The company running Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium is
threatening to charge for future responses to official
information requests after being inundated with questions from
stadium critic Bev Butler.
The move by Dunedin Venues Management Ltd was immediately
slammed by Ms Butler yesterday, who said it was ''an attempt
to keep me off their trail''.
''DVML needs to understand that they are spending public
money and they are accountable for their expenditure.''
However, DVML finance manager Neville Frost said staff had
spent more than 20 hours responding to Ms Butler's latest
request for travel expenses accrued by former DVML commercial
manager Guy Hedderwick.
The information was collated and released at ''significant
cost'' to DVML, but without charge to Ms Butler, ''in the
interests of transparency and public interest'', Mr Frost
However, the company would consider charging for future
releases to ''lessen the burden to the ratepayer'', he said.
''We all know that DVML has limited resource and Ms Butler's
frequent and fruitless requests put additional strain on the
resource available,'' Mr Frost said.
''We can't afford that sort of time.''
The company had received ''at least a dozen'' requests from
Ms Butler in the past two years, requiring varying degrees of
staff time to address, he said.
It was difficult to calculate the exact cost to DVML, but
there was an ''opportunity cost'' for staff, he said.
''They could be doing something [else] - like making some
money,'' he said.
''We just can't go on spending all these hours on something
that's not productive for our business.''
The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act
1987 allowed charges to be levied, but only within set
Mr Frost said charges would depend on the complexity of
requests, but the new approach would not single out Ms
''It would be right across the board.''