Explanation of the disappearance of Cr. Benson-Pope from my FaceBook page.

From: David Benson-Pope <David.Benson-Pope@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Tuesday, 7 April 2020 at 6:11 PM
To: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Cc: Clare Sullivan <clare.sullivan@dcc.govt.nz>, “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>, Sue Bidrose <Sue.Bidrose@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>, Simon Drew <Simon.Drew@dcc.govt.nz>, Dave Tombs <Dave.Tombs@dcc.govt.nz>, Nanaia Mahuta <n.mahuta@ministers.govt.nz>
Subject: Re: 3 x Notices of Motion first lodged with staff 20/03/20

In my earlier message I forgot to thank you for blocking my access to your PUBLIC facebook site.
I suppose that was the result of the time I have spent last week in correcting the misinformation and worse that you peddle, in particular of late about the location of our new hospital, but I must say that I feel somehow liberated at no longer visiting the dark space that you and your followers inhabit.

The best part is of course that I no longer see the abuse that your trolls will doubtless continue t o direct at someone …


From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Subject: Re: 3 x Notices of Motion first lodged with staff 20/03/20
Date: 8 April 2020 at 9:14:43 AM NZST
To: David Benson-Pope <David.Benson-Pope@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Clare Sullivan <clare.sullivan@dcc.govt.nz>, “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>, Sue Bidrose <Sue.Bidrose@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>, Simon Drew <Simon.Drew@dcc.govt.nz>, Dave Tombs <Dave.Tombs@dcc.govt.nz>

In a decade of social media, I have had to block a total of 3 persistent, abusive, and misrepresenting trolls David.

You have just become troll #3, and the only one I have met. [unless perhaps you were also one of the other two]

My ‘dark space inhabiting’ followers as you falsely characterise them were sufficiently numerous to make me the first-preference Mayor at the last election whereas your party vote got you less than half of my independent Councillor votes.

2019 Councillor Votes
I do however yield to your intimate knowledge of dark spaces, as detailed in Police files and Investigate Magazine published statements, some R18.

And as regards your false claim about my understanding of Standing Orders, you are the Cr, who decided to sink a two-year long unanimous Council resolution to investigate Unitary Council advantages and disadvantages without understanding the many Standing Orders requirements for revocation of a resolution, and wasted a great deal of staff time relitigating the whole revocation process just to ensure that Councillors would not know what the implications of a Dunedin Unitary Council might be. You also regularly attempt Points of Order which aren’t under Standing Orders. You should read Standing Orders in the time you now have not trolling my FB page.

Looking forward to you fact-checking the above,

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‘Hospital still being built’ says Health Minister Clark.

“‘…the new Dunedin Hospital is rock solid.’ he said” ODT 4/4/20.
This having discovered [after buying the land without doing due diligence] that the land is a deep pug swamp requiring enormously expensive deep foundations that may not support an 8-story Hospital.

Still time to rethink what may have been the worst decision for Dunedin this century?

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From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Tuesday, 11 April 2017 at 8:45 PM
To: EditorODT <editor@odt.co.nz>, “Nicholas. Smith” <nicholas.smith@xtra.co.nz>
Subject: FW: Hillside Hospital? Opinion piece for ODT

Hillside Hospital?
There certainly are benefits to keeping our new Hospital rebuild in the City centre, since this physical closeness helps synergies with the Medical School. There is also the desire of some Hospital visitors to access shops and facilities found near the existing Hospital.

More generally we like what we are familiar with, with some of us fearing any change, and confusing change with loss.
Change is inevitable however, since Hospitals have become increasingly technological and new Hospital design can look quite different from our current concrete high-rise. New medical technology, better access and a need for restful ‘human spaces’ means that our new Hospital can serve Dunedin and the whole Southern region better, even if it does end up looking quite different.

The premature DCC decision to push for a central-city-only rebuild of Dunedin Hospital was unfortunately made without any staff report and without any information on modern Hospital design. The agenda item was forcibly moved by ex-Labour MP Cr. Benson Pope with an unfortunate, polarising tirade against the Government, accusing Treasury of past “lunatic suggestions”, and saying “Government makes stupid decisions based on stupid treasury advice.” Mayor Cull chimed in, accusing Treasury of always going for “what is the cheapest option”, claiming ‘saving $2 – $3 million on land costs would be soon swallowed up in extra transport costs’, and that rebuilding in the central city was a “complete no-brainer”. Only 3 Councillors voted against, but it would have been at least 4 against if we had known that a $10,000+ election-style leaflet Campaign was planned playing party politics. Cr. Benson Pope inappropriately goaded one naysayer with sarcasm about his National Party connections, and branded the three Councillors (including myself) who voted against as being ‘Tories’, even though it is public knowledge that I voted for Labour candidate David Clark at the last election.

Many modern hospital designs call for a large land area of perhaps 10 hectares allowing low-rise buildings with access to restive outdoor areas, easy close parking and a safer large all-weather helicopter landing area. These modern Hospital desirables are not possible on the current site, even with the addition of a nearby block. Mayor Cull’s $2-$3 million estimate of Central Business District land costs is beyond optimistic, since as an example much cheaper land for the Stadium outside of the CBD was budgeted at $15 million but ended up costing more than $30 million.  Prime Minister English was correct to highlight land cost as an important site consideration. As well as upsetting Government and Treasury leaders, the DCC Hospital campaign will just drive up the price of pricey central city land if there are no other agreed options.

The “SOS Save Our Services” part of the DCC Hospital campaign is misleading by its very name, since all Government and Southern Partnership Group public statements have already assured us that all current services will be retained.

As for “Saving Our Site”, it is a fantastic notion that a modern Hospital can be built on the current CBD site as well as remaining operational throughout the rebuild.  Auckland’s famous Starship Hospital is not in the CBD and neither are Shortland Street, Wellington or Christchurch Hospitals! Even if our existing Ward Block is stable enough to do up rather than rebuild, it lacks the height between floors necessary for modern services ducting alignment, and is set up for shared rooms when private rooms have real advantages such as infection control. The 2015 Harvard Business Review “Better Healing from Better Hospital Design” stated: “When one of two McGill University hospitals in the Montreal region of Canada redesigned its ICU from shared to private rooms, the rate of bacterial infection decreased by more than 50%. The new ICU design also decreased the length of stay by 10%…. When hospitals provide easy access to nature, patients, employees and family members can all enjoy the benefit it provides, including reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, reduced pain and increased pain tolerance, faster recovery times, and, simply, pleasant escape from stressful situations.”

Hopefully Council may yet moderate its narrow demand, and at least accept investigation of other sites. Two sites already owned by the Government are Wakari Hospital, and Hillside Workshops. Both sites are much larger than anything that could be available in the central city and both have good existing transportation and bus access. They both offer much better parking for patients, doctors, nursing staff and visitors, and have potential for quieter cleaner restful ‘human spaces’ in a park-like setting. Neither site is far from the suggested CBD site of Cadburys. My timed drives from Cadburys carpark took 3 minutes to get to the Medical School, 5 minutes to Hillside and 7 minutes to Wakari.

Hillside has particular advantages. It is most easily accessible, next to a major shopping area, large, level, and elevated enough to avoid flooding – even when the DCC pump screens and mud-tanks were blocked.

A new Hillside Hospital would boost South Dunedin development more than detract from central city businesses that already have the University, Polytechnic, Dental School, and Medical School, – all needing more space and parking. The Polytechnic new $60 million building program and the University $230 million building program will add to central pressures.

Building a modern Hospital is much more complex than building a modern hotel, which also takes years to design. We should celebrate our unrivaled wealth of medical specialists and teachers and provide them with the best teaching Hospital possible within achievable budgets, be that centrally located or a few minutes away. To that end it is vital to keep an open mind, especially in an election year by avoiding party-political campaigning, and aspiring to a better new Hospital, not just saving what we have. Decision-makers must wait until all the expert information is gathered to know what is the best kind of Hospital for our future, and then pull together for the best result in the best place.

Cr. Lee Vandervis

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Ground conditions on hospital site ‘uniformly bad’

By Mike Houlahan


A drilling rig operates in Cumberland St outside the former Cadbury factory in August, as engineers conducted ground assessments for the new Dunedin Hospital. Photo: Gerard O’Brien

Some services may be squeezed out of the new Dunedin hospital due to budget concerns, clinicians fear.

Sources have told the Otago Daily Times they are concerned important services could be left out of the buildings due to concerns over a potential overrun in the budget of the $1billion-plus project.

Issues with the inner-city site, particularly concerning the cost of piles to build on reclaimed land, were believed to be concerning hospital planners and behind a bid to reduce the footprint of the new hospital.

Pete Hodgson

Southern Partnership Group chairman Pete Hodgson played down budget concerns and predicted the new hospital would be a similar size to the current one, with more surgical wards and larger emergency and intensive care units.

”Eighteen months ago, the hospital scale had to be reduced by a substantial amount, and we are doing that process again, but clinicians are noticing it more because planning is further advanced and they can see it taking shape,” Mr Hodgson said.

”By the end of stage two of planning, which will be this side of Christmas, we will be in a position to offer a great deal more certainty than clinicians have at the moment, and I think it is the uncertainty that is getting to them at the moment.”

The project’s Clinical Leadership Group, a committee of medical personnel assisting with hospital design, wanted the buildings to work well for patients and provide the services they envisioned, chairman John Adams said.

However, the rebuild project was faced with a ”very complex situation”, and clinical staff were involved in ongoing discussions about the function of their units in the future hospital.

”The crucial thing for us to make sure that when the final design is in, that the design meets the requirements for clinical functioning,” Dr Adams said.

”Design is ongoing, we are at the second of five stages, and it is premature to make a definitive comment on the size of the hospital because there are a number of balls in the air at the moment and it is very difficult to make a definitive comment on where things will land.”

Clinicians and the CLG would continue to raise any issues where they feel the clinical functioning of the hospital might be compromised, Mr Adams said.

”Whatever the size of the hospital, the design and functioning of the hospital needs to meet the clinicians’ view and wishes for how it will work and how the clinicians will work together.”

The new Dunedin Hospital was originally planned to include an eight or nine-storey main inpatient building with a smaller six-storey outpatient and day surgery building alongside, providing about 50 more beds than the current hospital.

Mr Hodgson expected those configurations would remain roughly the same, although final decisions were yet to be made.

Difficulties in building on the hospital site mirror issues faced by the city’s other major construction project on reclaimed land, Forsyth Barr Stadium.

For that build, piles had to be driven through a layer of soft marine silt to reach firmer ground.

The stadium’s 530 piles are at an average depth of 18m, some as shallow as 15m and others as deep as 25m.

In July, further geotechnical testing was done on the hospital site, with drilling down to 30m.

”The foundations will undoubtedly be more expensive; we have been saying that for a year now,” Mr Hodgson said.

”The only good thing about where the hospital is going is that it is uniformly bad, which I understand to be better than unevenly bad. Wherever we put the hospital in the CBD, we would run into that problem.”

The difference in price between foundations on bedrock and on less suitable ground was about 3% of total budget, Mr Hodgson said.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Michelle Arrowsmith said it had been known for some time that considerable ground works and preparation would be needed.

”There are several ways to manage the ground conditions and we are currently working through the options.”

While the size of the new hospital was still to be finalised, it would be ”significantly bigger” than the 63,000sqm of the current hospital, but smaller than the 105,000sqm proposed in the original master plan, she said.

”The key focus is on getting the new hospital’s functionality right, not the square metres.

”Dunedin needs a hospital that makes more efficient use of space than the current hospital: it needs to be the right size hospital that is affordable in terms of building and running costs, with capacity for future growth.”


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There goes the Cruise-ship business, and like many related businesses, maybe permanently.

From today’s Economist magazine…

Holed under the waterline
The coronavirus may sink the cruise-ship business

The industry has few friends and its main customers, the elderly, may shun it for good

It seems that the Cruise-ship industry is unlikely to get any government bail-outs, even if that were possible. If the Economist is right, we may never see these elderly spenders and our related businesses in Dunedin again, certainly not this year.

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The commercial construction industry is at risk. NBR article by Russell Lund

“A House of Cards based on cashflow”

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The vertical commercial construction industry is at a precipice. In less than 6 weeks that precipice will crumble and there will be very few, if any locally based larger national main contractors not in receivership or liquidation. Even the most iconic brands are at risk. A very senior figure in construction has described the industry as nothing more than “a house of cards based on cashflow”. Today, Naylor Love CEO Rick Herd reinforced that sentiment by releasing a statement asking for government intervention saying the problem is that vertical construction is low margin and high cashflow. He claimed that many small to medium sized companies are at a high risk of collapse without Government support. However the biggest insolvency risk is to the thinly capitalized largest main contractors. The writer is aware that today startling information prepared by a senior group in the construction sector, was circulated around Government showing the devastating effect of the shutdown. In summary, a larger main contractor turning over $15 million per month would go from earning $600,000 per month margin (ie 4 % net margin which is desirable but rare) to losing $3.9 million per month. The figures allow for the wage subsidy and paying staff at 80%.  There are a number of larger main contractors whose turnover is double, triple and even quadruple this $15 million per month, and consequently will have the same proportional devastation in red ink. Naylor Love as one example are reported to have turnover in excess of $700 million nationally.

The essential problem is that the majority of larger construction firms have very little assets or balance sheet strength, often on the advice of their accountants. There is zero probability that the majority of firms turning over $15 million per month have a spare $3.9 million in cash. Resilience is non-existent, and insolvency is not far behind. To put this into perspective, larger main contractors celebrate when they can achieve 2 % EBITDA for the year, let alone 4 %.

So why is this a big problem?  Because at 2 % EBITDA ($3.6M on $180M turnover) the 4-week shutdown will consume more than the entire margin for a year. If the shutdown is 8 weeks – its 2 years of margin, ie $ almost $8 million that has gone forever: negative cashflow, insolvency and ruin beckon for many.

Adding another layer of stress to the situation, as a result of the judgement against the Mainzeal directors, directors are acutely aware of their personal liability should they allow their company to trade while insolvent, and if the company is insolvent they have no option but to call in the receivers.

Razor thin capitalization is the principal reason that margins remain low in the industry – because the only way firms can achieve an adequate return on capital invested is to minimize the capital invested and maximize the revenue. The effect of this is firms with little or no cash reserves or assets performing projects of $50 million, $100 million and more. The evidence is all around. Myopic project managers and quantity surveyors then advise clients that anyone wanting a return in excess of 3 % is price gouging.

Contractors with more assets, liquidity and balance sheet strength who consequently require a better return are – were – at a significant disadvantage. Contrary to the claims of Mr Herd, a higher proportion of the small to medium companies are better capitalized and generally more conservatively managed than the larger Tier 1 and 2 firms, and will better withstand the shutdown.

However, there is a solution to the impending devastation, and it is simple. Clients and their advisers on major projects must step up and honour their contractual obligations to pay main contractors their delay costs when contracts have been suspended due to the shutdown. This would enable a number of the contractors to at least survive. Most if not all standard forms of contract have terms similar to NZS 3910, the most widely used form of contract which at Section 6.7.1 states “ If the suspension of …the Contract Works becomes necessary, the Engineer shall instruct the Contractor … to suspend the progress.. of the Contract Works”.

It further states that all costs due to the suspension of the work are to be paid to the Contractor by the Principal, by treating the suspension as a variation. This might seem odd or even unfair to the layperson, but as a veteran of many similar disputes, I can absolutely confirm that this is the case. A future article will explore this further.

It is a sad indictment on the ethics of project managers, engineers, and even Crown departments and local bodies, including the Christchurch City Council, who have either not responded, written to contractors refusing to suspend the work or saying before they instruct the suspension of the contract works they want to “negotiate”. In the current climate it is more than sad – it is despicable. If more major contractors collapse, the effect not only on their staff but already severely stressed subcontractors and suppliers will mean financial ruin for many, and no doubt mental health problems and suicides will also result.

Major clients of the construction industry, and especially Crown and local bodies must heed this message:  now is not the time to call in the lawyers to delay, deny and defend indefensible positions.  Clients must look at the bigger picture – the entire viability of the upper end of the sector is in doubt, thousands of livelihoods are at risk, and it is far better to pay some hundreds of thousands now in legitimate delay costs than have a very high risk of contractor insolvency and consequent massive increases in cost bringing in other resources to finish the project. Recent history is littered with such examples where main contractor insolvencies during construction have caused massive increases in final project costs to clients.

There is no doubt that incompetence and mismanagement cuts a wide swathe through the industry, but now is not the time to focus on that. The commercial construction industry is at risk. Listen to Jacinda – if you can’t be kind, at least do the right thing. It’s in your own interests.

Russell Lund


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Stuff now reporting on Covid-19 Mutations

“It does not appear the strains will grow more lethal as they evolve.”

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 10.33.30 PM

Eight strains of the coronavirus are circling the globe. They’re giving scientists clues

Elizabeth Weise15:41, Mar 29 2020

Singapore scientists study genes to fast-track coronavirus vaccine

Scientists in Singapore believe they have developed a way to track genetic changes that accelerates testing of vaccines against a coronavirus that has killed more than 16,000 people worldwide. The team hope it can be an important step in fighting the virus.

At least eight strains of the coronavirus are making their way around the globe, creating a trail of death and disease that scientists are tracking by their genetic footprints.

While much is unknown, hidden in the virus’ unique microscopic fragments are clues to the origins of its original strain, how it behaves as it mutates and which strains are turning into conflagrations while others are dying out thanks to quarantine measures.


Scientists are tracking eight strains of the coronavirus by their genetic footprints.

Huddled in once bustling and now almost empty labs, researchers who oversaw dozens of projects are instead focused on one goal: tracking the current strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that cause the illness Covid-19.

Labs around the world are turning their sequencing machines, most about the size of a desktop printer, to the task of rapidly sequencing the genomes of virus samples taken from people sick with Covid-19. The information is uploaded to a website called NextStrain.org that shows how the virus is migrating and splitting into similar but new subtypes.

Covid-19 has mutated: Should we be more fearful?

Scientists in China claim to have identified two main strains of the coronavirus that is circulating in humans, indicating that the virus is mutating.

While researchers caution they’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg, the tiny differences between the virus strains suggest shelter-in-place orders are working in some areas and that no one strain of the virus is more deadly than another. They also say it does not appear the strains will grow more lethal as they evolve.

“The virus mutates so slowly that the virus strains are fundamentally very similar to each other,” said Charles Chiu, a professor of medicine and infectious disease at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus first began causing illness in China sometime between mid-November and mid-December. Its genome is made up of about 30,000 base pairs. Humans, by comparison, have more than 3 billion. So far even in the virus’s most divergent strains scientists have found only 11 base pair changes.

That makes it easy to spot new lineages as they evolve, said Chiu.

“The outbreaks are trackable. We have the ability to do genomic sequencing almost in real-time to see what strains or lineages are circulating,” he said.

So far, most cases on the US West Coast are linked to a strain first identified in Washington state. It may have come from a man who had been in Wuhan, China, the virus’ epicentre, and returned home on January 15. It is only three mutations away from the original Wuhan strain, according to work done early in the outbreak by Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutch, a medical research centre in Seattle.

On the East Coast there are several strains, including the one from Washington and others that appear to have made their way from China to Europe and then to New York and beyond, Chiu said.

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Otago COVID-19 Welfare Helpline 0800 322 4000

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The helpline is now available to coordinate requests for assistance in relation to emergency food, household good/services and other welfare-type requests for the Otago region.

Dunedin City Council via the Customer Services Contact Centre 03-4774000 will receive calls and log details on behalf of the region.   The after-hours service will also take calls outside DCC operating hours.

The number for members of the public to use is: 0800 322 4000 and will operate daily from 7am to 7pm, from today.

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Quarantine humour for a larf :<)

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No Vaccine or anti-viral yet, but

Medical science has come a long way in the 100 years since the Spanish flu, as many have said.
In my view better hygiene, control of symptoms and understanding how to slow viral spread will ensure that relatively few will die from Covid-19 in NZ because the Arden Government have wisely followed the best Taiwanese containment model.
Not so Africa and many other countries. There is no cure or vaccine yet, and a vaccine lead-time will be long.
The price of containment in NZ is stalling our economy, which will have severe personal limiting effects, unemployment misery, and long-term economic contraction.
I apologise to those offended by the scary view of my previous post which I wrote in reaction to people claiming that Covid-19 is just another flu and that it will be business as usual after the 4 week lock-down.
I believe that we are in for years of economic contraction because major industries like Tourism have stopped, and because the printing of even more money as in the 2008 bail-out spree is unsustainable. Locally, we need to alter our spending priorities now, focusing on what is really necessary.
I am using lock-down time to reassess my personal priorities and to rethink how we might optimise social positives in a contracted economy. We now have lots of technology to build our individual social capital – to share info, skills and support.
A major world positive is the current greening of the planet, allowing much more food to be grown. Happy gardening if you have that option…
Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 10.33.30 PMScreen Shot 2019-09-14 at 8.15.00 AM

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Don’t hold any hope that Coved-19 will be over in a short period of time.

The 4-week lock-down is just the first stage.
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Ex Wikipedia –

“The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic,[2] was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. Lasting from January 1918 to December 1920, it infected 500 million people—about a quarter of the world’s population at the time.[1] The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million[3] to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.”

Two years is also the Covid – 19 estimate from the prestigious Rupert Koch institute.  Yesterday’s Economist reports that “the Robert Koch Institute, a German government health agency, in saying that, in extremis, tough restrictions may need to remain in place until a vaccine can be made, tested and put into use—a period it sees as lasting up to two years.”

Today’s STAR front page highlights economic impacts but only scratches the surface of immediate recession effects and suggests people must prioritise spending on accommodation, food and power.
I suggest talking to any old people or grandparents who have had direct experience of privation in WW2, to get an idea of how to build your own supportive social network, because both local and central governments will be unable to help much other than printing money and imposing martial law. Slowing the spread of Coved-19 will help Health Support services cope, but there is no stopping Coved-19, even if a super-vaccine is invented tomorrow.
The label ‘tulip muncher’ stems from widespread starvation in Holland in WW2 and the eating of stored tulip bulbs to stay alive. “The war bulbs were old and dry and did not taste like fresh tulips. A fresh tulip bulb has a sweet, milky flavour that is actually not very bad. The tulip bulbs that were eaten during the war had a very bitter and dry taste instead.”
What got my forbearers through WW2 was a good network of friends and acquaintances that they could trust to do certain things and barter a range of skills and resources.
My advice is to look beyond what money may currently buy, since current currency values will change, and look to building your social capital, your connections with people that you can trust and barter with. Decide what you really need, and how you can help those around you with their needs at the same time. It is never too late to build social capital.
Do this on-line, on the phone, or over the fence, keeping the 2 meter distance at all times.
The economic ‘reset’ that was delayed by printing money in 2008 can no longer be delayed, and those responsible can now blame collapse on the virus.
The negativity of this post reflects the negativity of our current world, but suggests positive changes everyone can make to lessen the impacts. Gardening, reading to increase your gardening and other skills, and getting to know your neighbours and friends better to learn how we can all help each other.


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DCC request for remote meetings a week ago…

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Monday, 16 March 2020 at 8:53 AM
To: Sue Bidrose <Sue.Bidrose@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>, “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Karilyn Canton <Karilyn.Canton@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Remote meetings

Hi Sue and Sandy,

Further to my wife having to organise contingencies for Coved 19 at Otago University [she is Head of Program for Cultures and Languages] I wish to suggest that we change our Standing Orders to allow Council meetings to legally conducted remotely, so that the decision-making functions of our Local Government can continue in the event of panoramic public meeting cancellation.
My experience of being able to engage in Council meetings while overseas with a simple audio link, suggests that we might be able to tweak standing orders for Emergency Meeting Purposes only so that voting may become legal remotely.
I am suggesting basic audio links only because the better video links would involve more people,  more bandwidth and more complexity, and in tough times the KISS principle has proven to be best.

Similarly, a redeployment plan for many Council staff who have the potential to work from home should be immediately drawn up in my view.

Looking forward to some rapid responses and further suggestions that our evolving technology may permit to keep DCC functional in a self-isolation scenario.



Response a week later…

From: Aaron Hawkins <Aaron.Hawkins@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: Council Meetings
Date: 23 March 2020 at 4:20:21 PM NZDT
To: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: Sue Bidrose <Sue.Bidrose@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Kia ora koutou
Under the new regime, we all live in self isolation for the next four weeks at least.
In light of this, and given that we don’t have the capacity to hold meetings remotely, tomorrow we will formally cancel our meeting for March 31st.
Our ongoing governance arrangements will covered off in the coming days.
Stay safe (and now, dry).
Ka mihi
Aaron Hawkins
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3 NOTICES OF MOTION for the next full Council meeting 31/03/20

Following discussions with Councillors I have limited the number of needed responses to our drastically impacted society to these urgent first 3 Motions.

From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Date: Friday, 20 March 2020 at 9:39 AM
To: Sue Bidrose <Sue.Bidrose@dcc.govt.nz>, Sandy Graham <Sandy.Graham@dcc.govt.nz>
Cc: “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <council.2019-2022@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: 3 x Notices of motion

Dear Sue,

To help reassure our Dunedin citizens I believe we need to move with urgency to confirm the following recommendations to help stem the tide of personal fears, business failures, unemployment, and financial defaults that are now inevitable.

To help ease Coved-19 effects, please include the following 3 Notices of motion in the full Council agenda of 31/03/2020:

1 – that Council cancel Rates Non-payment Penalties [currently 10%] for the next 12 months to give our citizens an opportunity to defer rates expenses if hardship is claimed.

2 – that Council defer non-essential DCC projects for 12 months but continue with infrastructure projects, especially drainage, to keep local contracting businesses going.

3 – That Council reprioritise the Annual Plan budget: change to ‘Zero Rates Increase’ this year and to ‘Cover Rates Deferment for struggling families and businesses’, to be afforded by deferring non-essential projects including: George st surface treatments, University precinct surface treatments, and Waterfront development.

Cr. Lee Vandervis

[Electronic scanned signature attached]


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GOOD that Central Government have finally closed our borders.

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 10.33.30 PMThere is still a chance of containing Covid-19 on our remote under-populated islands.
My personal advice is to keep physical distance, avoid travel [especially in public transport like buses], and do not go to work if that involves significant social contact or close shared spaces.
Look after family members, do what work/education/entertainment you can on-line, and find some good books. [All the great books in History are available free on-line. https://thegeekpage.com/best-websites-to-download-free-ebo…/]
Garden, if you have that option.
Conserve resources and be prepared for social and financial upheaval. Tourism and Education, our two biggest industries are being forced to change…

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STAY HOME – Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

Section 83 of the Health and Safety Act details your rights;

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 10.33.30 PMRight of worker to cease or refuse to carry out unsafe work


A worker may cease, or refuse to carry out, work if the worker believes that carrying out the work would expose the worker, or any other person, to a serious risk to the worker’s or other person’s health or safety arising from an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard.

Additional virus considerations.

My personal advice is to keep physical distance, avoid travel [especially in public transport like buses], and do not go to work if that involves significant social contact or close shared spaces.
Look after family members, do what work/education/entertainment you can on-line, and find some good books. [All the great books in History are available free on-line.] Garden, if you have that option.
Conserve resources…
Call me on 021-612340 if you would like to discuss reasons or details.   Lee

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Unsustainable DCC – the practice of our sustainability preachers.

A summary with Neil McMillan on Otago Access Radio…



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Viral positives?

‘It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good’
Travel restrictions may have a small silver lining for Dunedin ratepayers, as DCC staff discover that most travel is unnecessary…

From: Sharon Bodeker <Sharon.Bodeker@dcc.govt.nz>
Date: Tuesday, 19 November 2019 at 3:45 PM
To: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Subject: RE: LGOIMA information request. CEO travel.

Dear Cr Vandervis

I am writing in response to your LGOIMA request below about CEO travel.

There were 150 days of the 365 days prior to and including 25 October 2019 where the CEO did not work in her office or other DCC premises. Please note that this total includes weekend days, statutory days, annual and other leave days, and working days away from DCC.

The CEO visited two counties in these 365 days – China and the USA.

The trip to China was a ‘project China’ visit which was paid using Project China budget, and the CEO’s portion of that trip was $8,160.14. There were visits to three cities, and the purpose was to celebrate to 25th anniversary of the Shanghai Sister City agreement, the 150th anniversary of Otago University with Chinese alumni, to farewell the Mayor and to sign an MOU for deepening education collaboration, and to open the NZ-Shanghai Film Festival.

The CEO is on the International City Managers Association (ICMA) and their International Ethics Board.   The cost from the DCC CEO’s budget for this board participation and for ICMA conference attendance in the USA was $7,425.35.  The CEO also travelled within New Zealand for work purposes, and the total cost was $5,540.69.  Together, these total $12,966.04 of the CEO budget spent on travel over this period. (Note, there were no costs of any kind for ‘tours’ as mentioned in your LGOIMA request).

I trust this answers your request for information.

Kind regards

Sharon Bodeker

TEAM LEADER CIVIC               

P  03 477 4000  |  DD  03 474 3231  |  M  021 178 5337  |  E sharon.bodeker@dcc.govt.nz

Dunedin City Council, 50 The Octagon, Dunedin

PO Box 5045, Dunedin 9054

New Zealand


From: Lee Vandervis <lee@vandervision.co.nz>
Sent: Friday, 25 October 2019 4:19 p.m.
To: Sharon Bodeker <Sharon.Bodeker@dcc.govt.nz>
Subject: LGOIMA information request. CEO travel.

Hi Sharon,

Can you please tabulate how many days our CEO has been away from her DCC office in the last 365 days from today.
Can you also forward a list of countries our CEO has visited, the main reason for each visit, and what our CEO’s total national and international travel budget: flights/connections/ tours/accommodation etc. has cost during the last 365 days

Looking forward,


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Dunedin doesn’t have a Democracy, we have a Bureaucracy. There is much more to the 6.5% budgeted rates rise:

In our ‘Democracy’ local government staff are supposed to provide balanced information on which elected DCC representatives then make decisions. DCC Staff agendas and reports can run to several centimeters thick of fine print, but the relevant information is too often missing.
This year’s rates debate was preceded by a special non-public ‘Rates Workshop’, a meeting in which staff report on and explain the rating system and answer Councillors’ questions.
I asked our presenting staff expert to justify the DCC Commercial Rating Differential, the multiplier by which we charge local businesses many times more rates that we charge to our residents for similar services. Our paperwork showed that the residential differential was 1 [the standard rates charge] and that we charge Dunedin businesses a commercial differential of 2.45 times the residential rate, more than twice as much.
I asked why we charged Businesses so heavily and was told that it was because we always had in the past [even more in past years] and that the 2.45 differential was similar to other New Zealand cities. I suggested that the real reason we charged businesses so heavily was the bad reason that we don’t have many business owners and that they are a minority voting block we can safely ignore.
I asked what the Commercial Rating Differentials were for our nearest business competitors Invercargill and Christchurch, but the senior number-cruncher who had just said our Commercial Differential was ‘similar to other NZ cities’ claimed not to know about Invercargill or Christchurch.  I asked the number-cruncher to forward these competing differentials to us before the following Annual Plan Rates debate meeting, which he promised to do, but then didn’t.
In the following public Annual Plan rates debate I again had to ask what the rates differentials of our competitors was and the number-cruncher admitted that Christchurch’s differential was only 1.66 times the residential standard, and that Invercargill’s Commercial multiplier was 1 – the same as for residential!
But too late, the rubber stamps were out and the Mayor/Cr. Benson-Pope were claiming that poor Dunedin house-owners whose property values had increased by 10s of thousands this year would be hit hardest [by our unjustifiable 6.5% to maintain existing services] and further rates rorting by way of reducing fixed rates charges was needed, further increasing the disproportional burden on those Commercial rate payers that still persist in Dunedin.

So that is how it was done: with Mayoral approval staff write themselves an increase in staff costs of 7.4% on top of last year’s 8% staff increase [4xthe rate of inflation] and then claim that rates have to go up 6.5% to ‘maintain existing services’. The Mayor gets an unprecedented new 1.5 staff members to help him strategize, and staff blame reduced Landfill profits and ‘higher expectations’ for having to again gouge the ratepayer, especially our commercial ratepayers. The ODT accurately reported the unanswered questions…


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Staff costs causing rates rise

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Veteran Dunedin/Brighton Rally Speech

Veteran Dunedin to Brighton Rally.                                                                           18/01/2020

Thank you all for coming here today on the first day of summer to celebrate our brilliant Vintage fossil-fueled Heritage.
I am Cr. Lee Vandervis and on behalf of the Dunedin City Council I welcome all Vintage car enthusiasts, and especially the car owners/drivers and their understanding partners, without whom this spectacular, fascinating and historic event would not be possible.
I would like to add personally that without the magnificent men who have continuously evolved such fossil-fueled machines, our most healthy and wealthy and numerous civilisation would not be possible.

I have a bit of history here regarding the Veteran Dunedin to Brighton Run, which has kindly been provided by one of the key organisers of this annual event, Mr Mark Wilkinson. [Unless you have organised such a public event, it is difficult to appreciate just how much focused preparation and coordination goes into making it happen, so thank you Mark and all the others who have cleared all the Health and Safety hurdles to allow this assemblage of Magnificent Machines!]

The Event started in 1955 after the Mayor at the time Sir Leonard Wright wanted to have an event similar to the London to Brighton Run, which then resulted in the Dunedin to Brighton Run being formed. At around the same time it was decided by the city fathers to also run an Annual Festival Week and the Brighton Run became one of the events that started the festival. After the crowning of the Festival Queen the Mayor would flag the vehicles away for the time trial to Brighton. The Dunedin to Brighton Rally is the only surviving event from the Festival still continuing and has run continually since.
The event is open to members of the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand with vehicles registered on or before 31 December 1918 – therefore all the vehicles are over 100 years old and this event is the oldest continuous all-Veteran Rally in the Southern Hemisphere. One example of the vehicles competing today is the 1900 Wolseley owned by Colin and Judy Winter, the oldest privately-owned Wolseley in the world.

It is testament to the members of the Dunedin Vintage Car Club that these vehicles which were an important part of our history are still running today and not sitting in museums, and long may this continue.
All the best to all participants, and may everybody enjoy this 66th Veteran Dunedin to Brighton Rally.

a wonderful turn-out of people and machines




chatting with enthusiasts…


almost ready with Dougal Stevenson providing the informed commentary…


will it start?


and away they go…



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and the last away one of the quickest, Alan Dippie and Dad in a French racing car…


a happy day with family fun – Lukas and Juliette   :<)


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The DCC 2GP has made the housing crisis worse, but ODT Hawkins-friendly reporter Chris Morris fails to mention that Crs Hawkins and Benson-Pope were highly-paid Cull-appointed commissioners on the 2GP that pushed through the crazy zoning and other rules that have reduced building options in Dunedin and made the few available sections unaffordable.


Reporter Morris does say that the DCC Second Generation Plan “had been blamed for holding up the development of hundreds of new homes”, and says that “The 2GP itself has also been described by one property developer as “broken” despite rezoning 190ha of new land for residential development.”
Reporter Morris fails to report that Crs. Hawkins and Benson-Pope pushed through new harsher 2GP rules for residential building in rural and semi-rural areas where the 15 ha rule for a house has been increased to a draconian 40 hectares, massively decreasing housing section possibilities, and massively devaluing many rural and semi-rural property values. Morris fails to mention the absurd 2GP rule for granny flats requiring them to be only for a family member…
“Mr Hawkins favoured infill development over urban sprawl” says Morris, but in fact his green ideology has limited both – the 2GP won’t let you build in the country hills and the 2GP absurd requirements for houses on the low-lying flat to be ‘relocatable’ means you can’t build economically on the flat either.
The housing ‘crisis’ has been created by those that now disallow a quick fix because of their ideologies.

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