Category Archives: Media

Commercial residential, 143-193 Moray Place : ODT bias, ignores arguments of opposing legal experts

THUS we gather that the owners/editorial team of the Otago Daily Times have deemed Anthony Tosswill’s proposal for a tall fat Moray Place apartment building (commercial residential) is worthy of being built. Ra Ra ODT.

If you (ODT) want to print half the story, presume away…. to Not be the independent courier of what is public information contrary to the arguments of the greying Mr Page, Counsel for Mr Tosswill’s NZ Horizons Hospitality Group Ltd (widely suspected as a vehicle for Asian finance, yet to bring even one of “12 hotels” on his South Island wish list out of the ground – funny that).

For your attention :
The legal submissions of Ms Semple, Counsel for Millennium and Copthorne Hotels New Zealand Ltd (owner of the 3 star Kingsgate), an affected party.

Ms Semple maintains that the application cannot be lawfully unbundled.

Legal Submissions on behalf of the Millennium and Copthorne Hotels
Casebook for the Millennium and Copthorne Hotels

The legal submissions of Mr Hardie, Counsel for Misbeary Holdings Ltd are not yet available online at the DCC website.

[click to enlarge]

LOLOL

At Facebook:

If the independent commissioners agree with Mr Page then it’s “See you in Court, Buster”.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

3 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

LEAVE the Statue Alone —gormless university can piss off

At Facebook:

FFS pull your head in, lady.

This is a public statue properly positioned in a public space (Queens Gardens).

—NOT a trifle to be STOLEN by ivy-league wankers to decorate their private vajayjay !!

There is Nothing wrong with city brothels fronting public spaces.
Or, city brothels fronting public works of sculpture.
What is more Human, Egalitarian and LEGAL than that.

At a public forum this week the Dunedin City Council was asked for its support to move the statue of Dr Donald Stuart from its place in Queens Gardens to an undecided location near the University of Otago clocktower. Dr Stuart was the minister of Knox Church for 33 years and led the congregation until he died in 1894. (ODT)

Related Post and Comments:
30.8.15 La Maison House of Pleasure, Queens Gardens —then and today

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

9 Comments

Filed under Architecture, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Heritage, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Travesty, Urban design

How much do we care about political party posturing #NZ

[excerpt]

### New Zealand Herald 6 Aug, 2017 11:34am
The PM has ‘the personality of a rock’: Labour’s deputy goes on the attack
Nicholas Jones – political reporter
Davis appeared along with new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image by whatifdunedin

9 Comments

Filed under Baloney, Democracy, Fun, Media, New Zealand, People, Politics, Public interest

Apartment hotel proposal has FATAL Flaws : ODT offers Flimsy Poll

Updated post.
Tue, 7 Aug 2017 at 2:58 p.m.

We (Dunedin) are confronted by a poorly detailed, plonk-down apartment building proposal that we suspect is fronted by an agent for Asian developers –it would not be unusual for such a proposal to be offered on the strength of tainted money looking for safe haven in the South Pacific.

Our gullible country.
The gullible shiny pants Grow Dunedin partnership.
Our ever so gullible city council under the leadership of cull-cat Cull.

A massively over-height apartment building with a frilly hard-to-read podium base is proposed —a building that may never see a five star hotel as the anchor tenant (never believe unquantified/unqualified pitches from used car salesmen, if all they offer is a Price plucked from the air).

Not so long ago large tracts of New Zealand land were bought and sold for glass beads and muskets.

A lot can happen between resource consent being granted and a deathly, failing, improperly costed build.

Is Dunedin City Council about to find out.

Beware the gift horse.
It turned out Dunedin disliked the hocks of the last one (41 Wharf St), ridden by a little cardigan-wearer. The local suits were paid to make the waterfront tower seem generous, rousing and necessary. Ha-haaa.

At ALL times, the Dunedin City Council MUST stay acutely awake despite its needful dependence on independent commissioners and independent professional advisors – the latter advisors, along with some council staff, appear to have greatly missed the Fact that the minimal concept plans presented for 143-193 Moray Place DO NOT provide a workable building; or a building compliant with district plan objectives, policies, rules, and anticipated environmental results ….or prevailing traffic standards.

Oh dear. ‘So much’ [$$$] for the independent advice. Yes, expensive use of expert and staff time to massage the applicant dream – to no convincing or winning effect.

Further, Dunedin City Council MUST be prepared to APPEAL the outcome of the decision-making process should it wish to AVOID being left with another expensive DEBT VEHICLE in the form of one unfinished and or leaky building …..as the collapsed companies, and dusty heels of run-away developers and construction personnel disappear back to Asian shores, far away from Lake Tekapo ….. dangerously constructed, whole or in part, as a further burden on beleaguered Ratepayers of this fair city.

“What a stupid thing to assume!” you thunder.
“How? On what grounds?”, you chide.
“Dunedin NEEDS a five star hotel!”, imperiously.

You think it’s that simple ??
You’re about to be done over, Buds.

The inference being, oh great apartment hotel supporters, that all that glistens in green-tinted glass is gold, or might be a five star hotel. Yeah right.

It never was. The gold, I mean.
The five star hotel, I mean.
A hoover-up of NZ cash to offshore parties who remain anonymous throughout planning and consenting, and construction and building operation; all supported by the errant notion of immigrant labour and (imperfect) imported materials.

You might as well ask now, How MUCH will the Dunedin economy make ($$$) on this “slap in the face” to the community owned district plan (statutory), and the (strategic) spatial and the central city plans which are publicly consulted policy directions informing the city council’s annual and long term plans.

Not much.

****

During five days of evidence and submissions, one knowledgeable submitter, Mr Russell Lund – well up on construction management, hotel building costs, the visitor accommodation market and investment patterns, and the risk and liability to local authorities in consequence – carefully outlined the quandaries which for various councils around New Zealand have become money-losing Unalterable Fact.

In the original written submission for himself and Suzanne Lund (affected property owners), Mr Lund asserted:

The “assessment of effects” is hollow and of no substance. Under the Act, the assessment of effects is required to be just that, an assessment of effects on the affected properties and tenants. Incredibly, the assessment makes no attempt to examine the effects on all the affected parties.

This, of course, is echoed in independently written and voiced submissions by many opposing the application; and curiously, it is underlined in evidence given by Mr Don Anderson (planning consultant) and Mr David Compton-Moen (urban design, visual amenity consultant), for the applicant.

My own submission to hearing states:

We can’t take what is offered [from the applicant] on trust, because it is incomplete and imprecise; therefore the assessment of effects is difficult to pin down to anything concrete and remains unhelpfully superficial – this was “the work” the applicant was to table for us, we thought, to generously persuade us that moving beyond the ‘norms’ of height in this Dunedin location has measurable benefits against other sites or, through strong honest examination of design alternatives for this site.

I am open to being persuaded. It is expensive to do that persuading. However, it has to happen in other city centres in this country. For an expensive building, isn’t it worth doing the budgeting for preparation of your case – to get the result you want, which is consent to subdivide and build. These are open questions but they lie at the heart of A for architecture as the practical art and science of building economics and professional practice. Behind and in front of the commercial facades, that must have depth of delivery. […] And so I come to the white building model here [a 3D-printed solid plastic model of the proposed building, of hand-held size, put into evidence by Christchurch architect Thom Craig], and the drawings presented by the applicant. There appears to have been too much time spent on merely diagrammatic ‘entreaties’ to architectural form and texture without hacking into 3D investigation. There is not one clear drawing of the way the podium can work for the public or the ‘retailers’ or ‘exhibitors’ – or indeed the people staying at the hotel, servicing the building functions and or using vehicles on site. We get an idea ‘about it’, a not convincing one, there is too much guesswork to do. And so the commissioners’ questions have been rather intense.

****

Now, back to the points the Lunds are making. In their original submission on the application, Mr Lund says:

7. I have serious concerns about the expertise and amount of resource that has gone into assessing the feasibility of the project. In the last year, the Otago Daily Times advised the developer, Mr Tosswill of Horizon Hospitality, had indicated that the cost of the project, which was then 200 rooms and 52 apartments was $50-75M. The proposal now is for 210 rooms and 66 apartments, which is not substantially different. The car parking and front of house areas are similar to the original application. The application confirms the hotel has a gross floor area of 20,835 m2.
In my opinion this hotel will be not built for anything less than around $100M, and this casts serious doubts over the viability of the scheme.
Evidence of this is found for the building costs of the much simpler 200 room 4 star Novotel Hotel being built at Christchurch airport after a competitive tender process (and utilising an Asian fabricated structural steel structure). It is well known in the building industry that the tender costs received for that very regular and efficient 7 level hotel were $4,500-5,000 per m2. The Novotel is a filing cabinet design, that is, it is a completely regular rectangular structure which provides the most efficient floorplates and the best wall to floor ratio, ie the least amount of exterior wall enclosing the maximum possible amount of interior space. The Novotel has no balconies.
The applicant’s proposal is far less efficient, and therefore more costly per m2, as it is effectively three blocks grouped around a central core, but the blocks themselves are not rectangular, but have recesses, and there is a significant amount of extra cost with most rooms having screened “smokers” balconies, which entails effectively, 2 exterior systems, one for the rooms, and another enclosing the balconies.

8. The application confirms there are 16,136 m2 of above ground (habitable or hospitality space) and 4,687 m2 of below ground, back of house / car park space. At a cost of $2,200-2,500 per m2 for the below ground floors, and $5,500 per m2 for the above ground space, the proposal has a construction cost of over $100m, excluding land, furnishings, design marketing, et al. The total budget excluding GST will be around $130M. A feasibility study will typically have to include a development margin of at least 20 %, preferably 25 %, if any sort of lender is involved. This means the end value of the project will need to be at or over $160M. If the best case scenario is adopted and Mr Tosswill is able to convince Chinese or other overseas investors to pay the current market value in Queenstown for premium, new managed hotel rooms and apartments of $10,000 per m2 – for a hotel with an unproven demand in Dunedin, it is still not enough.
Selling all the apartments and hotel rooms will yield about $90M, which is a long, long way from the $160M end value needed. The parking and lower public floor spaces on a yield basis will have a value of around $10M, that might get the project to $100M. Mr Tosswill in earlier reports stated that the value was around $90M, so while there is broad agreement on the likely end value, the estimate of the cost is not close to reality. Mr Tosswill may be planning to bring in a Chinese construction company who will park a retired cruise ship at the waterfront for the duration of the project and have their workers stay there, but they will be subject to the same minimum wage laws, working conditions and health and safety requirements that local companies face, which will dramatically reduce any cost benefit from using overseas labour. (The idea of having a cruise ship accommodating Chinese workers is not fanciful – the Chinese government offered to repair the damaged sections of SH1 after last year’s Kaikoura earthquake using that same method, and did not require any New Zealand labour resources, but the Government decided that this was politically unacceptable). One hopes it would be also unacceptable to have a Council endorsed project built using essentially, forced labour.

9. There is sufficient doubt around the financial viability of the project that the applicant should provide some evidence that the entire scheme is not in fact fanciful, but makes economic sense, and provide details about the proposed ownership model, which is highly relevant to Council, in light of their liability which is discussed below.

10. Mr Tosswill may think he is able to make savings from current building costs by utilising Chinese products, but many Local Authorities around New Zealand are very wary of various untested products as there have been many failures for which Local Authorities ultimately end up bearing the cost of.
This raises another issue which is the massive liability that the building control division of the Dunedin City Council will be exposed to, in relation to its building consent approval and compliance monitoring. The experience of the QLDC in recent years is extremely relevant : A large number of hotel and apartments have been built in Queenstown and the individual hotel rooms and apartments are sold off individually. A body corporate is then responsible for repairs and maintenance. The developer has no long term or permanent stake in the completed structure, and therefore no incentive to specify materials and pay for quality standards with the long term in mind. As Warren Buffet has said, “show me the incentive and I will show you the result”, and the result for QLDC has been an ongoing series of legal actions brought by Body Corporates against Council, alleging that Council was at fault in some form, and as they are the “last man standing”, the Council have inevitably had to pay substantial figures. [I have] experience of several of these, having repaired one major complex in Queenstown at a cost of several million dollars, and provided cost evidence in regard to two others, also in Queenstown in the last year. It should be remembered that QLDC has a 7 metre height limit, but despite this, on complexes less than a quarter of the size of the proposed hotels, the cost to repair has run to millions. QLDC has advised this year in the Otago Daily Times that it has now completely drained its reserve fund for remedial building work, and any further costs will need to come directly from ratepayers. It has spent $3.6M just on legal fees for remedial building liability cases, which will rise to close to $4M by the end of this year.

11. At the Hearing, in submission, some proposals will be presented to show how the design liability and weathertightness risk to Council and ratepayers can be mitigated in the unlikely event that the proposal is given consent and such consent is upheld in the Environment Court.

Proposal 1 : A bond be posted with Council to cover sufficient funds to get the building to completed weathertight envelope and have the podium and all external works completed in the event the project is halted.

Proposal 2 : The applicant provide a Owners Protective Professional Indemnity, and have DCC named as an insured party on the policy. This is to protect indemnify the DCC against any claims brought against them in relation the building consent process, compliance monitoring or any matter for which they are liable for.

****

The applicant tabled NEW evidence at the hearing, from Infometrics. At its website, Infometrics (NZ) says it “provides industry, regional, and general economic analysis and forecasts that assist organisations in making their planning, policy, and strategic decisions”.

In the Lunds’ submission to hearing under the subheading ‘Dunedin Hotel Economic Impacts – Ongoing GDP Effects’, Mr Lund says:

….Infometrics assume that the 64 apartments will all be in the hotel pool, but acknowledge this is unclear. This significantly increases the GDP contribution as it raises the income of the hotel by around 40%, assuming conservative tariff rates of $250 per night and $350 per night per apartment. Infometrics also assume that there will be no “crowding out” of the existing activity, ie ALL guests would otherwise have not come to Dunedin had this hotel not been there. This is an unrealistic assumption.
In my opinion this report is an example of tailoring assumptions to achieve the desired outcome.
At Section 2, the “impact” of the construction phase is estimated at $45.6M in total, but based on the “key assumption” that there is capacity in the construction sector to build the hotel without crowding out other investment”. This appears to mean that if other projects are delayed, there is in fact no benefit at all because $63M of other projects will simply be displaced by the alleged $63M cost of this project. History shows that in Dunedin, Clients such as the DCC, University and some private clients keep a close eye on the state of the market. Many Ministry of Education projects have strict cost guidelines, and will not proceed if they are over budget. There have been examples of work deferred in Dunedin when the market is busy, and the Post Office Hotel is one of them. The Owner Mr Geoff Thompson, deferred the construction of the hotel for several years when he first owned the property citing the overheated construction market, due to the construction of the $220M Milton Prison project in 2005-2007.
At the present time, there is a high level of commercial construction activity at present, witnessed by the fact that there are main contractors from outside Dunedin performing the 2 largest projects in Dunedin (The Dental School and the University Science 3 project). There is every likelihood some projects will be delayed due to the high level of activity.
The report assumes that 21.1M of the $63M, or a third of the cost, will flow into the local Dunedin economy. This would be on the basis that local companies and suppliers are employed, but this is far from clear, given the estimated cost of $63M. The only way the cost could be anywhere near this level is if virtually all of the materials were low cost imports, and quite likely a proportion of the labour cost component.
The only significant material that will be made locally is concrete, and it is only the basement levels that will be predominantly a concrete structure. If out of region companies were employed for work to do such trades as painting and carpentry, as they were at the Forsyth Barr stadium, then that figure will not be accurate.
Infometrics then ascribe $16.1M to the “second round of economic effects” but acknowledge there is some “leakage of spending outside the city”. If an outside main contractor, or even an overseas contractor completes the work, they will very likely bring with them their out of town networks of subcontractors and suppliers and there will be much less than the $16.1M as the second round of effects. Having completed many projects out of Dunedin, I have first hand knowledge of the negligible economic effect of construction on the region concerned. Generally, goods and services are sourced from habitual suppliers with whom there is an ongoing relationship, and only the small consumables are sourced from local suppliers.
Mr Tosswill should clarify what the intention is regarding the construction of the hotel, and if that is not forthcoming, then he should at least confirm what type and form of construction contract will be used as that perhaps more than anything will determine whether there is the possibility of a meaningful local business component.

On ‘Construction Cost’, Mr Lund refers the commissioners to the Lunds’ original submission, continuing with:

Further facts about construction
Examples of risk from imported products
FCC (Fletcher) budgeted to use Chinese sourced bathrooms in the Novotel Christchurch projects. Did not work. Has cost FCC $2M extra (unbudgeted) to get prefab bathrooms built locally in Canterbury. The cost is $26,000 per bathroom.
Chinese steel : there are 2 major CBD projects underway in Christchurch that are steel structures using Chinese fabricated steel. On one project the steel is 12 weeks late and on the other it is 16 weeks late. The Chinese suppliers had committed to make the steel, then out-sourced it to another firm without advising the contractor, and the delays have resulted. On one of these projects there is now legal action between the Engineer and contractor because of the nature of the steel does not conform to the specification.
There is a further major dispute litigation on another major project now completed due to extreme delays with the steelwork and external cladding. The project was around 10 months late, and the Owner lost the anchor tenant (The Government) due to the delay. That project was tendered on the basis of using a large degree of imported materials from China in association with a large state run Chinese construction company, but the project was so disastrous (financially and in terms of market perception), involving a loss of 8-15M on a $50M project, it has caused the company to withdraw from large scale commercial construction and focus on project management.
External Cladding : There are only a very small number of NZ firms with the capability to design and build the curtain walling, and they have a huge backlog and extremely onerous business terms that will not be acceptable to any funder or main contractor, so the Owner will probably need to contract with them direct, and take on this risk.

These important matters aside, the legal submissions brought to hearing by Ms Lauren Semple (for Millenium & Copthorne Hotels) and Mr John Hardie (for Misbeary Holdings Ltd) blew the application out of the water; so did the transport evidence to hearing by Mr Andy Carr (for Millenium & Copthorne Hotels) to which Commissioner Mr Stephen Daysh responded by asking if the problems (such as summit points, swept paths, access to basement parking, onsite coach travel, and truck travel as well as loading access) pointed out by Mr Carr in his assessment of the proposed building’s perimeter road were “fatal flaws”? Yes, was the direct reply. Refer article: Traffic problems at hotel (ODT 3.8.17)

The hearing is adjourned until 17 August.

All ODT can do is offer a flimsy and inconsequential readers’ poll.
Not Based On Reality. Go ODT! LOL

█ All application documents, reports, evidence and submissions for 143-193 Moray Place – Non-complying activity – LUC-2017-48 & Sub-2017-26 at this link.

Related Posts and Comments:
● 11.7.17 “Fat” gawky Hotel and Apartment building : Questionable design even with 4 floors lopped off
● 14.5.17 RNZ reports July hearings for proposed hotel apartment building [comments by Mr Tosswill]
● 4.5.17 Submissions close 10 May : Proposed 17-storey, est. 62.5 metres-high Moray Place hotel/apartment building
● 7.4.17 Proposed hotel *height and design* —the very least of it #sellingoursouls
● 5.6.17 Application lodged for FIASCO Hotel by Tosswill #DunedinWrecks
● 18.12.16 DCC set to take away CBD car parks without Economic Impact research
● 15.10.16 Battle of the hotels : DCC meat in the sandwich (unedifying)
● 5.10.16 Dunedin bauble #votecatcher
● 4.10.16 The Demon Duck freak show of partial ‘Civic’ information! Before voting closes! #Dunedin
11.1.16 Un hôtel. Dunedin.
19.8.15 Hotels ? Business ? [DCC lost +++152 fleet vehicles] —Cull in charge of building chicken coops, why ?
1.4.14 HOTEL Town Hall… Another investment group, Daaave’s pals from the communist state?
25.3.14 Hotel We LIKE: Distinction Dunedin Hotel at former CPO

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

█ The following images are taken from Appendix 6 – Consultant Urban Designer’s Report – Appendix plans (PDF, 1.5 MB).

They comprise
● 2 cross sections – originally provided as applicant evidence by Thom Craig Architects Ltd, and
● 7 photomontages of anticipated views – originally provided as applicant evidence by Paterson Pitts Group (surveying, planning, engineering)

– to which new height levels have been added in the evidence provided by independent Urban Design consultant Garth Falconer for Dunedin City Council.

[click to enlarge]








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Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Heritage, Hot air, Hotel, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Structural engineering, Technology, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

Microchip your employees —why not? (United States)

Received from Rob Hamlin
Fri, 4 Aug 2017 at 9:27 am

Ugh!! …if it doesn’t scare you it should do.

### ODT Online Thu, 3 Aug 2017
US company microchips workers
A Wisconsin vending machine company is offering its employees a chance to have a microchip implanted in their hands that they could use to buy snacks, log in to computers or use the copy machine. About 50 employees at Three Square Market have agreed to the optional implant of the chips, which are the approximate size and shape of a grain of rice, said Tony Danna, vice president of international sales at the River Falls-based company. The company, which employs 85, said it was the first in the United States to offer staff the technology which is similar to that used by contactless credit cards and chips used to identify pets. The implants made by Sweden’s BioHax International are part of a long-term test aimed to see if the radio-frequency identification chips could have broader commercial applications, Danna said.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

8 Comments

Filed under Business, Democracy, Design, Health & Safety, Innovation, Media, People, Pet projects, Public interest, Technology, Travesty

Delta #EpicFail and Metiria Turei : How Could This Be?

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Fri, 28 Jul 2017 at 11:44 p.m.

Readers, I can hear the rumblings already – is your correspondent so bereft of new information that he has to tailgate the exploding Turei benefit scandal to catch some attention ? Is this the equivalent of Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66, who started well but could only survive by making instrumental covers of Beatles’ hits? (I admit, Day Tripper is a particular favourite…)

Get in behind, readers. Have yourselves a draught of Bells, and let me untangle the web that starts with the inexplicable antics of Ms Turei.

Any sentient citizen must be, by now, aware that Ms Turei attempted to make political capital out of her long term benefit fraud last week to assist in marketing the Green Party’s new welfare policy. Sadly for Ms Turei, a thing called the internet means that her previous fictions about the circumstances around her early solo parent years are all easily discoverable, and the Whale Oil blog has done a telling summary of Ms Turei’s various mendacities. (Thanks Cameron).

Overwhelmingly, the Kiwiblog and other commentariat have excoriated Ms Turei’s inexplicable move, but again, Whale Oil offered the most penetrating analysis (and no, I am not a Whale Oil subscriber, or have ever been in contact with Cameron Slater…). Mr Slater made the interesting points, repeated by Barry Soper and others, that not only was Ms Turei guilty of benefit fraud, but also received a study grant as well. Ms Turei refused to name the father of her baby to WINZ, who has now been subsequently revealed as Paul Hartley, son of Ann Hartley, former Mayor of North Shore. Consequently, no child support has ever been received from Mr Hartley. Ms Turei confirmed that “Grandma” (Ms Hartley) provided support – very likely including financial support, which undoubtedly has not been declared.

One of the unfortunate unintended effects of the whole affair is that this will be red meat to many right wing types of a particular gender and particular demographic to start a predictable chorus of “Welfare Queens” abusing the system. Middle aged guys, this was old (and not true) even when Ronald Reagan used it to get elected in 1980. As noted in the comments below, the amount of white collar fraud that goes unprosecuted is about 30 times the estimated amount of benefit fraud, so to the white collar industries of accounting and law that seek to advise on the fine line between tax “minimisation” and tax “avoidance” : let those without sin cast the first stone.  

While all this is very interesting and will lead to the certain demise of Metiria Turei after the election, if not before as the Green’s poll numbers continue to stagnate or decline, the commentariat has missed the bigger issue which is “What Did The Law Society Know and What Did They Do About It ?”.

Ms Turei initially declined to say if the fraud was disclosed to the Law Society in her 1999 interview to determine if she was “a fit and proper person” to be admitted to the bar, but then decided immediately afterward that refusing to comment would put her on a par with Jonathan Coleman and Todd McLay, so confirmed on July 26 that she had been “upfront” to the Law Society, and there had been a “long conversation” about it.

What is fascinating about this, and an extreme concern for anyone who has had to rely on or transact with lawyers, is that the Law Society, the body tasked with determining who is a fit and proper person to become a lawyer – to uphold the law – then on Ms Turei’s version of events confirmed to Ms Turei that this dishonesty did not matter.  

Readers, I too spilt Bells all over the sofa when I read that the Law Society had known about this for nearly 20 years and been complicit in Ms Turei’s dishonesty. How could it be that the profession dedicated to upholding the law could decide that some didn’t apply to them ? Following on from this if the Law Society did not think it was relevant or significant that a prospective lawyer had engaged in several years’ worth of benefit fraud, then what is the situation regarding her first employer, Simpson Grierson (one of the largest law firms in the country). Either they were lied to about the fraud, or they also had a relaxed attitude towards employing law graduates indulging in benefit fraud.

As we have often remarked in the Delta Epic Fraud series, truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and the facts of the matter are that the Law Society have previously allowed struck-off lawyers with convictions resulting from dishonesty to be reinstated to the bar.

One such lawyer is one Chris Gilbert, upon whom the fortunes of the Christchurch City Council (and indirectly, the DCC), rest in terms of the liability for the Yaldhurst Noble subdivision debacle, in the latest litigation. In reinstating Mr Gilbert to the bar, the Law Society ignored the opposition of three lawyers and two branches of the Law Society, including the Otago branch, who said the gravity of the offending made him unsuitable for reinstatement. Mr Gilbert “misappropriated” $44,000 of client funds in 1987 and 1988. Compounding this, a few years later, Mr Gilbert appeared to think that the Society’s rules were all overrated anyway and proceeded to sign legal documents on the fiction that he was still in fact a lawyer ! Brandishing a wet bus ticket, the Law Society warned Mr Gilbert “there would be no third chances !”.

Readers, like you I regard law firms as a bunch of parasitic sharks, and yes there are plenty of law firms with lawyers you would cross the street to avoid. But Mr Gilbert is not one of those. Mr Gilbert….is the legal services manager at the Christchurch City Council and was offered a job by the CCC with full knowledge of his dishonesty. NZ Herald (2004)

Readers, two hands on the cup : The Christchurch City Council actually said that Mr Gilbert “was the best candidate for the job”. This was rather against the advice of the Waikato Law Society, where Mr Gilbert committed his first fraud: they said in an affidavit Mr Gilbert was not a “fit and proper person” to be a lawyer.

Now place the cup down – you won’t cope with this : The Law Society gave Mr Gilbert his “third chance” on the basis that he could only work for the CCC. In other words, he wasn’t allowed to act for private individuals who had the choice to take or leave his services and make complaints if warranted. Instead he could be responsible for issues involving huge amounts of ratepayer funds, because the Law Society appeared to think that position required a much lower standard of integrity.

Readers, why would the Christchurch City Council employ Mr Gilbert ? Readers, feel free to draw your own conclusions. The most incredible fact of this rather incredible tale is that Mr Gilbert was no short-term stopgap to tide the CCC over a tight staffing spot. Mr Gilbert has been the team leader of legal services at CCC for 13 years. He seems to be part of the institutional furniture, and appears to be indispensable.

Your correspondent is advised that in relation to the Noble Yaldhurst litigation, Mr Gilbert is not surprising the plaintiffs with bursts of even-handedness.  

This perhaps is one reason why the pace of the Christchurch rebuild is glacial – Minister Brownlee and the Government would be fully justified in having serious reservations about the competence of the Christchurch City Council, and not just in the building control division.

Readers, tonight’s conclusion is surprising – we as Dunedin ratepayers can look with relief at Mr Gilbert and know that within the DCC itself (although NOT Delta and Aurora) this would never occur under the present management.

[ends]  

****

Welfare fraud targeted more than tax evasion
White collar criminals get a better deal than welfare fraudsters because the system is biased before they even get to the courts, a lawyer says. Research by Victoria University shows 10 times more welfare fraudsters were prosecuted than tax evaders even though tax evasion costs the economy 33 times more. The research shows tax evasion amounts to at least $1 billion a year compared with $30 million for welfare fraud, but the courts are much harsher in their treatment of welfare fraudsters. RNZ News (2016)

Disclaimer: The site owner is not responsible for the currency or accuracy of content of contributed comments; and the inclusion of the information provided does not imply endorsement by the site owner.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Cats —or, Infrastructure spending, Council debt, and Disenfranchisement of Ratepayers

Council cat squad checking rego fees [supplied]

After the great floods, the common affliction amongst leaders, “water on the brain”.

█ The ‘thinking’ – DCC cat control remit for LGNZ AGM

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At Twitter:

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“There may be issues with cats but they also serve a useful purpose in controlling pests. The cat population doubled to two at my place last year, and we have more tui and bellbirds around than ever, as well as visits by kereru and eastern rosellas and fantails and waxeyes. The cats occasionally catch a bird but most often it is a sparrow or a thrush. But it looks like the Dunedin council and some others are keen on requiring the herding of cats. They kept as quiet as they could on cats during the local body elections, and now mid term they try to foist it on the public. Devious.” –Pete George at YourNZ

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Councils will now lobby the government to finish its National Cat Management strategy.

### radionz.co.nz 6:05 pm on 25 July 2017
RNZ News
Councils seek greater powers to control cats
By Michael Cropp – Wellington Local Government Reporter
The country’s councils are calling on the government to give them extra powers to protect wildlife from cats including microchipping, de-sexing and registration. Local bodies have the power to control dogs and their behaviour, but they only have jurisdiction over cats when they become a health risk. While the remit presented by Dunedin City Council at the meeting acknowledged the companion role of animals, it noted cats are a danger to wildlife. […] The controversial remit scraped through with just 51 percent of the vote at the Local Government New Zealand annual general meeting.
….Auckland mayor Phil Goff said his council abstained from the vote because it was not sure what it would mean for the 500,000 cats in the country’s largest city. “We are in favour of practical measures to protect native birdlife …. We’re not in favour of bureaucratic measures that might involve millions of dollars of council time and energy but doesn’t achieve the objectives that we set out to achieve,” Mr Goff said.
Read more

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More about ‘LGNZ The Blight’:

Local Government New Zealand – Media Release
Local government to debate four remits and elect new President at AGM
News type: National news | Published: 21 July 2017
The local government sector will voted on four issues when it gathers for its annual AGM in Auckland on Tuesday 25 July. There is a focus on litter legislation, local government funding, cat management and health in this year’s remits. The AGM follows this year’s LGNZ Conference, when over 600 delegates from local government and its stakeholders, industry and community will gather in Auckland for the two day event [23-25 July]. The theme of this year’s conference is Creating pathways to 2050: Liveable spaces and loveable places. Remits are voted on in a secret ballot and if passed will become official policy and be actioned by Local Government New Zealand. Local government will also be voting for a new LGNZ President to replace Lawrence Yule, who steps down after nine years in the role.
….National legislation to manage cats
The third remit was proposed by Dunedin City Council and asks that LGNZ lobby the Government to take legislative action as a matter of urgency to develop national legislation includes provision for cost recovery for cat management.
Throughout New Zealand councils are tasked with trying to promote responsible cat ownership and reduce their environmental impact on wildlife, including native birds and geckos.  Yet, territorial authority’s powers for cats are for minimising the impact on people’s health and wellbeing, and regional councils’ powers are restricted to destruction of feral cats as pests.  The remit seeks the protection of our wildlife and native species by seeking regulatory powers for cat control, including cat identification, cat de-sexing and responsible cat ownership.
….The LGNZ AGM is open to members only. Following the meeting, LGNZ will advise of the outcomes of all votes.
Read more

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Cat rangers and collars with bells on are some of the ideas Dunedin City Council wants to lobby Government for.

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated at 14:28, July 10 2017
Cat control: many Kiwi councils ready to lobby for national rules
By Libby Wilson
Councils around the country are looking to band together to rein in roaming moggies. Dunedin City Council has suggested its colleagues help it push the Government for national rules that could include cat rangers and shutting cats in overnight. Seven other councils around the country have given the idea, and its environmental focus, their backing ahead of a July vote at the Local Government New Zealand annual meeting.
Read more

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‘Vacuum of cat management policy and services in Dunedin’, local submission says.

### nzherald.co.nz 29 Jun, 2017 7:02am
Dunedin council proposes registration of cats in New Zealand
A Dunedin proposal that could result in the registration of cats in New Zealand will be discussed nationally. The proposal from the Dunedin City Council, in consultation with seven other councils, will next month go to a Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) vote. If it is successful, LGNZ would make it a policy, and begin lobbying the Government to have it made law. The proposal could see the Government called upon to develop legislation for cats similar to the Dog Control Act. It already has the support of the Otago Regional Council, one of 78 councils which will vote on the idea.
Read more

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### ODT Online Wed, 17 May 2017
DCC seeks support for cat control
The Dunedin City Council will seek support from other New Zealand councils to gain greater control of cat management. If additional support from councils was gained, a remit would ask Local Government New Zealand to call upon the Government to give councils statutory power to control cats. The DCC was researching a Wellington City Council bylaw on microchipping cats. However, the current bylaw could not be enforced by non-compliance fees. Cat management would focus on the control of wild cats.
Link

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S T O P ● P R E S S

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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Filed under Baloney, Business, DCC, Dunedin, Economics, Events, Finance, LGNZ, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Public interest, Travesty, What stadium