Tag Archives: Audit New Zealand

DCC not Delta #EpicFail : Wall Street falsehoods and a world class debt

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 at 9:16 a.m.


We are at an interesting time in our local history. Your correspondent like hundreds of others was busy cleaning up yesterday, after what NIWA described as a fairly standard thunderstorm where just 13.6mm of rain fell. 

Also like hundreds of others no doubt, the question in the mind of your correspondent as he dutifully mopped, was : What is the next public asset to be exposed as poorly run, badly maintained and starved of funds ? 

Never before have the executive few lied so comprehensively about the true state of so much degraded public asset. Never before has so much public asset been destroyed by the actions of those few, as Winston might have said. 

Economists your correspondent is familiar with would call this the “tragedy of the commons”. We await the “macro-prudential” responses from Central Government. With the stupefying level of underfunding for DCC drainage and other underground services identified by the Auditor-General, coupled with Aurora Energy’s $1B deferred maintenance and capital work, plus the existing DCC debt, there is around $3B that will need to be extracted from ratepayers and power consumers over the next 30 years (see the Dunedin City Council Infrastructure Strategy). Dunedin has achieved its dream as a world leading small city – of debt per ratepayer. Dunedin will be broke beyond comprehension with the policy of 3% annual rises. The 3% limit is a mirage. Rate rises will be much, much more. Not this year, but quite possibly before the next election; if this council does not address the looming crisis there is the increasing possibility of the removal of the council and appointment of a commissioner. 

It seems that every week brings some fresh disaster or new development that the DCC attempts to cover up. 

Yesterday was a small but telling episode. David Loughrey of the Otago Daily Times kindly confirmed what your correspondent mentioned some months ago, that the DCC had terminated the services of Logic FM because the company would not look the other way while the DCC wilfully failed to fix hundreds of obvious fire rating defects at two of their major assets. 

Mr Kevin Taylor wrote that the council [fired] Logic because the company had been “interpreting code compliance…..beyond that required by the law”. Logic publicly scoffed at this saying – correctly – that the code is “relatively black and white”. 

What actually happened is that as well as the uncompleted fire penetrations, there is a case of simple DCC incompetence, which was only hinted at by infrastructure networks general manager Ruth Stokes in the ODT article. Here are the facts : The Wall Street mall required daily inspections of certain of its building safety systems. The DCC did not want to pay outside consultants to do this work. Fair enough, said Logic, we will train your staff to inspect the systems and they will then sign off a daily inspection sheet, which Logic as the IQP (Independent Qualified Person) need to sight every month. 


Month after month, the monthly reports could not be signed off because no one had completed the daily sign-off sheets. There were offers of more training to the apparently mule-like staff responsible but City Property could not be bothered to do it properly —and thought they could get away with not doing these daily inspections by appointing another more compliant IQP in-house and seeking cover with a further fire report by Beca. 

It is very relevant that after sacking Logic FM, and commissioning the report from Beca, DCC refused to provide a copy of the Beca report to Logic. Logic had asked repeatedly for the report to see what the alleged areas of “over compliance” were. 

It is ‘madeira cake to margarine sandwiches’ that there were no areas of over compliance, and but for Elizabeth Kerr’s LGOIMA request and latterly, the ODT, City Property may well have gotten away with inaccuracies! 

As it is, your correspondent sees only static for Mr Taylor in the DCC crystal ball. He is merely the latest in a line of unlamented DCC property managers, including Robert “Hydraulic” Clark, and Dave McKenzie.

Ruth Stokes also needs to very careful about stepping into this mess – and dissembling to protect Mr Taylor. Stating that “things could have gone a bit better, but they’ve all been addressed” does not fool anyone. Mr Taylor may have have fantasised to Ms Stokes that “all” the fire rating faults were fixed but remember your correspondent advised there were hundreds of faults, not just a few faults in one single wall as has been pretended. There is no way all the faults have been fixed. 

This is what Richard Healey would describe as the Delta dishonest reduction defence…. no, not a 1000 dangerous poles without red tags, but perhaps there are just a few…. and now we learn on that fiasco, that the ‘new’ Delta plan, unannounced to the region’s mayors, is that they can be magically restored to full strength by yet another re-classification.

Chief executive Sue Bidrose started her tenure with a promise of greater transparency and openness (read “honesty”) that was sorely needed. There was some early progress, but the transparency project appears a priority no more.

With the financial storm clouds assembling over the DCC that the chief executive cannot fail to be aware of, some honesty about the actual costs the DCC faces over the next decade is needed. It ranges from the small – just how much will it take to fix Wall Street mall to the $1B existential Aurora problem. The CEO and her staff have been invisible on this critical issue, instead producing reports of risible fantasy such as last year’s effort that valued Delta at over $50M, and Aurora at over $200M. Facing up to an austere decade is the only way that Dr Bidrose and Councillors will avoid having their careers and reputations destroyed by the appointment of a commissioner. 


Council Documents:
DCC Infrastructure Strategy
DCC Long Term Plan 2015/16 – 2024/25
Audit Opinion – Independent auditor’s report on Dunedin City Council’s 2015-25 Long‑Term Plan. Author: Ian Lothian, Audit New Zealand on behalf of the Auditor‑General, Dunedin NZ.

ODT Stories:
14.2.17 Councils, Aurora poles apart on ‘removing risk’ definition
13.2.17 Without warrants for years
11.2.17 Aurora affected by pole, staff shortages
8.2.17 Action by Delta decried
29.12.16 Director for $30m pole project
2.12.16 Resignation blow to pole work

Related Posts and Comments:
22.1.17 DCC LGOIMA Response : Wall Street Mall and Town Hall Complex
30.11.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail 7 : Kyle Cameron —The Money or the Bag?

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *aurora*, *grady*, *wall street mall*, *richard healey*, *steve thompson*, *dchl*, *epicfail*, *epicpowerfail* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Images by Parker Warburton Team Architects


Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Central Otago, Construction, DCC, Delta, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Electricity, Events, Finance, Geography, Health, Infrastructure, LTP/AP, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, Site, Structural engineering, Travesty, What stadium

Audit NZ admonishes commissioner Grant and SDHB #Health


“By not declaring all interests, particularly the pecuniary interests, exposes the DHB to an increase in conflict of interest risk and potential for reputational damage.” –Report, Audit New Zealand

The auditors were also disappointed at a lack of progress in other areas. There were no up-to-date disaster recovery plans, a shortcoming identified previously. (ODT)

### ODT Online Mon, 9 Jan 2017
SDHB rapped over non-disclosures
By Eileen Goodwin
Audit New Zealand has told the Southern District Health Board to sharpen up its act on financial  disclosures after finding some interests had not been declared. Commissioner Kathy Grant made new declarations after the issue was raised by auditors, she confirmed to the Otago Daily Times. Mrs Grant had not realised they had to be declared.
….In its 2015-16 audit, Audit New Zealand recommended the DHB implement regular checks of the New Zealand companies office register to check for non-disclosures.
….The auditors said the DHB’s “key challenge” was maintaining sustainable services while trying to improve its financial position.
Read more

Kathy Grant is a consultant at Dunedin law firm Gallaway Cook Allan.


Southern District Health Board
End of year update on the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment project

Wednesday, 14 December 2016
The Southern Partnership Group (SPG) is pleased with progress towards having an Indicative Business Case, with a shortlist of options for the redevelopment of Dunedin Hospital, completed by mid-next year. “Despite the ambitious timeframe, we’ve met our deadline to workshop the longlist of options by Christmas and are on track to have that narrowed down to a shortlist by mid next year,” SPG Chair Andrew Blair says. “The longlist options range on a spectrum from replacing the Clinical Services Building and refurbishing or replacing the Ward Block, to moving all hospital facilities to an entirely new hospital campus either nearby or somewhere else in Dunedin City….”
Read more

SDHB Annual Report 2016

Audit NZ 2015-16 Management Report

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Business, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Health, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, SDHB, Travesty

The Demon Duck freak show of partial ‘Civic’ information! Before voting closes! #Dunedin


Two instances in two days [Voting closes on Saturday 8 October] of partial information. Really, this means NO INFORMATION at all. Or at best something Tall, the Recipe for FURTHER IRRITATION. Said Ratepayers who’ve seen quite enough of Cull Council fluff.

Be quite sure of that. The future is cracked quacked.


No. 1
Yesterday, Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) failed to present its Audit Report to the last sitting of the Cull Council. NO AUDIT REPORT. Is there an Audit Report or not, they asked, or is this a process blip with everything under ‘good’ control. Well, some forms of control are the hedge to unwelcome news —before it comes! Again, WHY is the DCHL Audit Report (because it most certainly exists in some form or other) late ENOUGH, TO MISS tabling at Council BEFORE the elections.

THE ELECTIONS. Leaving the new Council to deal to BAD SCRATCHY items from Crombie’s Cookie Jar, about the Gremlins and Duck Itch within, and indeed, the pending wrath of Audit New Zealand (A Gain again!) and Dunedin Ratepayers (A Gain again!).

Was it that the stadium company, one in particular, could upset Ratepayers before they vote. Just one amongst the growing frequency and severity of storms over South Dunedin. DCHL, the ONE STORM too many.

No. 2
A sort of desperate hotel proposal for the Council-owned Filleul St car park. An election freebie in message, carpet fibre thrown over an unravelling pongy DEAD DUCK (political massage). The accommodation market is trending nationally and internationally to Boutique hotels not a CLUNKER. Five star in the New Zealand visitor markets no longer looks or smells this way. [see ODT horreur graphic —So yesterday’s two star, they said]


Let’s hope Chris Morris is asking the owners of Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin, Distinction Dunedin Hotel and the Scenic Circle hotels what they’re thinking about DCC’s plans, and the offer of friable ‘red carpet’ to a private hotel operator who plans a bulwark. Which it’s thought will FALL OVER. The MOU between the Council and the developer has been about a while – we wondered when this glorious axe axiom of accommodation might sling into sight for the central city.

THE ELECTIONS. So Mr Cull’s publicity machine for re-election has left the room at South Dunedin and DUCK SHOVED bang up close to the Dunedin Town Hall, Public Library and Civic Centre – like Real Business is going on. Let’s hasten to suppose Enterprise Dunedin is to thank for all this in some small way.

worried-daffy-duck-giphy-comWaiting for the final Vote Count (“no stars”)

█ Released via LGOIMA:

19 September 2016


A report from Management and Enterprise Dunedin sought approval for an exclusive six month due diligence period to NZ Horizon Hospitality Group Limited (NZH) for the sale of the Council owned property on the corner of Moray Place and Filleul Street. As part of the due diligence, Council would undertake geotechnical investigations, estimated at $100,000, and provide this to NZH.

NZH was proposing to develop part of the site as a five star hotel, with purchase of the land conditional on development contribution relief of up to $1 million. The purchase would be at market value and require development within a specified timeframe.

There would be no obligation on Council to enter into a sale and purchase agreement for the site either during or after the exclusive period.

The Chief Executive Officer and staff responded to questions from Councillors.

Moved (Cr Chris Staynes/Cr Andrew Noone):

That the Council:

a) Approves a Memorandum of Understanding with NZ Horizon Hospitality Group Limited for a three month exclusive due diligence period for the purposes of determining the viability of a five star hotel development on the property on the corner of Moray Place and Filleul Street.

b) Notes under the Memorandum of Understanding:
a. Council agrees to:
i. Not enter into any discussions or negotiations with any other party other than NZ Horizon Hospitality Group relating to the sale and purchase of the property.
ii. Undertake geotechnical investigations required that will be provided to the NZ Hospitality Group.
b. NZ Hospitality Group agrees to:
i. Undertake due diligence relating to the purchase of the property at Moray Place and Filleul for the development of a five star hotel.

c) Notes that should the due diligence confirm the viability of the proposed five star hotel development, Council and NZ Horizon Hospitality Group Limited may negotiate a sale and purchase agreement conditional on:
a. The sale of the land at market value; and
b. Up to $1 million in development contributions relief; and
c. Development timeframes; and
d. Full Council approval.

d) Delegates the Chief Executive Officer as the Council’s spokesperson for the purposes of any media about the due diligence process.

e) Notes that the approval of the Memorandum of Understanding is not to be taken as any predetermined Council position on any future sale and purchase, or conditions in a sale and purchase agreement, and specifically that Council has yet to consider any development contributions remission and would do against the Development Contributions Policy should a sale and purchase agreement be pursued.

f) Directs that staff use the three month exclusive period to examine other uses and options for the site, in the context of the city’s Strategic Framework and Central City Plan, and that they be put to the Council at the same time as they consider any sale and purchase agreement from the developer.

Voting was carried out by division.

For: Crs Dave Cull, Chris Staynes, David Benson-Pope, Doug Hall, Aaron Hawkins, Mike Lord, Jinty MacTavish, Andrew Noone, Neville Peat, Lee Vandervis, Andrew Whiley and Kate Wilson (12).

Against: Nil

The division was declared CARRIED by 12 votes to 0.

Motion carried (CNL/2016/134)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

*Images: With thanks to Daffy Duck from The Looney Tunes Show via (from top) thepinksmoke.com, fanpop.com, toonbarn.com and giphy.com


Filed under Baloney, Business, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Media, New Zealand, OAG, People, Perversion, Politics, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Travesty, What stadium

DCC LTAP 2016/17 budget discussion #ultrahelpfulhints

ODT 19.1.16 (page 6)

ODT 19.1.16 To the point McCutcheon p6 FrameScrollCornerJPRfinished red

Comment at ODT Online:

Still on about ‘rising ground water’
Submitted by flatout on Thu, 21/01/2016 – 8:05am.

When will you…Dave…and the council admit it was a lack of mainenance that caused the flooding in Dunedin? Stop blaming climate change and rising ground water. Stop talking about high cost plans of moving South Dunedin and buying properties. Stop your endless council staff meetings about the issue of ‘what to do with South Dunedin’. Do maintenance on the stormwater. Do invest in South Dunedin to keep it a place to live and work in. All you need to do is clear drains and stormwater system that has coped with worse floods in the past…1968 for example.

Dave framed [FrameScrollCornerJPRfinished] 2

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Cycle network, DCC, Delta, Democracy, Dunedin, DVML, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Resource management, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design, What stadium

DCC AMAZE —oh, more fraud

DCC logo (fraud) 2

‘Enormously disappointing’ —And Enormously Expected.
‘ONE MAN’ did it. An outright fairytale.
DOLLY didn’t, either. More to come !!

### ODT Online Mon, 10 Aug 2015
Further cases of fraud at council
By Chris Morris
The Dunedin City Council says the discovery of five more examples of fraud and theft inside the organisation is “enormously” disappointing. […] Details of the smaller incidents emerged last week, in response to Otago Daily Times questions, a year after the discovery of the Citifleet fraud.
Read more

█ ODT blocks public comments to this item.

ODT 10.8.15 [Source: DCC]

ODT 10.8.15 Further cases of fraud at council p1[screenshot]

Related Posts and Comments:
7.8.15 MOU DCC and TCFT New Aquatic Facility #MosgielPool
4.8.15 Hundreds of DCC Staff receive fraud detection/prevention training
28.7.15 DCC tender fraud includes Citifleet —not for discussion
23.7.15 Publicise: laudafinem.com
207.15 Noble property subdivision —DELTA #LGOIMA
13.7.15 Jeff Dickie: Edinburgh tough, Dunedin (DUD)
4.7.15 DCC Citifleet, [a] Deloitte report leaked
25.6.15 DCC Citifleet COVERUP #screwy
17.6.15 Citifleet: ‘Checkpoint’ interviews Dave Cull
4.5.15 Cr Lee Vandervis: Why I continue to vote. #email
1.5.15 Cr Vandervis unlikely to quit several missions #coverup #naturaljustice
24.3.15 Noble property subdivision —DELTA
23.3.15 Noble property subdivision: “Denials suggest that we have not learned.”
17.3.15 DCC —Delta, Jacks Point Luggate II….
3.1.15 DCC: Street talk NEVER HAPPENED
28.4.15 Today at DCC in pictures
24.4.15 DCC re Dr Bidrose’s time as most senior Citifleet Manager
23.4.15 DCC severely FAILS councillor #naturaljustice #contempt
18.3.15 Lee Vandervis releases emails #Citifleet investigation
13.3.15 Cr Vandervis: LGOIMA request – Citifleet … Deloitte Report
24.12.14 Dunedin: Watching the detectives
1.12.14 Stadium Review: LGOIMA request and 2009 Town Hall speeches
18.12.14 DCC: Deloitte report released on Citifleet
21.11.14 Stadium Review: Mayor Cull exposed
19.11.14 Forsyth Barr Stadium Review
1.9.14 DCC Fraud: Further official information in reply to Cr Vandervis
30.8.14 DCC Fraud: Cr Vandervis … urgent need for facts and record to be public
27.8.14 DCC whitewash on serious fraud, steals democracy from citizens
22.8.14 DCC: Deloitte report referred to the police #Citifleet
3.7.14 Stuff: Alleged vehicle fraud at DCC
1.7.14 DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet
28.5.14 DCC: Audit and risk subcommittee
20.3.14 Delta: Report from Office of the Auditor-General
19.3.14 ORFU: Black-tie dinner, theft or fraud?
26.2.14 DCC: New audit and risk subcommittee a little too late !!
14.2.14 DCC: Broadband AND bicycles #fraudband speed
1.12.13 Secret Commissions Act aka ‘Backhanders Law’

█ For more, enter the terms *deloitte*, *citifleet*, *fraud*, *conduct*, *vandervis*, *delta*, *orfu* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Carisbrook, Citifleet, Construction, CST, Cycle network, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, LGNZ, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, NZTA, OAG, OCA, Ombudsman, ORFU, People, Police, Politics, Pools, Project management, Property, SFO, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design

What Audit NZ really says in DCC LTP consultation document (March 2015)

Contrary to ODT’s limited reporting picked up by JimmyJones at the previous post…. $95 million is the figure to be concerned about. Read on.

Long Term Plan 2015/16 – 2024/25 Consultation Document
Adopted 24 March 2015

From Audit New Zealand’s Ian Lothian:
(see LTP Consultation Document, pages 43-44)

Audit NZ Lothian 2015

█ More on Long Term Plan 2015/16 – 2024/25 at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/draft-long-term-plan-2015-2016

Related Posts and Comments:
19.5.15 DCC LTP must meet $68M budget shortfall over next decade
19.5.15 Mosgiel pool trust conflicts of interest #bigfishsmallpond
19.5.15 Ode to sickly DCC
18.5.15 DCC laundering – wring out Regent Theatre Trust, pump DVML
18.5.15 NEWSFLASH —Mosgiel pool, tracking [PONT]….
17.5.15 Cr Vandervis on DCC project budgets
● 7.5.15 DCC Draft LTP 2015/16-2024/25 —public submissions online
28.3.15 DCC Draft LTP 2015/16 to 2024/25 —CONSULTATION OPEN
25.3.15 DCC Long Term Plan: Green-dyed chickens home to roost
14.1.15 DCC Draft Long Term Plan: more inanity from Cull’s crew pending

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Text image: whatifdunedin


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, SFO, What stadium

DCC LTP must meet $68M budget shortfall over next decade

Updated post
Wed, 20 Mar 2015 at 6:41 p.m.

█ WOOPS, see JimmyJones at Comments and next post —it’s MUCH worse than $68 million….


Audit NZ on DCC (ODT 25.3.15)

ODT: Council accused of being in denial over long-term plan (25.3.15)

Related Post and Comments:
25.3.15 DCC Long Term Plan: Green-dyed chickens home to roost

█ For more, enter the terms *mosgiel*, *taieri*, *trust*, *pool*, *draft ltp* or *vandervis* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Text image: whatifdunedin


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, SFO, What stadium

Harland to scale

  • Jim Harland and Sukhi Turner (via ODT 2.6.04) - supplied by Calvin Oaten 9.9.14
  • [zoom text with Ctrl + and Ctrl -]

    █ Ten years ago. Whoever typed THAT ?

    Related Post and Comments:
    8.9.14 Jim Harland and the stadium MESS
    27.6.14 Stadium costs $23.4144 million per annum
    2.6.14 Stadium costs ballpark at $21.337 million pa, Butler & Oaten
    23.5.14 Stadium | DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 ● Benson-Pope asserts…
    9.5.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 Submission by Bev Butler
    10.4.14 Stadium: Edgar’s $1m donation (private sector fundraising)

    For more, enter the terms *harland*, *farry*, *malcolm*, *athol*, *stadium*, *dcc*, *cst*, *dchl*, *dvml*, *orfu* or *rugby* in the search box at right.

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

    *Image: Jim Harland and Sukhi Turner (via ODT 2.6.04) – supplied by Calvin Oaten

    Leave a comment

    Filed under Business, Carisbrook, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, DVL, DVML, Economics, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, NZTA, ORC, ORFU, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, STS, Tourism, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design

    Jim Harland and the stadium MESS

    Meanwhile, as Mayor Dave Cull’s council keeps up with massive spending on low priorities and unnecessaries, this comes to light:—

    Jim Harland [odt.co.nz re-imaged by whatifdunedin] 2### ODT Online Mon, 8 Sep 2014
    Stadium budget help was declined
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council declined an offer of specialist help to keep its Forsyth Barr Stadium budget on track, years before the cost jumped by millions of dollars, it has been confirmed. The decision, revealed in an Audit New Zealand report from 2010, has been criticised by Mayor Dave Cull, who said it was “a function of the attitude of the management and the executive at the time”. Former council chief executive Jim Harland defends the decision, saying the council’s oversight was felt at the time to be “appropriate”. The offer was detailed in the Audit NZ annual report to the council, dated December 2010, which covered the 12-month period to June 30 that year.
    Read more

    The decision to build a debt-funded stadium – of which Jim Harland, Malcolm Farry, Athol Stephens, DCC stadium councillors, ORC stadium councillors, and professional rugby cronies are GUILTY – was ALWAYS the decision to bankrupt the Dunedin City Council but more especially, and insidiously, the ratepayers and residents of ‘greater’ Dunedin and Otago.¹

    The Audit NZ offer was INANE and in any case a complete waste of time.
    Audit NZ is what it is, a basket case. Of sheer incompetence and hypocrisy, nationwide.

    Time for a full independent forensic audit of the Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust, fondly known as CST, headed by Malcolm Farry. This will also entail an intimate look at the way Dunedin City Council treated CST invoices, the Council’s spending delegations, and its chief signatories.

    Let’s hope somebody goes to clink before the accounting games are over.
    ¹Only now are Otago power users waking up to the fact of high line charges being levied by Aurora Energy Ltd to fund subvention payments to ‘the stadium’ (see recent letters to the editor in the Otago Daily Times).
    Did the killer consolidated DCC think the people of Otago wouldn’t notice?

    Related Post and Comments:
    27.6.14 Stadium costs $23.4144 million per annum
    2.6.14 Stadium costs ballpark at $21.337 million pa, Butler & Oaten
    23.5.14 Stadium | DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 ● Benson-Pope asserts…
    9.5.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 Submission by Bev Butler
    10.4.14 Stadium: Edgar’s $1m donation (private sector fundraising)

    For more, enter the terms *harland*, *farry*, *malcolm*, *athol*, *stadium*, *dcc*, *cst*, *dchl*, *dvml*, *orfu* or *rugby* in the search box at right.

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

    *Image: odt.co.nz (re-imaged by whatifdunedin) – Jim Harland


    Filed under Business, Carisbrook, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, DVL, DVML, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, NZTA, ORC, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design

    Whaleoil / Cameron Slater on ratepayers’ lament

    whaleoil 18.7.14 - len brown cartoon by SonovaMin (1)

    Cartoon of the Day (Len Brown by SonovaMin)
    Posted by Cameron Slater on July 18, 2014 at 11:00am

    Len Brown’s failures will cause Auckland headaches for decades
    Posted by Cameron Slater on July 18, 2014 at 11:30am
    A Local Authority like Auckland Council plans capital expenditure for urban projects – like the pretty CBD road and footpath improvements. The problem with infrastructure maintenance is that it is very expensive, and it occurs in the future. Competing against the pretty high profile projects it suffers because it takes second place. On the Audit NZ website is a document that records an audit of the performance of Local Government that is pertinent to this topic.
    Read more

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZTA, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

    DCC: Audit and risk subcommittee

    Do you believe “anything” Audit New Zealand says after DCC decided to build the stadium with such a BAD business case? NOPE

    [NZ Farce] Ratepayers needed to know they were getting as good a service as any other ratepayers would get from other councils. –Lothian

    ### ODT Online Wed, 28 May 2014
    Financial stability still a risk, committee told
    By Debbie Porteous
    Financial sustainability, a new funding model for Forsyth Barr Stadium and detecting potential fraud might be its highest priorities risks, Audit NZ has suggested to the Dunedin City Council’s new audit and risk subcommittee. Complying with legislation was not such an issue for the council, but it should work on putting all its management policies and procedures into one document so there was broad understanding of everything happening in that area, Audit NZ audit director Ian Lothian said.
    Read more

    Audit and Risk Subcommittee:
    Susie Johnstone, chairwoman (accountant)
    Cr Richard Thomson
    Cr Chris Staynes
    Cr Hilary Calvert
    Janet Copeland (employment law specialist)

    ● City councillors may attend all meetings of the subcommittee.

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, CST, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, Highlanders, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Site, Sport, Stadiums, What stadium

    SFO budget slashed, how useful were they ?! #politicalinterference

    ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 13:38 08/12/2013
    Serious Fraud Office faces cutback
    By Andrea Vance – Sunday Star-Times
    A 25 per cent funding cut means the Serious Fraud Office will take on less cases, MPs were told this week. Funding to the agency is forecast to decline by 24.7 per cent from $10.180 million in 2013/14 to $7.670 in 2014/15. Parliament’s law and order select committee heard that the number of complaints received has more than doubled from around 200 to 435. But chief executive Julie Read told MPs the agency will have to prioritise the work it does, taking on two out of six low level cases as a deterrent.

    “I think it is fair to say that the way we prioritise cases probably changed at the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis overall…I’ve anticipated that foundation will continue but we may have to adopt some additional tactics depending on the nature of the cases.”
    –Julie Read

    The committee heard the agency is starting to see more corruption and bribery complaints often at the lower level, than bigger finance company cases. In the year ending June 2013, 30 new investigations were launched.
    Read more

    Related Posts and Comments:
    5.12.13 Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends
    3.12.13 LGNZ: OAG report on Kaipara
    15.10.13 NZRU, ORFU blasphemies etc
    11.10.13 New Zealand: Pokie trusts same everywhere #pokierorts
    10.10.13 Whistleblowers’ message heard ??! #OtagoRacingClub #pokierorts
    26.8.13 NZ rorts and sports —dependence on gambling and white collar crime
    7.8.13 SFO goes for disgraced lawyer John Milne, but wait . . .
    1.8.13 Politicians keeping DIA/SFO quiet on ORFU and TTCF #pokierorts
    15.7.13 Leave Otago white collar criminals ALONE, and other unfairness
    29.6.13 Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!
    18.6.13 SFO investigates Taupo District Council
    31.3.13 Internal Affairs and Auditor General stuff up bigtime #pokierorts
    15.3.13 DCC: Stephens gone. It took way too long. [WHY did he go?]
    21.2.13 DIA, SFO investigation #pokierorts
    11.2.13 Recognising whistleblowers
    21.2.12 Kaipara this time

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, CST, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Sport, Stadiums, What stadium

    Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends

    The following are worth a querulous read —especially, the comments added by Anonymous in reply to Andrew Kelly with regards to persons past and present at the DHB (District Health Board) in governance and upper management, who it appears have never been properly investigated.

    And while some stolen monies have been recovered lately via trust accounts, surely Iain Fyfe has more to say; and Peter Ibbotson, something for the first time… he’s yet to be interrogated by SFO and NZ Police. Both men, with thumbscrews applied.

    Blog: Andrew Kelly – Author Blog
    Sunday, 4 August 2013
    Chapter 2: False Invoice Fraud – Michael Swann and Kerry Harford
    My interest in fraud here in New Zealand dates back to September 2010 when I watched (in disbelief) a news item on Michael Swann’s six-year long, $16.9 million false invoice fraud. The end result of which is the (now rewritten) six chapters of “Anatomy of Fraud” you’ll find on this Blog. I must say a special thanks to my patient reviewer: Mark Piper. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.
    Read more


    Society for the Promotion of Community Standards (SPCS)
    Michael Swann, Checketts McKay Law, Fraud and Otago DHB’s missing $6 Million: Report
    Thursday, 11 November 2010
    [excerpts] Checketts McKay Law, Barristers and Solicitors – based in Central Otago, with offices in Wanaka, Cromwell and [Alexandra] […] has five principals, including a Mr Iain Grant Fyfe, who in 1997 was a founding applicant and shareholder in Computer South Limited” […] Mr Iain Grant Fyfe, one of five partners in Checketts McKay Law, held 33 of the total of 100 ordinary shares in Computer South Ltd from 20 March 1997 until 22 September 2006. His share was transferred to the company’s director, Peter Bruce Ibbotson, a plumber, just days before Swann was suspended from his job at ODHB after it had commenced an inquiry into his financial affairs while on the Board. The share transfer was effected on line by Kathleen Bennett of Checketts McKay (Wanaka). […] Iain Fyfe, principal of Checketts McKay has been identified by the SFO as a co-owner of tainted property purchased with the proceeds of crime and involved in a trust that owned other tainted properties (purchased using the proceeds of crime). […] Checketts McKay and Iain Fyfe were listed as respondents in Proceeds of Crimes Act proceedings against Swann by the Solicitor-general who successfully sought restraining orders against a number of assets including Central Otago “tainted properties”. […] It would appear that forensic investigations into the financial/accounting records of the various trusts set up by Checketts McKay law firm to ‘hide’ Swann’s properties, some involving [Anna Devereux] and/or Ibbotson and/or Fyfe, may well provide answers for the police as to the whereabouts of much of the money.
    Read more

    [via SPCS] The main companies involved in the Michael Swann/Kerry Hartford fraud case:

    Sonnford Solutions Ltd (formed 7 Nov 2001) owned by Kerry Harford. Sent invoices to ODHB for computer risk mitigation services. Received 10% of monies. Paid tax and employees.

    Computer South Ltd (incorporated 20 March 1997), operated by Michael Swann. Inaugural shareholders wife Anna Devereux, Devereux Family Trust, lawyer Grant Fyfe and Peter Ibbotson. No employees or tax returns. Received 90% of monies.

    ODT 14.11.13 Thomson still out in cold
    ODT 12.3.09 ‘Astonishing greed’ sunk Swann
    ODT 6.12.08 Events in Swann case played out from 1996 [timeline]

    Related Post and Comments:
    15.7.13 Leave Otago white collar criminals ALONE, and other unfairness

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Events, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics

    Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!

    Received from Martin Legge
    Saturday, 29 June 2013 9:53 a.m.

    Learn how the Kaipara council was repeatedly given a clean bill of health by Audit NZ despite the massive debt and obvious governance problems.

    Compares with how OAG assured me they were closely monitoring the TTCF investigation into how it was that ORFU and Racing were able to fleece $7 million from the South Auckland community. The truth is, DIA lost that file and therefore didn’t investigate and instead deliberately covered the loss up. OAG appear OK with this and issued DIA with a clean bill of health.

    Our trust and faith in the work of these well resourced “highly educated desk jockeys” is misplaced!!!

    ### NZ Herald Online Saturday, 29 Jun 2013 8:48 AM
    Fresh probe begins into debt-ridden council
    By Andrew Laxon
    The commissioners of debt-ridden Kaipara District Council have begun a new inquiry into its past financial decisions, including the advice it received from former chief executive Jack McKerchar. The tiny Northland council is struggling under an $80 million debt, a long-running rates strike and court action by its own ratepayers over more than $17 million of illegally set rates dating back to 2006. Its former councillors stepped down last year in response to a damning report, making way for Government-appointed commissioners.

    Three inquiries are under way into what went wrong. They consist of

    ● An Auditor-General’s investigation into how the cost of a sewerage scheme at Mangawhai blew out from $11 million in 1999 to $62 million, creating most of the council’s debt.
    ● An independent inquiry into how the Audit Office failed to notice the excessive debt and repeatedly gave the council a clean bill of health.
    ● The commissioners’ investigation into other financial transactions they have discovered since taking over last September and see as questionable.

    Northland MP Mike Sabin told Parliament ratepayers had been woefully let down by the council’s “mismanagement, incompetence, carelessness and dysfunctional governance”. Mr Sabin, who is sponsoring a local bill to retrospectively validate the illegal rates, said the bill was necessary to keep the council functioning but it would not allow anyone responsible for poor decisions to duck the consequences.
    The separate inquiry into the Audit Office’s actions, undertaken by Auditing and Assurance Standards Board chairman Neil Cherry, was not finished.
    Read more

    Related Posts and Comments:
    21.4.13 Councils “in stchook” —finance & policy analyst Larry.N.Mitchell
    31.3.13 DIA and OAG stuff up bigtime #pokierorts
    21.2.13 DIA, SFO investigation #pokierorts
    3.11.12 Stadium: DCC caught in headlights
    29.10.12 DCC consolidated debt substantially more than $616m
    21.2.12 Kaipara this time

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, What stadium

    Martin Legge replies to Sunday Star-Times story #DIA #coverup

    ### Sunday Star-Times Sun, 11 Nov 2012
    Pokie man stopped from rort inquiries
    By Steve Kilgallon
    A senior Internal Affairs investigator says he was prevented from probing pokie rorts by his own department because it did not have the confidence to prosecute major crimes. Dave Bermingham, an investigator and analyst who left the department in August, said Internal Affairs was incompetent and should be stripped of its role investigating gaming machine fraud. {continues}
    *No weblink available. Full text reproduced at post.

    Comment received from Martin Legge
    Tuesday, 13 November 2012 11:37 a.m.

    Tony Molloy QC had this to say about a Government Regulator after his enquiry into the collapse of the finance industry:

    “The destruction of billions of dollars of ma and pa retail wealth, through finance company meltdowns was the inevitable consequences of at least three decades of unreadiness, unwillingness and inability of regulators, enforcers, courts, lawyers and accountants to fulfil their roles with integrity.”

    The Commission of Enquiry into The Pike River Disaster had this to say about another Government Regulator, the Department of Labour:

    “DOL’s compliance strategy did not require an assessment of Pike’s safety and operational information. The inspectors did not have a system, training or time to do so. When, at the hearings, they were shown examples of safety information obtained by the commission from Pike’s records, the inspectors were visibly dismayed. This was not a case of individual fault, but of departmental failure to resource, manage and adequately support a diminished mining inspectorate.

    DOL’s main public accountability documents, the statements of intent and annual reports to Parliament, did not reveal any concern about DOL’s ability to administer the health and safety legislation. The statements of intent and the annual reports contained many high-level statements on outcomes and outputs but it was impossible to gain much insight into the performance of the mining inspectorate, or the health and safety inspectors as a whole. Measures used, such as the raw numbers of investigations carried out by the health and safety inspectorate, were not informative.

    The gap between the high-level statements in those documents and the reality on the ground was remarkable.”

    Maarten Quivooy was the NZ Safety Manager at the DOL over this period but left DOL to become DIA’s head of Gambling Compliance. When the Sunday Star-Times put the allegations of cover ups and closing down of investigations within the pokie industry which he now oversees he had this to say:

    “They do their investigation work to the best of their ability and from their perspective it can seem like it goes into a black hole but it has had active and thorough scrutiny by senior management.”

    His comments suggest that the “remarkable gap” between high level statements and reality is now opening up within DIA !!!

    To comfort the public and Politicians, Quivooy is quick to claim their investigation into TTCF was reviewed by Office of the Auditor General. What he doesn’t tell the public is that in July 2009, over the same period that Bermingham and DIA investigators were conducting their investigations into TTCF, Audit NZ was conducting its own independent and statutory audit of TTCF, as a public entity. That audit also found serious issues involving expenditure but neither Audit NZ or its parent body (OAG) took action or followed up on the findings at the time. DIA and OAG only bounced into life when I appeared as a “whistleblower” in October 2010.

    OAG have never given me a satisfactory explanation as to why they didn’t immediately act or follow up to protect millions of dollars of public money but their own failure to act might explain why OAG have been so willing to endorse the DIA investigation that I have labelled a whitewash and Bermingham recently describes as a cover up.

    A case of two well- resourced government regulators sticking together to avoid embarrassment.


    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport

    DCC, DCHL, debt, democracy (and professional rugby)

    Cr Vandervis told yesterday’s meeting the council holding company would borrow $6 million to help fund dividend payments to the council in the 2012-13 year. The council would also draw another $3 million from the Waipori Fund in the same period, and taking money from other “places it doesn’t exist”.

    Cr Kate Wilson denied the council was engaged in “trickery”… describing Cr Vandervis’ comments as “lies”.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 7 Aug 2012
    Ire and apology at heated meeting
    By Chris Morris
    Allegations and threats flew when a Dunedin City Council meeting erupted yesterday over claims the organisation was relying on millions of dollars in loans to keep rates down. Cr Lee Vandervis began a verbal melee at yesterday’s meeting by claiming borrowing by Dunedin City Holdings Ltd continued to offset council rates. The suggestion was quickly rejected by DCHL chairman Denham Shale, who last night confirmed to the Otago Daily Times the practice had ceased under the company’s new board as of July 1.
    Read more

    It’s interesting Cr Syd Brown has inside knowledge on (the latest iteration of) DCHL’s financial manipulations, while other councillors appear not to. Since when has Audit New Zealand been the last ‘honest’ word on (iffy) council accounting and book shuffling. We built the stadium didn’t we, and we fund professional rugby as if we ACCEPT this as council core business. You’re excused for thinking Audit New Zealand has hands in pockets; we do know it runs a conveniently narrow brief for audit purposes. But isn’t this FUN FOR SYD.

    Cr Syd Brown, chairman of the finance, strategy and development committee, said the community should be reassured the 5% rates increase had been struck for 2012-13. That followed a democratic process accepted by councillors, which had also been “given the all clear” by Audit New Zealand, he said. He also reassured councillors DCHL had committed to paying dividend payments without borrowing to do so.

    Do we accept Sydney Brown as Apologist for Dunedin City Council?

    Who is DCHL now? (spot the token woman)

    Arthur William BAYLIS (Queenstown)
    Appointment Date: 31 Oct 2011

    Graham William CROMBIE (Dunedin)
    17 Jul 2012

    Kathleen Enid GRANT (Mosgiel)
    17 Jul 2012

    James Denham SHALE (Auckland)
    31 Oct 2011


    ### ODT Online Tue, 7 Aug 2012
    Councillors back four-year term
    By Chris Morris
    Chants of “four more years” could soon be ringing out inside the Dunedin City Council chambers. That is if Dunedin city councillors get their way after voting yesterday to support a push to extend three-year local body terms to four years. The idea was already being promoted by councils in Christchurch and Wellington in their submissions on the Government’s better local government reforms, which are before a select committee.
    Read more

    How to lock in sheer incompetence for four years… Is this more or less DEMOCRACY? What would we know, people keep voting back in the likes of Brown, Hudson, Collins and Stevenson.

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, Economics, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Sport, Stadiums

    Wednesday: Meetings of Council and FSD Committee, read DEBT

    UPDATED 16.3.12

    The week when everything blows. Tens and tens of millions of dollars lost like so many fluttering autumn leaves. Councillors, the worst of times. You are liable for wrath and accountable for so much more.

    Comment received.

    Submitted on 2012/03/14 at 12:19 am

    Tomorrow (Wednesday) there are meetings of Council and the FSD. The Council meeting is the one that was postponed from Friday because the draft long term plan failed its audit. It is still not good enough and should not be approved.

    The meeting starts off with a secret session to decide how generous the ratepayers will be towards the ORFU. The terms “bail-out” and “blood-sucking leeches” definitely won’t be mentioned in the press release.

    The new draft long term plan tells us that there is a report to be presented to a committee about the governance arrangements of DVL and DVML (see LTP page 5).

    It turns out that negotiations to sign the stadium “venue hire agreements with major event owners” have failed, but we are told the LTP is written as if the agreements are signed.

    The Private Sector Funding is now called (p5) Private Sector Debt. It isn’t “private” but it is “debt”, so that’s an improvement. Thanks to Audit NZ for that.

    How they voted
    After eight hours of deliberation and with no changes to the ORFU bail-out package put before them, Dunedin City councillors voted in this way:

    Aye: Cull, Bezett, Collins, Hudson, Staynes, Thomson, Brown, Noone (8)

    No: Butcher, MacTavish, Stevenson, Vandervis, Wilson (5)

    Apologies: Acklin, Weatherall (both say they would have supported the package)

    (via ODT Online 16.3.12)

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, DCC, DVML, Economics, ORFU, Politics, Project management, Sport, Stadiums

    Audit New Zealand requires DCC to write to DVML

    “DCC here, about the advances . . .”

    ### ODT Online Fri, 18 Feb 2011
    DVML to get ‘letter of comfort’
    By David Loughrey
    The Dunedin City Council has been required to write a “letter of comfort” to Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, the company set up to run the Forsyth Barr Stadium. The letter, to the directors of the council-controlled organisation, has been called for by Audit New Zealand. Both Audit NZ and council acting chief executive Athol Stephens said yesterday the requirement was not uncommon, and Mr Stephens described it as a “formality”.
    Read more

    Report – Council – 21/02/2011 (PDF, 57.5 KB, new window)
    Audit New Zealand Requirement for a Letter of Comfort

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

    Leave a comment

    Filed under DVML, Economics, Project management, Stadiums

    DCHL chief executive replies to critics

    In his letter to the editor, Bevan Dodds explains that DCHL was established to allow Dunedin City Council-owned companies to operate commercially at arm’s length from the council while returning a dividend which the council can then use to offset rates. Although in conclusion he asks, “Why would you not smile at payments of $19.8m that help keep your rates down?”, this doesn’t begin to address – and doesn’t have to – the signalled rate increases ahead. Ahhh, the convenience of that arm’s length between truth or dare.


    [here abridged]

    ### ODT Tue, 20 Oct 2009 (page 8)
    Letters to the editor
    Inconvenient truth: DCHL did well
    By Bevan Dodds
    Chief Executive, Dunedin City Holdings Ltd

    Several “Letters to the Editor” have claimed ‘spin’ or challenged the expenditure of ratepayers’ money on celebrating, via a half page advertisement in your newspaper, the 2008-09 financial results posted by the Dunedin City Holdings Ltd Group of companies.
    The payments made by DCHL to the council of $19.8 million comprised $9.5 million dividends and $10.3 million of interest, reflecting the investment in DCHL made up of both loans and shares. The breakdown is carefully set out in the annual report.
    After tax profit figures calculated under NZ accounting standards for a group such as DCHL will never match cash or “what is left over in the bank”. Note 34 to the DCHL accounts lists 20 reconciling items between the accounting profit and the cash generated by the group from its business activities.
    The total of the profits of the subsidiaries plus the profit of the parent company will only in very rare situations match the consolidated profit of an accounting group. There is no magic here, or mysterious losses because if there was Audit New Zealand and indeed the ODT’s own business reporters would make this very clear, just the pure principles of consolidated accounting.

    The full letter is available in print and digital editions of the Otago Daily Times.

    Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


    Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Economics, Hot air, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, What stadium

    Unravelling or mystifying public consultation

    Public consultation processes used by the Dunedin City Council in providing for services, assets and resources to the community have in many cases been valiant and hugely positive; however, consultation on the stadium project has been found wanting by more than the average few…

    Earlier at What if? there were some distinctions made between what consultation means under the Resource Management Act (RMA) and the Local Government Act (LGA), using public reference material available on the web. Here are some more threads, from the Ministry for Environment, Quality Planning, Department of Internal Affairs (via Civil Defence), and Office of the Auditor-General, Audit New Zealand.


    In regard to resource management, “there is some agreement amongst advocates, council planners and community representatives that the primary purpose of consultation is to ascertain community views and opinions in order to achieve a better project”.

    These passages may be found in the Ministry for Environment’s Striking a Balance: A Practice Guide on Consultation and Communication for Project Advocates.

    While the guideline is dated and might have been superseded in several ways, the principles it describes are useful:

    “There can be considerable variation in interpretation amongst advocates and communities as to the purpose of consultation. Communities may expect that the purpose of consultation is to achieve consensus. In actual fact, the advocate’s operational requirements may overshadow the importance of responding to community views and concerns.”

    Properly, the practice of consultation has something of an escape clause to it; as the Court of Appeal indicates, “consultation does not mean consensus or acceptance, nor does it equate to negotiation, although it may result in an agreement to negotiate”.

    The guideline continues: “The level of community understanding of the underlying rationale for a proposed development, be it at the national, regional and/or district level, is an important consideration in developing an appropriate consultation process. Communities should be provided with the information necessary to understand the rationale for projects proposed for their neighbourhoods.

    “Communities may want to debate the merits of the rationale and it may or may not be accepted, but at the very least the rationale should be explained.”


    On consultation at the Quality Planning website, in abstract it says:

    “Consultation is a process that involves listening as well as talking and providing information. It is a requirement under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Even when not mandatory, consultation is good practice as a means of identifying/clarifying issues and potentially resolving them early in the process.

    “Consultation takes time. It can be hard work and cause costly delays. It requires commitment to communicate effectively with a large community of individuals and groups with different values and concerns. But if done well, consultation will improve the quality of the plan, lead to more community buy-in to the plan and may mean fewer disputes and references in the long term.

    “Make sure consultation is an ongoing process, not a one-off event or series of disjointed encounters.”


    The Department of Internal Affairs notes at its website that the Local Government Act 1974 (LGA) was the main piece of legislation defining the power and responsibility of local authorities.

    “The decision to review the Act, and other local government legislation, was made in March 2000. The new Local Government Bill was introduced to Parliament on 18 December 2001, and received royal assent on 24 December 2002.”

    Submissions on the review’s consultation document were received from a variety of individuals and organisations, and provide a picture of the range of public and community views of the proposals contained in the document.

    “Issues that drew the most comment included:

    * the proposed new purpose of local government – to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities.

    * the proposal to give councils a “power of general competence”, allowing them to choose the activities they undertake and how they should undertake them (subject to a public consultation process).

    * the relationship between Maori, the Treaty and local government.

    DIA Link 1 DIA Link 2


    This on local government consultation and decision-making from the Office of the Auditor-General, Audit New Zealand (OAG):

    “After the Local Government Act was passed, local government sector organisations and the Department of Internal Affairs produced a series of high-level guidance material. A need for more specific advice has emerged as local authorities have gained more experience in implementing the Act.

    “Although there has been no significant change in case law for some years, good practice is evolving and legislation changes have reinforced the public’s expectation of greater levels of consultation. We have dealt with a number of complex ratepayer enquiries about local authority decision-making obligations and consider that we now have enough experience to distil and reflect good practice emerging from the sector.”

    OAG brought together a working group of local government staff and advisers to provide sector input into identifying the main issues and examples of good practice. It published a report on 12 September 2007 that reflects what local government practitioners consider to be good practice in decision-making and consultation.

    “In practice, the responsibility for decision-making and consultation lies with the leaders and senior managers of local government. We expect our guidance to be useful for the sector alongside other material such as that produced by the Society of Local Government Managers and Local Government New Zealand.”


    “The Local Government Act 2002 sets out principles and obligations for local authorities to use in decision-making and consultation. Decision-making and consultation are important activities by which local government fulfils its purpose of enabling democratic decision-making and promoting the general well-being of current and future generations. The Local Government Act 2002 has also reinforced the public’s expectation of greater levels of participation in decision-making and consultation.

    “So far, the courts have had few opportunities to provide judicial guidance about how to interpret these principles. However, good practice is evolving.

    “This guide is the combined view of the OAG and a working party within the sector convened to advise the Office. OAG discusses the principles-based approach in the Local Government Act 2002. The guide also provides examples of local authority practice in areas that the working party and [the Controller and Auditor-General K B Brady] identified as challenges to implement. It does not attempt to define legislative compliance – rather, it is a combined view and discussion on principles and current practice.

    Guideline: Turning principles into action: A guide for local authorities on decision-making and consultation

    In the guideline, OAG has this to say on decision-making and consultation requirements (Part 4):

    “Using the policy on significance:
    In our experience, local authorities find it difficult to determine whether decisions or proposals are significant. Although practice is evolving, we continue to receive requests to look at how local authorities have made significant decisions and how local authorities have decided whether a matter is significant. Local authorities need procedures for managing significant proposals and decisions.

    “Legislative requirement:
    Part of the decision-making framework of the LGA is a “significance” threshold – the decision-making requirements in the Act are generally more onerous for “significant” decisions. This is reflected in the proportionality principle in section 79 – the extent to which a local authority must consider options and community views about a decision should be in proportion to the “significance” of the decision.

    “There are some cases where a proposal or a decision that a local authority recognises as “significant”, either because of its own policy or because the Act deems it so, triggers specific statutory decision-making processes. For example: A regional council can start a “significant new activity” only if the activity is included in its LTCCP (section 16).

    “Decision-making and consultation requirements:
    • A local authority must use the special consultative procedure when proposing to change the mode of delivery of a “significant activity” (section 88).
    • A local authority cannot decide to alter “significantly” the level of service for a “significant activity”, or transfer ownership or control of a strategic asset, unless the decision is explicitly provided for in the LTCCP (section 97).

    “The Act contains several references to “significant” and “significance”, and defines both of those terms (section 5). The definition of “significance” is the crucial one. It requires local authorities to consider the degree of importance of the issue, proposal, decision, or matter in terms of its likely effect on, and likely consequences for:
    • the current and future social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of the district or region;
    • any persons who are likely to be particularly affected by, or interested in, the issue, proposal, decision, or matter; and
    • the capacity of the local authority to perform its role, and the financial and other costs of doing so.

    “The Act requires a local authority to have a policy on significance that sets out the local authority’s approach to determining whether a decision or proposal is significant and any thresholds, criteria, or procedures used to assess this. A policy on significance must also list a local authority’s strategic assets. This list should comprise assets considered by the local authority to be strategic, as well as assets that are strategic under the Act’s definition of that term (for example, shares held in port or energy companies). A policy on significance must be adopted or amended using the special consultative procedure, and a summary must be included in the LTCCP.”

    What if? says: To explore the context of these passages we recommend you use the links provided.

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    Filed under Politics, Stadiums