Tag Archives: Otago Daily Times

Questions over Council’s Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign

Received from Diane Yeldon
Fri, 7 April 2017 at 4:06 p.m.

OPINION

What’s wrong with the DCC Dunedin Hospital SOS Campaign?

If you clear away all the smoke from the party-political bluster, bickering and name–calling arising over this campaign, has the Dunedin City Council really done anything out of order? Or were some councillors, in fact, a majority, just trying to do their best for the people of Dunedin?

Unfortunately, the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. A council communication cannot be a political advertisement.

The Electoral Act more or less defines a political advertisement as anything which persuades or encourages voters to vote in a particular way. But our democratic rights to participate in government decision-making are not limited to voting once every three years. Citizens also have the right to petition Government, make submissions to select committees and other public authorities and deliberative bodies, and lobby MPs and Government Ministers.

If local councillors had been presented with a motion which proposed the following : that the Council encourages and persuades voters to choose candidate A, they would have rightly been horrified and would have rejected it.

In comparison, a single, short and final paragraph in a council motion which proposes that the Council should ask for public support for ONLY its own preferred position on a central government decision, and that people make such views known to central government, looks harmless and is quite likely to pass unnoticed – and, in fact, did. But it is just as political. It encourages people to use their democratic rights in a particular way.

The council staff should have alerted councillors that this was the case and that such political activism was beyond the proper scope of any local body. The difference in wording may be subtle but the democratic principles involved are significant and far-reaching.

Monday, 3 April 2017

[ends]

Dunedin City Council’s Dunedin Hospital SOS petition states:
“I demand that central government redevelops Dunedin Hospital in the centre of the city. The government must also make a clear commitment to retain a top flight teaching hospital for Dunedin and the wider Otago/Southland region.
Save Our Site. Save Our Services.”

Petition at the DCC-managed SOS website [framed screenshot]

At the bottom of the webpage, DCC says:
“Dunedin Hospital SOS
The Dunedin City Council (“DCC”, “we”, “us”, or “our”) operates, hosts, or manages a number of websites, including DunedinHospitalSOS.nz. This site was created and funded following a Council resolution (21 February 2017) to communicate to Government its complete opposition to a rebuild of Dunedin Hospital outside the central city. It is not a permanent website.”

How the petition got off the ground by Council vote (21 February 2017) on the Notice of Motion:

[screenshots – click to enlarge]

DCC Council 21.2.17 Agenda – 15 Notice of Motion Dunedin Hospital Rebuild

DCC Council 21.2.17 Minutes – 15 Notice of Motion Dunedin Hospital Rebuild

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The DCC Dunedin Hospital SOS flyer and Facebook campaign cost Ratepayers $7,102 (excl GST). Ratepayers also find themselves footing the bill for a DCC-led SOS media campaign:

ODT Online 8.4.17 [screenshot]

Related Posts and Comments:
● 6.4.17 ODT editor comments strongly #tick —Dunedin Hospital rebuild
● 27.3.17 Site Notice #DunedinHospital
● 26.2.17 Dunedin Hospital Redevelopment
● 6.2.17 Let the Ombudsman recommend for democracy at SDHB
● 24.1.17 SDHB/Govt : Physio Pool GRIEF
● 9.1.17 Audit NZ admonishes commissioner Grant and SDHB #Health
● 18.12.16 DCC set to take away CBD car parks without Economic Impact research
20.11.16 Delta at Dunedin Hospital #worseluck
7.11.16 SDHB #FAILS with Healthcare Communication and Governance

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

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

52 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Education, Finance, Health, Hospital, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, SDHB, Site, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

ODT editor comments strongly #tick —Dunedin Hospital rebuild

Junior councillors should think carefully about how they appear in writing and how they might appear in publicity shots on Frederick St, as a band of politicos.

BRAVO to the ODT Editor:

Wisely, this editorial had already put dogsbodies in their place:

### ODT Online Thu, 30 Mar 2017
Editorial: Hospital central to city’s needs
OPINION What a shame the Dunedin City Council is divided over its campaign to keep the city’s hospital in the central city. This is an issue which should unite Dunedin. The squabbling is distressing. The council has initiated an effort to keep the rebuilt hospital right in town, with three councillors, Lee Vandervis, Mike Lord and Doug Hall, voting against. Dunedin-based National-list MP Michael Woodhouse waded in late last week, implying the campaign was a front for the Labour Party […] There are two fundamental issues. First, on the siting of the hospital, and second on whether the council should campaign on that. As as been pointed out strongly on this newspaper’s opinion page by two distinguished Dunedin residents, Sir David Skegg (a former University of Otago vice-chancellor) and Emeritus Prof David Jones (a former university medical division head), close links between the medical school and the hospital are vital.
Read more

DCC’s ‘Dunedin Hospital SOS’ flyer and Facebook campaign cost Ratepayers $7,102 (excl GST).

[click to enlarge]

DCC says 55,000 campaign flyers were printed, with 50,000 supposedly delivered to households (however, thickish piles of flyers have been found by cleaners about town —gathering dust in corporate office tearooms and reception areas)….

ODT 25.3.17 (page 1) – tweaked by whatifdunedin

### ODT Online Sat, 25 Mar 2017
Woodhouse blasts DCC
By Eileen Goodwin
National list MP Michael Woodhouse has lashed out at the Dunedin City Council over its hospital rebuild campaign, implying it is a front for the Labour Party. And Mr Woodhouse said the council’s stance was “confusing” — on the one hand it wants a central city rebuild, but it granted the Accident Compensation Corporation the right to consider buying the Frederick St car park. ACC has a 12-month timeframe to look at development options for the site. […] Mr Woodhouse is also ACC Minister, and he made it clear he was speaking as a local MP.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
● 27.3.17 Site Notice #DunedinHospital
● 26.2.17 Dunedin Hospital Redevelopment
● 6.2.17 Let the Ombudsman recommend for democracy at SDHB
● 24.1.17 SDHB/Govt : Physio Pool GRIEF
● 9.1.17 Audit NZ admonishes commissioner Grant and SDHB #Health
● 18.12.16 DCC set to take away CBD car parks without Economic Impact research
20.11.16 Delta at Dunedin Hospital #worseluck
7.11.16 SDHB #FAILS with Healthcare Communication and Governance
3.9.16 SDHB ‘food’ : Our eyes glaze over . . . .
23.8.16 Win! to DCC candidate Paul Pope #DunedinHospital
22.6.16 SDHB Commissioners speed-bleed health system
1.5.16 Hospital food according to Gurglars
23.12.15 SDHB underfunded, no bandage
3.11.15 SDHB will ‘takeaway’ more than freshly cooked meals and a head chef
30.10.15 Dunedin Hospital #despair
● 17.6.15 Southern District Health Board sacked !!!
9.6.15 Southern District Health Board
16.4.15 Talk of replacing Southern District Health Board with commissioner
21.8.14 Dirty pool? #SDHB #University
6.8.14 Otago Therapeutic Pool at Dunedin Hospital
1.5.14 Dunedin Hospital buildings SORRY STATE
14.1.14 DCC: Hospital area parking changes #cyclelanes
5.12.13 Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends
3.8.12 Extraordinary editorials

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

10 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Health, Hospital, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, SDHB, Site, Town planning, Travesty, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

April Fools

### ODT Online Sat, 1 Apr 2017
Bylaw would protect riders
Trucks, buses, cars and motorcycles must have them — and now the Dunedin City Council is considering a new bylaw making brake-lights and indicators compulsory for horses ridden on roads. The city had an extensive rural road network, used by hundreds of horse riders, whom the council had a responsibility to keep safe, a DCC equine spokeswoman said. In the first year, the council would subsidise the cost of tail-lights for horse owners who could provide evidence of financial hardship, after being saddled with the additional expense […] Ratepayers wishing to comment on the proposed bylaw will need to contact the DCC before noon today.
Read more

Related Post and Comments:
18.3.17 DCC Proposed Reserves and Beaches Bylaw : Real-deal submission

At Twitter:

At Facebook:

### NZ Herald 11:26 AM Saturday Apr 1, 2017
Best April Fools’ Day pranks of 2017
April Fools’ Day only comes around only once a year, so this is the only chance companies can prank the rest of the world. Here is a list of the best pranks of 2017 so far.
Read more + Video

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

1 Comment

Filed under Baloney, Business, Fun, Media, New Zealand, People, Public interest

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.

10 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.

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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

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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

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