### ODT Online Thu, 8 Sep 2016
Scope for more democracy with checks and balances
By Hilary Calvert
OPINION In the past three years Dunedin City Council has functioned just as central government does, with a government and an opposition. But the problem is that in Dunedin it means central government-style politics without the checks and balances. Because the mayor of the day is allowed to choose the chairs of the council committees, if the mayor anoints those who are similar in their views to him or her, effectively a “government” is formed. Those on the “government” side support each other, forming a version of the “cabinet”, with meetings between themselves alongside senior council staff to discuss the issues of the day. Those who are not part of this grouping are obliged to form a loose “opposition”, because this is the only place where any public challenges and questions are likely to come from.
In Dunedin […] the chairs of committees forming the “cabinet” meet secretly and without any minutes which can be accessed. They may be part of working parties with other groups, which never report back to the council, for example groups meeting with NZTA about cycleways. They may have information either before the rest of the council or outside the rest of council papers, never to be seen by council. […] In Dunedin, the ODT describes what happens in council meetings, talks to the chairs of the meetings, and prints press releases, having clarified the situation with a relevant staff member. There is little chance for any challenge of prevailing views unless a major debate happens during meetings, or unless the issues raised are ones which the ODT chooses to follow up in an in-depth way.
● Hilary Calvert is a Dunedin City councillor, who is not standing for re-election.
B L O W N ● O U T ● O F ● P R O P O R T I O N ● B Y ● C U L L
If, for example, the solutions involved “massive urban renewal or massive pumps” then Government help could be sought.
### ODT Online Fri, 9 Sep 2016
Work on South D issues
By Vaughan Elder
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says it is too early to make a formal approach to the Government for help with the problems facing South Dunedin. Mr Cull made the comments while outlining the council’s response to its vote last month to “immediately engage” the Government over the threat groundwater and sea-level changes pose to the low-lying area. Mr Cull said that in recent weeks he and chief executive Sue Bidrose briefed local MPs on the situation in South Dunedin and in the past he had spoken to ministers Bill English and Paula Bennett about the possibility of “collaboration” between local and central government in addressing South Dunedin’s issues.
The demise of the stacked cup towers. pic.twitter.com/ptti2qo3yz
— Animal Cognition (@animalcog) March 27, 2016
Animal Cognition @animalcog · Mar 27 [Birdie Cull, the wrecker]
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.