Tag Archives: Core business

ORC New HQ : Reminder, fiduciary duty and core responsibilities

Land ● Water ● Air ● Coast ● Built Environment ● Biota ● Natural Hazards ● Energy ● Wastes and Hazardous Substances

The core business of the Otago Regional Council is environmental protection, not real estate investment. –Eckhoff

### ODT Online Tue, 21 Jun 2016
Environmental cost to building
By Gerrard Eckhoff
OPINION The decision the Otago Regional Council will have to make on a new administration block sometimes means deciding on the lesser evil. Whatever the decision, councils don’t get much thanks for avoiding one bad choice in favour of another. The option of leasing space in an existing building, thereby leaving a large amount of capital free for the ORC’s primary environmental functions, has been summarily dismissed by the chairman of the ORC. This is despite matters of “significant investment” (such as a new building) requiring special consultation with our ratepayers, who will in turn expect that their or any suggestion will not be so easily dismissed. […] The ORC’s failure to understand that environmental inaction simply transfers cost from this generation to the next and with a multiplier effect is inexcusable. What price must environmental imperatives pay for a new building? That is the real question the ORC must ask of itself.
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● Gerrard Eckhoff, of Central Otago, is an Otago regional councillor.

Otago Regional Council meeting
█ [today] Wednesday, 22 June 2016 at 9:00 a.m.
Council Chamber, 70 Stafford Street, Dunedin
Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Download: Agenda includes minutes and reports (PDF, 2402 KB)

Go to Part C Item 7 (pages 68-70)
Report: ORC Head Office Accommodation Update. DCS, 16/6/16
The report provides an update on the Council and staff workshops held to help inform the next stage of the project.


ORC 22.6.16 Council Agenda Part C Item 7 pp68-70

Related Posts and Comments:
● 9.6.16 ORC empire building again : Consultants give questionable options…
11.8.12 ODT editorial (spot on!) — ORC temporary headquarters
26.6.09 ORC headquarters [incl news items to present day]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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


Filed under Agriculture, Architecture, Business, Construction, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Geography, Heritage, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

The complicity of mudtanks and stormwater drains personified

Garrick Tremain – 27 Apr 2016
Garrick Tremain 27 Apr 2016 [screenshot]

Election Year : This post is offered in the public interest. -Eds

The Otago Daily Times has undergone a momentary and unsubtle change this fortnight. The newspaper is allowing near ‘ruthless’ honesty in Letters and Online Comments, including rightful naming and shaming (carefully expressed, within context) of individuals and politicians that should no longer be residing at the local authority. Rush in while the door’s Open —we know it is, for the cartoonist deftly flies his drone again! At our city council. (Was GT threatened from on high prior to Election Year, with blanket censorship too ?).

This sudden rush of print-blood happens belatedly, as debate ensues over the council’s (stadium-ripper) lack of investment and professional engagement with core infrastructure services, city-wide.

Not insignificantly, projects led by “pets” continue under the radar via budget lines in the council’s Long-term Plan (LTP) and associated Annual Plans. Of course, the “pets” feel safe from scrutiny since they’ve built up “such amazing” community rapport and goodwill (a cultural following!). Nope, own castles, own keeps, feathering own nests (*not yours!) —spending money that’s not theirs with weak justification, benefitting minor consortiums of private business (*not the wider swathe of our suburban and rural populations!). Supported handsomely (wink wink) by the odd motley politician who wants “back in”, riding the “pets” like a bar saddle to the next paid trimester. Although…. that gratuitously camp ballet scene at Tuesday’s Infrastructure Services Committee meeting : where the doorstepper was conveniently exposed doing rehearsed Q&A with a scapegoat in a hotseat, was an undoing. The video is coming! Equally, someone else nutted on about the girth of pipes in a soliloquy that will endure many viewings.

While ODT meets the temperature of its audience – at the same time, the council offers little that’s honest, immediate or genuine for the people it has ill-advisedly brought flood, damage and distress to. Surely, the worst-affected should see financial re-dress from this (highly indebted) can’t-pay council. Wethinks fixing, maintaining and upgrading council-owned infrastructure is Not Quite Enough to assuage the greater collective conscience…. There could be, however, real satisfaction seeing the council get the deep cut and tuck, a razor slash. Bringing an ungainly end to bully girls’ vanity and sly defective green-tinged parlour acts that buck off without trimming a balance sheet.

Honing to essentials, the art of cartoon mayhem.

ODT 27.4.16 (page 12)

ODT 27.4.16  Letters to editor Menzies Mathieson Greensmith-West Wallace p12 (1)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

[alternative title for post: ‘that’s not mud, it’s dogshit’]


Filed under Baloney, Business, Climate change, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Stadiums, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty

Whaleoil: Rodney Hide on Dunedin’s Luddite Council

Ever since Helen Clark allowed councils general competence we have seen debt burgeon and empire building of armies of council staff increase. It is time to rein in the excesses. The reforms have largely failed. I’m not even sure we need local councils in any case….except to just provide essential services. –Cameron Slater

Whale Oil Beef Hooked logo### whaleoil.co.nz May 24, 2014 at 5:00pm
Rodney Hide on Dunedin’s Luddite Council
By Cameron Slater
Rodney Hide excoriates the Dunedin City Council for their embracing of a buggy culture. [NBR paysite]

“I was taken aback by Dunedin City Council committing to invest ethically. I would have thought it was already beyond reproach. But it turns out it’s not about the council not taking back-handers and the like but rather what it can and can’t invest in. Henceforth, it won’t invest in porn, munitions, tobacco or gambling. Seriously? Was investing in porn ever in prospect? I once took a paper to the cabinet to circumscribe council activity. I wanted to limit them to core services. To buttress my argument, I had examples of the nutty investments that councils had entangled ratepayers in. I remember dairy farms, property development, Lotto shops and cinemas. My concern wasn’t ethical investing but rather local government’s proper role. I wanted councils to stick to basics. I didn’t succeed but would have had a chance with the Dunedin example: a council having to make a rule to stop itself investing in pornographic movies.”
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It matters enormously that city leaders are declaring fossil fuel extraction unethical. –Rodney Hide

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under DCC, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics

DCC: 2014 Residents’ Opinion Survey (ROS)

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Tell Us What You Think!

This item was published on 20 May 2014

Letters will be sent out this week to 4,500 Dunedin residents, inviting them to take part in the DCC’s annual Residents’ Opinion Survey (ROS). DCC Acting General Manager Services and Development Nicola Pinfold says, “The ROS provides a host of useful information and helps us gauge the views of residents who may be less likely to tell us what they think in other ways, such as the Annual Plan process.”

Last year, the residents randomly selected from the electoral roll were invited to complete the ROS online using a unique code, rather than receiving a hard copy of the questionnaire. A hard copy was made available on request. This was successful in raising the response rate and cutting costs so the same approach is being taken this year.

The survey is also open to all residents online at www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros and will be sent to all members of the Dunedin Peoples’ Panel. To ensure the statistical validity of the ROS results, the responses from the people who were selected are used as the official results.

“We have been using this Survey for 20 years and it has become a key tool for us to assess how well we are doing, and ultimately guiding our planning and decision-making. ROS focuses on how well we deliver our services, and asks questions about residents’ perceptions of our performance. Some of the results are used as official measures of the Council’s performance for audit purposes. But equally importantly, the feedback is used by staff and the Council to guide our thinking about how we might best deliver services to better meet the needs of Dunedin’s residents.” –Nicola Pinfold

The Survey is open until 18 June. A reminder letter and hard copy of the questionnaire will be sent to those who haven’t responded about two weeks after the initial letter, a practice that has proved successful in increasing the response rate. The results are expected to be publicly available in late July.

█ Responses from residents who independently chose to complete the Survey online are analysed separately but still provide the DCC with valuable feedback about how it can improve its services.

For the second year, all respondents will have the opportunity to enter a draw to win a prize. Each prize is worth about $150 and three winners will be drawn who will be able to choose from a range of prizes, including vouchers, swim passes or a donation to a charity of their choice. The Survey, which costs about $40,000, will be undertaken by independent research company Key Research. The results of last year’s ROS can also be viewed at www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros

Contact DCC Acting General Manager Services and Development on 03 477 4000.
DCC Link

Related Posts and Comments:
9.5.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 Submission by Bev Butler
7.5.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 hearings
11.4.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 Submissions due by 15 April
20.1.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15
9.9.13 Residents’ dissatisfaction (2013) with elected council and mayor —increase!
27.6.13 State of the City —DCC or Dunedin? [see comment]
8.10.12 2012 Residents’ Opinion Survey: DCC spooks massage Cull, for sheep
13.6.12 DCC: 2012 Residents Opinion Survey

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, People, Politics, Project management, What stadium

Councils “in schtook” —finance & policy analyst Larry Mitchell

Received Sun, 21 Apr 2013 14:45:37 +1200
Topic ring a bell? We are using DCC and Kaipara as the salutary case studies.

Larry N. Mitchell
Finance & Policy Analyst (Local Government)

PO Box 404 103, Puhoi 0951, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09 422 0598 Mobile: 027 479 2328
Email: larry@kauriglen.co.nz

Read here or scroll to end of post to download this paper.

Councils “in stchook”
… their debt is way too high … it matters … so do proper disclosures

Dealing as I do, with matters of New Zealand Council finances, the one area that produces most comment, sometimes heated debate, is Council debt. Public discussion of Council debt is muddled, an often fractious difference of opinion generating more heat than light.

For example, the most recent (March 2013) Office of the Auditor General’s report of their findings from New Zealand Local Government audits concludes that Councils have their debt levels “within a reasonable range”. Recent New Zealand Local Government Association press releases concur.

Compare these reassuring findings to those of the 2013 NZ LG League Table where the lowest ranked 15% (10 in number) of New Zealand Councils are revealed as exhibiting unfavourable financial sustainability and community affordability issues. Both contradictory positions can’t be right. Unfortunately, the debate over Council debt is complicated by unsatisfactory public reporting-disclosures.

Discussions of Council debt are often compounded by current Council practices. These amount to opaque, imprecise Council debt accounting and “smoke and mirrors” disclosures. It is tempting to suggest that these are deliberate attempts to suppress discussion of Council debt on a “don’t scare the horses” basis.

This is particularly evident for use of the term by Councils of “Internal Borrowing”, a meaningless label, better described as “Robbing Peter”, covering as it does Council treasury management dealings involving a clear misuse (some might say misappropriation) of asset replacement funds.

Add to these sleights of hand a motivation for the more highly indebted Councils to keep their heads down when their debt totals soar, along with a tendency toward misinformation.
Continue reading


Filed under Business, DCC, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property

Cull’s state of denial…

See previous post:
24.9.12 DCC against imposition of local government reforms

Comment received.

Calvin Oaten
Submitted on 2012/09/25 at 7:43 pm

Dave Cull and Paul Orders submitting on the proposed local government reforms to a select committee hearing is entertaining to say the least.
Dave says “the DCC should be left to tackle debt levels and rates rises without new controls imposed by the Government”. Is he ‘avin a laugh’? It is just that which brought about the Government’s interest in this problem in the first place. He says rates and debt were two issues already at the top of his council’s agenda, and the Government’s proposed changes risked “unintended negative consequences”. He’s ‘avin a laugh again’. The man’s sense of humour knows no bounds. The proposed limit on rates rises would erode council’s previously “unfettered” ability to raise revenue through rates, he says. It’s almost like he is in a ‘drug rehabilitation programme’ and is in denial about his addiction. Classic response, don’t admit any problem, just leave me alone and I will sort it.
Sorry Dave, but you and your equally drug driven cohorts are in serious denial and the citizens are paying a very big price. He worries that to restrict them now would upset the ‘drug peddlers’ (banks) and cause the price to rise. That, of course would increase the pain and he just couldn’t stand that. It would seriously affect his sense of wellbeing and confidence in his own ability. The man is desperately in need of being loved by all.
Lee Vandervis, as our only hope, I hope you can mediate around that table and get some traction. I am not holding my breath.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

1 Comment

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DCC against imposition of local government reforms

For once, Central Government has it right – the unreasonable burden on Dunedin ratepayers and residents is beyond the pale, following ten years of excessive debt loading by the Dunedin City Council, fueled by the sheer lack of conservative management and fiscal prudence (a requirement clearly set out in the Local Government Act). Something has to give. Cull’s council has no wish to be made transparent or accountable – without Government intervention the Dunedin community has NO protection from this council’s excesses, brought about by deliberate deception and oft times the financial ineptitude of councillors and senior management of council departments; ditto the boards and senior management of council-owned companies and related entities. Meanwhile, the old chestnut – Council pouring rates funds into professional rugby without ratepayer sanction, with no end in sight.

A proposed limit on rates rises would erode councils’ previously “unfettered” ability to raise revenue through rates. –Dave Cull

### ODT Online Mon, 24 Sep 2012
Cull opposes debt, rates intervention
By Chris Morris
Local authorities such as the Dunedin City Council should be left to tackle debt levels and rates rises without new controls imposed by the Government, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says. Mr Cull and Dunedin City Council chief executive Paul Orders made their case this week, while presenting the council’s submission on proposed local government reforms to a select committee hearing in Christchurch.
The reforms – unveiled in March – included plans for new benchmarks to assess the financial performance of councils, as part of a push to control local government debt levels and limit rates increases.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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