Questions over Council’s Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign

Received from Diane Yeldon
Fri, 7 April 2017 at 4:06 p.m.

OPINION

What’s wrong with the DCC Dunedin Hospital SOS Campaign?

If you clear away all the smoke from the party-political bluster, bickering and name–calling arising over this campaign, has the Dunedin City Council really done anything out of order? Or were some councillors, in fact, a majority, just trying to do their best for the people of Dunedin?

Unfortunately, the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. A council communication cannot be a political advertisement.

The Electoral Act more or less defines a political advertisement as anything which persuades or encourages voters to vote in a particular way. But our democratic rights to participate in government decision-making are not limited to voting once every three years. Citizens also have the right to petition Government, make submissions to select committees and other public authorities and deliberative bodies, and lobby MPs and Government Ministers.

If local councillors had been presented with a motion which proposed the following : that the Council encourages and persuades voters to choose candidate A, they would have rightly been horrified and would have rejected it.

In comparison, a single, short and final paragraph in a council motion which proposes that the Council should ask for public support for ONLY its own preferred position on a central government decision, and that people make such views known to central government, looks harmless and is quite likely to pass unnoticed – and, in fact, did. But it is just as political. It encourages people to use their democratic rights in a particular way.

The council staff should have alerted councillors that this was the case and that such political activism was beyond the proper scope of any local body. The difference in wording may be subtle but the democratic principles involved are significant and far-reaching.

Monday, 3 April 2017

[ends]

Dunedin City Council’s Dunedin Hospital SOS petition states:
“I demand that central government redevelops Dunedin Hospital in the centre of the city. The government must also make a clear commitment to retain a top flight teaching hospital for Dunedin and the wider Otago/Southland region.
Save Our Site. Save Our Services.”

Petition at the DCC-managed SOS website [framed screenshot]

At the bottom of the webpage, DCC says:
“Dunedin Hospital SOS
The Dunedin City Council (“DCC”, “we”, “us”, or “our”) operates, hosts, or manages a number of websites, including DunedinHospitalSOS.nz. This site was created and funded following a Council resolution (21 February 2017) to communicate to Government its complete opposition to a rebuild of Dunedin Hospital outside the central city. It is not a permanent website.”

How the petition got off the ground by Council vote (21 February 2017) on the Notice of Motion:

[screenshots – click to enlarge]

DCC Council 21.2.17 Agenda – 15 Notice of Motion Dunedin Hospital Rebuild

DCC Council 21.2.17 Minutes – 15 Notice of Motion Dunedin Hospital Rebuild

****

The DCC Dunedin Hospital SOS flyer and Facebook campaign cost Ratepayers $7,102 (excl GST). Ratepayers also find themselves footing the bill for a DCC-led SOS media campaign:

ODT Online 8.4.17 [screenshot]

Related Posts and Comments:
● 6.4.17 ODT editor comments strongly #tick —Dunedin Hospital rebuild
● 27.3.17 Site Notice #DunedinHospital
● 26.2.17 Dunedin Hospital Redevelopment
● 6.2.17 Let the Ombudsman recommend for democracy at SDHB
● 24.1.17 SDHB/Govt : Physio Pool GRIEF
● 9.1.17 Audit NZ admonishes commissioner Grant and SDHB #Health
● 18.12.16 DCC set to take away CBD car parks without Economic Impact research
20.11.16 Delta at Dunedin Hospital #worseluck
7.11.16 SDHB #FAILS with Healthcare Communication and Governance

█ For more, enter the terms *hospital*, *sdhb* and *swann* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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61 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Education, Finance, Health, Hospital, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, SDHB, Site, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

61 responses to “Questions over Council’s Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    The petition’s weight depends not on who organised it but on who signs it. Unlike rates demands and charges for rubbish disposal, each of us has a choice of whether to be for it or not. (Some objectors to rubbish disposal charges dump their crap illegally, but that’s by the bye.)
    It strikes me as unnecessarily picky to condemn this because of who organised, who fronted it. Every councillor is also many other things – tennis player, poet, cook, tramper, patient, family member of sometime hospital patients. Councillors were elected because they purported to wish to further our interests and those of the city as a whole. If they have been alert they must have noticed the scarcity of local voices saying “Forget about rebuilding/repairing our hospital. Why not downsize it, we don’t need it that big. And it’ll be a good thing if the medical school goes north.”

  2. Hello again, Hype O”Thermia, this situation reminds of the delightful saying “Gambling’s only a problem if you lose.” You may be okay with this particular local body campaign and so might 99% of Dunedin residents. But if a council can LEGALLY use this process for this particular issue, then they can use it for whatever they like. And that mightn’t be something you or anyone one else in the city is in favour of. Yet they would be spending ratepayers’ money on it. That’s why local bodies have to be ‘politically neutral’.
    No problem whatsoever with the councillors, like any other citizens, setting up and funding any campaign as individuals. Or the DCC making submissions to anyone or any agency.

  3. Gurglars

    Diane, gambling is only a problem if you lose.

    A city council, in fact all city councils in New Zealand with a green agenda are a major problem for entrepreneurs and business people.

    Public servants receive their overpaid incomes whether the local business people are successful or not – until the majority of businesses fail and taxation and rates are uncollectable.

    Public servants’ self interest should keep a balance, but unfortunately they believe their own bullshit and believe there are profits in flax weaving and planet saving.

  4. I think there should be much clearer rules about which organisations local bodies can be members of and pay subscriptions to.
    This situation is pretty bad: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/78419794/Council-to-remain-member-of-lobby-group
    I know why councils like to have membership of all these organisations – because their people get to go to meetings and conferences and have dinners and so on. To say nothing of ‘little chats’.
    Is it in accordance with the purposes of local government as required in the Local Government Act? Something the Auditor-General might make a ruling on. But there’s no other agency I know of to police it or scrutinise it.

  5. Sam

    Quite right, Diane. There is an email being circulated to selected people in Mosgiel about a free pissup the Business Association is running with another substantial grant it has received from the Community Board. Some on the Board are too close to the Association. Especially when other Board grants to the Association resulted in monies being spent on things other than what was applied for to the Board.

  6. Elizabeth

    LGOIMA

    From: Sandy Graham [DCC General Manager Strategy and Governance]
    Sent: Monday, 10 April 2017 4:56 p.m.
    To: Elizabeth Kerr
    Subject: RE: Local Government Official Information request – 583596

    Dear Elizabeth

    I refer to your questions below and provide the following responses.

    We had previously advised (28 March 2017) that the Dunedin Hospital SOS Campaign had cost $7102 (excl GST).

    I have provided updated figures in response to your questions as follows:

    1. What is the cost of the DCC Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign at ODT Online ?
    ● $50

    2. Where else (through which other commercial media) is the campaign featured, and at what cost ? Please itemise.
    ● Through Facebook

    3. What is the DCC’s total marketing budget for the campaign ?
    ● No specific budget has been determined at this point

    4. From which council budgets is the campaign cost being met ?
    ● Council Communications and Marketing

    5. What are the other costs to DCC for this campaign not already publicly declared through LGOIMA ?
    ● $42 – for printing posters (300)
    ● $50 – ODT online advertisements (from Communications and Marketing budget)
    ● $70 – printing hardcopy feedback forms
    ● $540 – Facebook videos
    ● $685 – reprint of SOS flier
    ● $1890 – temp staff to backfill COMS team who have been assisting with written material for the campaign
    ⏹ $3277 Total (excl GST)

    This brings total costs as of 10 April to $10,379 (excl GST).

    I trust this provides the information you were seeking.

    Regards
    Sandy

    *********************************************

    From: Elizabeth Kerr
    Sent: Sunday, 9 April 2017 11:37 p.m.
    To: Official Information
    Subject: Local Government Official Information request – 583596

    [excerpt]

    Request details:

    1. What is the cost of the DCC Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign at ODT Online ?
    2. Where else (through which other commercial media) is the campaign featured, and at what cost ? Please itemise.
    3. What is the DCC’s total marketing budget for the campaign ?
    4. From which council budgets is the campaign cost being met ?
    5. What are the other costs to DCC for this campaign not already publicly declared through LGOIMA ?

    Please respond by email within 20 working days. Thanks.
    [ends]

  7. Elizabeth

    That’s a few dollars the people of South Dunedin didn’t receive for their infrastructure.

    • I am tempted to do a bit of campaigning myself, Elizabeth, like going to the next council meeting with a big sign saying:
      The purpose of local government is –
      (a) to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and

      (b) to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses. (ends)

      But, sadly, I doubt that the councillors would get the point ….

  8. Elizabeth

    Sainted aunt!

    At Facebook:

  9. Chairman Andrew Blair told RNZ News earlier this week that he had heard the council’s message loud and clear and it did not need to launch a campaign. ….
    A spokesperson Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said he was well aware of the council’s desire to keep the new hospital as close to the current one as possible.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/327412/sos-for-central-city-dunedin-hospital

    Well, I suppose Dunedin can be grateful for at least three non-stampeding city councillors.

  10. Just for the record, the three councillors who voted against the motion to conduct the Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign were Crs Hall, Vandervis and Lord. All well proven in the past to have the ability to think for themselves and, when necessary, the intestinal fortitude to stand against the majority.

  11. Elizabeth

    We have a better chance of success with the Dunedin Hospital rebuild if we stop harassing the Government, writes Hilary Calvert.

    Wed, 12 Apr 2017
    ODT: Hospital rebuild: back off but don’t back down
    By Hilary Calvert
    OPINION If we asked Otago people what they most want from health services it would likely be health service delivery in the province at least as good as the rest of New Zealand. For example, whatever qualifies for an operation here should be the same that qualifies those up north. The Dunedin School of Medicine is vital to us as well. […] we can get together and let this Government know, each and every day, that we want equitable services and the Dunedin School of Medicine. Instead we bang on about all manner of disparate issues, leaving room for the government of the day to just pick up whichever is convenient during election years. Cont/

  12. “Harassing of the Government in an imagined party political fashion.” Well said by Hilary Calvert. Spot on!

    Here’s the meeting video for 21 Feb. Starting from 1.58.24 into the video, you can watch the discussion on the resolution which authorised the campaign. This was the Notice of Motion put forward by Cr Benson-Pope and seconded by Cr Hawkins.

    There was no information in the agenda about how much the ‘asking for support’ would cost or how the ‘asking for support’ would be carried out. Nor did any councillors ask questions about this. Their attention was focused solely on discussing the rights and wrongs of the hospital siting (with only a couple of councillors saying they didn’t think it was any of their business.)

    I can’t help wondering if many of the councillors did not understood that this ‘asking for support’ would result in unleashing a full-blown advertising campaign with leaflet drop, website and newspaper ads costing so far $12,000! I wonder if the motion had been taken in two parts with the second part only about the campaign and its full extent and costs disclosed the majority would have still voted in favour.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Diane, “I can’t help wondering if many of the councillors did not understood that this ‘asking for support’ would result in unleashing a full-blown advertising campaign with leaflet drop, website and newspaper ads costing so far $12,000!”
      I find I have to curb my old understanding of “support” to rule out encouragement, helpful physical effort, suggestions drawing on one’s own years of experience, loan of guillotine for cutting up handouts printed 3 to the page, etc. It now means “money” and nothing but money. Lovely free no-obligation money.

  13. Hype O'Thermia

    ‘Scuse me, when did DCC get so much spare money it can lash out on consultants about Other People’s Job? –

    [see video] “Mayor Cull: I acknowledge that this is a complicated build … that’s why we’re paying a number of consultants rather a lot of money for rather a long time to sort it out …”

    – oh I almost forgot. It’s Other People’s Money!

  14. Hmm, no, that ‘we’ may not mean the DCC but rather the taxpayers of New Zealand. But I have made an Official Information request to clarify.

    • I received an Official Information response on this. No, the DCC did not spend any more money on the hospital issue further than the campaign. Well, that’s good.
      But, on the other hand, it means that the councillors had no information on which to make their decision apart from what was already in the public domain….. supposing they had read it all, understood it all and believed it all. Plenty of indications that some or none of these conditions may have applied to all councillors. So what kind of decision-making is that?

      Further interesting info – it seems a Notice of Motion is purely the business, and responsibility of the councillors who move and second it. The staff don’t interfere or otherwise get involved.

  15. In ODT today : A South Dunedin hospital ticks lots of boxes
    Interesting opinion piece in today’s ODT from Cr Vandervis:
    https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/south-dunedin-hospital-ticks-lots-boxes

  16. Calvin Oaten

    I think Cr Lee Vandervis’s comments are enlightening and show thinking outside the box. I also think his suggestions need a great deal of follow up thinking by council.

    Let’s investigate and debate the issue on its merits, then if accepted put a reasoned letter of support to government. Too hard? With the current mindset perhaps, perhaps. Shame!

  17. Elizabeth

    The bid by Waikato District Health Board and Waikato University for a medical school has greatly perturbed Otago and Auckland universities.

    Sat, 22 Apr 2017
    ODT: Medical schools jolted into action
    By Eileen Goodwin
    There is nothing like a common threat to unite old foes. Waikato’s bid to set up a third medical school has forced traditional rivals Otago and Auckland into an unlikely alliance. The two medical schools have in recent months pitched up together in Wellington to persuade officials of the merits of their proposed “School of Rural Health”. It is quite a contrast from their traditionally frosty relationship. Cont/

    Related article
    22.4.17 ODT: Waikato call for ‘radical’ medical education reform

  18. A cynic (or realist?) would wonder whether they are fighting over their market in the educational sector, rather than being concerned about the provision of health care professionals.
    Pretty stupid education system in NZ where education providers are set up to be business competitors.

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    I’m wondering about the “pressure cooker” GP training. There were “pressure cooker” trained teachers, I think this was a post war shortage thing, one of you probably knows the story. They didn’t actually seem to be any worse than other teachers, nor better.
    IF good GPs can be produced quicker, why aren’t they already?
    As for teachers, now we have an MP urging teacher training should be postgrad, which would make becoming a teacher an even worse choice considering how much money and time would have to be invested for a poor monetary return – and would put a pointless delay in the way of people with a passion for teaching and natural personality qualities for communicating with young people and inspiring them with love of learning.
    China had its “barefoot doctors” (Wikipedia, “farmers who received minimal basic medical and paramedical training and worked in rural villages in the People’s Republic of China. Their purpose was to bring health care to rural areas where urban-trained doctors would not settle.”) and here there was a move to add an intermediate between nurse and – how many, 8? – years to become a GP. Nurse Practitioners:
    “www.nursingcouncil.org.nz/Nurses/Scopes-of-practice/Nurse-practitioner
    Nurse practitioners combine advanced nursing knowledge and skills with diagnostic reasoning and therapeutic knowledge to provide patient-centred healthcare services including the diagnosis and management of health consumers with common and complex health conditions.”

    So – some important questions need sorting, and not just about health professionals and teachers. How much training is needed, and what training? Is it necessary to start with, or would it be better to look at a trades model, apprentice > journeyman > tradesman > master, and whether further expertise is better learned after one has been working on-site for a while and come to an appreciation of how much one *doesn’t* know yet?
    And how much is demand for qualifications driven by patch protection and gatekeeping? Or “rising status” which was the reason given for cleaners and other lowly (as in, appallingly badly paid) workers to have diplomas and qualifications in you-name-it, and is I believe behind the idea that teachers should have to complete a degree before training as teachers – any teachers for any age group.

  20. Right, my Public Forum submission all written out for the Council meeting of 1st May (NB The meeting starts at 12.00 noon – an hour earlier than usual).
    I wonder if any of the councillors were to ask me a question on it which I thought was stupid, whether I might forget my manners enough to actually say so. It would interesting then to see whether the Chair would enforce one rule of courtesy for members of the public and quite a different one for (some) councillors. After all, I remember the Mayor holding forth at some length a couple of years ago about the importance of the DCC upholding its Code of Conduct.

  21. Elizabeth

    At Twitter:

    Former #NZ nurse shocked at staff conditions at #Dunedin Hospitalhttps://t.co/ibtIiDZwZX @whatifdunedin @WoodhouseMP @clarecurranmp— Media Man (@TheWarRoomNZ) April 24, 2017

    ****

    Mon, 24 Apr 2017
    ODT: Another hospital rebuild setback
    By Eileen Goodwin
    Uncertainty about the size of the Dunedin Hospital rebuild appears to have forced the Ministry of Health to delay a plan to gauge private sector interest in taking a stake in it. A “market sounding” for a public-private partnership (PPP) was pencilled in for April-May in a hospital rebuild schedule. When the Otago Daily Times first asked if it was going ahead, rebuild boss Andrew Blair said it was. “Yes, a market sounding is taking place, as we indicated would happen,” he said in an email. But when pressed for details, a ministry spokeswoman revealed it had been put off. “The delay is so we can give the market a clearer picture of what we are progressing. We have recently made the decision to delay the market sounding until after decisions are made on what options will be progressed from the indicative business case into the detailed business case.” The shape of the project is unknown. The ministry cannot say if the ward block, the biggest hospital building, will be replaced. Cont/

    ****

    At Facebook:

  22. Elizabeth

    Wed, 26 Apr 2017
    ODT: Regions reluctant on hospital campaign
    Tepid support from some Otago councils for the Dunedin City Council’s hospital campaign has not fazed the councillor leading the campaign. Two mayors have called for health resources to be allocated fairly throughout the region. […] Rural hospital funding has been a sore point in recent years because the cash-strapped Southern District Health Board has tried to make cuts in some areas. Cont/

  23. Elizabeth

    Worse. Some people can’t see the council process issues.

    Or forget the 1980s.

    The public, free of DCC influence, are fully capable of lobbying for equitable health services in Otago Southland. I did like reading today that mayors in the region are thinking through the issues rather than blindly signing their SOS lives away.

  24. Elizabeth

    Diane, I hope we learn of the ASA’s view upon the SOS campaign. Quite fascinating!

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    Diane, do you seriously think there is no likelihood that services will be cut? “How many people will sign that petition not caring at all about hospital site section but because they have been frightened into believing that their health services are going to be cut?”
    OK so a smaller hospital, or one sited at a distance from Med School may still mean people can get treatment in the usual way (i.e. accident and emergency quickly, helicopter transport; chronic quality of life-ruining conditions eventually, according to ever-variable points system ruled by budget not pain or disability. Whether treatment will be deliverable in Dunedin or if patients and families have to go to Christchurch…… but no, that’s fearmongering eh?
    I think you’re so concerned with process you’re ignoring the fact that the “correctness” with which public opinion is expressed means s.f.a. Political decisions are made for many reasons, “the petition/appeal/march was organised by the wrong person, banners were inaccurately worded, being among the reasons NOT influential.
    Yes everyone should be proper at all times, councils, councillors, politicians and governent included. They should be transparent, honest, eschew deviousness.
    Climate change will see this happen concurrent with hell freezing over.

  26. Elizabeth

    I’m damned sure DCC elected reps should Stay Out of political campaigns.

    Not staying out of political campaigning has resulted in the shallow SOS government petitioning – as well as the 30 financial : 70 non financial consideration of tender bids thereby shafting Delta from Green Island landfill. Meanwhile the contract goes to globally circulating sharks who will get our pounds of flesh.

    • Meeting video out for the council meeting of 30 May 2017 where an update report was given on the Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign. At 1.17.01 into the video, Cr Garey congratulates the council Communications and Marketing team on the good job they have done and says, “Working with them has been an absolute pleasure.”

      I dare say some politically naive person is going to criticise me for pouring cold water on a magnificent co-operative effort. Except that legally our system of local government doesn’t work that way. It works by governance management separation. So the elected Council does all the deciding in public where that decision-making can be scrutinised and then the Chief Executive instructs the staff to implement the Council’s decision. The SOS campaign has been notably messy and it’s impossible for a member of the public to be able to determine who was directing who and who was making decisions, especially over expenditure, regarding this campaign.

      Cr Whiley, later commenting on the campaign resolution, says, “What I voted for and what it’s turned out to be are two totally different things.” 1.29.35 into the video.
      When a councillor says something like that, it flags a governance management separation problem. Who is really making the decisions? I don’t buy the argument that staff can ‘interpret’ council resolutions.

      Dunedin City Council Published on Jun 1, 2017
      Dunedin City Council – Council Meeting – 30 May 2017
      Minutes, agendas and reports related to this meeting can be found at https://goo.gl/kchBD8

      Governance management separation questions come up again in this meeting regarding the matter of North Dunedin street cameras. This time it seems the councillors were the last to know about it. See public forum speaker, Paul Gourlie : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MokeDh15zXk
      He, too, makes it clear he’s talking about bad process.

      Dunedin City Council Published on Jun 1, 2017
      Dunedin City Council – Public Forum – 30 May 2017
      Minutes, agendas and reports related to this meeting can be found at https://goo.gl/kchBD8

      You can also see Maurice Prendergast speaking at the same public forum where he is severely rebuked by Mayor Cull for criticising staff. But is this unfair and pointless criticism or is Maurice Prendergast justly critiquing staff decision-making? The latter, IMO, so I can’t see why it should be forbidden.

      {Moderated. -Eds}

  27. Hype O'Thermia

    I’m not saying the way it was done was ideal – not by a long way – esp when it involves spending rates money in ways that aren’t what rates money is so urgently needed for.
    But there is little point in fretting about whether politicians have obeyed their solemn promises or not. Should someone discover that a politician who has been in the game more than a few months has never strayed from the highest ideals, that would be news, that would be worth writing home about.
    And no, the DCC was not the only or best organiser of the campaign, however it’s hardly useful to go on about it now that it has happened. By all means ignore it, mutter about it, but why undermine it? Now it’s here the point of it is to communicate local people’s concern to the decisionmakers. Joining the DCC campaign, signing petitions, turning up to protest meetings when one doesn’t disapprove of whoever organised them, and writing one’s own letters to MPs are all ways members of the public can convey their opinions and say what they believe is needed.
    Do politicians and their advisers and the army of pleb-wranglers based far, far away from Dunedin notice the significance of anything other than the numbers and strength of feeling? Some notice may be taken of the strength of their arguments but I wouldn’t bet more than $10 on it, I’ve taken part in the submissions to council charades. There is an election coming, we have to hope that other towns notice and think “What happens to Dunedin could happen to us, if these people are back in power again”.

    • Elizabeth

      Then there’s the crap the council wrote to Central Government in submission about fossil fuel extraction, climate change, dot dot dot

      Anything to avoid council budget analysis of how to upgrade and develop our infrastructure networks. Pipes really are sexy.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        “Look at our wonderful new…. ah ….. pipes.”
        You can’t even take photos of clean mudtanks and show off the shine – “Look, no smeary residue!”
        Endorsement: we use Wet and Forget products, without the “Wet and” because we are saving the planet from, um…
        …wetness?
        Sorry, we can’t remember.

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    This is the part where you and I are in total agreement, Diane:
    “I cannot follow this process being used with respect to the campaign resolution. To go from ‘asking for support’ to spending around $12,000 on a fullscale advertising and advocacy campaign…..”

    I’m good with asking for support, I’m good with someone settling up a Facebook page in or more sensibly posting URL for existing Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stopdunedinhospitalfrombeingdowngraded/?ref=br_rs.
    Also URLs to sites about how to organise a petition, link to MPs’ email and postal addresses, petition forms to download and print then take around to collect signature – there are many ways to help people to tell government what they want for Dunedin. As individuals they – councillors and DCC personnel – could contribute to Stop Dunedin Hospital From Being Downgraded eg basic letter that people could copy (and adapt if they wanted to) to send to MPs.
    This is where I think the actual form is not helluva important as long as the message gets through, and that’s where you and I differ, But as for $12,000-odd – no No and NO!

  29. Elizabeth

    Given the extended length of time the Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign has been running at ODT Online (commercial advertising paid for by non-consulted ratepayers), I will put in another LGOIMA request to seek an update of DCC’s campaign costs.

  30. Elizabeth

    Any public forum I’ve attended in the past has typically included a criticism of Council/DCC personages by virtue of their role in council decisions, proposals and practices disagreed with – eg the bylaw for dogs, or ‘stop the stadium’ remonstrations….. Surely nothing is too precious or sacred at DCC in order that a person putting their independently held view (or prayer!) – whether or not based on the law of the land – may speak it in democratic safety, without fear or favour. Listening by DCC being the key.

    Though, yes, I dare say the video (on its own) will develop technical problems.

  31. Hype O'Thermia

    Diane, congratulations on your re-discovery of what goes on Through The Looking Glass. “The Mayor asked me to substantiate my claim that a councillor had acted less than impeccably. I did, but he shut me up before I had finished, then ruled that I hadn’t substantiated it” – clearly it is every bit as strange as Alice found it according to Lewis Carroll.
    My only quibble with your account is that you refer to “The Mayor”. Don’t you mean the Red Queen?

    • I am very surprised to see these words of mine still quoted on this website because I told the site owner that I had received a letter from a person who seemed to have a problem with them. I certainly had no intention of upsetting or offending anyone when I said them.

      • Elizabeth

        Most polite Diane, er compared to any vassal addressing the public who exercise a good 4wd or truck about town now and and then as “brainless morons”.

        Which reminds, when visiting the the Courts in High St recently my colleague and I caught a glad circus. One fellow, owner of a ‘rural’ vehicle, displeased by the pronouncements of door security, angrily returned to his truck to find a long handled screwdriver which he flourished, interestingly… before maintaining his composure… only to emphatically (sharply!) remove a good amount of caked mud from the truck’s mudflaps and mudguards in the car park in front of the Courts’ main entry. Would’ve been a great video…. made one security guard’s front gold teeth glint with amusement. Totally filmic.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Did the Offended Party claim you misquoted or misrepresented them? Is that why they were upset or offended?
        Is there a way to refrain from upsetting or offending everyone without locking oneself in a bunker and communicating with nobody?
        Hmm, that wouldn’t work either, there are those who would be upset, offended, because you weren’t taking notice of them.

  32. Hype O'Thermia

    “What kind of public scrutiny is free from criticism?”
    Chinese, particularly Mao’s Chine
    North Korean
    etc.
    Silence is encouraged. Sometimes subjects feel moved to utterance though.
    Permissible comments include “Our leader is outstandingly wise”.

    • Hype O’ Thermia: reviewing some of the meeting videos and the DCC ban on criticism seems to me often to extend to any ‘dissident’ views expressed by councillors. Who, for not agreeing with the views of the majority, don’t get exactly ‘banned’ for this (unless, one way or another, they are prevented from speaking) but often severely criticised, shamed and ridiculed This is most definitely NOT democracy in action!

  33. Hype O'Thermia

    Technology eh, can’t rely on it: “I dare say the video (on its own) will develop technical problems” – not even to “malfunction” convincingly.
    Sometimes a belt and braces solution has to be employed.
    I wonder if youtube…… people put their own music and videos on youtube, it’s amazing the gems one finds at times, along with the singers who can’t sing!

    • Something useful I have recently learnt is that meeting videos are Official Information. So if there’s anything in my voice recording (allowed in Standing Orders as long as I inform the Chair before the meeting) that isn’t later in the Meeting Video when it comes on to the Council’s You Tube channel, then I can make an LGOIMA’s request for the entire video.

      To be fair to the DCC, they are under no legal obligation to provide meeting videos. So that is an indication that they are making an overall effort towards transparency.

  34. The ORC has excellent audio recording of their meetings. I wonder if local bodies one day should be required to have both audio recordings and video recordings. I think audio recordings are much quicker to put into the public domain. In fact, they could start off as podcasts in real time. Then be available later as an archive. And the meeting video, when it eventually came out, would give you an idea of how people were actually behaving at the meeting. The advantage of this system would be that if one record of the meeting had a technical malfunction, the other one would be available. Few people can attend a council meeting at 1.00 pm on a weekday and few would want to attend one in the evening after work. If councils really wanted to be transparent and encourage public participation, this would be a good way to do it.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “If councils really wanted to be transparent and encourage public participation” – they like TALKING about being transparent and how much they want public participation, Diane.
      You of all people know how welcome it is in real life, and that’s not just Dunedin.

  35. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

  36. Elizabeth

    Sat, 17 Jun 2017
    ODT: Work starts on new ICU
    By John Lewis
    ….General surgery charge nurse manager Kirk Davidson was given the honour of using a golden sledgehammer to begin demolition of a wall on the fifth floor at Dunedin Hospital, launching the construction of new multimillion-dollar intensive care unit (ICU), high dependency unit (HDU) and gastroenterology facilities at the hospital. Construction of the facilities begins on Monday. The new gastroenterology facility will be on the eighth floor and will have two endoscopy rooms, and dedicated admission, recovery and sterilising areas. It is expected to be complete by the end of this year. The new ICU and HDU facilities will have 22 bed spaces, combined to enable patients to transition between different levels of care in either direction, as necessary, without moving their physical location. It will also have a dedicated family room for the first time. The units will meet national and international standards for intensive care, and will enable educational opportunities for nursing, medical, allied and other health staff. The development will be built in two stages, with the first phase of 12 beds expected to be completed in the first half of 2018 and the second stage by the end of 2018. Cont/

  37. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

    SDHB second on list of those overpaid, having been accidentally allocated an extra $5.66 million – money it would not now receive.

    Mon, 19 Jun 2017
    ODT: Budget blunder costs SDHB $5.7m
    By Chris Morris
    The already cash-strapped Southern District Health Board will have to make do without millions of dollars of much-needed funding, after a $38 million mistake by the Ministry of Health. The ministry has confirmed it misallocated $38 million for the coming year’s budget for all district health boards, after draft figures were submitted instead of the final ones. The mistake meant 14 DHBs were inadvertently allocated more money than they should have been, while six received less than they should have, director-general of health Chai Chuah said. Cont/

  38. Hype O'Thermia

    O dear how sad, ministries didn’t take out incompetence insurance.

  39. Council meeting today where the economic impact report on the hospital rebuild being in the central city commissioned by the DCC was on the agenda. Discussion focused to a considerable extent on Cr Lord’s public comments in ODT. And certainly not IMO in a tolerant and respectful way. Worth looking at the meeting video when it comes out. Cr Hawkins scraping the bottom of the barrel IMO, by dragging in allegations of party politics.
    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/hospital-analysis-called-one-sided

  40. Hype O'Thermia

    Cr Lord didn’t (wasn’t meant to?) factor in the logistics of locating hospital away from Medical School which happens to be on edge of CBD. If the hospital is located elsewhere it’s highly likely we’ll lose Med School. Govt won’t rebuild it and duplicate student facilities, to fit in with a re-sited hospital.

  41. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

  42. Here’s link to the full Council meeting on 1st August. Includes the discussion on the economic impact report on the central city hospital rebuild. At 1.24.58 into the video, Cr Hawkins makes a comment about Cr Lord being a member of the National Party and maybe wanting to have his photo taken with the Prime Minister (!). Later, Cr O’Malley makes the observation (more or less) that he supposes the DCC is involving itself in civil disobedience. (Insightful IMO). Cr Whiley makes what I thought was a very good speech about focusing on what’s good for the city and the DCC working WITH the government and government agencies, rather than (bombastically? that’s my description, not his) trying to boss them around (IMO guaranteed to get people’s backs up.)

    What to learn from all this? When people start arguing more about the process and less about the issue, nobody wins. If the DCC wants to do ‘advocacy’ about anything not clearly under local government jurisdiction, they have much better options. Set up a public debate, something I have no objection to DCC funding and advertising and even having councillors and/or the Mayor participating in, as long as they have an impartial chair. Then see if there’s the will in the community to form an action and advocacy group from that. DCC councillors can be totally involved, as long as they are not doing it AS councillors.
    Meanwhile, as things stand, as the central government election approaches, unfortunately I expect to see still more party political name-calling at DCC meetings. Brings the DCC into disrepute. At worst, observers might wonder whether this central government election is being fought in the DCC Council Chamber.

    • Elizabeth

      If you are an elected local body representative – you are never Not that while your term is in progress.

      A Councillor is a Councillor is a Councillor 24/7.

      • Peter

        It is no surprise that many councillors carry the baggage of former or present party political affiliation. So what l reckon.
        At least you know their political pedigree that gives you some idea where they stand politically.

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