Tag Archives: Justin Prain

Christchurch housing : ‘If you build the right thing, buyers will still come’

Will they ? How many, how far ?
(if there’s nothing more than service sector jobs available)….

Hmm. In their early contributions to What if? Dunedin, Lee Vandervis and Christchurch Driver [CD] each had the measure of the post-quake new build housing market in Christchurch. Cycling boom and bust, with odd and unexplained connections and financing.

Link received.
Sat, 4 Mar 2017 at 12:31 p.m.

T H E ● P R E S S

Christchurch’s rental market is oversupplied and freshly-built terraced houses are sitting empty and unsold in the suburbs. How did the city with the real estate market decimated by the earthquakes get here?

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the average rent in Christchurch is falling for the first time since records started in 1993.

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 18:11, March 3 2017
Christchurch’s housing paradox – the downside of a building boom
By Michael Wright – The Press
Last month, Mike Blackburn bought a house. He and his wife looked at about 40 properties before settling on one. As they traipsed through the preceding 39, a pattern emerged. “Every second house we looked at was empty,” he said. “That’s just a telling figure. Where have all these people gone?” The significance of what he saw wasn’t lost: Christchurch, the city once desperately short of houses after thousands of them were wrecked by earthquakes, had a lot more accommodation than it used to.

Blackburn is a management consultant, specialising in construction clients. When small or medium-sized operators are struggling, they go to someone like him for advice on how to get through. As part of his work, he gets the raw consenting data from the Christchurch City Council each month – location, builder, value, type of consent (earthquake or business as usual), intended use – to build a picture of the marketplace. He saw a clear vision. “There was a major rush, mostly by the group home builders, to build a lot of houses really quickly,” he said. “What’s happened is now everyone who’s needed a house has pretty much got one and they’re still building them. They’re building them flat out . . . all these development companies are month after month submitting 20-30 consents each for essentially spec housing.” The numbers have tapered off of late. The council peaked in 2014 at more than 3200 consents issued – about 270 a month – before drifting back down to just over 2100 last year. 2017 is already tracking below that. As Blackburn sees it, though, the damage has already been done. “There will be a correction. The number of buildings and the total number of dwellings being built will fall off really rapidly. It’ll go below that business as usual level, because we’ve got a major oversupply at the moment. Potentially that effect could run on for the building sector in Canterbury for the next two, maybe three years.”

….Anecdotally, rental properties are in such abundance landlords are dropping prices and offering incentives to secure tenants. This week, Stuff reported on swathes of empty multi-unit houses languishing in suburban subdivisions. “[We] certainly won’t be building any more of those,” construction boss Mike Greer said at the time. Then there is the data. Compare Government valuer QV’s latest monthly average house values for each region against last February and Christchurch does not do well. QV measures the city in six disparate parts and they all appear in the bottom 11 spots for value increase [three of the other five are the Selwyn, Waimakariri and Ashburton districts]. Rises in the Christchurch zones range from 0.7 per cent [east] to 3.9 per cent [southwest], which barely registers against most of the rest of the country; basking in double-digit growth all the way up to an eye-watering 29.5 per cent jump in the Queenstown-Lakes district [average house value $1,039,434].

Market forces were …. promoting even more building. The Reserve Bank’s loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions on banks lending to home buyers exempted new builds. A home buyer generally needed a 20 per cent deposit, but a home builder could get finance with much less. Christchurch, in the middle of an insurance-driven building bonanza, didn’t need that kind of encouragement.

“People have gone, in my mind, somewhat berserk in building new, to try and fill that [housing] void,” Canterbury Registered Master Builders president Ivan Stanicich said. “Some of the bigger building companies in Christchurch grew exponentially, hired more and more people and that was only ever going to be for about a three-year sweep. Now we’re seeing the reverse of that where building companies are actively downsizing. That’s well known in our industry. Nobody wants to shout that from the rooftops, because it’s not a positive business outlook, but it’s quite understandable. If you don’t, any gains you’ve made through the building boom, they’re just going to be lost in your overheads.”

Property manager Tony Brazier saw the problem coming. In October 2014 he penned a column in The Press warning of the dangers of over-building. “The housing rebuild must be carefully monitored so we do not end up over-supplied,” he wrote. “This phenomenal house building pace should alert us to the fact that, whereas in the past it takes only a few builders struggling to sell their new-builds to signal an end to the cycle, this time could be different. It may take large contractors not being able to sell whole subdivisions before the message gets through.”

….How did it come to this? The first answer is earthquake insurance money finally caught up with, and overtook, the market. As Stanicich said – builders going berserk trying to fill the housing void. In the meantime, claims were settled and damaged stock repaired. An unforeseen element of this was the brisk trade in as-is, where-is houses – earthquake casualties that were uninsurable but livable. Landlords snapped them up and, in a stressed rental market, had no problem finding tenants. The by-product was Christchurch’s housing stock ended up not quite as depleted as first thought.
Read more + Charts

Recent Press articles:
Christchurch’s terraced homes struggling to sell as housing market levels
Christchurch landlords lower rents due to ‘oversupply’ of properties
Cash and rent-free offers fail to lure tenants as Christchurch housing….
City’s rental crisis ‘at breaking point’

****

█ Thoughts immediately turn to Dunedin City Council and DCHL’s commitment as of 1 August 2016 to the new Delta ‘joint venture’ (including the Noble types) at Yaldhurst. After all the legal stoush, will properties sell ?

yaldhurst14-2-17-4[Gurglars] Hoarding at Yaldhurst subdivision, 14 February 2017

yaldhurst-village-site-received-14-2-16-christchurch-driver[Christchurch Driver] Yaldhurst subdivision, 13 February 2016

yaldhurst-subdivision-21-jan-2016-christchurch-driver[Christchurch Driver] Yaldhurst subdivision, 21 January 2016

Yaldhurst Village location map [villagelife.co.nz][villagelife.co.nz]

Yaldhurst Village Mortgagee Tender [realestate.co.nz - Harcourts][realestate.co.nz] Yaldhurst Village Mortgagee Tender, 15 December 2015

****

BACK WHEN (2014), Mike Greer Homes NZ ramped up production to rehouse people in post-quake Christchurch, it was a genuine and concerted effort:

Where there was bare land a year ago, a factory now stands ready to reshape the residential construction industry.

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00, November 22 2014
House factory ready to roll
By Alan Wood – The Press
As Mike Greer and Bill Gee watch the emergence of their “high volume” residential panels factory, they have no concern they will contribute to an oversupply of new homes. The $14 million industrial factory development includes $5m plus of specialist German machinery to be used to rapidly construct the panels for residential homes. Greer, “a chippie by trade”, is optimistic about the Rolleston-based factory’s place in a Canterbury and Auckland building boom. “This is fantastic for the residential construction industry. No-one in New Zealand has ever seen anything like this,” he says of the joint venture company Concision, which he and Gee own. Asked about any slowdown in the Canterbury rebuild and residential market, Greer says he has hundreds of pre-sold homes he is yet to make a start on.
Is there any danger of an overbuild by builders in the region?
“Well wouldn’t that be good. Everyone is complaining about housing affordability. The only way to fix that is supply,” Greer responds. He says there are signs interest rates have stabilised and may even come down. From April 1, a Government subsidy on first home buyers of new homes in Canterbury will be introduced. A buyer could get up to $20,000 towards a $450,000 home. “So that’s really going to stimulate things at that end of the market,” Greer says. The Reserve Bank was also signalling that eventually . . . it will remove loan to value ratio restrictions that have made it more difficult for first home buyers to get loans.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
● 17.2.17 Gurglars visits the Delta/Noble JV subdivision at Yaldhurst
● 11.3.16 Delta peripheral #EpicFail : Stonewood Homes and ancient Delta….
● 10.3.16 Noble Subdivision next on the shopping list !!! You couldn’t….
6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Tea & Taxing Questions
6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Nobel Subdivision : A Neighbour responds
5.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision —Epic Fraud
4.3.16 Delta —Noble Subdivision #EpicStorm Heading OUR WAY
4.3.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : Councillors know NOTHING
2.3.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : A Dog, or a RAVING YAPPER?….
1.3.16 Delta #EpicFail… —The Little Finance Company that did (Delta).
29.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : NBR interested in bidders
28.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble… If I were a rich man / Delta Director
27.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision Consent : Strictly Optional
27.2.16 Delta #NUCLEAR EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Incompetent…
25.2.16 Delta #EpicFail: Mayor Cull —Forced Sale Fundamentals 101
24.2.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Cameron, Crombie & McKenzie
23.2.16 DCC: DCHL half year result to 31 December 2015
19.2.16 Delta: Update on Yaldhurst subdivision debt recovery
15.2.16 Delta / DCHL not broadcasting position on subdivision mortgagee tender
30.1.16 DCC Rates: LOCAL CONTEXT not Stats —Delta and Hippopotamuses
29.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision ● Some forensics
21.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision
21.1.16 DCC LTAP 2016/17 budget discussion #ultrahelpfulhints
19.1.15 Housing affordability in this country is “just hopeless” –Hugh Pavletich
10.1.16 Infrastructure ‘open to facile misinterpretation’…. or local ignore
15.12.15 Noble property subdivision aka Yaldhurst Village | Mortgagee Tender
21.9.15 DCC: Not shite (?) hitting the fan but DVL
20.7.15 Noble property subdivision —DELTA #LGOIMA
● 1.4.15 Christchurch subdivisions: Heat gone?
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…. Noble property subdivision

● 14.5.14 (via DCC website) Larsen Report February 2012
A recent governance review of the Dunedin City Council companies was conducted by Warren Larsen.

● 20.3.14 Delta: Report from Office of the Auditor-General
Inquiry into property investments by Delta Utility Services Limited at Luggate and Jacks Point

█ For more, enter the term *delta* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

2 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, Economics, Finance, Geography, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Technology, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

Gurglars visits the Delta/Noble JV subdivision at Yaldhurst

Received from Gurglars
14/02/2017 9:07 p.m.

yaldhurst14-2-17-1George Noble Rd, Yaldhurst

yaldhurst14-2-17-2Who wants to live near power lines? They run right through the subdivision.

yaldhurst14-2-17-3No one is working at Yaldy, this glass has been on the road for a long time.

yaldhurst14-2-17-5A digger strategically placed to suggest action – reality, inaction.

yaldhurst14-2-17-4The crowning glory – unbelievable, no ads for Yaldhurst sales but an ad on the property for a subdivision near Pegasus!

whatifdunedin replies:
Nearby subdivisions sold well with power lines and pylons…
Weird mentality at CHC.

That hoarding (not that old… months only) originally featured marketing for the commercial area at the Yaldhurst subdivision. Recently pasted over with Infinity’s other project.

[“Ravenswood, half an hour north of Christchurch, is being offered for sale by developer Infinity Investment Group, which says the project is too big for it.” See last note at (28.3.15) Stuff: Gloomy outlook for solar housing in Christchurch; and (9.8.16) Stuff: Work to begin on Ravenswood development after sale abandoned.]

****

Received from Gurglars
2017/02/15 at 6:51 am

News Flash
The word on the street is that a well-heeled solid respectable group offered $12,000,000 actual cash, money, moolah, for Yaldhurst.
The idiotii accepted a notional nonexistent $13million from a $1000 capitalised company who have subsequently made no moves towards repair, consents, or even inspected their new purchase.
If they have inspected it, one would have thought they would clean glass from the road (been there so long it’s almost fused and embedded). Maybe they would have mowed the grass? Or perhaps they would have found the keys to the lone token digger. Having commenced these $5 dollar cleanups they may have been able to put a sign up advertising the properties.
And why is activity important to a Dunedin ratepayer or councillor?
Because honey, we do not get any money until they sell profitable sections.
That’s why the $12,000,000 cash was the only offer that the idiotii should have accepted and folks that’s why you do NOT elect Greens, flakes and dreamers, because it’s your money they have, and will enjoy wasting.

whatifdunedin replies:
Your point is well made, Gurglars. But. It’s much more complicated than that. Seller was the buyer. And we have Graham Crombie (accountant!) as middle man, we wonder who he is really working for, Gordon Stewart? Justin Prain? Murray Frost? Previously/still, Stuart McLauchlan? Who.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

5 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, Economics, Finance, Geography, Housing, Infrastructure, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, SFO, Site, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

Post pulled, more later #Delta

The post by Christchurch Driver [CD], entitled ‘….Exit Left Mr McKenzie from DCC’, part of the Delta #EpicFail, series, was pulled not long after publication, 12-13 June 2016, at our own behest.

Some of our readers will have received automatic email alerts that resulted in a Not Found message.

Fear not, the material will be reformulated in upcoming posts specifically hewn to characterise and critique Delta Utility Services Ltd —but which will also touch on soulless marriages to DCHL, Aurora and quite possibly our beloved DCC. Wherever fancy, or horror takes our terrier correspondent.

apple, fall far from the tree [cleveland.com] 1a

Updated Thu, 16 Jun 2016 at 8:05 p.m.

C H R I S T C H U R C H • H I G H • C O U R T

Noble Subdivision, Yaldhurst
Yesterday, there was a High Court conference in front of Justice Gendall regarding proceedings against Noble, Apple Fields, Justin Prain, and Cardno where it was advised that Gold Band and Delta would be added to proceedings for constructive fraud along with Noble and including fraud on the Land Transfer system. This sitting was open to the public.

Justice Gendell included the advisement re Gold Band and Delta in his written minute of the conference.

Reminder: Delta have 100% control over the first mortgage and 70% ownership of it.

ODT might like to chase the legal action.
Hint. On behalf of Dunedin and Otago ratepayers.

Other proceedings chance in the wind.
We hear that Noble has threatened Delta several times —if Delta does not do as Noble says then Noble, and Noble related parties, will sue Delta.

[ODT] Where does it end for Ratepayers ?

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *aurora*, *luggate*, *jacks point*, *auditor-general* or *noble* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

*Image: cleveland.com – apple, fall far from the tree (Darcy)
[tweaked by whatifdunedin]

2 Comments

Filed under Business, Delta, Democracy, Economics, Events, Finance, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design, What stadium

Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : [rephrased] Conflict of Interest

Election Year : The following opinion is offered in the public interest. -Eds

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Dear Readers and What –if Mobsters

Your correspondent is given to understand there are several of you who enjoy his posts, which is certainly gratifying to him, if not to the DCC. However readers are taxing mistresses, they demand fresh and current material for their reading pleasure.

Discerning readers of taste and sophistication, of which you are without exception, are firmly of the view that there is nothing as old as yesterday’s news, and tonight’s post is indeed recycled and somewhat elderly. But wait, as Noble Investments Ltd said to the Judge Osbourne, I can explain why I have reneged on my obligations….

This week Mr Graham Crombie did more than re-release Delta CEO Grady Cameron’s press release. He advised What if? that he considered this post below “defamatory” to Mr McKenzie. And said that in effect he will soon have a letter from his lawyers about this. Although, What if? hasn’t actually seen the letter yet. We think it is in Mr Crombie’s other pocket, tangled up with some minties wrappers and the latest Harcourt’s update on the Noble Subdivision mortgagee sale process. Yes, that document has gone missing too.

This Correspondent was cut to the quick. Him ? Defamatory ? A Tom Kain Klone ? Forsooth, he faints at the sight of his own blood !

Friends, Romans, Dunedinites, I come not to bury Mr McKenzie but to praise him. (Eventually).

Here is the post, with all traces of defamation removed…. for Mr Crombie’s reading pleasure….

****

Certain of you, have commented how in recent Council meetings DCC GCFO Grant McKenzie has several times now said he has a “conflict of interest”, when the question of the DCHL financial performance is raised by Councillors. He does not look comfortable in those situations.

OK, so what is this conflict of interest ? Mr McKenzie is the financial eyes and ears of the DCC. He is employed to preserve and maintain the financial stability of the DCC. This includes managing the hundreds of millions of debt that the DCC and its DCHL companies have; and having full oversight of the DCHL companies, which are in theory meant to be significant revenue generators for the DCC. (But, as Mr McKenzie admitted to Cr Lee Vandervis recently, DCHL companies will generate ZERO income (ie dividends) to the DCC for the next three years at least). However, despite the lack of dividends, they are still very significant DCC assets and it is completely right that Mr McKenzie should know in detail what is going on at DCHL.

This correspondent does not see how a conflict of interest can arise.

DCHL companies, owned by DCC, are for the sole purpose of generating a financial return to ease the rates burden. The historical amount of contributions provided by DCHL is shouted from the rooftops at every available opportunity by DCHL boosters. To this correspondent, there are only two ways in which Mr McKenzie could have “a conflict of interest” as he describes it. One is if the actions of the DCHL companies exceeded the risk profile that Mr McKenzie felt was appropriate for a DCC owned entity. The other is if the DCHL Companies were not in fact providing full or accurate information about their activities or intended activities to DCC or the elected representatives, and placing DCC at risk that way.

Readers, and Mr McKenzie, need to remember that Mr Larsen said in his report that the DCC needed to have a very low threshold for commercial risk, and much better communication. Mr McKenzie is there to make sure that DCHL doesn’t exceed a very low risk threshold and to tell us what he has found there. Tick the boxes for those items.

But who is paying Mr McKenzie ? The answer is the DCC. Therefore Mr McKenzie does not have a conflict of interest. He has a clear obligation to disclose to Council and ratepayers anything that is of concern at DCHL. He is not paid by council to shuffle from one foot to the other and claim a conflict of interest when asked questions of DCHL financial performance.

The clash_revolution-rock-w2 tee [www.the-rudy.com]

We should spare a thought for Mr McKenzie. He is the senior DCC staff member that has to represent the DCC’s interests. Those interests, first and foremost are to ensure that those DCC owned DCHL companies operate with a very low threshold for commercial risk. On the other hand, against him are legions of DCHL directors, who, if nothing else, appear extremely good at sugar coating bad news, or cloaking it in such a way as to make discerning the facts extremely difficult. (Mr Crombie, please read the Auditor-General’s report before you go reaching into your pocket). Add that to the subtle and not so subtle peer pressure, and it is easy to see Mr McKenzie has a tough job safeguarding the interests of ratepayers in respect of DCHL.

Refer to the video record (Part 1 and Part 2) for the full council meeting of 22 February 2016. This correspondent believes there is a (very) high possibility Mr McKenzie has not been told the full facts about Delta at Noble, or it has been spun to him with a few key, inconvenient facts omitted. If this is in fact correct and he acknowledged this, and then advised the city what he does know and provided an accurate assessment of the actual risk to ratepayer funds against the allowable “very low risk” threshold, he would have the support of DCC upper management and probably a job for life – if he wanted it.

Mr McKenzie would not have to look too far to find inspiration or a precedent in Dunedin. Just a couple of blocks away at the Hospital in fact. In 2008 the recently appointed Health Board Chief Financial Officer, Robert Mackway-Jones, discovered some unusual transactions that was of course the $16.9M Michael Swann fraud. Mr Mackway-Jones didn’t let up, pushed the issue and found that neither the Board Chair, Mr Richard Thomson, nor the Board CEO, knew of the transactions. Mr Mackway-Jones was the hero of the Swann case; and Mr McKenzie only has to present the facts to Dunedin ratepayers to achieve the same status.

This correspondent understands Mr McKenzie is already well regarded within DCC upper ranks. But if he did this he would be so popular with Dunedin ratepayers he could run for Mayor next time around….

Dunedin ratepayers just need Mr McKenzie to represent their interest, and forsake the tea and cakes, and mutual backslapping with DCHL Directors.

This will mean clashes with the DCHL directors at times……..

Tis food for thought, mobsters (as the Clash would say…. Revolution Rock, London Calling, 1979).

Related Posts and Comments:
● 11.3.16 Delta peripheral #EpicFail : Stonewood Homes & ancient Delta history
● 6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Tea & Taxing Questions
● 6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Nobel Subdivision : A Neighbour responds
● 5.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision —Epic Fraud
● 4.3.16 Delta —Noble Subdivision #EpicStorm Heading OUR WAY
● 4.3.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : Councillors know NOTHING
● 2.3.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : A Dog, or a RAVING YAPPER?….
● 1.3.16 Delta #EpicFail… —The Little Finance Company that did (Delta).
29.2.16 Healthy views Monday midnight to 6:00 p.m.
● 29.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : NBR interested in bidders
● 28.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble… If I were a rich man / Delta Director
● 27.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision Consent : Strictly Optional
● 27.2.16 Delta #NUCLEAR EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Incompetent…
● 25.2.16 Delta #EpicFail: Mayor Cull —Forced Sale Fundamentals 101
● 24.2.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision: Cameron, Crombie & McKenzie
● 23.2.16 DCC: DCHL half year result to 31 December 2015
19.2.16 Delta: Update on Yaldhurst subdivision debt recovery
15.2.16 Delta / DCHL not broadcasting position on subdivision mortgagee tender
30.1.16 DCC Rates: LOCAL CONTEXT not Stats —Delta and Hippopotamuses
● 29.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision ● Some forensics
● 21.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision
21.1.16 DCC LTAP 2016/17 budget discussion #ultrahelpfulhints
10.1.16 Infrastructure ‘open to facile misinterpretation’…. or local ignore
15.12.15 Noble property subdivision aka Yaldhurst Village | Mortgagee Tender
21.9.15 DCC: Not shite (?) hitting the fan but DVL
20.7.15 Noble property subdivision —DELTA #LGOIMA
1.4.15 Christchurch subdivisions: Heat gone?
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…. Noble property subdivision

● Gold Band Finance Prospectus No. 31 Dated 22 April 2015
View this 126pp document via the NZ Companies website at: https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/321896/documents — go to Prospectus uploaded 23 Apr 2015 14:33

● 14.5.14 (via DCC website) Larsen Report February 2012
A recent governance review of the Dunedin City Council companies was conducted by Warren Larsen.

● 20.3.14 Delta: Report from Office of the Auditor-General
Inquiry into property investments by Delta Utility Services Limited at Luggate and Jacks Point

█ For more, enter the term *delta* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: the-rudy.com – The Clash Revolution Rock w2 tee

3 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Infrastructure, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Resource management, Site, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design

Delta peripheral #EpicFail : Stonewood Homes and ancient Delta history

Stonewood Homes - Chow Bros [stonewood.co.nz]

Received from Chrsitchurch Driver [CD]
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 at 1:35 a.m.

Your correspondent is going to meander down some tangential subdivision side streets tonight (not the main collector road, the excavator won’t fit on those….) and consider the curious case of Stonewood Homes.

It was probably inevitable given the very shallow gene pool that South Island companies fish in for independent directors, that a name would pop up that had also had some previous form with Delta.

However, before we excavate that particular trench, let’s consider why the shoring gave way on Stonewood, why the temporary support from the bank buckled and the subsequent structural failure – (the engineering metaphors are flying thick and fast tonight….)

Your correspondent is very bemused at the vast sums that a large number of building and engineering companies seem to be able to generate – in the negative. An internet search shows a long and regular list of failures. (Delta Civil Division would doubtless have joined them had it not had ratepayer funds to prop it up). Hartner Construction in 2001, about $20M, Wellington Construction in 2012 (unknown), Mainzeal Construction in 2013 (between $60-130M, dependent on if related party transactions can be unwound) and, closer to home, Southland’s own Amalgamated Builders (also with a branch in Dunedin) who managed to lose $20M in just two years when they bought a reputable Auckland company, Goodall Construction, renamed it Goodall ABL and then proceeded to destroy it in 2001.

There is some illuminating information online that shows the insane amount of risk that companies in the construction sector assume for what appears to be very little reward.

In the ABL Goodall case, property commentator Bob Dey described Goodall ABL as “a victim of trying to win market share on no margin, with a maximum guaranteed price contract in place”. Quite why anyone would seek to perform somewhere between $60-80M of work in two years for no return sounds like Delta-level stupidity, and certainly, the result was the same : ABL Goodall went so comprehensively broke, mainly with subcontractors’ money, that it was a major catalyst for the Government of the day to introduce the Construction Contracts Act in 2002 which provided some protection for Subcontractors. Proof that Southlanders do have some uses other than milking cows (readers, I jest).

Delta may yet provide compelling evidence for the Government to remove the “power of general competence” that Territorial Authorities received from the Government in 2002 that started many down the path towards illusory piles of gold that vanished in a mirage, along with a lot of public funds.

Memo To Mr Crombie : The CCC have admitted defeat and are trying to sell their Delta equivalent, City Care : why not join up and make it a two-for-one deal ?

But back to Stonewood. A trio of heavy hitters arrived in February 2014 to help fix the Stonewood Homes brand. In the press release it was noted that in 2013, Stonewood had consented 407 homes, had a turnover of $133M, and was aiming for 500 consents in 2014.

Your correspondent now will do something unheard of – making excuses for Delta…. as follows :

Building houses is not the same as civil contracting or commercial building. Those sectors all indulge in unique one off projects, with different specifications, different designers and engineers who have different standards. Lots of risk with ground conditions, legal disputes are legion.

But “group” housing is just different variations on the same cookie cutter. Standard designs, tweaked a little here and there, flat sites, lots of repetition, production line type processes. Houses started and finished around 14-16 weeks. Deposits before you start, a sales force to keep the numbers flowing. Any amount of back costing and analysis off repetitive designs to check what the numbers should be. It’s all been done before, lots of other companies are doing it so “benchmarking” your company against your competitors is easy.

Stonewood weren’t building difficult or expensive homes : Their average house cost around $325,000 in 2013. (Turnover of $133M for 407 homes).

Receivers KordaMentha confirmed that Stonewood had built up “significant” debt since the earthquake. Let us assume that Stonewood’s losses began in 2012 continuing in 2013, 2014, 2015. The loss is currently $30M. Your correspondent understands that the ASB is owed $5M and that typically, of the 110 houses underway at any one time, only 30 were profitable, and this was known within the company.

That Stonewood were unable to make any money at all, but instead went deeper into debt over a four-year period of huge demand is certainly testament to some Delta-level management deficiencies. One, or one and a half years of losses is grave but understandable, two to three is indefensible, and four years just plain carelessness !

Assuming an average turnover of about $115-120M per year (ie a peak turnover of $133M in 2013), this means that each year they lost $7.5M on average. (It was probably less in 2012, a lot more in 2015).

Put another way, on every house they built, over a four-year period, they lost around $21,000. Yes, they can definitely have a seat at the Delta table. And one Stonewood Director has sat at that table before, and that is Mr Jim Boult.

Jim Boult [Stacy Squires - stuff.co.nz] bwNow Mr Boult, while no Tom Kain in terms of litigation, certainly knows his way to his lawyer’s office, so this correspondent shall confine his comments to the facts :

Mr Boult, you may recall, had a 50/50 Joint Venture (JV) with Delta on the failed Luggate Development, where Delta lost $5.9M. Delta’s terms there were similar to Noble : A $5M advance to cover the subdivision work, payable only when the sections were sold.

Mr Boult utilised a valuer on behalf of the JV who had previously valued the land for his company. The valuer, in calculating the value of the land assumed a figure of $55,000 per section for Development costs. The actual cost was $105,000 per section. The valuer assessed the value of the land Delta bought a 50% share in, at $10.7M. There were potentially 172 sections that could be developed on the land. Six of the 172 sections were sold. The remaining land, with (a relatively small amount of) Delta’s improvements, was eventually sold…. for $1.5M. This information is all contained in the Auditor-General’s Report (14 March 2014).

A small but noteworthy detail included in the Auditor-General’s report was that the terms of the Joint Venture meant that Delta staff were not paid for any time they spent on the JV or the project, unless it was directly related to the Civil Work. A Project Management firm, Signal, was employed to manage the project. However Mr Boult sought and received $5,000 per month “for his time” spent on the Luggate JV.

Back to Stonewood, it turns out that Mr Boult was unable to make any difference to turn around Stonewood’s fortunes in 2015. Mr Boult’s enthusiasm for Stonewood : “I am truly delighted to be the chair and help guide the company in its future direction” lasted just 12 months. Nonetheless he obviously saw something he liked at Stonewood as he confirmed last week that he had quit as a Director of Stonewood on 1 February 2016, because, in concert with some employees of Stonewood and some franchisees, he was trying to buy Stonewood. This seems unusual behaviour for the chair of a large company, but then your correspondent is not a member of the Institute of Directors, and is uncertain of the usual directorial protocols about directors or chairmen of the board trying to buy a company they just resigned from last week. Perhaps a reader experienced in such matters could provide enlightenment.

Yes readers, I can sense your impatience : Join the dots you say ! This correspondent’s opinion, and it is only an opinion from the outside looking in, is that Mr Boult, was looking to buy not only Stonewood, but is most likely involved with a mortgagee sale bid to purchase the Noble Subdivision at Yaldhurst. The intention being that Stonewood would be the builder of the subdivision, both effectively controlled by Mr Boult.

Mr Boult knows the subdivision business, and he now has an inside view of how housing companies are run (or more accurately, how not to run one).

Despite Mr Boult’s defeat at the hands of the Brothers Chow in respect of Stonewood, a bid for Noble may well be attractive to him.

Now given Mr Boult’s history with Delta, it would seem highly likely that if this were the case, there would have been some contact between Mr Boult and his people and Delta.

Can Delta or its Directors or Mr Crombie confirm ? And of course as is the refrain, that no more public funds will be put at risk ?

New Zealand Companies register: Delta Utility Services Limited (453486)

█ Directors: David John Frow (appointed 25 Oct 2012), Trevor John Kempton (01 Nov 2013), Stuart James McLauchlan (01 Jun 2007), Ian Murray Parton (25 Oct 2012)

More: Historic data for directors

Related Posts and Comments:
● 10.3.16 Noble Subdivision next on the shopping list !!! You couldn’t…
● 6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Tea & Taxing Questions
● 6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Nobel Subdivision : A Neighbour responds
● 5.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision —Epic Fraud
● 4.3.16 Delta —Noble Subdivision #EpicStorm Heading OUR WAY
● 4.3.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : Councillors know NOTHING
● 2.3.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : A Dog, or a RAVING YAPPER?….
● 1.3.16 Delta #EpicFail… —The Little Finance Company that did (Delta).
● 29.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision : NBR interested in bidders
● 28.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble… If I were a rich man / Delta Director
● 27.2.16 Delta #EpicFail Noble Subdivision Consent : Strictly Optional
● 27.2.16 Delta #NUCLEAR EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Incompetent…
● 25.2.16 Delta #EpicFail: Mayor Cull —Forced Sale Fundamentals 101
● 24.2.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : Cameron, Crombie & McKenzie
● 23.2.16 DCC: DCHL half year result to 31 December 2015
19.2.16 Delta: Update on Yaldhurst subdivision debt recovery
15.2.16 Delta / DCHL not broadcasting position on subdivision mortgagee tender
30.1.16 DCC Rates: LOCAL CONTEXT not Stats —Delta and Hippopotamuses
● 29.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision ● Some forensics
● 21.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision
21.1.16 DCC LTAP 2016/17 budget discussion #ultrahelpfulhints
10.1.16 Infrastructure ‘open to facile misinterpretation’…. or local ignore
15.12.15 Noble property subdivision aka Yaldhurst Village | Mortgagee Tender
21.9.15 DCC: Not shite (?) hitting the fan but DVL
20.7.15 Noble property subdivision —DELTA #LGOIMA
1.4.15 Christchurch subdivisions: Heat gone?
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…. Noble property subdivision

● Gold Band Finance Prospectus No. 31 Dated 22 April 2015
View this 126pp document via the NZ Companies website at: https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/321896/documents — go to Prospectus uploaded 23 Apr 2015 14:33

● 14.5.14 (via DCC website) Larsen Report February 2012
A recent governance review of the Dunedin City Council companies was conducted by Warren Larsen.

● 20.3.14 Delta: Report from Office of the Auditor-General
Inquiry into property investments by Delta Utility Services Limited at Luggate and Jacks Point

█ For more, enter the term *delta* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

*Images: (top) stonewood.co.nz – Chow Bros | stuff.co.nz – Jim Boult by Stacy Squires

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Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision :   Tea & Taxing Questions

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Sun, 6 Mar 2016 at 10:23 p.m.

Mr Crombie has spoken. A press release on Thursday : Something old, something new, something borrowed, with no clue.

Your correspondent has a theory in relation to Mr Crombie’s press release. Your correspondent surmises that a copy of Delta CEO Grady Cameron’s press release appears to have stuck to Mr Crombie’s saucer (stress – jiggling – spillage !!) when he was having tea and cakes in Mr Cameron’s office last week, and Mr Crombie absent mindedly put it in his pocket. Mr Crombie being a busy man then noticed it a few days later amidst some empty Cadbury Favourites wrappers and Kit-Kat bars. Thinking that he was meant to have done something, and with Grady’s cell phone off, he panics, and emails off the release, which of course is a re-run of Mr Cameron’s effort.

Mr Crombie did say there had been “some misinformation” about the mortgagee sale process. There certainly has, and it is all from Delta and its directors.

Your correspondent and Delta are of one mind here : There is no need for any confusion, Dunedinites will have a lot less suspicion and worry if we had accurate information that Delta and its Directors were not the white collar robbers of the DCC public purse that your correspondent has made them out to be.

To this end, some public minded citizens might want to put in a LGOIMA request, or perhaps write to the ODT with the following questions for Delta, to assist with the excellent What if? efforts on Noble to date.

Let us relax with a cup of Bell’s best and have our fears assuaged. Or perhaps, let us watch the twists and turns of outrageous logic that Mr Cameron will use to explain away these very simple questions :

How much of the $3.3M Delta paid to “strengthen its position” has been paid to Gold Band and Avanti Finance. This is an easy one for starters – readers of course know the answer ($2.7M) because Gold Band have told us, but if Delta get this wrong, we then know it has a telling-the-truth problem as well as previously canvassed numbers, counting and comprehension problems.

What was the remaining funds of the $3.3M spent on ?

Or in case this isn’t clear enough :

How much of the $3.3M has been paid for any advice, fees, or any other sort of payment in relation to the Noble Yaldhurst Subdivision, that was not for the actual direct purchase of first mortgage securities ?

In regard to the question above, who was this money paid to ?

How much Head Office staff time has been spent on the Noble Subdivision since December 2009 and has it been charged to the project ?

Did Delta, or any party associated with Delta, instruct, or convey to Gold Band Finance in any way, that Delta would not allow Gold Band to sell its first mortgage security to other parties (ie, other than Delta) with an interest in the land ?

Can Delta confirm that it will not offer vendor finance, and will not enter into a profit / revenue sharing agreement to the eventual purchaser of the land from the mortgagee sale process ?

Can Delta confirm that in addition to the above, it will not offer any kind of assistance to the eventual purchaser of the land ?

How much has Delta or DCHL paid Mr M Frost for any services related to the Noble Subdivision since 2012 ?

Can Delta confirm that no past or present Delta Directors, and also Mr J Boult, and Mr M Frost, are not involved, or offered any kind of advice or assistance to any of the mortgagee sale bidders ?

Is it true that due to recent developments, and subsequent to the date that tenders closed for the mortgagee sale, the firm conducting the mortgagee sale process, and/or other parties, has been urging other parties, who did not make a bid, to make a bid, even though tenders have closed ?

Given that we are dealing with Delta, perhaps readers should just consider three at most per request so as not to overtax Delta capacities.

These are all critical questions. Memo to Grady and Graham : Better to answer them now, the next time these questions are asked you will be best advised to have a lawyer – your own personal lawyer that you pay for, not a Delta one – present. (Suggestion : NOT the ones that wrote the security sharing deed….). Memo to Graham : $900 a day will not go far on lawyers’ costs.

And Graham : Note to Self : Conduct cost / benefit and personal risk register of Delta involvement. (Memo to Grady : At a salary of $2,090 per working day, hire whatever lawyer you want).

Alert readers will have noticed some of these questions suggest there are yet more horror stories and shady dealings your correspondent wishes to bring to the surface. Indeed there are, but let us have Delta’s position first, to avoid speculation. Of course we will have no option to speculate if nothing is forthcoming, and speculate we will.

For your correspondent, Delta at the Noble Subdivision is the gift that keeps on giving.

█ For more, enter the term *delta* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

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Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Infrastructure, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Resource management, Site, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design

Delta #EpicFail —Nobel Subdivision :   A Neighbour responds

Comment received in reply to CD’s latest post (5.3.16):

Chutchings hut
March 5, 2016 at 9:06 am

The neighbours have a history of objecting, they are not the innocents you portray. The allegations about inadequate infrastructure are nonsense.

A Neighbour responds
Sun, 6 Mar 2016 at 3:26 p.m.

“Chutchings hut”, your post here resembles that of C(hris) Hutching’s from NBR. Maybe you’re both?? Either way your posting here and his on NBR, respectfully, is unsubstantiated and misinformed as many have been by NIL during this sad saga. Allow me to enlighten you.

The CCC stormwater experts, an external peer review, and even NIL’s own stormwater designer Cardno have confirmed the stormwater infrastructure IS “inadequate”. Existing roads need to be dug and pipes upsized. I can send you whatever evidence you want?

Further, the road infrastructure is not only “inadequate”, it was found by the Independent Safety Audit [Dr Turner and other traffic experts] to be have “numerous serious safety issues that cause frequent serious injuries and deaths”.

This is why the Elected Council voted to quash the retrospective decision CCC staff procured non-notified to consent the unsafe roads they had already permitted to be constructed without consent.

You are right though that resident stakeholders in the subdivision (neighbours as you refer to them) have a history of objecting, that’s because they have had much to object about. Your post here that they are “not innocents”, and Chris Hutching’s information in NBR that the objections were belated objections” … “after consents were obtained and the streetworks constructed is not correct. Public information proves otherwise:-

• Affected residents that will have to use these roads objected from mid 2010 when the roads were being constructed without consent to grossly non-complying standards.

• NIL and CCC staff had agreed to these gross non-compliances behind-closed-doors.

• CCC staff oppressed the affected residents and denied them (and the public) their legal rights under the RMA to oppose the gross non-compliances and dangers.

• The illegally built roads were retrospectively consented 12 months after the objections, in July 2011. (This was 19 months after the variation application was made in December 2009 to make the main spine road 7.5m narrower than required. Doubling of traffic on the narrow roads due to non-notified increases in residential density and the commercial area came later).

• The Elected Council voted for the Independent Safety Audit (against CCC staff’s strong advice). It found the non-complying roads had “numerous serious safety issues that cause frequent serious injuries and deaths”. This caused the Elected Council to quash the wrong, unsafe and “unreasonable” (“RMA term”) decision that CCC staff’s oppression of affected parties and CCC staff’s false tailoring of expert reports ensured.

• Yours and Chris Hutching’s NBR misinformation on this is respectfully forgiven; many have been misinformed of facts in this sorry saga.

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