Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #14 : The Election and The End Game revisited

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Sun, 25 Sep 2016 at 11:15 p.m.

Firstly, Ratepayers have a debt (yes another one, readers, but put the cudgels away, it doesn’t involve money illegally advanced by Delta) to Vaughan Elder, Cr Hilary Calvert and our What if? site for prising the official information about the August 1 2016 Council Meeting from the DCC. After an extended delay, some records were produced, but “technical difficulties” meant a full audio transcript was not available. How surprising. This is the Council equivalent of “The dog ate my homework, sir”, with the same level of credibility. But of course Mayor Cull will be able to say that he really wanted the transcript because, of course, he is FOR openness and transparency in Council, for the next fortnight anyway —because in response to the latest poll or subtle expression of displeasure from the ODT publishers, Mayor Cull is now a “transparency magnet”, you see.

While it would have been useful to see if any Councillors expressed even the most cursory concern about the deal, before voting to give away $13.2M to a shell company on the most favourable terms in commercial history, the key point is that Cr Lee Vandervis is the only candidate standing who sounded the alarm. He abstained from even voting on the proposal because the information put before Councillors was so pathetically incomplete that to even vote on it was giving the “proposal” more credibility than it deserved.

Departing from Matters Noble for a moment, your correspondent had from afar noticed a very clear divide on ‘the sound’ between sitting and new council candidates. To a man (and one woman) the sitting Councillors all sing the same song : everything is fine, everything is under control at the hands of your capable (sitting) Councillors and if these “whingers” would stop the “negativity” then everything would move from fine to fantastic on the DCC rate-o-meter. With the notable exception of the sniping between Mr Whiley and Mr Hawkins, there is clearly a little gentlemen’s agreement amongst incumbents not to say hard but truthful things about each other so that normal sycophant operation can resume after the election.

However, the other 32 council candidates are also singing a song that is mostly in unison, and that is that the present Council have failed the city in ways too numerous to count. Their description of the overall Council performance ranges from the mediocre to the abysmal.

With six new positions, in a normal election a candidate could probably spout vague but reassuring platitudes and have a good chance of joining the club. But this is not a normal election and the vast majority of new candidates aren’t being shy about what needs to change. A change is coming.

lee-vandervis-billboard-detail-1The point of all this : Your correspondent says that this is no time for the safety first status quo and if the best candidates only include one (Cr Vandervis) or even two then that is just fine. Vote accordingly. Mr Vandervis as Mayor can always run night classes over the first month in how to chair a subcommittee.

Your correspondent has for some time flayed the vast majority of Councillors in many posts for being slack jawed bystanders on the whole disgusting Delta Noble mess. Those Councillors who acquiesced and made like Silent Bob – which is all of them, except Cr Vandervis, do not merit re-election on a number of levels. Most odiferous of all is Cr Doug Hall, who is very well versed in subdivisions, and would never in fifty lifetimes commit his own money to a deal like this, but who refused to say anything. Sayonara, Doug Silent Bob Hall !!

However, some information from a little bird….
has come to light regarding the non-public section of the fateful August 1 Council meeting. This, along with other information made public at What if?, now means we have an accurate idea of why this turnip of a Delta deal was fertilised into life. (Sorry Vaughan, bested you again, but keep up the good work !).

It was a case of turnip councillors also being fertilised with you know what, but it was also a case of DCHL and DCC bureaucratic fascism, which is even more alarming.

Apparently, a senior representative at the meeting (can’t name names) lectured the Councillors for about 30 minutes that this Infinity deal was The Way, The Truth and will give Life to the half of the $25M DCC debt that the DCC had not written off. To extend the biblical analogy further, however, it would not be three days before the debt was resurrected, but EIGHT YEARS. (Good work on that in Friday’s ODT, Vaughan !!). This is rather a long time to go without financial oxygen, otherwise known as payment of interest, but at Delta (now enabled by the DCC) the unthinkable (the illegal construction of entire subdivisions, being had up for constructive fraud) is now commonplace.

What if? is led to understand that Councillors were lectured like school children, and questions were Not Tolerated by the Irascible Headmaster. They were to vote on the One True Option, and That Would Be That, and if they did not vote for the One True Option, the buyer of the Noble Subdivision would be lost.

Readers may recall that your correspondent did predict that this is precisely what would happen, a certain corporate person would pronounce that There Is No Alternative, regardless of the truth, and much of the statements by the Irascible Headmaster (not to be confused with The Fat Controller) are not true.

A malodorous other person also enabled this fertilisation, as a parting gift to fellow “managers” – and I use the term loosely.

For major decisions, DCC staff are meant to prepare a range of options so Council can debate which is best. Either they weren’t bothered or came under instruction to prepare one option only by minders at DCHL. The Council should remember it is DCHL’s superior, and (theoretically….) DCC’s senior executives should be monitoring the Council holding company and subsidiaries. Old habits (like saying yes) are troublesome things that become reflex actions.

Humour aside, what happened on August 1 and immediately following is simply anti-democratic and makes Councillors redundant rubber stamps for DCC staff. The amazing thing is that only two of the 15 elected complained about this obvious and basic sidelining of Councillors.

But even at that point Ratepayers could have possibly accepted a lack of proper process had a good option been presented. But the “Delta Deal” isn’t a good option. This is the most commercially one-sided deal seen in decades, and the level of excuses made by Crs Thomson and Cull, Delta CEO Cameron, and most of all Mr Crombie, should give Ratepayers pause. They protesteth too much. The cover has been in full swing. “This is the best we can do”, “there are no guarantees”, “it will take years…. but builders are lining up to buy the sections”.

the-fat-controller-thomas-the-tank-engine-2aIf The Fat Controller fitted one of his own conservative clients into this deal – a $13.2M second mortgage on a subdivision mired in legal action and half built illegally, at an interest rate of 7 per cent, he would doubtless be censured and taken to task by his professional body.

Something appears to be rotten in the State of Dunedin. Why is there indecent DCHL directorial haste to get this deal done ? Will Infinity Yaldhurst spend vast sums on marketing the sections via the ODT ? Will certain ex DCC operationals retire to Wanaka, coincidentally on an Infinity Subdivision ? Will Mr Crombie and Mr Frost become directors or shareholders of some Infinity venture, or their firms be remunerated in some generous way at Noble ?
Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel !…..

There is a way to stop this rot, to stop the sale to Infinity and bring the entire subdivision back under the control of the DCC. Council was not able to vote on the actual terms and conditions of the disgraceful $13.2M second mortgage at the August 1 meeting. This will be done by the new Council after the election. The solution is obvious. Don’t give the money to Infinity and the whole deal will fall over, then the DCC can appoint its own development manager and sell down the sections that are ready now, and start selling the commercial land, which is the real cash cow of the deal. Without a doubt Council would recover all of the $25M debt, and get interest on it as well. This amount would pay a great proportion of the South Dunedin flood control work……

This is too hard for your turnip DCHL directors, and involves a serious loss of face, but who cares about them ? With the right development manager the DCC can do it in house. There is one man in Dunedin who is available at the end of the year and has the necessary integrity and expertise to do it, and his name is Geoff Plunket, soon to be former CEO of Port Otago and Chalmers Property.

[ends]

Related Posts and Comments:
22.9.16 DCC : Delta deal 1 Aug 2016 Council meeting (non-public) #LGOIMA
18.9.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #13 : Councillors! How low can you Zhao ?
26.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —EpicFraud #12 : The Buyer Confirmed
24.8.16 Delta peripheral #EpicFail : Stonewood Homes —Boult under investigation
8.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #11 : The Buyer
1.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —The End Game according to CD
31.7.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #10 : The Beginning of the End : Grady Cameron and his Steam Shovel

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *infinity*, *noble* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered ion the public interest.

*Images: Lee Vandervis billboard detail by whatifdunedin | The Fat Controller from Thomas the Tank Engine

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17 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, District Plan, Economics, Finance, Geography, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, SFO, Site, Town planning, Travesty, Urban design

17 responses to “Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #14 : The Election and The End Game revisited

  1. This is amazing do you realise that a supporter of Cull is related to one of your sources?

  2. Hi you lovely Southerners.

    It’s last election time when DCC debt issues last reared their ugly heads … and I commented.

    Since then, it has all gone further pear shaped (watermelon shaped?) down there … but just to cheer you all up … hows this? …. for up here?

    It took 150 years of local Government for Auckland Councils to rack up $4 billion of debt.

    BUT! … it has taken less than 6 years for the amalgamated Auckland Council to more than double this to $8 billion … some say as high as $10 billion.

    And we have zip to show for it. No new major infrastructure, no stadium, a $1.2 billion (yes that’s billion) blowout on the IT system … an IT system costing $1.5 billion FFS!

    It’s getting to the point that a central government move to de-power LG … BIG time is now on the cards.

    Turn ’em all into sinecure-community boards and instead form GCO (Government controlled) infrastructure organisations NZ wide.

    The LG sector has (by and large) totally failed to earn our trust and has proven to be just a rabble of self-interested bozos*.

    Waddayuhallthink?

    * My “professional” (but with considerable disappointed-sadness) … opinion.

    Cheers, Larry of Puhoi 09 4220598
    larry @kauriglen.co.nz

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Larry! Always a pleasure to hAve you call by. Indeed I was looking up your local government league tables just a couple of days ago….
      Your news is Frightening.

      Our DCC cumulative rates increases under Mayor Cull’s ‘guidance’ in the last six years – for a +50,000 rating base means our per capita debt is second only to Auckland’s. So yep, things are going real well here in the south. Not.

    • Elizabeth

      More on Larry Mitchell at POLITIK (article):

      Challenging The Auckland Council
      Published: 15 February 2016 By Richard Harman (author)

  3. Calvin Oaten

    Fat Controller? Doesn’t look controlled to me. Irascible Headmaster? Well, when you have a class of ‘dunderheads’ in front of you is it any wonder. Hard enough as it is to construct such a convoluted exercise in mesmerising manipulation, then to be harangued by one tousled haired damsel on every little point. Still, one has been blessed by the dopey blank eyed majority led by departing Cr Thomson and abetted by the chairmanship of Mayor Cull. Mention must also be made of the efforts of my associate financial wizard pulling the wool so easily over all their eyes with the exception of the aforementioned damsel and Cr Vandervis, who can spot a set-up from twenty paces. His reaction was enough to make a normal group of people have at least the tiniest bit of doubt, sufficient to either call for pause till the new Council is in place post election, or also abstain. But no, not this bunch of nincompoops, they simply washed their own brains and did as instructed.
    Result. If this is not reversed then the ratepayers will be the poorer for probably in the fullness of time, in excess of $30-$35 million. Galling when it need not be so.

  4. Elizabeth

    On local government reforms:

    Sat, 27 Aug 2016
    Minister: criticism just electioneering
    Southern mayors have been accused of electioneering after hitting out at National’s local government reforms. The criticism came from Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, after mayors across the South criticised the Better Local Services reforms as an attack on local democracy.

    [the HUGE farce considering DCC, Delta, Aurora and DCHL….]:

    The claim was rejected by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, who said councils had a responsibility to guard their community’s assets from the threat of an outside takeover without public input. You don’t need an election to stand up and be required to say that.”

    Mayor Cull may have said that a month ago, but on 1 August this year his Council allowed the Delta debacle to go into full bloom. This after years of inadequate Council governance over Delta, its finances, losses, unlawful subdivision activities, and ratepayer-subsidised tendering for civil construction work in the marketplace.

    Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga announced on Friday a delay to the Better Local Services reforms which had caused an uproar across the local government sector. The proposals, introduced to Parliament as the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No2), would give the Local Government Commission a suite of new powers. That would include the ability to impose council-controlled organisations (CCOs) on councils, even against the will of their communities, and transfer public assets into the ownership of the new entities.

    “I acknowledge some of the concerns raised by local government. Solutions need to be found that promote local democracy, while ensuring better quality services and better value for ratepayers,” Mr Lotu-Iiga said.

    Mon, 26 Sep 2016
    Mayors claiming victory on Bill
    Some southern mayors are claiming victory after reforms said to threaten the fabric of local government were placed on the back-burner. But the move has also prompted a warning from Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan that the fight is not over, as Wellington will probably “keep the foot on the throat” of the local government sector. […] Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the delay was “a great victory” that meant dropping the worst of the CCO proposals was now “definitely on the cards”. “I think time will benefit us more than it benefits them. The nearer it comes to national elections, the more likely it will be the case,” he said.

  5. Rob Hamlin

    I suspect Larry that any local government depowering that’s done by this government will involve putting the very core services that councils should be looking after into pooled council controlled corporate entity privatisation waiting room. Such assets and related non-discretionary services include water/sewage/roading/drains/flood protection/consents etc.

    I suspect that this will also include housing ‘warrant of fitness’ inspections. These will be a licence to print money for whoever controls these and those who are associated with them. Do not think for one minute that this will stop at rental properties once the scale of the potential bonanza is realised by those who appreciate such things. So we may well end up with the scenario below:

    Lakely Lads Ltd,
    The Otago PropoWOF experts!

    28 March 2019

    “Dear Mrs. Fidgins,

    PropoWOF property inspection for owner occupied property at 16 Petunia Close: DCC contract ref:DCU2384

    We have completed the annual warrant for your property. An invoice for $850 plus GST for the morning’s (actually 20 minutes) work is enclosed. In order for the property to be licensed as fit to inhabit in the 2020 year, the following work will be required:

    1) Reinsulate roof and floor (current insulation non-compliant, not sufficiently pink)
    2) Replace all electrical sockets (sockets are dirty and some are plugged up. Electricity was leaking out of some fittings and forming pools of electrons on the floor)
    3) etc etc.

    This work must be completed, inspected by us and certified by us (for an additional fat fee) by December 31 this year. If the house is not compliant by that time, you will be required to vacate the property until it is compliant.

    In order to assure your safety, and to ensure the work is done to a high standard (and we get our kickbacks) the work must be undertaken and signed off by one or more of the approved providers listed in the enclosed booklet. On absolutely no account must work be undertaken by yourself, and this includes cleaning the toilet seat (which has been condemned).

    We appreciate that as an elderly widow on a state pension you may not be able to immediately fund the estimated $65,000 cost of these works (or pay the c. $1,700 a month rental for an equivalent property if we get you kicked out of your own home). Your comfort is our first concern, so if this is the case we are delighted to introduce you to our new approved home equity release partner JonKey, Brown and Lee (JBL) Ltd of Panama.

    We are also delighted to be able to tell you that if you draw down more than $20,000 in equity release with JBL before reinspection, then we will waive the reinspection fee. A further benefit of opening an account with JBL Ltd is that the equity release scheme is a revolving facility, which will be most convenient for you if further inspections involve similar large payments.*

    Yours sincerely,

    Jimbo Heartland, CEO PropoWOF Ltd

    * All JBL equity release schemes charge 10% PA over base for all money forwarded. If at any point the borrower falls below 20% equity holding in the home security asset JBL reserve the right to immediately foreclose upon the asset.”

    Unbelievable? – Just you wait and watch! These core non discretionary services will be duly privatised and we will be screwed royally ’til kingdom come’ courtesy of the TPPA. Such are the rights that foreign companies will enjoy that it actually makes sense to domicile them in a TPP signatory country.

    We will get to pay for all these services separately, while our ‘depowered’ councils continue to increase the rates to pay for their non core ‘depowered’ fluff – such as Mayoral visits overseas/economic development/events promotion/stadia for example.

  6. Rob Hamlin

    Now if you want really bad news, then this is where to find it:

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/law-change-block-ex-prisoner-compo-possible

    Now this is far worse legal news than wine heirs getting away with it. Retrospective legislation, whether you agree with the outcomes of it or not, strikes at the very core of modern democracy as it strikes at the rule of law. While in a Westminster democracy Parliament can do pretty much what it likes as far as making laws are concerned. Changing laws retrospectively is another matter altogether. If you cannot rely upon the law being what it is on the day that you decide to do something – or not to – or have something done to you, then there is no law.

    It started with retrospective planning consents in places like Queenstown and appears to have worked up to more serious levels. Now Acts of Parliament that extinguish verdicts of guilt or innocence have started to become semi-routine, and it is a menacing development. Not since the routine murders of Henry VIII via parliamentary Acts of Attainder that bypassed the courts have we seen this kind of routine abuse of parliamentary sovereignty. This instance is not even a very important issue, no major matters are at stake. I am unaware of it happening in any other established democracy, but I stand to be corrected on that.

    At the moment calling the prime minister a twit today, on this website is not a capital offence – but be careful, it actually could be – if this kind of thing gets a grip and the then incumbent turns mean in 2021 or whatever, then the words you place on this website today could get you hanged in the world of retrospective legislation. Remember, both major parties (and the Greens) have voted recently to place retrospective legislation on the statutes, so this is a truly parliamentary, not simply a government disease.

    If there ever is to be a confrontation between the Supreme Court and Parliament, then this is undoubtedly the issue that is most worthy of it.

    • photonz

      Retrospective legislation needs to be looked at on a case by case basis.

      Without retrospective legislation, the extermination of Jews in WWII would not have been a war crime.

      And in some countries aggressive tax avoidance by multinationals using loopholes, has been corrected by retrospective legislation.

      The NZ Bill of Rights act has a prohibition on some retrospective criminal legislation, and guidelines on what can and can’t be retrospective, so no need to be paranoid about being hanged in 2021 for calling the Prime Minister a twit in 2016.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Good points photonz. All OK so far. The danger lies in using it in circumstances that are not exceptional, not in vital need of this drastic measure. By so doing, retrospective legislation “drift” could indeed approach the risk of “being hanged in 2021 for calling the Prime Minister a twit in 2016.”

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Retrospective legislation is immoral. It’s the tool of corrupt dictators. It belongs in Scamsville BR (Banana Republic) along with dictator protection by CIA.
      It has no place in any democracy.
      New Zealand is better than that, pity some of our politicians aren’t.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “It started with retrospective planning consents in places like Queenstown” – but before that, the Clyde Dam.
      Although the case presented was righteous, judgement came down that “there had been so much work already done” pre-legal challenge, pre-OK-ing, – that it could continue.”
      They hadn’t even done the work on earthquake faults! Nor hill stability. It was “planned” and remediated on the fly!

  7. Gurglars

    Gurglars law – Bureaucrats

    If a bureaucrat can screw you – he will.

  8. Elizabeth

    Like I’ve always said – a Rugby Pool.

  9. Elizabeth

    ### NZ Herald Online Thu, 28 Sep 2016 at 2.50 pm
    Corruption at council widespread, says Crown
    By Matt Nippert
    A rare prosecution of alleged corruption in the New Zealand public sector has heard of a claimed cascading culture of bribery that saw a senior Auckland Council manager collect $1.1 million and his subordinates taken for a $3000 lunch. The alleged gratuities extended to honeymoon expenses in Florida for the daughter of a senior council staffer, dozens of overseas trips, and regular monthly payments of about $8000 into the pocket of former Auckland Transport senior manager Murray Noone by roading contractor Stephen Borlase. Noone and Borlase yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of corrupting a public official by bribery. Borlase, whose road maintenance firm Projenz is at the heart of the case, also declared himself not guilty of charges he inflated invoices. Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said part of the Crown’s case is that Borlase arranged matters so the Rodney District Council – and later Auckland Transport – effectively paid to have their own staff bribed.
    Read more

    ****

    ### whaleoil.co.nz Wed, 28 Sep 2016 at 11:30am
    How to make $8 million of ratepayers money disappear without a trace
    By Cameron Slater
    Justin Lester has some explaining to do and not just about his activities on the ratepayer’s dime in Hong Kong. It seems the council, under his chairing of a key committee, has managed to magic away $8million of ratepayer cash in a corporate welfare payment to Singapore airlines…and all that exists in terms of paperwork is a Powerpoint presentation delivered after the deal was done…and a two page document that barely mentioned it. “A decision to subsidise Singapore Airlines new Wellington flights for the next decade saw virtually nothing put in writing.
    Documents released by the Wellington City Council show that apart from a presentation made to councillors after the decision was made, the council generated a single two page document, which refers to the subsidy only in passing.”
    Read more

  10. Gurglars

    A rare prosecution, but a common problem. In Auckland just one prosecuted, in Dunedin one man stole 152+ cars SINGLEHANDEDLY.

    Yeh Right.

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