Losing the plot

Seldom has the Dunedin City Council been under such sustained opprobrium as at present. Every move seems to bring a torrent of criticism.

Full article: goodwill, once lost, is hard to reclaim

Published in: on 28/07/2009 at 12:35 am  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. One of the ODT’s better editorials. Congratulations to whoever wrote this editorial. At least there is someone, or some people, on the editorial staff who are, perhaps, not sycophants to the powers that be in this city. Still, the ODT does not really touch the stadium and tackle the monumental concerns with this project. It brushes over lightly. If the boot had been put in much earlier, with a real investigative paper that has the city’s interests at heart, the scandals behind this project would have been blown out of the water and we would have been saved the agony we face now as a divided and angry city.D Scene, thank God, has the guts to dig out the scandals and expose them to the light of day. That’s real freedom of the press.

  2. As I feared, the DCC faced with a huge financial committment to the Stadium and the spectre of reduced dividends from DCHL is now flagging their intent to charge for our domestic water supply.This is the same water supply that has been upgraded at huge expense to the local ratepayer over the last 12 years and now they want us to pay for it over again because there is money in water.
    Under the guise of changing the “governance” from a Business Unit to a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) or worse still Council Controlled Trading Organisation (CCTO) the DCC propose to hand over our public water to a Board of Directors similar to Manakau Water who will then introduce domestic water metering. Going by the South Auckland experience, this new Board will eventually increase its initial metering rate to all Dunedin households and there will be nothing local Councillors can do because we will have effectively lost control of our water. This will then add to the financial woes of many lower income residents who are already struggling to pay their power bills by rapacious power companies.
    The local Water Manager (John Mackie) who has a background in South Auckland Water Companies has been brought in by the Chief Executive to carry out this objective. It is significant that one of the reasons for even contemplating metering is to “educate” the poor Dunedinite on the value of conserving water. The irony is that only 16% of our water is lost and most of that percentage can be attributed to shonky pipes. One of the social contracts entered into by former Mayor Sukhi Turner in 1995 at the start of the 12 year upgrade was that $2M p.a. would be spent of our rates in “pipe renewals”. This was faithfully happening until 2006 when Mr Mackie switched the efforts of the Water Business Unit to developing a Three Waters Strategy designed to better “manage” our water/wastewater/stormwater needs over the next 50 years. Sounds find in principle only trouble was that the pipe renewal programme suddenly lost its priority and has alarmingly slipped back in the projected works timetable. In addition, they are now freely admitting that the asset depreciation programme has also slipped back and Council needs more money.
    The link between all of the above with the Stadium issue(as I see it) is threefold:
    1. While Council’s eye was on the stadium ball other priorities have slipped back.
    2. Council now desperately needs more money from somewhere to fund its Stadium and there is money in water.
    3. The Chief Executive wants the above to happen and although forced to adopt a special consultative procedure under the Local Government Act has signalled his intention to flag the the proposal in the 2010/11 Annual Plan. Given their response to the concerns of the majority on the stadium I am not holding my breath that they will not similarly go through the motions next year as they have done previously despite overwhelming concern and opposition to the new Stadium by local residents and ratepayers.

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