Tag Archives: Otago Daily Times

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.

Readers 

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. 

wall-street-mall-interior-teamarchitects-co-nz[teamarchitects.co.nz]wall-street-mall-logo-1wall-street-mall-exterior-wallstreetmall-nz-1

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. 

[ends]

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

17 Comments

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

Let the Ombudsman recommend for democracy at SDHB

As we know, the slippery triumverate – Kathy Grant, Richard Thomson and Graham Crombie – have had a lot to answer for at both the SDHB and DCC/DCHL. An unsavoury grouping, best dissolved. Unfortunately, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is not that bright.

### ODT Online Mon, 6 Feb 2017
SDHB restricts information access
By Eileen Goodwin
The Southern District Health Board is clamping down on information it has previously released without objection. Last week, the SDHB said it could no longer release commissioner Kathy Grant’s official correspondence unless the Otago Daily Times stated “specifically” which letters it is after. Previously, the board agreed to a general release of top-level inward and outward correspondence, subject to redactions to protect individual privacy. […] The ODT has also complained to the Office of the Ombudsman about the board’s response.
Read more

For more, enter the terms *sdhb*, *kathy grant* and *hospital* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

7 Comments

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

Hilary Calvert complaint to Auditor-General #DCHL

DCHL chairman Graham Crombie rejected Ms Calvert’s allegation of “misleading” councillors during a two-and-a-half-hour discussion on the controversial $13million Delta refinancing last year. (ODT)

### ODT Online: Thu, 2 Feb 2017
Allegation councillors were misled
By Simon Hartley
A complaint filed to the auditor-general by former Dunedin city councillor Hilary Calvert claims “misleading” information was presented to councillors over the contentious Yaldhurst property development in Christchurch. Council-owned Delta became enmeshed in Yaldhurst when it made incremental loans to the initial developer for its infrastructure work, to the tune of more than $13 million from 2009-13. Ms Calvert, a Dunedin lawyer, sent a copy of her complaint to the Otago Daily Times yesterday.
Ms Calvert said in the August meeting DCHL recommended to all councillors they accept the proposal to refinance Delta’s debt, with a new loan agreement with Infinity Group. However, Ms Calvert claims it was not a loan agreement directly with Infinity Group, a successful multimillion-dollar Wanaka company, but a new “shell company”, Yaldhurst Infinity Ltd. Ms Calvert contends it was “misleading” of DCHL to provide details of Infinity Group and its proven track record, in order to have the loan approved to Yaldhurst Infinity Ltd, “which would never have been worthy of lending $13.4 million to”.
Read more

A March 2014 auditor-general inquiry into Delta over Luggate and Jacks Point was highly critical, noting the use of “artificial business structures to avoid public accountability” and a “lack of strategic and performance monitoring” of investments, among other findings. (ODT)

Note: Hilary Calvert is not complaining about the Council meeting held on Monday, 1 August 2016. Her complaint is with the reports received in that meeting pertaining to the decision sought from Council by Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL).

****

Email received:

Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2017 11:46:31 +1300
From: Hilary Calvert
To: Elizabeth Kerr

Media release below.
Other papers attached

Dunedin City Council companies facing new accusation of misleading conduct  
 
Hilary Calvert, a former Dunedin City Councillor, has today forwarded a complaint to the Auditor General’s office concerning the wrong information provided by DCHL surrounding the loan of $13 million made by Delta Utility Services Ltd, to a company which purchased the failed Christchurch Yaldhurst development.
 
Ms Calvert complains that the information provided to the Dunedin City Council to encourage it to approve the loan included financial statements and benefits including that the proposed borrower ‘has an excellent track record’ and ‘already has a strong presence in Christchurch…’ whereas in reality the company which was to borrow the money turned out to be a newly formed company, likely formed with the specific intention of avoiding having the company with the ‘track record’ standing behind the debt.
 
‘There is something very wrong if the Audit Office were to think it OK for a Council owned company to get a Council to agree to a $13 million loan using the details of a reputable trading company in place of those of the insubstantial shell company which was actually borrowing the money.’ said Ms Calvert.
 
If such statements were in a prospectus, which is after all an invitation to the public to give over their money, there could well be implications of prison being bandied about. And Council money is public money, even if this report was not governed by the rules surrounding issuing a prospectus.
 
It was only by chance the Council meeting picked up from an aside that the loan would be to a new unproven company with no obvious assets.
 
When asked why the company described in the papers was not borrowing the money and doing the development themselves, The DCC was told that it was good practice to set up a different company. *
 
It may be good practice for a borrower to try it on, but it would not be good practice for a lender to accept. Any bank would demand a guarantee from the parent company, something which DCHL says is not in place with this loan.
 
To add insult to injury, DCHL is refusing to provide details of the loan under Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act so we still cannot know what deal has been actually made using Dunedin Ratepayers money.
 
The Audit Office is responsible for ensuring that public entities carry out their business with probity and financial prudence.
 
‘It is time to call enough for Council companies treating Council like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed manure.” said Ms Calvert.
 
*In fact a similar manoeuvre happened with the same company, Infinity Investment Group Holdings Ltd, concerning the Pegasus development, where some $80 million was lost without IIGHL having to stand behind the company formed there either.
 
Hilary Calvert

Attachments:
LGOIMA information release – DCHL to Council 1 August 2016
Request for examination 31.1.17

█ For more, enter the terms *dchl*, *crombie*, *grady*, *delta*, *infinity*, *yaldhurst*, *noble* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

16 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, Delta, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Site, Travesty

Final address by U.S. first lady

[Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony honouring the 2017 School Counsellor of the Year in the East Room of the White House January 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. These were the last public remarks by the first lady during her husband Barack Obama’s presidency.

****

ODT 9.1.17 (page 5) – ‘Hope essence of final message’ [screenshot]

odt-9-1-17-hope-essense-of-final-message-p5

Full report via Guardian News & Media:
More than ‘mom-in-chief’: Michelle Obama bows out as dynamic first lady

****

BBC News Published on Jan 6, 2017
Michelle Obama’s final First Lady speech – BBC News
Michelle Obama has given an emotional farewell speech at the White House – honouring the School Counsellor of the Year Award. She told America’s young people to be focused and hopeful. Speaking at a ceremony in the White House she said the role had the been the greatest honour of her life.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

3 Comments

Filed under Education, Events, Geography, Media, Name, People, Politics, Public interest

ODT feature : Streets of gold #Dunedin

In case you missed the ODT four-part series on Dunedin’s residential heritage in late December….. here it is, via Dave Cannan’s The Wash (Facebook).




****

█ The four parts, abridged for quick reference and linked here below, had an excellent (research) information follow-up by Kim Dungey.

Some very approximate dates have been added care of Quality Value (QV), these are based on (limited) property records held by councils; as well as year dates for historical architects, where known.

Streets of Gold, a Summer Times series celebrating Dunedin’s rich architectural heritage. In collaboration with Heritage New Zealand researchers Heather Bauchop and Susan Irvine, with additional research by David Murray, archivist, Hocken Collections; and Alison Breese, archivist, Dunedin City Council.

### ODT Online Tue, 27 Dec 2016
Streets of gold: High St
High Street has an association with the medical profession dating back to the 1880s, when the Mornington cable car started running and some impressive new houses were built along its route.

CAVENDISH CHAMBERS, 211 High St.
The company behind the venture, Medical Buildings Ltd, was incorporated on March 1, 1926, and the shareholders all took professional rooms in the new property. The building was completed in 1927. Architect: Eric Miller (1896-1948).

236 HIGH ST
This prominent residence (QV: c.1900?) with a turret and projecting windows was designed in 1888 for Scottish-born Dr Frank Ogston. Ogston gained his medical degree in Aberdeen and emigrated to Dunedin in 1886 to take up a position as a lecturer in medical jurisprudence and hygiene at the University of Otago. Architect: Henry Hardy (1830-1908), and builder-developer.

238 HIGH ST
An Arts and Crafts-style design, the house (QV: c.1909?) is finished in roughcast with brick exposed on the ground floor sills. It was built for Dr D.E. Williams and his family as a private residence and doctor’s surgery and was home to the Williams family until the 1960s. Architect: Basil Hooper (1876-1960).

296 HIGH ST
Built in 1904, the Chalet Hospital (a private facility) was described as being “finished in coloured and tuck-pointed brickwork … the whole of the relief and ornament is carried out in bold cornices over the windows”. Architect: John Louis Salmond (1868-1950).

Read more + Photos

****

### ODT Online Tue, 27 Dec 2016
Streets of gold: York Pl
York Place features two large homes once owned by members of the Speight family.

LARBERT VILLA – 371 York Pl
It is unclear exactly when the villa was built. Coppersmith Alexander Burt, of A and T Burt, married Janet Crawford in 1866 (they had a family of six sons and three daughters) and the couple were living in York Pl by July 1868 when Janet gave birth to a son at the house.

FORMER SPEIGHT RESIDENCE – 362 York Pl
Built for Jessie and Charles Speight after their marriage in 1898, the residence appears in the Dunedin City Council rates records in the 1899-1900 year. Architect: J.L. Salmond.

HAEATA – 273 York Pl
The residence of Charles and Jessie Speight from the time it was built in 1915, it remained in the Speight family until 1960. Bearing a strong resemblance to the Theomin family’s Olveston (built 1907, designed by Sir Ernest George). Architect: John Brown (1875-1923), a neighbour.

MRS TURNBULL’S GROCERY STORE – 324 York Pl
Known more than a century ago as Mrs Turnbull’s Grocery Store, this unusual wedge-shaped building began life as a home, stables and shop built for John and Janet Turnbull in 1875. In January 1875 tenders were invited for a two-storey dwelling and shop to be constructed of wood. Architect and Surveyor: E.J. Sanders [aka Saunders].

Read more + Photos

****

### ODT Online Wed, 28 Dec 2016
Streets of gold: Highgate
Highgate has a fascinating and storied collection of prominent dwellings.

RENFREW HOUSE – 111 Highgate
Thought to have originated as a single-storey bluestone house with a central front door and double hung windows on each side. A second storey was later added. The exterior walls were built of double stone – more than 70cm thick – and the interior walls of double brick. With its wrought iron lacework, it has been described as one of the “finest examples of classic Victorian architecture in Dunedin”. Home of businessman Andrew McFarlane (1842-1904) and his wife Jane Wilson (1847-1920). By the 1890s, the family referred to their home as “Renfrew House”. Architect: credited to Nathaniel Wales (1832-1903), a neighbour.
 
KAWARAU – 204 Highgate
Designed in 1900 for dredging tycoon Alexander McGeorge, this grand residence reflects the fortunes made in Otago’s gold dredging boom of the late 1890s and early 20th century. Trained at Dunedin firm Cossens and Black, McGeorge (1868-1953) held a variety of significant engineering posts. The two-storeyed house is built of brick, has a slate roof, ornate decorative detailing, and features Tudor influences in the half timbering and veranda details. Architect: J.L. Salmond.

FORMER HUXTABLE RESIDENCE – 233 Highgate
This 1907 brick and tile residence designed for Anna and Alexander Huxtable, is a beautifully detailed example of an Edwardian villa, one with historic and architectural significance. Anna Huxtable was granted the land in 1907; a survey on May 15, 1907, indicates the foundations for the new dwelling were already in place at that date. (QV: c.1910?). Alexander Murray Huxtable described himself as both a commercial agent and patent medicine manufacturer. Architect: Edward Walden (1870-1944).

MELROSE – 384 Highgate
Likely designed for lawyer Arthur Nation (1852-1927) around 1876. In October that year, tenders were called for the construction of a “brick cottage” in the suburb of Melrose (a private subdivision in what is now known as Roslyn). However, Nation appears to have built more than a cottage: when his property was offered for sale in 1879 it was described as “a substantially-built and well-finished brick house”, its original features including hand-painted ceilings, timber joinery and stained glass. Architect: credited to John McGregor (1838-1911), and harbour engineer.

Read more + Photos

****

### ODT Online Thu, 29 Dec 2016
Streets of gold: Royal Tce
Royal Terrace has a fascinating and storied collection of prominent dwellings.

DAISY BANK – 12 Royal Tce
Associated with the prominent Hudson family. An Italianate, two-storeyed symmetrical house with a large basement, “Daisy Bank” was built of concrete and wood, circa 1897. Architect: J.A. Burnside (1856-1920).

LINDEN – 22 Royal Tce
Built in the 1870s, a two-storied, two-bay Victorian residence of more than 15 rooms, with an exterior comprising plastered triple brick with quoins, foundations of Leith Valley andesite and a slate roof. Associated with the prominent Isaacs and Hudson families. Architect: Mason and Wales (likely Nathaniel Wales).

CLAVERTON – 30 Royal Tce
Associated with prominent local politician and businessman Richard H. Leary and one of New Zealand’s most prominent artistic families, the Hodgkins. Claverton was most likely built in 1877 by local politician and businessman Richard H. Leary (1840-95). Architect: likely Maxwell Bury (1825-1912).

ALYTH – 34 Royal Tce
Built in the 1870s by prominent businessman, community leader and one-time Dunedin mayor Keith Ramsay (1844-1906). Named Alyth after Ramsay’s birth place, the house was completed, at the latest, by March 1875. Architect: Robert Arthur Lawson (1833-1902).

Read more + Photos

****

It doesn’t have to be a mansion located on the high streets….

crabapple-cottage-otago-peninsula-thecuriouskiwi-co-nzCrabapple Cottage, Otago Peninsula [thecuriouskiwi.co.nz]

Lastly, a THOROUGHLY USEFUL guide for those unfamiliar with historic heritage archives, technical sources and search methods.

### ODT Online Fri, 30 Dec 2016
What is your house hiding?
By Kim Dungey
Enjoyed this week’s Streets of Gold series, in which we have profiled various Dunedin houses of historic significance? Fancy playing detective and tracing the history of your home? … In recent years, Heritage New Zealand has run “how to research your home” workshops in Dunedin, Invercargill, Oamaru and Central Otago. The popular seminars have drawn together the sources it uses every day to tell the story of historic places. Archivists say some people want to restore their homes to their original states, are curious about former owners or simply want to know the age of their houses for insurance purposes. Others require archaeological assessments of pre-1901 properties or have reported seeing ghosts in their homes and wanted to work out who they might be. Interested homeowners have a wealth of resources at their fingertips….
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

5 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Dunedin, Education, Geography, Heritage, Heritage NZ, Housing, Inspiration, Media, Museums, New Zealand, Property, Public interest, Site, Tourism, What stadium

Delta : Latest Outage #Tainui #DegradedUnsafeNetwork

Otago Daily Times Published on Nov 16, 2016

“Standard safety protection operated immediately ensuring that the downed line was de-energised and electrically safe.” –Delta [PR]

### ODT Online Wed, 16 Nov 2016
Power restored in Tainui
By Vaughan Elder
Power has been restored to 430 customers in the Dunedin suburb of Tainui after it was cut this morning when a line came down. The outage happened at 9.10am after a power line fell on Cavell St near the intersection with Magdala St. […] Despite the line leaving scorch marks on the ground, the Delta spokesman said the line coming down presented “no danger to the public”.
Read more

****

Alert To Future Posts:
Delta is riddled by massive HEALTH AND SAFETY problems, perpetuated by a Sick and Dysfunctional executive culture (CEO, and ELT silos), resulting in a preyed-upon, demoralised, risktaking ‘make-do’ workforce.

The risks to individual lines staff are Ginormous. ‘Fatal conditions’ abound. Corporate care ensuring the physical and mental wellbeing and safety of staff is almost completely lacking. The risks to life are exponentially Unacceptable.

What’s needed ?
Independent senior industry experts (plural) prepared to Scrutinise Delta and Talk Out Loud : to see to immediate replacement of the inexperienced ‘make-worse’ CEO Grady Cameron – and to swiftly empower thoroughly coordinated, highly risk averse and analytical professional work teams to prioritise and carry out network upgrades and replacements.

But what about the money….. there is none. The cost of bringing the electricity network up to compliance standard is Astronomical. A different model of ownership and operation is required –potentially, an opportunity, the Community could assume ownership of the network. Hopefully, ODT can explore the options by looking at other successful models – and which have No Ability to ‘strip and burn’ the asset.

Various sources inside Delta tell us the company has brought in an ex staffer as ‘Consultant’. They are paying him $5000 a day…. to skim the surface, was it. But really, Delta is setting up a new company ‘within Delta’ to replace the dangerous poles (at a Very Slow rate) – the work will be contracted out to the usual culprits. More soon.

Related? The NZ Companies Office notes:
‘DELTA NETWORKS LIMITED – Approved Name Reservation’

****

vaughan-elder-odt-files-1Wed, 16 Nov 2016
Valpy Rosebowl winner
Otago Daily Times reporter Vaughan Elder has been named the newspaper’s 2016 Valpy Rosebowl Trophy winner. […] The award, for editorial excellence, is presented annually on the anniversary of the November 15, 1861, publication of the first issue of the ODT, New Zealand’s oldest daily newspaper.
Read more

****

Certainly, Vaughan Elder and the other journalists at ODT are holding their end up with timely coverage of the unfolding Delta ‘dangerous poles’ situation. However, the poles – although highly visible and a useful tool to raise Community awareness – are actually the least of it in terms of danger to Delta lines crew and the Community.

Lots to come out in the next days from sources inside and outside Delta.

All the while the Dunedin City Councillors sit on their hands, without a peep about COST TO RATEPAYERS AND RESIDENTS.

Remember, through the glass darkly, Mayor Cull made a song and dance before the local body elections about having reduced the council’s debt by some small millions; crowing his success with “straightening out council companies”.

This was ‘reinforced’ by [fleeing] Richard Thomson ‘at the end of his last meeting as chairman of the council’s finance committee’, informing us the council’s debt at the end of June had dropped to $217.25 million. ‘This was $30.6 million below budget and well below its target of $230 million by 2021.’

Ahem, ticking the third box of authoritative commentary, on 7 October Graham Crombie rolled up to tell us DCHL’s profit was up 57% and ‘debt across the companies and the council has reduced by $16.8 million to $581 million’. Oh dear, All progress lost and squandered now as Delta borrows $30M to replace the odd pole here and there, with god knows what other spending to be made in the vain hope of compliance.

Dear Daaave : Win some, Lose squillions more.

Otago Daily Times Published on Sep 2, 2016
Dunedin mayoral candidate Dave Cull
The clock is ticking as Dunedin mayoral candidate Dave Cull gets 30 seconds to explain why he should be mayor.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: odt.co.nz – Vaughan Elder, tweaked by whatifdunedin

21 Comments

Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Delta, Dunedin, Economics, Events, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Stadiums

Calvert on DCC, ‘We could have a much more democratic and transparent operation of council’

leunig-cartoons-%e2%80%8fleunigcartoons-%c2%b7-aug-21Leunig Cartoons ‏@leunigcartoons · Aug 21

### 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.
Read more

● Hilary Calvert is a Dunedin City councillor, who is not standing for re-election.

luenig-political-substance-8-9-16Leunig Cartoons ‏@leunigcartoons · Sep 8

****

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.
Read more

Animal Cognition @animalcog · Mar 27 [Birdie Cull, the wrecker]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

13 Comments

Filed under Business, Climate change, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Public interest, South Dunedin, Travesty, What stadium