Opinion: Does Dunedin want to scare off developers?

As a professional couple living in London considering moving back to our home town of Dunedin, it really worries us to see the attitude people in the city display towards development.

Our hope was to move back to Dunedin to continue to grow an existing business that could create jobs in the area.

Unfortunately, however, we are constantly being made to feel very nervous at the prospect of doing this due to an apparently anti-development attitude in the community.

Many residents seem to have this romantic notion that they can pick and choose who invests in their town, and then tell those investors what they are going to do with their money.

The reality is if you say no to private investment Dunedin is on the fast track to dropping off the map completely. Investors will go to another city in a heartbeat.

Don't get me wrong - I don't feel particularly strongly for or against this hotel.

However, it seems to me too many people in Dunedin look at how development will affect them personally rather than what is best for the city as a whole.

Numerous opinions I've read from residents highlight that too many people are opposed to this hotel because it blocks their personal view of the harbour (which I doubt it will do) or because it will create shade for them in their nearby office.

The answer to this simple: that's of no consequence.

You live in a city, and in cities buildings get built and things change and grow.

Developers cannot take into account the sensitivities of every citizen who lives in the area.

If a proposal creates good outcomes for the city, such as improving its status amongst travellers and creating jobs for locals, that overrides the personal inconvenience of some individuals.

If it does not provide good outcomes for the city, there is a basis to resisting the development.

The irony is the economic strategy recently completed by the DCC continually points out that for Dunedin to survive commercially it must welcome and embrace foreign investment and new businesses, yet the first major one that comes along sees the city push them away again.

The reality is the town needs to open its mind to these sorts of things, stop resisting every new development and stop seeing them as somehow diminishing the history of the place.

I've travelled all over the world, and wherever you go the best cities are those with a mixture of old and new architecture.

Cities with true heritage going back hundreds and hundreds of years embrace change and development. Why do some in Dunedin think their heritage is somehow superior and we must never have anything built around these heritage buildings?

Please, remember the bigger picture here, Dunedin. This isn't just about this hotel. It's about the message we are giving to other potential developers.

Do you want Dunedin to be the only place in NZ which has closed its door to this sort of thing, and slowly but surely loses further ground to other centres?

Or do you want to embrace change and start moving forwards again, the way those who originally built the city did?




This is a good article and it points out the only problem with Dunedin. The negative attitude.

Dunedin has a lot going for it otherwise, but you don't know what you can do unless you try. 

It's the silent majority again

stevepf brings out the old 'silent majority' card with his '...and another 400 who submitted, you should remember that does not mean the 125,000 people that live here all share that view'. We don't know what all 125,000 residents think. What we do know it that the opposition is a record for a notified resource consent. The ODT told us it was record when there were only 92 submission against. The final total was 457, and so it was more than five times the record.

The problem with the design is scale. It's not 'picking and choosing' investors and 'spending other people's money' to have a fairly generous interpration of a height context that developers should work within. If the height was a third lower it would still be the tallest building in Dunedin but it would be a reasonable exception. Well planned cities are not inflexible to developers, but they do stick to broad understandings on things such as scale, which in Dunedin's case has been consistent for over a century.

Subjective views

Gregbie says 'the view from Waverly of the tank farm, cement silos, grotty old wharves has been vastly improved by the stadium....'
It is all a matter of taste as to what is 'improved'. Some have good taste, others....

Visitors must think we're mad

Gregbie: We've already got a focal point down the southern end. We've got the teeth. Isn't that enough for entertainment already without adding a building that most people thought was an April fools joke when they first saw the plans?


Jivemamma: Even though I'm not against every kind of development, I too am entitled to an opinion. You seem angry. Cheer up, you live in one of the world's great small cities.

What if it was industrial?

IWAS: Yes, protesting a 'glass monster' does put off developers. Its not what you're protesting, it's how, and the fact you are puts off foreign investment as its not worth the hassle.
It's your view it's a 'glass monster', and while you may have the support of some others here, and another 400 who submitted, you should remember that does not mean the 125,000 people that live here all share that view.
The fact is people only complain when they are unhappy with something and not if they like it or are indifferent.
Should someone build an 'industrial' building in that area they could build it without consent as there are no height restrictions in the area. The only reason these investors have to apply for consent is because its commercial.
What would you think if Cadburys, or Speights Brewery decided to build their pollution smoking building, 28 stories high? You would have to sit back and suck it up ... so what difference does it make. [Abridged]



Gregbie. That's exactly the kind of comment I would expect from someone whose opinion is groomed by the financial sector. Do you work in said sector?

Also I think this post is propaganda perpetrated by a local business person who thinks they're clever. "Professional couple living in London considering moving
back to our home town of Dunedin". Unconvinced. This city belongs to the people living in it and as such should be sympathetic to the opinion of its residents not some ex pat with an inflated sense of their own importance.

At least Gregbie lives here. Although not in Waverly I suspect.



Bravo! We can't continue to rely on our council and central Government to be the sole source of investment - it's not a bottomless pit.

It's just a building. Hopefully if it goes ahead some money will be spent on tidying up the wonderful heritage buildings that are nearby and there will be a reason for them to be used!

I personally think there are already plenty of ugly buildings in Dunners, old and new. What's one more (and it's ugliness is a subjective measure)?

The view from Waverly of the tank farm, cement silos, grotty old wharves has been vastly improved by the stadium, let's have a focal point down the southern end!

Hotel freedom

"Many residents think they can pick and choose developers." Really? So what you are saying is we just roll over and be happy anyone wants to invest here? No questions asked even if we don't know where the money is coming from and who the developers are?

The very fact that you have been living in London and travelling the world for so many years shows how removed you are from your home town. 

You are seem to suggest that people in Dunedin are stopping you from growing your business. I find that really hard to believe. Protesting a glass monster is not 'scaring off developers'. How does the hotel relate to your business? Please explain further, it does not make sense. To me this sounds like more rhetoric and hot air, and even though you deny that you are not particularly for the hotel, your opinion points the other way. 

One last point: Please stop using the word "developers", they are actually potential investors. Calling them developers puts them in such a postive light, especially when they are aiming to set up a vacuum that is going to suck profit out of Dunedin. 

Oh please come save us developers

We are but ignorant fools who don't understand how important it is to love rich people and their thinly veiled self interest. After all they'll make so muh money and it will all trickle down to us destitute half wits.

A balanced approach to investors

It is not a case of scaring off investment from overseas. It is more a case of saying, 'you are welcome to invest, but this is our city and we would like to negotiate what suits us both.' It is unreasonable for investors, whether from overseas, or elsewhere in NZ, to expect carte blanche what they want without consulting the locals. If they take this attitude, maybe they are not the best kind of investors we want- or need. 

A desperate fear of 'not frightening the horses' is not a solid basis to build Dunedin's future.