Report about stadium loss slips under radar

A worse-than-expected $3.2 million loss recorded by the company running Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium did not rate a mention at this week's Dunedin City Council meeting.

It emerged yesterday Dunedin Venues Management Ltd and Dunedin Venues Ltd's annual reports had quietly slipped through Monday's full council meeting without a question or word of debate.

There had been no mention of DVML or DVL on the meeting's public agenda, and it appeared the reports had not been circulated publicly, to media or even some council staff, as required, in the days before the meeting, the Otago Daily Times discovered yesterday.

Instead, it appeared the reports were given only to councillors in advance, but as part of an item on Dunedin City Holdings Ltd's annual results.

DCHL has assumed governance responsibility for DVML and DVL, but the two companies were not yet technically part of the DCHL group.

DCHL results presented to media last week also did not include DVML or DVL's results.

The ODT understands DCHL chief executive Bevan Dodds was responsible for circulating the group's reports ahead of the meeting, but when asked he said he had "no idea" why reports from DVML and DVL did not feature.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull yesterday denied there was any attempt to sneak the bad results through the council meeting.

"No, it's a public document."

All council companies had until September 30 to provide reports, and DVML and DVL's had been received by then, he confirmed.

"To that extent it was expected and there was no need to say any more than that," he said.

Mr Cull said there was no need for a media briefing to present the results, as had happened with DVML's six-month results, as the same pressing impact on council budgets did not exist this time.

He referred further questions to DVML, but DVML board member Peter Hutchison said the reports had been delivered to the council on time.

He had expected the reports to go through the normal public process, but had heard nothing more from the council about them and could not explain the apparent omission.

"It's as much a surprise to me as it was to you what happened [on Monday]. You would have to ask the mayor," he said.

 

Slippery Dave

I agree, ej kerr. I see this as a very serious matter. Dave Cull's denial of sneakiness is not credible; as well as not mentioning the reports in the agenda and not holding the usual media briefing, the reports were withheld from the public and media.

Now that Dave Cull's cunning plan has come unstuck, they have at 8am this morning released the two reports on their website. They seem to be pretending that they were there all the time, with the other reports (put there on Thursday last week). I am sure that Mayor Cull will want us to believe that this ODT story had nothing to do with the timing of the reports being made public.

Dave Cull says that "there was no need to say any more than that", but he is wrong: Dave needs to say "I apologise" and, "I resign". [abridged]

Bad news

The Dunedin City Council had a legal and ethical responsibility to release the annual reports publicly and include them on the agenda prior to the council meeting. That this didn't happen shows your council up as fully dysfunctional, unaccountable, and lacking transparency. Apart from not meeting its legal obligations, this reads like the council shrinking from the fact of its own despair and what can only be deeply felt public anger over the financial fiasco manufactured during the Chin and Cull dynasties. Unfortunately, the full deception and obfuscation of the council's financial dealings, including those of its companies and related entities, is yet to be outed.

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