Dunedin city councillor David Benson-Pope feels sick about
street vomit in Dunedin - and now he has the pictures to
Councillors were left squirming as Cr Benson-Pope presented a
barrage of pictures of the Octagon, George St and Princes St
to highlight his concerns about street cleanliness at
Thursday's infrastructure services committee meeting.
The pictures, depicting blood, urine and vomit stains, piles
of cigarette butts and general grime, were flashed up on a
big screen at Cr Benson-Pope's instruction.
Not even complaints from Cr Richard Thomson, or threats of a
point of order from committee chairwoman Cr Kate Wilson,
could dissuade the councillor, who campaigned in part on
cleaning up the mess.
''Almost done,'' he intoned, while instructing council staff
to display image after image after image.
Eventually he relented, declaring himself ''embarrassed'' to
have to bring up the matter but ''more embarrassed'' by the
state of the streets.
His confronting presentation came as council staff,
responding to concerns about litter, presented a report on
the city's street-cleaning arrangements to Thursday's
The report, by roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring,
showed the city was divided into zones, blocks within zones
and a detailed list of cleaning activities, carried out to
specified frequencies as part of the council's contract.
That included a daily clean and twice-daily litter collection
in the Octagon and surrounding streets, as well as a variety
of other services, such as a six-monthly search to remove
However, Cr Benson-Pope said the report's details - when
compared to his pictures - showed the contract was not being
carried out as it should, and the work in some cases ''simply
He was not criticising the efforts of those doing the work,
but believed their task was impossible without more
Council staff should take immediate action to ensure that the
performance criteria for the contract were met in future, as
results to date were ''completely unacceptable'', he said.
Other councillors appeared impressed by the detailed nature
of the existing programme, and the work already required,
although Cr John Bezett said he ''couldn't argue against'' Cr
However, Cr Bezett said the focus should be on those who
''took for granted'' that they could litter the city's
The council could never stop some people vomiting in
doorways, but could encourage more people to be ''proud of
our city'' and dispose of their rubbish properly, he
''They will be rewarded in having a much cleaner city,'' he
Cr Mike Lord was impressed by the work contractors already
did but believed an education programme was needed to
encourage better behaviour by the public.
Kate Wilson suggested free rubbish bags should be given to
volunteers prepared to collect rubbish in their areas, while
fines were handed out to those caught littering, who until
now ''got away with it scot-free''.
''I think there are abilities to fine, and influence some of
the best behaviour we would like to see in the city, and I
think that's perhaps an area we have been too lax in,'' she
Cr Aaron Hawkins believed the council also needed to ''show
some leadership'' by doing more to address the ''general
shabbiness'' around the city, but Cr Jinty MacTavish believed
the focus should be on the ''real crime, which is making the
mess in the first place''.
''In my view, there's no excuse for that. It's pure
laziness,'' she said.
Councillors voted to ask council chief executive Dr Sue
Bidrose to take immediate action to ensure that the contracts
Council staff would also report back on possible new
enforcement measures, as well as education and voluntary
initiatives - developed with Keep Dunedin Beautiful - to