Allegations of inappropriate spending by a former manager
at Forsyth Barr Stadium have prompted an angry retort from the
company running the venue.
The claims came from former Stop the Stadium president Bev
Butler in response to invoices and other documents released
to her by Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, which runs the
The material showed DVML's former commercial manager, Guy
Hedderwick, had accrued nearly $80,000 in travel costs and
expenses while taking 51 work-related trips since 2010.
Mr Hedderwick, who last year opted to take a part-time role
as a DVML contractor, based in Adelaide, was until then
responsible for a team of staff tasked with attracting
sponsors and events to the venue.
His travel included overseas trips for conferences and
meetings in the United States, Singapore and Italy, meetings
with potential sponsors across New Zealand, and talks in
major Australian cities.
The spending details emerged just months after the Dunedin
City Council launched a fundamental review of the stadium
operation, following revelations DVML faced losses totalling
$3.8 million over the next three years.
Ms Butler said it was ''simply staggering'' so many bills had
been accrued with seemingly little to show for it, but DVML
finance manager Neville Frost hit back in a strongly worded
statement in which he defended the spending as legitimate and
''frugal'', while attacking Ms Butler's ''completely
inaccurate and ill-informed'' claims.
''Ms Butler's personal and ill-informed attacks on members of
our company are disgraceful and speak to her complete lack of
personal integrity,'' he said in the statement.
Mr Frost said Mr Hedderwick's bills amounted to $20,000 a
year, including flights, accommodation and expenses, which
was appropriate for his role promoting the stadium
internationally to try to secure events.
All travel was approved, expenses were ''well within'' a
daily allowance, and ''all are legitimate travel expenses
Mr Hedderwick's work had been ''integral'' to securing more
than $3 million in sponsorship and a long list of events
during the period, from major concerts to sporting clashes,
the Nitro Circus, an international rodeo and equestrian
As a result, more than 800,000 people had so far attended
events at the stadium, Mr Frost said.
''DVML does not have any concerns about the level of
expenditure incurred by Mr Hedderwick,'' he said.
Mr Hedderwick, contacted in Australia this week, declined to
Ms Butler said Mr Frost's comments were ''symptomatic of a
man caught in a vice''.
''You'd expect him to go on the attack and say it's
inaccurate - despite me quoting from their own invoices.''
She insisted Mr Hedderwick's spending - and that of other
DVML managers - should form part of the stadium review
announced by council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose.
Dr Bidrose would not be drawn on that when asked, saying only
the venue's management and governance would be scrutinised.
DVML operational matters were an issue for Dunedin City
Holdings Ltd, but she had discussed Ms Butler's claims with
DCHL chairman Graham Crombie this week.
It was also raised during DCHL board's meeting on Tuesday,
Mr Crombie said yesterday Mr Hedderwick's spending would not
form part of the wider stadium review, which would focus on
broader management, governance and structural issues.
Any concerns about specific spending - if there were any -
would be a matter for new DVML chief executive Terry Davies,
who was due to start work next week, Mr Crombie said.