Sell Aurora, Vandervis suggests

Surplus to requirements? A Dunedin city councillor has suggested it may be an idea to sell Aurora...
Surplus to requirements? A Dunedin city councillor has suggested it may be an idea to sell Aurora Energy. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
The Dunedin City Council should consider selling some of its companies, including Aurora Energy, Cr Lee Vandervis says.

Given the council could not expect to receive dividends any time soon, Cr Vandervis suggested the council allow another party to run the companies "properly, because we have failed".

The council suffered reputational harm by being associated with Aurora, which had not excelled in running a safe and reliable network, he said.

The theme was not picked up by other councillors, but economist Cameron Bagrie has also said councils may need to be bold and consider asset sales to recalibrate their balance sheets.

Asset sales could be politically unpopular, but councils were facing big challenges, he said.

Cr Vandervis said big issues with council companies should be confronted now.

Cr Jim O’Malley suggested there could be merit in breaking up Aurora to serve different areas.

Previous councils had accepted dividends from Aurora, affecting its ability to look after its assets.

grant.miller@odt.co.nz

Comments

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Used as a cash cow and a lack of maintenance of assets, who would by it? Genesis? Meridian?

Ladies and Gentleman - this is why Cr Lee Vandervis should be the Mayor of Dunedin rather than Hawkins and the old Mayor Cull. This statement reflects he is a true leader admitting defeat, revises a plan has a solution and isn't afraid to suggest it. This speaks more than Cull or Hawkins has ever done for Dunedin.
"Given the council could not expect to receive dividends any time soon, Cr Vandervis suggested the council allow another party to run the companies "properly, because we have failed"."

Well Done Cr Lee Vandervis, about time Dunedin wakes up to Hawkins and his there flawed ideas. I wonder what the tight five have to say about that?

It's like selling your car to buy the weekly groceries. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I would not normally support publicly owned assets being privatised but given the DCC's woeful mismanagement and corporate malfeasance with Aurora it is certainly time to at least consider it. It's a shame that what was once a sound utility company and productive asset has been reduced to this though and those responsible should be held to account.

Hiding behind fake names, I bet there is only about three people who regurlay comment on ODT articles and they probably have shrines dedicated to Lee Vandervis, the Donald Trump of the DCC!

Is that you Aaron?

On point Notmyrealname!

That's quite a stand of assumptions. Too many readers have very short memories. Vandervis raised these issues about the problems with Aurora years ago. Cull, Bidrose, Benson Pope and all the other cohorts chose to alienate and antagonise him instead. Why? Because they knew very well the clouds were gathering and needed to divert attention away. Now we see he was right about all the concerns he raised.
Remember that as your rates and power bills syphon ever deeper into your pocket and the debt rockets through the chambers roof.
Easier to run a man down than to hear the message eh?

There are probably more of these Zombie DCC owned debt ridden failed type enterprises that the DCC own or have a financial interest in and they too should be got rid of. Good on you Lee Vandervis for pointing out the obvious to the public and DCC Councilors but alas with head in the sand attitude of some of the Councilors it would be very hard to achieve a positive result to sell...

The crows are coming home to roost now, oh yes they are.
The DDC bailed out the rugby union and bought Carisbrook for $7m. They then sold it on 3 years later at a huge loss for $3.5m. Then they strip the ratepayer owned electricity company to help build the new stadium in favour of maintaining electricity supply assets.
Good old rugby, poor management and vanity projects, those are a huge part of why Dunedin ratepayers and their assets have been compromised. The DCC are entrenched in poor decision making, right to this very day.
There was a time when the DCC ran in the 'black' for many decades. Now all we see is 'red', and the 'red' grows month by month, election by election.
Many may not like Vandervis' personality, but he has a grasp of basic economics, as does Radich.
We cannot, and should not, lumber our younger citizens in endless future debt that will continue to escalate. SELL AURORA to someone who knows the business, because the last three councils have proven beyond doubt, they have no bloody idea at all! It's been 'milked' for vanity projects and starved of investment. The cash cow has had its throat slit and is bleeding profusely.

There was also the $9 million loss due to Delta's mishandling of the Jack's Point and Luggate developments. Delta would probably be unique in finding ways to lose money investing in Central but somehow this DCC owned outfit achieved it.

"Previous councils had accepted dividends from Aurora, affecting its ability to look after its assets."
Well, Dunedin City has a pretty stark choice - either re-capitalise Aurora so it can look after its assets or sell it as is.
How much they would get for it in its current state is another matter.

The stadium is another 'asset' that could be considered for bargain corner. It has always run at a loss which is subsidised by our rates. After all, if it's the great money generator it's owners claim it to be it should fetch a pretty penny. Pigs might fly but at least we'll be rid of the ongoing losses.

Selling the assets that are outside of the DCC boundaries would be a realistic first step (politically). There are understood to be willing buyers in both QLDC and CODC areas as well growing interest in Trust ownership in Central. A successful Dunedin Electricity 2.0 will only be possible if there is honesty, openness and greater accountability.

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