tawdry fight in the courts.

    {Moderated. -Eds}

  13. russandbev

    The conditions that Cr Vandervis set to withdraw his legal action seem fair to me. Cull called him a liar to his face and then after booting him out of the meeting, called him a liar again. Presumably to stamp his authority on the rest of the Councillors – none of whom protested at Cull’s actions. Compare this scenario to what regularly happens in Parliament at question time when the Speaker, who continues to wink away at his colleagues on the National front bench, demonstrates his bias and pompous attitude to opposition parties – particularly to NZ First. When the Speaker booted out one NZ member for daring to stand up to him, the whole caucus walked out in protest. It made a big point. The Dunedin Councillors just sit there and let it all happen round them. By doing so, they say “it’s OK for Cull to behave like that”.

    The second major point is that if it’s OK for Cull to employ Council lawyers to defend his personal behaviour and statements when undertaking a Council function, then it’s OK for Cr Vandervis to also have his costs borne by Council. Cull made some pretty mild comments about the ORFU when that body was fleecing the Council, and after a threat to sue, he caved in and the Council paid all the costs of the ORFU. In that case, Cull was speaking as the Mayor. In this latest case, BOTH Cull and Vandervis were participating in a Council meeting, both were discussing Council business or activities. Ipso facto, Vandervis should have all his costs covered.

  14. Gurglars

    By calling Vandervis a liar in his verbal statement he is also calling him a perjurer as he has written a statutory declaration declaring the information to be true.

    Cull will have to prove Lee is both a liar and a perjurer to escape damages.

    Just anothe Rugby Union payout, anyway unblievable cost to the bloody ratepayer, whereas accepting Vandervis’ very kind offer we did not have to pay anything.

  15. Jackie Elliott

    His Worship the Mayor has made a major transgression, and so have the other councillors who have allowed him without protest. Kapiti Coast District Council are just processing our 13th Code of Conduct complaint this triennium. So far no one in Kapiti has filed a defamation case, I have evidence for 3, against the Mayor and 2 councillors. Cr Vandervis has support from many other elected members around NZ in his position. Good on you Lee.

    • alanbec

      I see, Jackie Elliott. But, don’t you have the formidable Cathy (‘Trouble in River City’) Strong, on the Coast?

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Whereas we, alanbec, have……….
        What’s the opposite of “formidable”? I keep thinking “contemptible” but that’s not the opposite of “formidable” is it. It’s annoying the way a word gets stuck in one’s mind eh, like an earworm.

        • Gurglars

          Sinkable, Hype, formidable was an English battleship.

          The Spanish eqivalent’s meaning changed just after 1588.

        • alanbec

          Not sure. ‘The Old Contemptibles’ weren’t really contemptible, just ‘rumpty’ in Company. Molly Brown was ‘Unsinkable’.

  16. Really

    They should take a read of this recent judgment and note the judge’s closing comments on local body politics and stop wasting so much time and money!

    http://www.defamationupdate.co.nz/sites/all/pdf/2016/Arnold-v-Fairfax-2016-NZHC-207.pdf

    • Richard Stedman

      It is hard to see the relevance of the Invercargill case when considering the fractious dealings at the DCC and repeated assertions in the public domain. Shadbolt was writing in a newspaper opinion column in his customary robust and colourful style, whereas the Dunedin situation involves a more direct statement that implies a basis in fact.

  17. Calvin Oaten

    I agree with Richard Stedman in as much as the the direct statement “you sir are a liar, please leave the room” was made unrehearsed or premeditated, but “on the hoof” on the thinking that the utterer had some sort of in house protection. This may or may not be argued, but it seems that this has been overcome by the re-iteration of the statement repeatedly in public, thus leaving no doubt that the plaintiff was defamed without any right of rebuttal. A black mark on our elected leader.

    • Richard Stedman

      Calvin, he went further in Saturday’s ODT:
      “Of course you could use different language, but a lie is a lie.
      “This isn’t about language, this is about making false allegations in this case, and it’s not acceptable.”

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Good lord! And he regards rates-funded legal representation as appropriate when he keeps on saying the same thing, without any proof whatsoever?
        Surely whoever authorises expenditure at DCC won’t support this! Or will they? Is Vandervis so much of a threat to … ahem, so many people? When all he does is attempt to keep focus ON core business, OFF daffy spending that has seen the city’s debt rise like shaken Coke –
        – hmm, yes that would spoil several people’s agendas regarding pet projects, could end the payroll expansion for managers of this, facilitators of that, coordinators of green candyfloss. And we know that salary and status rise according to how many staff senior employees have who report to them.

        So I guess we’ll be paying for the defence of the indefensible, again. Place your bets now on how much over 3% the next rates rise will be.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      I wrote to odtonline while comments were still being accepted. I know comments were enabled at that time because I sent this, below, and got the usual “Your comment has been queued for moderation by site administrators and will be published after approval.” It did not appear, and when I opened the article again the “comment” facility had been removed.

      My comment, headed Unacceptable use of public funds for personal feud:
      As ratepayer I am not at all happy to be paying for Mayor Cull’s defence. His ongoing issues with Cr Vandervis have been apparent for years, both through observation at meetings and in the pages of the ODT. This unsupported allegation against the councillor was his own view, sprung from his own mindset. The excuse that “”This isn’t about language, this is about making false allegations in this case, and it’s not acceptable.” Those allegations hurt staff” is tissuepaper-thin justification for dipping into our rates, just because council can raise them at will to cover whatever they decide to spend “on our behalf”.

  18. Hedley Hopper

    The King and I, or more correctly, ‘Anna and The King of Siam’, went to Deborah Kerr. The Kerr name is one to watch.

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    Gerroff! ‘Anna and The King of Siam’ was the book by Margaret Landon. The stage then film musical was called ‘The King and I’, and the famously invisible Marnie Nixon sang Deborah Kerr’s numbers.

  20. Elizabeth

    Letter rejected by ODT

    On Saturday, 7 May 2016 3:36 PM, Jeff Dickie wrote:

    To have a mayor face a third case of defamation is bad. But three in less than six years? I’m unaware of any previous mayor facing this ever! The first two were settled out of court with ratepayer money and a public apology from the mayor. When one considers ratepayers are funding Cull’s damages and legal costs, it points to an appalling lack of leadership and a waste of our money. To reaffirm his accusations [ODT 7 May], calling councillor Vandervis “a liar” again, shows an arrogance and lack of diplomacy. Cull’s “managed retreat” from City Hall in October would make for a greater Dunedin.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      As my dear friend Lady Bracknell used to say, “To lose one defamation case may be unfortunate….”
      Being an aristocrat she was nothing if not pragmatic, though. “This is why I advise young people to marry sensibly. True love, as they call it, is no substitute for a butler. Ours used to round up the peasants on the estate and firmly encourage them to contribute to Lord Bracknell’s Gobshite Fund, that way he never had to think twice about what he said in or out of the Lords.”

  21. Hedley Hopper

    Lesley Caron was ‘Gigi’ (1959). The film’s too French story, possibly by ‘Colette’, concerns training to be a courtesan. And there’s Maurice Chevalier.

  22. Hype O'Thermia

    Yes, Colette,
    “Thank heaven for little girls.”
    Creepy, even back then.

  23. Elizabeth

    Thu, 26 May 2016
    ODT: Councillor abandons appeal
    Invercargill city councillor Karen Arnold has abandoned her appeal after losing a preliminary High Court hearing in her defamation action against Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt and Fairfax New Zealand Ltd, publishers of The Southland Times newspaper. […] However, the defamation action was still proceeding, Ms Arnold said.

  24. Elizabeth

    “I’m not standing against anyone – I’m standing for Invercargill.” –Arnold

    Fri, 27 May 2016
    ODT: Suing Shadbolt — and now chasing his job
    Invercargill city councillor Karen Arnold is already suing Mayor Tim Shadbolt for defamation and now she is after his job. The first-term councillor and former journalist, who indicated earlier this year she might chase the top spot, formally announced her candidacy yesterday.

  25. Elizabeth

    There is a time when you have to stay out of Council
    THIS IS IT

    Councillor has unfinished business, to finally be able to invest in the city once its financial position is under control.

    Fri, 3 Jun 2016
    ODT: Cancer halted, Staynes to run again
    Dunedin’s deputy mayor is readying himself for one last term on the council, after treatment halted the spread of his prostate cancer. While Cr Chris Staynes’ cancer has not gone away, he said yesterday it was in “a controlled state” that meant he was ready to continue in his role for another three years, if the vote went his way in October.

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    “Councillor has unfinished business, to finally be able to invest in the city once its financial position is under control.”
    It’s good to hear that his physical health is much better. But is he delusional? Cancer or no cancer, and given that centenarians are no longer as rare as white blackbirds, does he really expect to see the day when “its financial position is under control”? Does he have insider knowledge of a new Hartley and Reilly, a new gold rush that will replicate the sudden wealth Dunedin needs if it is to pay back debt faster than interest bleeds out and further debt is racked up – possibly even for spending on necessities for a change.

    • Elizabeth

      It’s not about sympathy votes. Staynes has backed every stupid thing Greater Dunedin failed at.
      This is also the guy who believes in the Digital Office. Ho Ho Ho
      Probably the least obnoxious of the dead GD but that in itself isn’t enough to take the citizens forward.
      +$600M of council debt is extremely hard to shift when at Dunedin we’re experiencing half the growth that’s the national average, and we’re still losing intellectual capital eg Invermay…….

  27. russandbev

    He was recruited into GD by Cull and co because of his enormous financial acumen and business experience. The only question to ask is where is any evidence of these qualities? He and the others that took over from Chin/Harland could have made a huge difference, but chose instead to go down loopy cycle paths, ignore basic core responsibilities, and continued with ratepayer financial support of professional rugby. It is difficult to identify any positives.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      So again I ask, re “Councillor has unfinished business, to finally be able to invest in the city once its financial position is under control” – what’s his plan, what’s the secret knowledge that leads him to believe that its financial position will become (magically?) under control?

      Under CONTROL. Some human control, presumably. But human control caused the current financial position.

      Anyone wanting to fix it better work out who made those bizarre decisions, and why.

      When the answer to the first part is “me” there needs to be long hard looking at oneself to see if there is something about one’s previous beliefs that has changed radically. If not, more “doing the same while expecting different results” can confidently be dreaded.

      • Elizabeth

        I fully suspect Cull and Staynes have sold out under us, to China. Although the University of Otago is capable of sinking all by itself judging from the news in ODT this weekend… DELAYED. Amen.

  28. Calvin Oaten

    So, he has ‘unfinished business to conclude.’ No thanks, I would much prefer to see someone else put a stop to finishing what has been a disastrous performance over the last trimester or six. He can’t honestly believe that he and his fellow GD members have shown any financial abilities that would rate above a ‘D minus’. Can he?

  29. Elizabeth

    Investigation costs the council $3650 to date.

    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. […] Among those interviewed as part of the investigation were Mr Cull, chief executive Sue Bidrose, corporate services group manager Sandy Graham, Mr Orders, the manager, and another person whose name was also redacted.

    [Cr Vandervis] confirmed his legal team was progressing the defamation action against Mr Cull, but it would not go before the courts until next year.

    *Both redacted names are known to whatifdunedin

    • Insufficient evidence re the backhander is not at all the same as indicating that Vandervis was lying. Then one wonders how well it was investigated. The event was a long time ago and the ‘player’ closest to the action may not have been found or if found, prepared to admit anything. That would be stupid. It seems to me that Cull was quick to label Vandervis as a liar when all that he needed to say was that the inquiry could not corroborate his assertion. That is all.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Exactly. Inability to produce proof is not proof that it never happened, especially when the “offence” occurred many years previously.

        We have at last got used to the fact that many offenders rely on lack of eye witnesses. In the past this was the rapists’ and child abusers’ “charter to offend, whenever, wherever”. Calling complainants “liars” used to work. Now – not so much.

        And that skeptical attitude has spread to white collar offenders. Patterns of behaviour, instances of similar attempted offending by one party, are not proof but they are indicative.

        I think we Dunedin people have heard Cull’s statements on various matters, and been able to compare and contrast with Vandervis’s, and have a fair idea of who is has a record of crediblity, and who has a habit of blurting without engaging brain.
        Not saying we’ve all come to the same conclusion….. but………….

        • Kleinefeldmaus

          @Hype O’Thermia
          November 4, 2016 at 10:35 am
          And as you say…. .. we Dunedin people have heard Cull’s statements on various matters, and been able to compare and contrast with Vandervis’s, and have a fair idea of who is has a record of credibility.

          And not to put too fine a point on it, this bit of that act is worth remembering: –

          2 Defamatory matter in copy of agenda or additional particulars supplied to public or in minutes of meeting
          Where a meeting of any local authority is open to the public during the proceedings or any part thereof, —
          (b)
          the minutes of that meeting or part are produced for inspection by any member of the public or a copy thereof is given to any member of the public,—
          the publication thereby of any defamatory matter included in the agenda or in the further statements or particulars or in the minutes shall be privileged
          unless, in any proceedings for defamation in respect of that publication, the plaintiff proves that, in publishing the matter, the defendant was predominantly motivated by ill will towards the plaintiff, or otherwise took improper advantage of the occasion of publication.

          It seems to me that the issue of importance is the difference between on the one hand what the independent review failed to discover and Mr Cull’s decision to call Mr Vandervis a liar. In that context I suspect that what motivated Mr Cull to go beyond the failure of the inquiry to establish anything and call Mr Vandervis a liar put him in a difficult position because the ‘privilege’ that he relies upon may not in fact be available to him.

  30. Elizabeth

    Thu, 3 Nov 2016
    ODT: Cull legal payment slammed
    Councillor Lee Vandervis says it is “truly extraordinary” ratepayers are footing the bill for Mayor Dave Cull’s defamation defence. […] The Local Government Act said councils should cover legal costs of elected members facing civil proceedings when they were acting in good faith and in carrying out the responsibilities or powers of their role, Ms Rusher said. […] The comments come after the High Court in Christchurch provided the Otago Daily Times with a copy of Mr Cull’s statement of defence against Cr Vandervis’ claim he defamed him by calling him a liar at a meeting last year. Cont/

  31. Tussock

    Called Vandervis a liar, and now claims it was made in good faith.? Mud tanks, Yaldhurst, power poles, etc, etc,etc and now Vandervis.. How can any one have any faith in this man

  32. Rob Hamlin

    Who pays Vandervis’ legal fees if Cull loses and gets costs awarded against him?

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