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 <>
Date: Tuesday, 19 November 2019 at 3:45 PM
To: Lee Vandervis <>
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

Dunedin City Council, 50 The Octagon, Dunedin

PO Box 5045, Dunedin 9054

New Zealand

From: Lee Vandervis <>
Sent: Friday, 25 October 2019 4:19 p.m.
To: Sharon Bodeker <>
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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Why ‘Pedestrianisation’ works in ancient European capital Downtowns but won’t work here.

Passenger Transport UK

From: Lee Vandervis <>
Date: Wednesday, 30 October 2019 at 2:11 PM
To: Monique Elleboode <>, “Council 2019-2022 (Elected Members)” <>
Cc: <>, Sue Bidrose <>, Sandy Graham <>, Simon Drew <>
Subject: Re: Cycleways and pedestrianisation [#ABE06C]

Dear decision-makers and Councillors,

As well as reading the suggested stories about pedestrianisation in Oslo – Norway’s Capital of nearly 700,000 of the most oil-rich people in Europe, or reading similar stories of equally dissimilar to Dunedin ancient Capitals like Copenhagen, Berlin etc. it would be in the interests of relevance to consider the pedestrianisation experiments of two small English University cities of similar population to Dunedin – Ipswich and Norwich.
Here, even after decades of pedestrianisation the results have been much more mixed, with many regrets about the downsides of pedestrianisation.

Closer to home, the pedestrianisation of Christchurch’s Cathedral Square had already banished the vibrancy and character that existed in the Square before the earthquakes permanently unsettled the whole city centre.
Christchurch’s  Square was the functional equivalent of our Octagon, the intersection and crossroads of the cities’ two main central streets, a portent of what is to come for Dunedin if our most successful George st is to become a cycleway using the biggest debt-funded street ‘surface treatments’ budget in our history.
I caution careful consideration, not of population-dense ancient European capital city centres designed before automobiles, but of how much we will certainly lose financially, as well as lose functionally, by removing parking and motorised transport from the heart of Dunedin.

Kind regards,


Sent: Tuesday, 29 October 2019 12:26:12 p.m.
Subject: Cycleways and pedestrianisation

I would like the following article added to the reading list of all the councillors. I think that it could crystallize their thinking.


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What was it that enraged so many about the latest Tremain measles cartoon?

Several people have asked me why Tremain has been censored by the ODT because they had not seen the cartoon, just heard the fallout. So here it is:Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 9.00.23 PM.png
Tremain has been accused of ‘casual and subliminal racism’, with this cartoon which the ODT Editors were slow to admit was offensive to many.
This is one of several Tremain cartoons printed dealing with measles’ resurgence. The disease transmission vector of holiday tourism is highlighted, but racial sensitivities surrounding 60+ recent measles deaths in Samoa are ignored. RNZ has reported that an outbreak of measles in Papua New Guinea killed 72 children last year and that there was a high of 7 measles deaths in NZ in 1991.

My view is that cartoonists need to criticise, offend, and indulge dark humour to make current, insightful or political points.
Sensitivity, virtue signalling, and tact should not be expected of cartoonists if they are to deal humorously with serious issues or social problems.
Human Tragedy is regularly dealt with in cartoons, both highlighting and sometimes defusing issues, and any subject that is political, tribal, racial or religious will always be offensive to some.
Measles has been a regular fatal scourge in most countries until the recent success of vaccination. Tremain has repeatedly dealt with the subject:Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 9.38.01 PM
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I miss Tremain’s candid cartoons in the ODT. Are we no longer allowed to be enraged or offended or to engage in black humour?
I look at the wimpy unimaginative cartoons that now take Tremain’s place and am saddened by the loss…

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