Letters the ODT Editor does not want You to see.

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Friday, 10 December 2021 at 8:03 AM
To: EditorODT <editor@odt.co.nz>, “Nicholas. Smith” <nicholas.smith@xtra.co.nz>, Grant McKenzie <grant@alliedpress.co.nz>, Grant Miller <grant.miller@odt.co.nz>
Subject: Out of the room on zoom? Letter to the Editor 129 words

Letter to the Editor

Out of the room on zoom? 

Dear Barry,
The DCC CEO claim that I can still do my Councillor job by being needlessly excluded from the room and given a public camera feed on zoom is ridiculous.
Not only have lock-down Council zoom meetings proved to be awful with ongoing technical glitches, speaker order disputes, inability to read the room and motion amendments, hear Points of Order sources and supplementary information all made worse by Mayoral abuse of his zoom mute button facility, but when everybody is on zoom there are at least 18 selectable  cameras in play for each participant that everyone can access, which can’t happen for just one remote zoom participant.
The only ‘advantage’ to a zoom Council meeting is that you can get away with partaking in your underwear if you are clever.
Kind regards,

Cr. Lee Vandervis

Letter to the Editor

The Silencing of the Councillors.

Mayor Hawkins never allowed Council’s 3 Water’s Reform response to even get to discussion as claimed in the ODT [21/9/21]
In an unprecedented Mayoral move, the Zoom meeting was shut down during question time when it became obvious that too many Councillors were not going to accept the Mayor’s proposed letter to MP Mahuta in which he claimed  “Common goals with the Government”, and ”broad support for reforms that enable Ngai Tahu to meaningfully participate” in the proposed 50% Iwi Governance of Mahuta’s 3 Waters Reform.
Mayor Hawkins is proposing to redo the meeting again next week, again in remote Zoom, despite Councils such as Christchurch and Wellington being back in public venues again.
Perhaps this is because Zoom has the advantage of allowing our Mayor to easily silence and boot everybody out when he does not like the way too many Councillors are questioning his agenda.

Kind regards,

Cr. Lee Vandervis


If you want to print a NEWS story concerning me, you should ask me for comment first, especially since there has been no time pressure as in this instance.

My comment would have been as follows, which you might still usefully print if indeed news is what your business is, rather than advertising.

The Court case and the Appeal have been necessary to challenge the DCC bureaucracy’s public attack on an elected representative during an election process, to get rulings on unprecedented uses/abuses of Code of Conduct provisions, and to preserve elected representatives’ ability to criticise Council employees and/or management.

It has nothing to do with trying to get off a $12 parking ticket as repeatedly falsely claimed.

The Appeal issues before the Court are:

1. Did the Chief Executive of the Dunedin City Council follow the procedures in the Dunedin City Council Code of Conduct in forwarding the complaint against the Appellant to the 2nd Respondent for investigation;

2. Was the 2nd Respondent validly appointed to investigate complaints under the Dunedin City Council Code of Conduct;

3. Did the 2nd Respondent act contrary to the principles of natural justice and the investigation he carried out pursuant to the Dunedin City Council Code of Conduct;

4. Should the Appellant obtain the declarations sought;

5. Should the decisions of the Dunedin City Council on 11 December 2019 be set aside;

I have personally paid for all my own legal costs to settle these important issues in the public interest, while the DCC Bureaucracy has used public funds via supposed Code of Conduct which influenced the Mayoral election and frustrated my Judicial Review of their actions in their own interests. 
A significant confirmation from the Court process so far has been the acknowledgement that ex-CEO Bidrose ‘was concerned that Cr. Vandervis might become Mayor’.

Cr. Lee Vandervis

“News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising.” – Lord Northcote

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Our new DCC Chief Executive Officer is supposed to execute decisions made by Elected Representatives, but instead has been making political decisions and has signed a Trespass Notice excluding Dunedin’s by far highest polling Councillor from DCC offices and Debating Chamber, claiming authority under 2015 Health and Safety legislation and non-compliance with a vaccine pass.

Further CEO Graham claims include that an Elected Representative could adequately perform staff-interface, representative and debating round the Council table functions by remote zoom having been singularly excluded from Council Offices. The wholly unsatisfactory business of conducting just Council meetings by zoom was proved during lock-down with ongoing technical glitches, speaker order disputes, and inability to read the room and supplementary information, all made worse by Mayoral abuse of his zoom mute button facility.

I walked masked past the Town Hall security guards half an hour in advance of yesterday’s full Council meeting of 7th December scheduled for 1pm in the Edinburgh Room as offered to CEO Graham for good distancing and sat preparing for the meeting at my usual place as is my Elected Representative duty and right. I explained this to a security guard who came and asked me to leave the building, quoting him the latest Ministry of Health advice of 17/11/2021 that “The legislation will be very clear that access to essential services, including healthcare services, cannot be restricted based on vaccination status.” and that Local Government was an essential service.

When nobody else turned up for yesterday’s meeting, I sent the following email to the CEO questioning why I had not been advised of a meeting cancellation or change of venue, and today I have still not had an answer. I was subsequently served with a Trespass Notice signed by the CEO.

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Tuesday, 7 December 2021 at 2:02 PM
To: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Clare Sullivan <clare.sullivan@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Full Council Meeting cancellation or change of venue?

Dear Chief Executive Office Graham,

I have attended the full Council meeting of 7th December as scheduled in the Edinburgh Room at the allotted time of 1pm, as is my right and duty as an elected representative, but the time now is 1.55pm and the meeting has not proceeded as required.

A presumably DCC-hired security guard ex Allied Security came to the Edinburgh Room where I have been seated as usual and told me that I was obliged to leave the building because I had not shown proof of current vaccination.

I informed him as I have previously advised you by email, that “our NZ Ministry of Health has advised on 17/11/2021 that “When there is high COVID-19 vaccine coverage (i.e., above 80 percent of eligible people are fully vaccinated), transmission is more likely to occur from a vaccinated than an unvaccinated individual.”

Further our MoH in the same document says:

“The legislation will be very clear that access to essential services, including healthcare services, cannot be restricted based on vaccination status.”

Was today’s full meeting cancelled or changed to another venue?, and if so on whose authority?, and why was I as an elected representative not advised of any venue change or cancellation?
I note that LGOIMA 46 (1) as referenced in our Standing Orders requires you to ensure that the date, time and place of a public Council meeting are to be publicly notified.

Looking forward to your explanation of this apparent breach of required meeting procedure.


Cr. Lee Vandervis

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Dunedin the only one of southern councils insisting on vaccination passports. ODT headline 2/12/2021

I am not irate about being excluded from Council buildings as falsely claimed in today’s ODT, but I am deeply saddened. I am saddened for exclusion of ratepayers and especially the misery and strain being caused for DCC employees who are being forced out of their jobs, in the name of ‘protecting staff’.
I have been counseling several employees yesterday, people with families and mortgages who are faced with forced vaccination if they want to be able to continue supporting their families and continue their careers.
Without even a debate, report or a Council vote, our DCC bureaucrats have decided to wreck the unvaccinated lives of people who have good reason to believe that the new vaccine is not safe or effective in preventing disease transmission. Our Democracy has become an ugly Bureaucracy.

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My objection to DCC proposed Vaccination Discrimination

The DCC CEO is proposing to exclude unvaccinated people including Elected Representatives from all Council buildings in a draft proposal, and has asked for feedback which I have provided as below. Unless other Elected representatives have provided anonymous feedback, I am the only one to date to do so.

As the only Elected Representative at the DCC to publicly confirm that I am not yet prepared to submit to the latest vaccination for many reasons, primarily because our government is forcing it on us, I am being subject to all kind of suppression, and now with the threat of physical exclusion. 

Auckland and Wellington Councils have excluded all unvaxed staff and Elected Representatives from Council buildings already. 

My response to the “DCC draft Covid Protection (Vaccination) Policy” is as below.

 “As with the common cold, there is always a risk of contracting or transmitting Covid variants.

Hence the phrase “require that anyone entering DCC premises is vaccinated, where there is risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 to others.” means a blanket ban on those who have not provided proof of vaccination. There is always a risk, as the NZ Ministry of Health document quoted below makes clear.

The latest MoH advice to Health Professionals of 19 Nov 2021 says amongst other things “The legislation will be very clear that access to essential services, including healthcare services, cannot be restricted based on vaccination status.”

With regard to those seeking medical consultation MoH advice also states “Vaccination status is one of many risk factors for infection and transmission. There is currently no evidence that the application of an alternative pathway based solely on vaccination status, or the routine incorporation of unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals into a high-risk pathway is justified.”

Further the MoH advice states “When the rate of community spread is zero or very low, the risk of transmission from any consultation will be very low, unless a person is known to be at higher risk because they are symptomatic or a close contact of a confirmed case. In addition, in this situation the difference in the risk of transmission between vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be negligible. When the prevalence of disease in the community is high, the risk of transmission from any individual is not negligible and is likely to warrant application of mitigations for all consultations.When there is high COVID-19 vaccine coverage (i.e., above 80 percent of eligible people are fully vaccinated), transmission is more likely to occur from a vaccinated than an unvaccinated individual.”

Referring to patient testing in a medical consultation setting the MoH advice is very clear “Asymptomatic infection is the issue, not the vaccination status of the patient.”

The DCC Policy is premature in advance of traffic lights detail from Government and in conflict with the latest MoH advice, and appears to foster misconceptions about transmission ex vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals.

The DCC Draft Protection Policy has an inappropriately added (VACCINATION) to the title indicating that (vaccination) is synonymous with ‘protection’, which is untrue.

The draft further claims that “The COVID-19 vaccines will help protect people by either preventing or reducing symptoms of COVID-19 in the person who has received the vaccine.” There is no evidence that the Pfizer Vaccine prevents symptoms or reduces rates of transmission. It merely reduces the intensity of some symptoms in some patients, and at a significantly lower rate than initially claimed.

Finally, there is the overarching concept of how deadly Covid 19 and its variants has been to date. The DCC Draft claims that “When elimination is not possible, they must reduce the risk so far as reasonably practicable.” Elimination has never been possible, and Government death-rate data shows little if any additional deaths in many western counties.  Relevant data on very low death risk is at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3odjlEn8qXY

Cr. Lee Vandervis”

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DCC Debt ceiling to be RAISED AGAIN over a Billion$ by another $200 million

What has Dunedin got to show for its ballooning debt, other than ballooning rates increases always many times the rate of inflation?
Ballooning DCC staff numbers? and what else?


We should promote local businesses, stop the ludicrous spending, stop the $60 million George st/Exchange ‘surface treatments’ which is code for turning the City Centre into another cycleway, stop the $10 million park and ride experiment and the other $10 million for ‘way-finding’ carparks instead of making them, stop colouring our roads, reverse the recent massive increase in DCC staff numbers, and then there are another 100+ ways to save money as below:

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I am withdrawing from the planned NO JAB NO JOB Debate planned for this coming Saturday.

Reasons outside of my control include being unable to confirm an adjudicator or get responses today from the convenor. I still think the Debate is a really good idea and hope that it still proceeds without me.

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Time we had some real debate on important issues, rather than people just taking positions. This coming Saturday… 

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Showing ‘support and solidarity’ by using public funds to fly politicised flags just advertises and reinforces divisions in my view.
That is why opposing armies fly different flags as they go into battle, to reinforce slight cultural differences rather than recognising our far greater human sameness.

Other Councillors were too Politically Correct to vote against joining the LGBTQI queue. $40,000 for George st red/blue dots now to be followed by similar waste with more roadway painting following Wellington’s artless lead.


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Insightful view of PM Ardern from afar

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The Ardern government has deliberately politicised every aspect of our lives.

I do not know who Melissa O’Hagan is, but when she wrote this by God she got it right:

“It probably doesn’t matter what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern does from here on in. Her legacy, in many minds, is already in place. The division of a nation.

We are witnessing a disunion of our fellow citizens in a way we’ve never seen before, well in my lifetime anyway; It wasn’t so many years ago that although there might be disagreement on an issue, there was still a semblance of respect for each other’s views. That has well and truly gone out the window in Ardern’s New Zealand.

The venom, and – I’m just going to say it – hatred, on display is not only shocking, but extremely sad. It’s out of hand. We used to think in trying times New Zealanders would come together and forget minor irritations about left and right notions. But now, that concept is gone.

Most of you would have seen this division playing out somewhere in your life. Some of you will have experienced it personally. Perhaps within your own circle of friends, or disappointingly, your family.

You may think I’m talking about our current situation with lockdowns and vaccinations, and I am, but not only this. How about the smouldering disunity between Maori and so-called ‘non-Maori’; homeowners and renters; property owners and tenants; business owners and employees; beneficiaries and workers; firearm owners and police; farmers and environmentalists; progressives and conservatives? The vaccinated and the ‘non-vaccinated’

The list goes on.

Where does this division come from and why is it so strong right now, you may ask?

Because of one thing: politicisation.

The Ardern government has deliberately politicised every aspect of our lives. How we live, how we work, who is allowed an opinion, who isn’t, what you can and can’t do, when you can do it. Who pays, who benefits, who controls our water and land, and even who can have a say in our supposed democratic system.

The government has done nothing but stoke the flames of identity politics and New Zealand is like a bad crème brulee: all kinds of split!

By politicising every space New Zealanders occupy, the government ends up controlling that space. And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

Division leads to control, and that is where we are at. A country where citizens are at each other’s throats. A terribly sad, and in my opinion possibly the worst, consequence of this increasingly authoritarian government which is hell-bent on destroying what most of us remember as a fair, friendly, and united country.

It’s hard to know if we can return to that state of fairness and unity, it seems like an unattainable goal right now. But it is my wish that we do, and I am certain many good people of this beautiful country wish for that too.”

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CNN ‘News’ smears Rogan with Ivermectin “horse medicine”

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If your Doctor prescribes something specifically for you, who else knows enough to say that it is not appropriate?

I had a doctor’s prescription for the Borody Covid Treatment Protocol of which my pharmacist was unable to supply the Ivermectin component, because NZ was “out of stock”. My pharmacist told me that NZ’s stock of human dosage Ivermectin had all been ‘re-exported’, but that a small stock needed as the prime treatment for scabies was due within the month.When that arrived I was initially denied it as it was ‘for scabies only’, but my persistence finally paid off and I now have a properly prescribed set of long-proven safe drugs suitable for early Covid intervention.These may be used in addition to vaccination if that is your choice.

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Submissions closed yesterday!

Who knew that our Government is pushing through laws to allow forced:

– detention, to be isolated or quarantined in any specified place or in any specified way

– examination, to report for and undergo a medical examination or testing of any kind, and at any place or time specified and in any specified way or specified circumstances.

– to refrain from carrying out specified activities (for example, business activities involving close personal contact) or carry out specified activities only in any specified way or in compliance with specified measures…

Who knew that the latest chance to make a submission was yesterday before noon!?

My submission:

I violently object to the proposed Covid-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No2), especially the impositions and limits on freedoms in section 11.

I believe that the Bill contravenes many NZ legal provisions including some in the Bill of Rights Act 1990, and that it abuses the fundamental requirements of Natural Justice, all without due cause, especially when so many countries around the world are returning to a new normal without such draconian legislation.

I recommend that our government finally accepts that it was never possible to “eliminate” or “stop” Covid, that instead of wasting millions of our taxes on draconian delaying lockdowns and advertising, it spends on increasing Hospital care facilities that have long been underfunded.

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Prime Minister Ardern’s self-crowning as the ‘single source of Truth’ with regards to Covid science :

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Freedom of Choice speech at Queens Gardens Families Freedom Picnic event, Saturday 2/10/21.

My Name is Lee Vandervis.

I am one of your elected representatives, a Councillor on the Dunedin City Council.
Today I am not speaking on behalf of the City or the DCC, but giving a personal view of freedoms in New Zealand, and how they have changed in recent years.

I have long been concerned about the erosion of freedoms by our Central Government,  but in the past have kept my focus on local issues to help protect Dunedin citizens.
Central governments, both National and Labour have long ignored Dunedin and invested elsewhere because there are no marginal seats here, not enough swinging voters to change from the solid Labour vote.

Much has been changing in Central Government that is now beginning to have major effects for Dunedin,  with increasing bureaucracy, constant increases in compliance legislation, and now serious erosion of our personal rights and freedoms.

For me Prime Minister Ardern’s self-crowning as the ‘single source of Truth’ with regards to Covid science was the last straw.

Too much from Central Government is now ruining peoples’ lives here. Lockdowns have been a Government-paid holiday for many, but for some have become lock-ups, with isolation causing mental breakdowns and cabin fever.

As a Councillor I have been confronted with severe mental stresses of people too fearful to leave their homes, small business owners whose livelihoods will never recover, and older people sure they will die if Covid comes. Some hysterical phone calls to me have gone on for half an hour and would have gone longer if I had not shut them down. Just last week I was rung by a lady asking if she was allowed to go outside without a mask.  

How has the loss of so many Freedoms come about?

Let me step back in history to a time when we were hunter-gatherers with few possessions, and so nothing much to steal.
Theft only became a social problem when we became agricultural, and crops and land could be taken by force or by cunning. The cunning could take all the stored food but then next year everybody would face starvation again, so the really smart thieves learned to take just 10% of what was grown by the toil of others in return for ‘protection’. They would ensure that they were the only ones taking 10% and this elite became Governments.
Governments have grown and got greedy over the centuries however and many new kinds of taxes and protection services have been introduced.
Governments now control most of what we earn and supply a wide range of protections; police, military, health and safety, and education.
As a result of new technology and reduction in tribal warfare, living standards have improved massively in the last 200 years along with more leisure time, helping us achieve unprecedented new freedoms which have been hard fought for.

What does FREEDOM mean to you?

Is it to be ‘as free as a bird’, able to fly anywhere and chirp all it likes?

Many countries now have Constitutions that guarantee these new rights and freedoms, but here in New Zealand we have a less ironclad protection of freedoms called the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The chirping is Right #14, Freedom of expression, and the flying is Right #18 Freedom of movement.
Since 1990 these Fundamental Rights and Freedoms have been taken for granted, and warnings that we must constantly be vigilant about their maintenance have been ignored.  
In discussions of new Government Covid legislation I was surprised how few people knew that New Zealand has a Bill of Rights, and even fewer knew what was in it.

When I posted two topical Rights on my FaceBook page I was even more surprised at the 376 comments, most of them critical and some nasty.

Right #11 says “Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment.” I am not against vaccination, but vaccines should only be  administered to patients who are VOLUNTARILY persuaded that it will benefit them.

Right #14 says “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.”
I am exercising right 14 now, imparting information and some of my opinions.
It seems that many people feel so threatened by current Covid hysteria that they do not want the right to refuse medical treatment and they don’t want me to tell others about it either.
There is a strange social symptom of anxious or fearful people that makes them afraid of choice – To quote the DEVO chorus “Freedom of choice – is what we’ve got. Freedom from choice, is what we want.”

Freedom from our having choice is what our Government wants because it makes us more easily controllable, and the Government Elite less vulnerable. 

People also don’t want to hear opinions that make them feel uncomfortable, and our Government of Elites has fanned such fears in order to pass laws that limit the our Rights and make us easier to control. ‘Freedom of speech’ has been reduced by new Hate Speech laws justified by the appalling Christchurch Mosque massacre with the dubious claim that Hate Speech radicalises potential murders. Benjamin Franklin said that “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

He also said that “If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.”
Check the meanings of ‘Groupthink’ and ‘Codependence’.

The Right to refuse medical treatment has been limited by new legislation including ‘no jab, no job’, justified by a nasty uncommon cold and difficulties insulating us from its spread and the claim that the new vaccination only works if more than 90% of us have had at least two doses.
The Right to Freedom of Movement has been temporarily removed by lockdowns, and even worse, effectively permanently removed for some 30,000 overseas NZ citizens trying to get back to New Zealand but blocked by the Government’s bizarre Quarantine Lottery, which the Elite politicians and sports people don’t have to play, but the rest of us do.
Our Government which claims to promote equality and a classless society has first set up Elite classes of their own that have Freedoms which we are being denied.

I have a Doctor friend who is unable to visit his close dying relative overseas because he has not won the Quarantine Lottery, so to travel overseas he has to resign his GP job because he can not be assured of getting back into New Zealand.

The Ardern Government has used unprecedented billions to undermine our Bill of Rights and buy media compliance to convince us of the necessity of reducing our Freedoms ‘for the greater good’.
All Freedoms come with limits and the responsibility not to harm others.

Freedom is not the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right. Our Government is not always doing what is right, but what increases Government power over us.

 Is it right that we are losing: the Freedom from forced Medical Treatment, Freedom of Movement, Freedom of Association, and Freedom of Expression? My mother’s reassurance of ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’ no longer applies, and if I have said something today that someone here finds hateful I can be now be charged with a criminal offense that attracts serious penalties.

Perhaps the most important Right of them all is the last one in our Bill of Rights, #27 The Right to Justice.
We are all supposed to have the Right to the Principles of Natural Justice and our Rights or Interests protected by Law.
Natural Justice is the legal basis of all our Freedoms, but the Law is a blunt instrument and too often accessible only to the wealthy. Beware Law changes.

The current changing of Laws, for instance the delaying of Local Elections and the proposed passing legislation to forcibly acquire our most valuable 3 Waters Council assets, should have alarm bells ringing for all of us.
MP Mahuta’s attempt to have centralised co-governance with a Maori Elite over all Councils’ drinking water and drainage systems is the biggest attempted asset grab since the damaging centralised corporatising of our Electricity grid.
Beware false claims that Maori should have control because the Treaty of Waitangi guarantees that Maori retain their Rights over Land and Water.
Maori had no 3 Waters piped infrastructure systems at the time of the signing, and 3 Waters are not Crown assets, so there is nothing in our developed 3 Waters Council infrastructure for Maori to ‘retain’.

Beware also politicians twittering on that what they are doing is for “the people, the people, the people”, when it is usually for ‘the money, the money, the money’ to be controlled by their Elite.

Governments everywhere are driven to expand their power and control over us economically, and use our money to further their expansion aims.

Our Bill of Rights is sometimes all that stands against Government’s wider-control, so we need to know our Rights and work to maintain them.

So what can we do to try and regain the full Freedoms and Rights we had only a few years ago?
If you are not Free then you are a Slave…

As Ezra Pound said “A Slave is one who waits for someone to free him.”

We must not wait.
We can begin with ourselves, to decide that we really want Freedom of Choice, and that our Freedoms are worth fighting for.
We need to act, often in many small ways, to resist unnecessary impositions, to question new compliance rules, to debate with others personally, and on social media if you can bear the insults.
Read the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and decide what are acceptable limits on Freedoms which prevent your Rights imposing on the Rights of others.
Search both mainstream and less-Government-subsidised media to learn what changes are being made to our Freedoms, find out who is making those changes and who is resisting them, take notes and vote accordingly.
Look up the term Sovereign Citizen, and decide if you believe that people are born free with rights — but that these natural rights are being constrained by corporations and governments who are artificial corporations.
How much do you really need Big Brother protection and intrusions of the State?
Recognise that extreme cynicism gets you nearest the Truth, and that there is no ‘single source of Truth’.
Know that ordinary people are often afraid to speak out and often have similar concerns to you.

Listen openly to others, avoid pre-packaged views, don’t just accept the Party Line or running with the crowd.

To be free as a bird we need to be centred in our own nature, to be confident in expressing ourselves and to let our spirits fly…

Thank you for this opportunity of letting me exercise Right #14 of the NZ Bill of Rights.

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Our anti-car Council has become the anti-consultation Council as they ignored the vast majority of Annual Plan submitters including all but one of our Community Boards who opposed the changes to George street, ignored the George st retailers and landlords, and ignored the biggest public petition this century of 6,500 Dunedin people opposed to the $60 million plan to turn George street to the Exchange into a cycleway.


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Not a One Way, but a My Way George st. cycleway, with 10kph legally required emergency vehicle access.

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There never was any discussion as claimed in this ODT article during a meeting solely to discuss DCC feedback on the MP Mahuta 3 waters takeover proposal.

Mayor Hawkins shut down the meeting during question time when awkward questions kept coming over his proposed suck-up letter to Mahuta claiming ‘broad Council support’.

A subsequent rewrite with around 30 changes still fell well short of Christchurch Councillors’ unanimous speaking against.


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MP Mahuta’s 3 Waters $2.5 BILLION attempted asset grab of Dunedin’s drinking, drainage and waste water systems for $47 million plus promises of economies of scale has fallen at the first hurdle. Christchurch City Council has emphatically voted Mahuta’s 3 waters down, so there can be no economies of scale for the the South Island.


My questions of DCC staff regarding 3 Waters were non-answered as below:

From: Simon Drew <Simon.Drew@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Monday, 27 September 2021 at 4:31 PM
To: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>, “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: “Executive Leadership Team (ELT)” <elt@dcc.govt.nz>, Scott Campbell <Scott.Campbell@dcc.govt.nz>, Tom Dyer <Tom.Dyer@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: RE: FOR REVIEW: 3W Reform Letter – Revised Draft

Kia ora Councillor,

Thanks for your questions in advance of the meeting.  These are predominately questions for Central Government but staff have attempted to respond below in “….”. quotation marks. 


Simon Drew


From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Sent: Thursday, 23 September 2021 10:14 p.m.
To: Simon Drew <Simon.Drew@dcc.govt.nz>; Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members) <council.2019-2022@oa.dcc.govt.nz>; Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Executive Leadership Team (ELT) <elt@dcc.govt.nz>; Scott Campbell <Scott.Campbell@dcc.govt.nz>; Tom Dyer <Tom.Dyer@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: FOR REVIEW: 3W Reform Letter – Revised Draft

Hi Sandy and Simon,

I have not provided feedback on our proposed feedback letter because it so panoramically endorses the Government proposed control of our 3 waters by 50% Iwi/Maori without explaining any benefits, and because it does not address the many inconsistencies and impracticalities of the proposed centralising of 3 waters control.
I am disappointed that my questions of staff were not answered in our thwarted 3 Waters question-time because the meeting was cut-off during questions by Mayor Hawkins.

I would like to know in advance of our next meeting what DCC staff understandings are of what is proposed in the MP Mahuta 3 Waters revolution:

1 – why our proposed letter to MP Mahuta contained so many untranslated words? [we have a Plain English policy that seems to have been forgotten]

“Taumata Arowai is the name of the new Water Services Regulator https://www.taumataarowai.govt.nz/

2 – why the main South Island proposed zone D does not conform to any geographic or catchment areas, but conforms to the historic spread of Ngai Tahu tribal control at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi?  What have historic tribal areas of conquest got to do with efficient management of modern water catchment and drainage systems?

“The June 2021 Cabinet paper A new system for three waters service delivery explains the Government’s rationale for the boundaries of the proposed four entities (Entities A, B, C and D). In particular, refer to paragraphs 89-106.”

3 – Our 3 water’s infrastructure is based on piped and pumped systems. What traditional Maori knowledge can Maori bring to bear on modern piped; drinking water, drainage and sewerage systems, given that Maori traditionally had none of these systems. Article two of the Treaty has been summoned in support, ‘the right to make decisions over resources and taonga [treasures] which Maori wish to retain’, and there is some assumption that this applies to Council services. Council services were created by councils using ratepayer funds. How can Maori “retain” something Maori never had?

“The June 2021 Cabinet paper Protecting and promoting Iwi rights and interests explains the Government’s rational for Iwi/Māori’s role in the 3 Waters Reform Programme. ”     

4 – Can anyone explain how the new proposed centralised 3 waters control group will “create an additional 5,800 to 9,300 jobs over 30 years” and also deliver efficiency gains?

“The forecasted additional 5,800 to 9,300 jobs are required to deliver the significant increase in investment that Government modelling has determined is required to upgrade NZ’s 3 Waters infrastructure to modern standards.  The Government suggests this increase in investment is required regardless of how water services are delivered. 

The Government financial modelling predicts 45% – 50% of operational and capital delivery efficiency savings could be achieved when delivering 3 Waters services under the four Water Services Entities  (Entities A, B, C and D).  The Government financial modelling predicts approx. 2% efficiency savings delivering 3 Waters services under a status quo model.  The premise of the efficiency gains under the four Water Services Entities model is that scale will create efficiencies over time, particularly from centralised systems and aggregated procurement.”     

5 – Will some of these proposed new efficiencies be obtained by using nationwide rather than local contractors?

“3 Waters service delivery will require local contractors in all areas of NZ”

6 – How will we be able to justify our enormous and growing debt levels when the asset base on which this debt has been raised and justified suddenly contracts by 2.5 BILLION $?

“If 3 Waters assets are transferred from Council balance sheets, the relevant level of debt will also be transferred with the assets.” 

7 – Why have the ‘Crown’s duty to protect iwi/Maori rights and interests under the Treaty’ been invoked to justify 50% Maori/Iwi control when our 3 Waters are not Crown assets, but are Council created and owned assets?

“Refer answer 3.” 

The broad Mahuta support in Mayor Hawkins’ original letter has been tempered in this post-meeting version, but the whole tone of the letter is still conceptually supportive of the proposed centralised control takeover, when the people we represent are mostly not supportive.

As an example of unprecedented public opposition to the whole concept, the following FaceBook post by somebody I do not know has today been shared by what must be a record 632 times:

3 Waters simply explained

I was explaining it to someone today in very simple terms:

• You have an asset that you and your family has spent decades paying for

• You pay a small fee each year to pay for the upkeep of the asset to be able to use it

• Someone comes and tells you that they will buy your asset for 10% of its value but you will still be able to use it

• They tell you that they will pay you in 3 years the 10% value of the asset

• They then tell you they are going to borrow the funds to pay you in 3 years but you are going to have to pay them for the loan, the interest and the team of people they will put in place to manage the asset because you are going to use it. So in short you are paying for your asset twice

• They also point out that they are going to have to charge you 10x the amount you paid each year for the upkeep of your asset

• They are going to give away half of the asset to someone else who has the ability to change the outcome to suit their own agenda which inevitably is going to cost you more money…….

And they tell us this is a really good idea and totally for your benefit……

Your Government in action working for that team of 5 million…unless you do the math and work out that its only the 15% proportional part of our population that will end up financially controlling the asset that you have already paid for… you will pay again and again and again


Looking forward to finally getting my questions answered.


Cr. Lee Vandervis

My and other’s views follow for more detailed background:

Christopher Luxon 

 The Government must park Three Waters plans. 

Labour must listen to the multitude of mayors pleading for the Three Waters plans to be dumped. 

With an overwhelming majority of councils not onboard, the Government’s programme is in dire straits and its four entity model is floundering fast.

Only a handful of mayors have explicitly supported the reforms, while the remaining 60-odd are not on board. Many are in fact urging the Government to suspend the process because they have not had adequate time to digest the detail or consult their communities.

The South Island entity D is in serious doubt, with mayors from across the West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland writing to the Minister and asking for a pause.

The northern entity A has all but fallen apart, with Far North and Whangārei already gone and the remaining two councils, Auckland and Kaipara, in strong opposition and likely to leave next.

Meanwhile, Hawke’s Bay mayors are against the reforms and other councils throughout entities B and C in areas like the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Manawatū are hitting the brakes.

It’s no surprise mayors are rebuking the Government’s woeful consultation timeframe and apparent need for speed.

National has consistently said that the supposed benefits and cost savings haven’t been adequately explained to the public.

We oppose the Three Waters Reforms. The touted scale benefits are unrealistic, ratepayers would end up cross-subsidising neighbouring areas, and the entities would strip power from communities and steal control of their water assets.

The Government must heed the mayors’ calls and at a bare minimum, pause the programme immediately.

I would encourage them to go one step further and dump the Three Waters plan altogether. We must keep the ‘local’ in local government.

Luxton suggests the important point that Mahuta’s 3 waters claimed proposed economies of scale only happen if most Councils climb on board. And those economies are illusory in my view even if most Councils do join.
There is a wide variety of water supply and drainage systems across the country with a lot of local expertise that makes these often quite different systems operable. 
Centralising will lose local knowledge and effective local feedback, and bypass many local contractors
The He Puapua proposal is to use our money [taxes] to buy our immensely varied water systems, and then centralise control, contracting and feedback.
Trying to force all NZ’s varied water systems to conform to a one-level-fits-all set of quality controls is a bureaucrat’s dream that will become our nightmare if attempted, in my view.

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz
Sent: Wednesday, 15 September 2021 9:29 AM
To: Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members) <council.2019-2022@oa.dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>; Tom Dyer <Tom.Dyer@dcc.govt.nz>; Simon Drew <Simon.Drew@dcc.govt.nz>; Simon Pickford <Simon.Pickford@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: Vicki Buck’s summation of Mahuta’s 3 Waters proposals.

Vicki Buck

“Water Reforms

7 reasons why the CCC needs to say a big NO to the Government proposal

1. it’s a total rip off for the people of Christchurch The three waters are your drinking water, the stormwater and wastewater .Christchurch over many many years has generally invested well in these assets and has had the expertise and knowledge base among its staff that it can deal with the water issues.

2. Your water assets represent a huge chunk ( about 40%) of the assets the Christchurch City Council has . Actually $6.9 billion !! and against that is held about $1.1 billion of debt .So the nett assets about $5.8 billion .They disappear into a new authority for a paltry 122m which is paid some time in 2024 .

3. Water assets are an absolutely essential part of local government . Everything you do in local government is interconnected because a city or a community operates in a very interconnected way . So for example detention basins become part of the neighbourhood facilities. Fixing old pipes means digging up the roads so you take the opportunity to sort out the roading, the footpath repairs, cycle-lanes and bus lanes at the same time as the work to keep businesses going . The work on Riccarton Road a few years back was a clear example of this .You can’t separate the three waters from all other local government . The whole point of the 1989 Local Government Reforms was to integrate all functions into stronger local government units.

4. Water will be the defining feature of cities and countries in the future. As the climate crisis deepens the access to good safe water , and managing all aspects of water becomes not just more important but absolutely vital .

5. The incentives the Government are offering to join these new authorities are a nonsense. In return for 5.9billion worth of assets the new authority awards across the country a total of $2.5 billion . But only $1billion of that even comes from the government as I understand it, and the rest is raised by the new authority presumably as debt which we get to pay for as well .. so as I understand it we get to pay for the cash incentives designed to make these seem attractive to Councils for the next 20- 25 years …

6. The new authority for the South Island extends over most of the South Island and you can guarantee you won’t have any capacity to go along and tell what you want done. So after taking these assets the new authority then gets to deal with all the water issues in the South Island ( except the top of the Island which goes to the Wellington based authority ) . The waste water, stormwater and drinking water issues in those other local authorities are potentially massive and this new authority gets to send the bill to you for doing all this . The rating base of the bigger cities is absolutely fundamental in making these reforms work because there simply aren’t enough people in the smaller areas to pay for theirs .You don’t just get to pay for the work that is done in Christchurch and given away those assets but you will now pay a share of areas which need huge investment and you’ll get that via a rates bill from the new entity .What you are going to pay is going to be huge . You can’t vote this new authority out and actually I cant see any way at all you can make them accountable but they are going to be rating you for ever .

7. Local government is that -it’s local government. It is the responsibility of the ChCh City Council to look after all things pertaining to Christchurch City -it’s not in its mandate to use its assets and its rating base to subsidise for ever the stormwater, wastewater and drinking water of most of the South Island.

The information on this deal is sketchy at best but based on what is available this deal looks like a very bad one for Christchurch residents.”

Wish us luck,



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