Cr's claim CCTV clip had audio rejected

Claims by Cr Lee Vandervis that he has been vindicated, after posting footage of his exchange with a staff member online, have been rejected by the Dunedin City Council.

It emerged this week Cr Vandervis was the subject of another complaint of abusive behaviour, having shouted at a council staff member inside the council's customer services reception area.

The council initially declined to release CCTV footage of the encounter, saying it did not want to prejudice an independent investigation of the incident, but insisted the footage did not contain audio.

Yesterday, Cr Vandervis obtained a copy of the CCTV footage and posted it on social media himself, claiming it did contain audio and had been "misrepresented" by council staff.

His words could not be heard in the footage, but he could be seen waggling his finger and pointing at the staff member, while a passing person stopped to watch the interaction for several moments before continuing on their way.

Cr Vandervis, posting online, claimed there was "plainly" audio with the CCTV footage, and that staff at the reception desk could be heard talking, while he could not.

"The audio track of the video is enough to confirm that I did not raise my voice excessively or shout as alleged," he said.

However, the DCC responded with a statement yesterday afternoon, insisting the CCTV footage contained no audio at all.

Due to technical difficulties, Cr Vandervis and the council's independent investigator had been unable to play the CCTV video on their devices, a DCC spokeswoman said.

To provide Cr Vandervis with a copy, a council staff member had played the CCTV footage on her computer and filmed the screen on her iPhone.

A copy of the iPhone video was then provided to Cr Vandervis.

The audio that could be heard was background noise captured by the staff member's iPhone as she filmed her screen, not from CCTV footage, the council spokeswoman said.

"The CCTV system does not capture sound," she said.

The iPhone video had also been provided to Cr Vandervis in confidence, she added.

The councillor - who has been the subject of 11 previous complaints this term alleging verbally abusive behaviour - continued to insist yesterday he was the victim of "a political smear of the worst kind".

Independent investigator David Benham, of Wellington, has been called in to investigate the code of conduct complaint filed against Cr Vandervis over the latest incident.

Mr Benham is the former chief executive of the Greater Wellington Regional Council and now the chairman of the Otago Regional Council's audit and risk subcommittee.

He was expected to report back to council chief executive Sue Bidrose, who would then report to either a full council meeting - excluding Cr Vandervis - or a code of conduct committee meeting.

Comments

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It's hard to see anything other than a frustrated ratepayer in the video. A sentiment I know that many can relate to.

There seems to be an awful lot "alleged" against Cllr Vandervis, but little proven. On the few occasions I have spoken with him, he has been approachable, down to earth, witty and fairly laid back. It's almost as if certain quarters are getting nervous, that the council election might be too much of a close run thing.

Can not work with the council.
Can not read a parking meter.
Can not anchor a boat and did not research rules around signage on boats or becoming a shiping hazard.
12 complaonts against vandervis but it is all a organized attempt on his election attempts.

Where there is smoke .......
How anyone thinks that Vandervis is a vaible mayor is beyond me. He wasn't even a contructive councilor....

Jeez Lee, get a grip.

What part of "The CCTV system does not capture sound" don't you understand?

There is a group of councilors and DCC staff who are totally against open honest scrutiny. That group are making every effort to stop Mr Vandervis becoming mayor.
Their behaviour in overstating every interaction with Mr Vandervis is becoming hysterical and bordering upon illegal.
Just how far can council staff be allowed to bend the truth to support their mates and protectors?

My favourite 3.00 min mark turns into a great white and tries to bite her. Audio bully. Those desk girls are on really low wages. he should pay his fine using the public money that pays his wages.

Quoting: 'The iPhone video had also been provided to Cr Vandervis in confidence, she added.' This sounds a bit odd to me. It implies that a condition of receiving the clip was that he kept it private. But I don't think the DCC had any right to impose such a condition. Certainly whenever I get an email from DCC, it always has the following on the end: " If this message is not intended for you please delete it and notify us immediately; you are warned that any further use, dissemination, distribution or reproduction of this material by you is prohibited." I wonder who 'owns' such information and why the DCC would want to keep it private.

In NZ to record audio is not legal unless you are a party to the conversation or adequate prior notice is given. If the council was recording audio on the CCTV footage it would most likely be breaking the law. (In most situations recording audio breaches the privacy act and breaks the interception provisions in the crimes act ) For Cr Vandervis to claim that audio was on the video is as misguided as some of his other claims.

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