DCC DRAFT Annual Plan 2016/17 —Harden up, Council

Dunedin City Council (creak, groan), still holds to notions of silly spend-ups —on Minor yet Very Costly items of…. faint if any benefit to the widest scope of Dunedin ratepayers and residents. It’s ELECTION YEAR. Overtly muddled thinking given to ‘pet projects’ and ‘bribes’ (vote chasing) is sorry Self-aggrandising Rubbish on the part of the local body politicians we’re stuck with until this October.

Some people can make a success of themselves living in Dunedin, some in the innovation sector are uniquely placed with developing capacity to export out; but these shining lights and bushells are frequently seen against a Dumb, overly Bureaucratic, In-fighting city council located within a generally stale and stalled non-productive urban economy. Dunedin is achieving only about half the growth of the rest of New Zealand.

This week, Councillors are deliberating to ‘stiff’ ratepayers and residents with the promoted…. steeply unattractive rates increase (supposedly) capped at 3%.

But shifting sands again at Council (what it’s only good for, in a bad way!) —the most inexperienced/unproductive/unbusinesslike gormless Councillors of green persuasion, together with the mayoral candidates and their aspiring pearl- or scarf-wearing deputies are in the Ugly mood to consider yet more unprincipled spending to take us beyond the 3% cap, if MSM news reporting of tendency is acurate (I’m sure it is).

Council staff are not emerging cleanly from this leaky-budget process either —since elected representatives tend to piggyback if they can, staff-driven shiny pet projects even when within very close sniffing distance of the highly questionable event of systemic DCC failure with core infrastructure services, monstrously demonstrated in June 2015.

The lack of brain power to analyse and offer principled leadership of the City of Dunedin is daily astounding. Not something practically-minded, fiscally prudent citizens should tolerate or support any longer.

If Shadbolt wants to come here as Mayor, by all means Jump In.

2.9% rates increase council consulted on now pushing to 3.5% – breaching council’s self-imposed limit of 3% – unless cuts made.

MacTavish sees rates increase at slightly higher than 3%, as squeezing staff resources becomes “detrimental” to the community.

### ODT Online Wed, 11 May 2016
Rates limit agreed – for now
By Vaughan Elder and Timothy Brown
A rates increase of more than 3% remains a possibility, despite Dunedin City councillors agreeing to stick within the council’s self-imposed limit. Councillors were faced with difficult decisions at yesterday’s annual plan deliberations after agreeing to pay for almost $700,000 worth of extra costs in the 2016-17 annual plan.
Read more

Spending $10million on stormwater infrastructure in the next year would not be possible.

“If you were talking about $10million phased in over the next five years, then that’s a much more reasonable proposition.” –WWS group manager

### ODT Online Wed, 11 May 2016
Upgrades would have to be phased in
By Vaughan Elder
Spending millions upgrading Dunedin’s stormwater infrastructure to better withstand floods would not be possible in the next year and increases would have to be ramped up over time, councillors were told. Council water and waste group manager Laura McElhone made the comment when asked by Cr Kate Wilson whether it would be possible, as an example, for her staff to manage spending an extra $10million in the next year.
Read more

Other ODT stories:

User-pays scheme for carbon
Increased landfill costs arising from the Emissions Trading Scheme will be passed on to users contributing to carbon emissions.

Asbestos likely to be cost in future
Asbestos may impact the financial health of the Dunedin City Council’s coffers in years to come but the extent of the cost remains unknown, councillors heard at yesterday’s annual plan deliberations.

Link to harbour supported
Installing a ground-level crossing linking Dunedin’s central city with the harbourside is to be investigated by the Dunedin City Council.

Octagon solution allows relief for other areas
A succesful solution to toilet woes in Dunedin’s Octagon has freed up funds for toilets elsewhere in the city.

George St work delayed
Dunedin City councillors agreed to delay a multimillion-dollar central city improvement programme by a year, giving staff more time to get it right.

Councillors support gas works site plan
The Dunedin City Council is investigating buying three sites in South Dunedin to allow for the future expansion of the Dunedin Gasworks Museum and the possible development of a community hub.

█ Lastly. The item somewhere off the public radar this budget round:
Will Council stop the MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR SUBSIDY to Dunedin Venues ?

Related Posts and Comments:
9.5.16 South Dunedin: Fixing Council attitudes and badly maintained…
6.5.16 South Dunedin Action Group: Notes of meeting with DCC (3 May 2016)
30.3.16 DCC: Snow White cause of substantial loss + DRAFT Annual Plan
23.2.16 Hold on! DCC Annual Plan 2016/17 #CommunityEngagement
30.1.16 DCC Rates: LOCAL CONTEXT not Stats —Delta and Hippopotamuses

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

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

DCC mayor and councillors (2013-14) 1


Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Finance, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Museums, New Zealand, OAG, People, Pet projects, Politics, Pools, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, South Dunedin, Sport, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design, What stadium

41 responses to “DCC DRAFT Annual Plan 2016/17 —Harden up, Council

  1. JimmyJones

    Dave Cull’s 3% cap on rates rizes is a deception if it can be breached on a whim. The ODT (Rates limit agreed – for now) indicates that councillors reluctantly voted to retain the 3% cap but they were told that they could change their mind later. It seems to be a marketing gimmick.
    Some, and perhaps most of the councillors strenuously disagree with being restrained by a budget, they hate having their spending urges restrained. Cr Benson-Pope said: “he had no issue with trying to keep rates increases low, but resolving to stay within the 3% limit at the beginning of deliberations would compromise discussions about other priorities”.
    The other “free spirits” mentioned were: Jinty, John Bezett, Andrew Whiley and Aaron Hawkins. They need to be reminded that most Dunedin households need to stick to a firm budget and their undisciplined spending makes it difficult for many of the city’s citizens.

  2. JimmyJones

    The following was to be an ODT “Your Say” thing, but they don’t want it, it seems. It is about infrastructure spending and is an extended version of this comment which has today finally appeared after about four days (with primitive deletions):

    Defective Stormwater Decisions
    At the DCC Infrastructure Committee meeting a few weeks ago, some councillors discovered for the first time how serious is the condition of the city’s stormwater system and the continuing lack of action to improve it. Independent consultants have told the DCC that most parts of South Dunedin can only cope with a one in 2-year rain event, whereas the DCC design target is for a one in 10-year rainfall. New houses in Christchurch are safe against a one in 50-year event. The difference between the one in 2-year and the one in 10-year is about $138million, this being the estimated total financial impact of the 2015 flooding at South Dunedin Mosgiel, Green Island, Kaikorai Valley, Brighton etc. This is the price we have paid for having a defective stormwater system.

    It is clear from the independent ICMP stormwater reports for the DCC that the poor state of the old pipes is the main problem. The focus of Mayor Cull’s public messages has been on the mudtanks and the badly designed pump screen which are both easily fixed – the main problem, however, is the bad pipes which cost a lot to replace. The high cost of doing this is why the job has not been done and why Dunedin has a defective stormwater system. A one in 2-year rain event capability is feeble, third-world and completely unacceptable for Dunedin and is the reason why we had a serious flood instead of a few puddles last year.

    The decision to under-fund the stormwater pipes and other infrastructure is one that DCC staff, mayor and councillors have repeated every year for several years. For example, this financial year councillors voted to spend $1.275million on stormwater pipe renewals, but what they needed to spend, to keep pace with ageing (depreciation), was $2.631million. In other words, they decided to spend only 48% of what was needed – and so the pipes are wearing out faster than they are being replaced. Last year, before the flood, the auditor of the DCC Long Term Plan warned us about the “$60 million backlog in water and waste assets that have exceeded their useful lives and are not capable of delivering the designed service levels”.

    By under-funding the stormwater renewals, the DCC has put our city at risk and caused estimated flood related costs of $138 million to the citizens and insurance companies. This under-funding has been very useful to the mayor and councillors because the diverted funds were able to be spent on their favorite, but wasteful and mostly unwanted things, such as bicycle lanes and stadium subsidies. Dunedin remains at risk of more flooding for as long as these people prioritise their pet non-essential projects over essential infrastructure spending. The DCC are resisting the prospect of having a properly functioning stormwater system. We are told that it would cost too much. This is wrong: the money that is being diverted away from stormwater renewals and upgrades needs to be used for its proper purpose. No more rates money is needed if the funding for the wasteful, unwanted projects is instead used to improve the DCC stormwater system to a first-world standard of performance.

    This week (10 -12/5/16) our DCC mayor and councillors are deliberating on the Annual Plan (budget) – go and watch them make the same mistake as they have done for the last ten years: watch them fund bicycle lanes, the Te Ao Tūroa strategy and a financialy non-viable new swimming pool for Mosgiel, while carefully ignoring the city’s substandard infrastructure and the urgent $60million backlog of 3-waters renewals.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Yes, the ‘one in fifty years’ extreme weather event standard is prudent. One in ten years is inadequate. One in two years is getting pretty close to not having a storm water system at all. Resulting in not just flooding on the flat but slips, subsidence, sink holes and other land damage on hills. This kind of thing totally ruins people’s lives. The present elected council still doesn’t seem to have woken up to the need to 1) spend a lot of money on water infrastructure 2) stop wasting money on silly things so they can spend a lot of money on water infrastructure. Maybe a ‘fix the drains’ election ticket is needed.

  3. Elizabeth

    Letter rejected by ODT

    On Friday, 6 May 2016 12:41 PM, Jeff Dickie wrote:

    The local Chamber of Commerce deserves its acronym, COC. To support a rates increase [ODT 6 May] more than 30 times inflation is plain stupidity. Dunedin has been sold numerous hare brained Cargo Cult projects that have claimed anticipated huge benefits. Remember the stadium’s extra 500 students and $24M pa economic boost? The roll is significantly down and ratepayers subsidise it by $24M. The DCC and COC should target those who benefit, such as hospitality, and stop expecting Ma and Pa ratepayer subsidies for local business and lunatic projects. DCC can’t even get core business, such as mudtanks sorted. The stupidity needs to stop!

  4. Elizabeth

    Comment at ODT Online:

    Stormwater infrastructure
    Submitted by Ray Macleod on Wed, 11/05/2016 – 8:46am.

    If Dr McElhone is correct and no costing has been done then the “estimate” is really just a guess. I agree that it is difficult to programme $10million of work at short notice, especially when you are short on appropriate design and management resources to oversee the work and also to simply get the contractors to carry it out. However, throwing numbers around is not helpful and it is disconcerting to note, yet again, that the Council does not appear to have a properly considered long term plan for our most strategic and basic services. In fact it appears from the comments that the DCC doesn’t really know very much about the state of the infrastructure. You can’t build a prosperous city on neglected foundations.

    Ray Macleod
    Spokeperson, South Dunedin Action Group

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    The normal way of preparing a budget is first list fixed costs. Then necessities (core business).
    The Dunedin way for several years now has been, first list lovely shiny things. Then when reminded put in the fixed costs. Thirdly, tell Vandervis to shut up. Finally work out to the micron how tightly the ratepayers can be squeezed, and reduce necessities accordingly.

    • JimmyJones

      Hype O’Thermia: the most critical part of preparing a budget is to decide how much you have to spend. This is something that we would assume that everyone would know. A five-year-old with $2 to buy lollies clearly understands the concept of budgeting and the rigid constraint imposed on her by the amount of money that she has. Determining what you can spend is the first step. Prioritising spending is the second step. The constraint is: spending must not exceed available funds.

      Many of our ORC and DCC councillors seem to not understand this and others have shown us that they are actively opposed to the concept of budgeting (Benson-Pope, MacTavish, Bezett, Whiley, Hawkins). Dave Cull’s attempt to encourage a spending limit seems to be fake, done for the cameras.

  6. russandbev

    It is almost unbelievable. Find out that you haven’t needed to spend an allocated $1m so decide to spend it on things like scoreboards for cricket. Let the DCC be reminded. Rates increases at 3 times inflation for decades, infrastructure ignored, pig-ignorant vanity projects put in place by stealth and funded by massive debt, statistical massaging, spin, an organisation that either didn’t have an asset register or knew what one was leading to major fraud, successions of Councillors unable to read a balance sheet – the list goes on and on and on.

    When is Dunedin going to actually wake up?

    I would have thought that if a million was suddenly available then EVERY councillor round the table would have been sticking to debt repayment, investment in actual Council duties like the drains, and keeping rate increases to inflation or below. This lot seems incapable of rational thought let alone rational decision making. Time to find some candidates that can replace this lot.

  7. Tussock

    They have found an extra million in the budget to play with. Instead of putting it towards infrastructure, stormwater etc. They would rather see a fancy score board upgraded, Once again the Councillors have certainly got their priorities right. “Dunedin it’s all right here.”

  8. JimmyJones

    Yes, Tussock, it’s remarkable how these piles of money miraculously appear when the mayor/councillors/staff feel the urge to spend some money on a wasteful/harmfull/financially non-viable pet project.

    Let me explain to them here, that there is absolutly no spare money when the city’s infrastructure is so sub-standard and probably getting worse every year.

    The really stupid ones will not have read the Auditors Report of the last year’s Long Term Plan: the auditor warned us, last year, before the flood, about the “$60 million backlog in water and waste assets that have exceeded their useful lives and are not capable of delivering the designed service levels”. The other type of councillor (and mayor) is the type that is aware of the warning and has seen the disastrous consequences of having a $60million backlog and yet continues to take no action because it would interfere with their personal spending priorities and the wellbeing of their favorite stakeholders – which apparently doesn’t include you, me, the average citizen and the potential victims of the next flood.

    • Tussock

      Jimmy. I see it was Cr Bezett , who put forward the proposal to fund the scoreboard. Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t he first elected to council as a representative of the ward that South Dunedin was part of. If so he certainly has got his priorities right.

  9. Brian Miller

    I see that the Mosgiel Pool is once again mentioned today in the Annual Plan report. Could Elizabeth of “What If” arrange for the chairwoman of the trust Irene Mosley to come on board at What If, and answer any questions about the pool and its development that Whatiffers may have. There has not been a lot of transparency from the trust on the pool development, and public meetings tend to get bogged down and questions not answered satisfactory. This site could be a great opportunity for the pool trust to get its message across, and answer to both sides of the argument. What do Whatiffers think ?

    • Jacob

      Brian, don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer from the Irene.

    • russandbev

      As much chance of that as getting Farry on What If? to explain and debate his stadium I would have thought. The less these people can be exposed to public scrutiny, the more they get away with.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Yes, that’s been pencilled in already by the pool board, the day after hell freezes over.

  10. Mike

    it’s not just a million dollars, they raised an extra million last year that they didn’t really need – that million is now automatically in this year’s rates as part of the base value for that 3% increase – it’s $1M for every year in the foreseeable future

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    Reaction we ain’t gonna see, ever, from these noddies – “Way-hey, a million dollars we didn’t spend. This means our real rates take should have been [3% increase minus $1M] so even if we can’t think of an alternative to regular 3% increases, this one will be 3% of a lesser amount than we thought. Meanwhile the vital core business that we need to get started as fast as possible can be brought forward, $1M worth of sooner.”

    Real life scenario – “$1M of found money, that’s how many shiny green things? Let’s go shopping!”

  12. Elizabeth

    Thu, 12 May 2016
    ODT: Unspent $1m may fund one-off projects
    Dipping into savings made this year has given Dunedin’s councillors “wriggle room” to increase spending without affecting rates. Council group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie said the $1 million allocated in last year’s annual plan towards installing lights at University Oval could be spent on one-off projects in the 2016-17 year, after the project was dropped. This meant council funding for a new hockey turf at King’s High School, a new University Oval scoreboard, the Dunedin Heritage Fund and the purchase of property next to the Gas Works Museum need not result in rates increases.

    If wise, everyone will mass email Mayor and Councillors on this matter NOW, stating ratepayer and resident opposition and disgust. Copy Audit NZ if you’re feeling particularly angry.

    █ DCC email addresses can be found here:
    http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/councillors (go to left menu, contact details at each profile)

    Audit NZ National Office (WGN)
    Email: enquiry@auditnz.govt.nz
    Website: http://auditnz.govt.nz/who-we-are/our-locations [contact us]

    Audit NZ – Dunedin
    Level 1, 399 Moray Place, PO Box 232, Dunedin 9054
    Ph: 04 496 3099
    Fax: 03 479 0447

    • Peter

      I am not sure emailing your views to these councillors is worth the effort. Most of them strike me as arrogant and convinced of their own predetermined views on local matters. Any contrary views are often condescended to or seen as negative if they don’t fit their views/ideology.
      We see there is no left/right split when it comes to irresponsible spending.
      Some of them might think they are doing us a favour by spending ratepayer money willy nilly and even those on the left see no contradiction in adding to the financial stress of those struggling with ever increasing rates while spending money on stuff that is not that vital.
      Btw. Is it the duty of a council to spend money on a local high school? Isn’t that the job of central government? What next? Some defence spending for our local area?
      I really feel local government is too big a job for the kind of people who seek office and, unfortunately, get elected. With few exceptions of course.

  13. Elizabeth

    ODT stories today:

    $500K contribution, with conditions [South Dunedin school hockey turf]
    The Dunedin City Council has supported spending an unbudgeted $500,000 on a $1.77 million hockey turf at King’s High School. […] The spending, which passed after 10 councillors voted in favour of the motion, was conditional on the council’s debt being below $220 million by the end of the financial year.

    Funding decision queried [Mosgiel Pool]
    ….Cr Vandervis asked at yesterday’s annual plan deliberations whether councillors could could remove or put off the $6 million place-holder budget set aside in the 2018-19 budget for the pool […] given recent indications the council will need to invest “significantly more” in infrastructure and protections against erosion at Ocean Beach. Chief executive Sue Bidrose said it was an “entirely political call” and councillors could add or remove from the budget “anything you like”.

    Funds agreed for new scoreboard [professional cricket / DCC asset]
    The University Oval is set to get a video-capable scoreboard after Dunedin city councillors agreed to put $70,000 towards replacing the embarrassing one there now. The agreement to help fund a new scoreboard, subject to staff assessing its suitability, at yesterday’s annual plan deliberations comes after Otago Cricket chief executive Mike Coggan told councillors the current 17-year-old scoreboard had issues with malfunctioning.

    Museum charge mooted again [Settlers Museum]
    Cr Andrew Whiley raised the possibility of charging visitors to Toitu Otago Settlers Museum during the Dunedin City Council’s annual plan deliberations yesterday. The suggestion comes a week after Cr Hilary Calvert raised the issue during annual plan submission hearings.

    DCC commits $100,000 to priory restoration [Heritage]
    The Dunedin City Council will top up the Dunedin Heritage Fund budget after $100,000 was committed to the restoration of Dunedin’s Dominican Priory earlier this year. The unbudgeted spending will be funded from the council’s cash surplus from the 2015-16 financial year.

    Council turning over to new Leafs [electric fleet cars]
    About 17% of the Dunedin City Council’s vehicles will be electric within five years after councillors approved a motion backing the change during yesterday’s annual plan deliberations […] chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said analysis by council staff earlier this week showed the fully-electric vehicles would come with a total cost of 21c per kilometre over their five-year cycle, as opposed to vehicles in the current fleet which cost 22c-24c per kilometre.

    Annual Plan Hearings [Mosgiel roads]
    The Dunedin City Council cannot afford to keep delaying upgrading Mosgiel’s infrastructure, Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairman Bill Feather says. Mr Feather told councillors at annual plan hearings last week that Mosgiel was leading the city’s expansion and it was crucial council invested in improving the safety and quality of the area’s roads. […] An upgrade of Riccarton Rd [as an arterial route] was particularly necessary [he claimed].

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “The University Oval is set to get a video-capable scoreboard after Dunedin city councillors agreed to put $70,000 towards replacing the embarrassing one there now.”
      Scoreboard embarrassing.
      Stratospheric debt for previous follies – not.

    • Elizabeth

      Comments relocated from another thread. Relevance. -Eds

      Rob Hamlin
      2016/09/27 at 8:43 am
      This is how your money gets spent now that the University Oval and pro cricket is safely behind the DVML corporate veil – no pesky hearings, public competitive applications or permissions required by these boys now. One assumes that the “HARDLY USED” Foobar scoreboard will be replaced by a new one of even higher specifications – which will also be ‘hardly used’?.
      Is it not strange that a core component of the supposedly fantastically successful and heavily used Foobar venue should be so described?


      2016/09/27 at 11:34 am
      Another of the DCC best kept secrets till after the elections. Rumour has it that the new Mosgiel Pool could come under the DVML umbrella after the elections.


      Calvin Oaten
      2016/09/27 at 1:57 pm
      Rugby Pool and Council Fools! Watch out for the Otago Cricket Association’s $100,000 to become like the Stadium Private Funding, there in intent, missing in fact. Terry Davies will see that the whole business will be ‘cloaked in confidentiality’.


      Hype O’Thermia In reply to Jacob.
      2016/09/27 at 2:36 pm
      Rumour? It would be wildly imaginative nay delusional to predict that Mosgiel’s Pools-winner Pool would be other than “under the DVML umbrella”.
      Grabby grabby grabby hands, shake grubby hands, gotta picka pocket or two


      Hype O’Thermia
      2016/09/27 at 2:40 pm
      Calvin, you’re getting unduly charitable with age: “like the Stadium Private Funding, there in intent”.
      I suppose it depends on what you meant by intent. Intent to provide it, or intent that gullible people believe one was going to do so.
      “The cheque’s in the mail and the dog ate my homework.”

  14. Gurglars

    Budgets for the Public Service never start from scratch. They start from last year’s budget and the glitterati working there always add a percentage in this case 3% because after all they must have their annual salary increase!

    The sooner that the DCC is forced by their councillors to budget $10million as this year’s contribution to pipe replacement, and only sufficient monies for the sensible management of their responsibilies, will we get acceptable budgets and rate decreases and debt reduction that is real.

    All of the comments above are true, but here is the rub, the existing budget calls for a similar expense on traffic lights. The council will not reduce that because it becomes the grease that oils that department. That is why we get additional clip ons to the traffic lights (unneeded) and traffic lights at every possible location even half way down roads with no crossroads. It is part of the budget. This is just one of the anomalies that occurs in a public service budget. Let’s stop this nonsense.

  15. Calvin Oaten

    It would be fair to say that this council has no conscience when it comes to spending money. The city is broke, the St Clair seawall is in jeopardy, the dunes are in a near state of collapse, the South Dunedin stormwater infrastructure is in dire straits, as the 2015 June Flood amply demonstrated. Yet when the post-event report finally surfaced 10 months later, confirming serious shortfalls in both capacity and maintenance vandalism, we see no sign of any urgency being expressed. I guess because the infrastructure is largely underground and thus out of sight is the problem. “What the eye don’t see the heart don’t grieve for” as the saying goes.

    Yet when there appears to be an ‘unspent $1m’ found they can’t quickly enough find pressure groups and issues to bow to. GCFO McKenzie’s veiled warnings of the perilous state of the city’s finances and the fact that the 3% self-imposed rate increase would be in breach if all are accommodated cuts no ice with them.

    I am reminded that back in 2001 or thereabouts, when Jim Harland was appointed CEO, the city’s debt was $36million, and that
    was relatively recent due to the building of the Kaikorai Valley water treatment station. He quickly disbanded the city’s inhouse engineering expertise and put us in the hands of ‘private consultants’. Then he, together with council’s connivance set off on a spending binge of dramatic proportions.

    We were all conned by the Rugby establishment, fronted by Malcolm Farry, Cr Michael Guest, Mayor Peter Chin, into the Dunedin Stadium Project at “not a cent more than $188million”. The Town Hall Redevelopment Project, the Otago Settlers Museum, all debt funded and grossly underestimated, which collectively took the city’s debt to $360million in less than ten years. This together with rapid increases in all charges, escalation of bureaucracy and outlandish salary increments means we had a city under siege.

    Then we saw the “smoke and mirrors” come into play. First there was the decision to float the Stadium debt onto a separate organisation called Dunedin Venues Ltd (DVL) which existed in no-man’s land. It assumed some $130 -140million thus reducing the city’s debt from $360 to around $230million. “Whoopee!” they shout with glee. But this debt still sat there requiring subsidies to DVL to enable it to service and pay down the debt. One source was $7.292million pa in ‘subvention’ payments from Aurora Energy, a DCHL subsidiary company. This of course reduced the dividend the DCC was to receive from DCHL by the ‘tax paid’ amount of $5.2million. Undaunted by this the DCC continues to subsidise DVL and its other ‘klingon’ DVML by straight-out payments, calling up unpaid capital shares to the tune of around $1.5million pa and taking over $2million pa in rent relief to DVML in order to let it produce a fictitious surplus on activities.

    Including DCHL’s Delta going off on a land speculation frenzy resulting in serious losses in the $millions plus a large, yet to be accounted risk, rumoured to be in the vicinity of +$20million on a land deal in Canterbury, the investment and closing of several operations in the Christchurch area brought additional financial pressures on the ‘Consolidated’ debt, pushing it up to a peak of around $623million!. It is now rumoured to be around $600million.

    The one thing we do have which is an earner of variable amounts over the years is the ‘Waipori Investment Fund’. Then these ‘green’, holier than thou zealots around the council table bulldozed it into divesting in any ‘fossil fuel’, tobacco or alchol related industries. This of course is not a qualification these ‘dickheads’ have, just ‘bullying’ tactics almost certain to jeopardise the earning capacity of the Fund.

    The Dunedin [Town Hall] Conference Centre got the go-ahead based on a report from Horwath which in an exercise showed that when the upgrade was complete in 2015 the complex would host 36 conferences showing a revenue over expenditure of just $700,000 before debt servicing and depreciation. After these there would be a deficit of $4.2million. Needless to say the number of conferences achieved was around a dozen. The Otago Settlers Museum of course has next to no revenue (as entry is free) but heaps of expenditure and some $30million to service.

    Meanwhile, debt at around $600million at about 6% per annum interest exports some $36million pa out of the city’s coffers into the private banks, none of which are Dunedin owned.

    Now we are faced with the sad sight of this bunch of ill capable ‘wankers’ arguing the toss over how much more they can donate, give, expend of hundreds, if not millions of dollars which they do not have on cycleways, building subsidies, fibre cabling for “Gigatown” (the greatest con since Jesus played fullback for the Israelites) scoreboards for cricket, secondary school playing fields projects, and the ‘biggie’, an Aquatic Centre for Mosgiel. All this despite the fact there is no money, just debt and more of it to come.

    Yet not a penny towards the vital infrastructure of stormwater reticulation, shoring up our ocean defences nor a realistic facing of the dire position Dunedin’s financial really is in.

    Yet Mayor Cull continues to preen himself on how satisfactory the situation is and how the debt is being reduced. He jets off to parade in China, or anywhere that gets away from the reality of the citizen ratepayers’ financial obligations if the whole house of cards turns to custard. We’ll all wonder about his ‘sustainability’ claims then.

    {Correction entered re Waipori Fund. -Eds}

    • Peter

      Calvin. A cogent summary to remind us again of the slippery slope from the Harland/Chin years….still far from remedied. When do we lose hope? Now?
      It is good how you periodically keep this in focus.

  16. Calvin Oaten

    Sorry! I got it wrong. The Waipori Fund was in fact the proceeds of the government forced sale of the DCC’s Waipori electricity generating system. The sale of which was a ‘botch up’ by council at the time in which it was sold quickly but then onsold at a much higher price. The sale of the Trustee Banks resulted in the Otago Community Trust Fund being established. Fortunately the DCC has no control over the distribution of the benefits of its investment policies.

    {Correction entered at your last comment. -Eds}

  17. Calvin Oaten

    Well, they’ve done it! Rates rise to be 2.97%. A neat 0.03% below their self imposed threshold of 3%. Councillors were almost unanimously pleased with the outcome, Mayor Dave Cull said by using all its “wriggle room” to keep rates increases below 3% without making significant cuts council had arrived at a “very good place.” They managed this and still took advantage of the $1million allocated but unspent on University Oval lights. This was at the instigation of financial maestro Cr Richard Thomson, who never saw a penny that he couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t spend. ‘High fives’ all round and special thanks to Richard from Cr Kate Wilson for coming up with a solution that provided a “very balanced” outcome. For deciding that $25,000 should be returned to the city’s environment strategy would simply add to the perception councillors would “spend every last cent”, claimed dissident Cr Vandervis. This was twitchingly described by Cr Benson-Pope as “sanctimonious nonsense”. This comment was subsequently twitchingly withdrawn by agreement.
    MikeStk covers succinctly on the ODT online site the “very good place” we are in.
    Summed up, it is, to use Cr Benson-Pope’s description, all “sanctimonious nonsense”.

    {Link added. -Eds}

  18. Pb

    cpi 0.5%

    Spending beyond CPI should be put to Dunedin referendum.

    Spending beneath CPI should involve laurels and cred.

    Why does every public official think running public coffers like a teenager’s maxed out credit card a good idea.

  19. Elizabeth




    Fri, 13 May 2016
    ODT: Council keeps rates rise to 2.97%
    Dunedin city councillors made full use of their “wriggle room” to keep rates increases below 3% without making significant cuts. The final rates increase for the 2016-17 year came to 2.97% as councillors took advantage of $1million allocated to installing lights at University Oval being unspent after the project was dropped.

    █ Cr Lee Vandervis objected to $25,000 being returned to the city’s environment strategy.

  20. Elizabeth

    Slow moving targets

    Thu, 26 May 2016
    ODT: Baldwin St to finally get public toilets
    Confirmation Baldwin St, the world’s steepest street will soon get its long-awaited public toilets has been welcomed by businesses. Dunedin City Council city property manager Kevin Taylor said yesterday staff were identifying a site and looking at what sort of public toilet would be installed.

    ■ DCC has set aside $200,000 for toilets this financial year and $150,000 in following years.

  21. Elizabeth

    The gravy train for Enterprise Dunedin continues —how many new residents to Dunedin did the Auckland campaign yield ? This latest rort must be still under the CEO’s salary band so I guess here we have a bargain saving by Enterprise Dunedin.

    ### dunedintv.co.nz Thu, 9 Jun 2016
    $300,000 to entice more people to move South
    Enterprise Dunedin is set to spend an additional $300,000 a year to entice more people to move South. The allocation is on top of the existing international tourism budget, and includes $100,000 for domestic marketing. The additional $200,000 is earmarked for promotion of the city to Australians. Staff will work with industry partners on the two year marketing plan, outlining the key goals and objectives for the funding. This latest push to attract more people to Dunedin follows on from a print supplement targeting Aucklanders earlier this year.
    Ch39 Link [no video available]

  22. Elizabeth

    Wed, 27 Jul 2016
    ODT: Library saves on lighting
    A lighting upgrade at the Dunedin City Library is saving the Dunedin City Council about $66,000 a year. The savings estimate comes after much of the building’s lighting was replaced with energy efficient bulbs in 2014 and lighting controls were introduced in some staff areas, so lights turned off when they were not in use.

  23. Elizabeth

    One week ago


    ### dunedintv.co.nz Mon, 5 Sep, 2016
    Enterprise Dunedin hopes to attract many people with winter marketing campaign
    Enterprise Dunedin hopes to attract many people with winter marketing campaign. A two-month Enterprise Dunedin campaign to entice people to the city is costing stakeholders almost $100,000. The city council’s footing half the bill, with partner organisations covering the rest. Those involved say it’s money well spent but the project is attracting scrutiny.
    Ch39 Link

    Channel 39 Published on Sep 4, 2016
    Enterprise Dunedin hopes to attract many people with winter marketing campaign

  24. Calvin Oaten

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Enterprise Dunedin hopes to spend $100,000 to attract many people with a Winter marketing campaign.
    How can this council even discuss this on the eve of an election for new mayor and council? Again, I was under the impression that on 12 September we were firmly into the Spring season. Surely, they must be talking about next winter in 2017. That then would be the new council’s business.
    It just seems weirder and weirder how dysfunctional that building has become.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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