STV in action

Dave Cull won the Dunedin mayoralty, and the headline vote numbers are:

  • Cull 17,229
  • Vandervis 11,806

That was an unsurprising result. Cull was the incumbent, Vandervis was the best known challenger but while he gets support for challenging the establishment he loses support due to his volatility and clashes with, amongst others, Cull.

But those numbers weren’t reached, and Cull didn’t reach a majority, until eight other candidates had dropped out and their votes had been redistributed under the STV voting system.

On first preference votes (majority of 19,693 required):


  • Cull 10,686 (27.13%)
  • Vandervis 6,983 (17.73%)
  • Timmings 5,561 (14.12%)
  • Whiley 4,622 (11.74%)
  • Hawkins 3,029 (7.69%)
  • O’Malley 2,474 (6.28%)
  • Stedman 2,066 (5.25%)
  • Elder 1,710 (4.34%)
  • Barbour-Evans Scout 937 (2.38%)
  • Gray 711 (1.81%)
  • Bayne 607 (1.54%)

So Cull was a long way off getting a majority. He failed to get a clear majority right down to the final three:


  • Cull 14,815 (43.64%)
  • Vandervis 9,824 (28.94%)
  • Timmings 9,308 (27.42%)

2414 of Timmings’ votes were redistributed to Cull, 1982 to Vandervis resulting in a majority at the final iteration:



  • Cull 17,229
  • Vandervis 11,806


4,912 of Timmings last votes were discarded, meaning a lot of voters didn’t want Cull or Vandervis and didn’t rank them at all, or made a mistake at that stage of their ranking. That’s high but not surprising as both are quite unpopular.

This is how it was worked out (provisional results)


1 Cull Dave 10,686
1 Vandervis Lee 6,983
1 Timmings Barry 5,561
1 Whiley Andrew 4,622
1 Hawkins Aaron 3,029
1 O’Malley Jim 2,474
1 Stedman Conrad 2,066
1 Elder Rachel 1,710
1 Barbour-Evans Scout 937
1 Gray Abe 711
1 Bayne Athol 607

2 Cull Dave 10,746
2 Vandervis Lee 7,063
2 Timmings Barry 5,607
2 Whiley Andrew 4,653
2 Hawkins Aaron 3,062
2 O’Malley Jim 2,567
2 Stedman Conrad 2,118
2 Elder Rachel 1,777
2 Barbour-Evans Scout 965

3 Cull Dave 10,817
3 Vandervis Lee 7,138
3 Timmings Barry 5,634
3 Whiley Andrew 4,684
3 Hawkins Aaron 3,237
3 O’Malley Jim 2,619
3 Stedman Conrad 2,161
3 Elder Rachel 1,840
3 Barbour-Evans Scout 1,043

4 Cull Dave 10,941
4 Vandervis Lee 7,224
4 Timmings Barry 5,683
4 Whiley Andrew 4,731
4 Hawkins Aaron 3,480
4 O’Malley Jim 2,698
4 Stedman Conrad 2,207
4 Elder Rachel 2,055

5 Cull Dave 11,227
5 Vandervis Lee 7,463
5 Timmings Barry 5,832
5 Whiley Andrew 4,931
5 Hawkins Aaron 3,766
5 O’Malley Jim 2,907
5 Stedman Conrad 2,406

6 Cull Dave 11,502
6 Vandervis Lee 7,789
6 Timmings Barry 6,265
6 Whiley Andrew 5,241
6 Hawkins Aaron 3,924
6 O’Malley Jim 3,248

7 Cull Dave 12,000
7 Vandervis Lee 8,216
7 Timmings Barry 7,077
7 Whiley Andrew 5,745
7 Hawkins Aaron 4,233

8 Cull Dave 13,599
8 Vandervis Lee 8,755
8 Timmings Barry 7,424
8 Whiley Andrew 6,187

9 Cull Dave 14,815
9 Vandervis Lee 9,824
9 Timmings Barry 9,308

10 Cull Dave 17,229
10 Vandervis Lee 11,806


Labour “all the more certain” to win

Party President Nigel Haworth has said that Labour are “all the more certain” to win next year’s election because of Andrew Little’s leadership.  He was speaking at an event in Dunedin celebrating the centenary of the party.

That’s rather optimistic given the current state of the party and polls.

ODT: Labour confident in its 100th year

The event was held at the Community Gallery to celebrate the party’s centenary exhibition.

It allowed Labour to look back on its achievements with pride.

“We have done the hard yards. The other side has picked up what we’ve done and sort of tinkered with it,” Prof Haworth said.

The party expected a September 2017 general election, and was six months ahead of what it had anticipated in its preparations, Prof Haworth said.

Hard to see how Labour is six months ahead of preparations, unless they mean with fund raising or candidate selection.

Clare Curran acknowledged the party had not always lived up to its ideals.

It had mostly, but not always, stuck to its values.

“Let’s be honest,” she said.

Asked about the comment, Ms Curran told the Otago Daily Times  there was no point  “glossing over” the economic upheaval of the 1980s, but people should remember it was one part of a significant history.

Labour in the 80s rescued the country from the dire economic situation left be Rob Muldoon, nut now some on the left seem to see Lange and Douglas as dirty words.

Mr Little was keen to look forward, rather than back, devoting much of his speaking time to a campaign-style speech that talked about the “Kiwi dream” and the “deep housing crisis”.

Littler has been using those themes for some time.

If elected,  Labour would not put up with further delay to the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment, and would start rebuilding immediately.

‘If’ elected? I thought politicians spoke more positively than that.

Labour would guarantee no loss of services, and would safeguard its status as a “fully fledged” teaching hospital, Mr Little said.

Dunedin hospital has battled against losses of services for decades under successive governments. With the city and coastal Otago falling behind other parts the country population-wise and the ongoing centralising of expensive health facilities it’s hard to see the level of services maintained.

Listening to Mr Little’s speech was Labour supporter Richard Thomson, deputy commissioner of the Southern District Health Board and a member of the hospital redevelopment partnership group.

He declined to comment when approached by the ODT.

Thomson will know the reality of the situation.


Does anyone recognise this dude?





Dunedin, Wellington ‘best cities to live in’

‘Best city’ surveys give a bit of an indication of what people think but there are many factors to consider, like family, work, weather, education, health and what you are familiar with.

The ‘Quality of Life’ project does a two yearly survey, and in the latest one Dunedin and Wellington have come out on top:

Overall quality of life – extremely good+very good:

  • Dunedin: 27+61=88%
  • Wellington: 28+59=87%
  • Porirua: 19+65=84%
  • Hutt: 22+60-82%
  • Hamilton: 18+64=82%
  • Auckland: 18+61=79%
  • Christchurch: 20+58=78%

Those are percentages based on city councils.

Obviously with a much bigger population Auckland numerically has many more people satisfied with their city, but also quite a few more who are dissatisfied, 4% of one and a half million people is 60,000 people, about half the population of Dunedin.

A notable omission of the major cities is Tauranga.

Overall quality of life – poor+extremely poor


  • Dunedin: 2+0=2%
  • Wellington: 2+0=2%
  • Porirua: 2+1=3%
  • Hutt: 3+0=3%
  • Hamilton: 2+1=3%
  • Auckland: 4+0=4%
  • Christchurch: 4+0=4%

Those are remarkably low levels of dissatisfaction with cities, especially considering Christchurch and it’s problems with earthquakes. However about 20% of Christchurch residents said they were stressed “always” or “most of the time”.

Stuff reports: Dunedin is the best NZ city to live in – just

Dunedin has pipped Wellington to become the best city in New Zealand to live in, according to a new survey.


Statistically Dunedin and Wellington are the same so ‘best’ is barely . However if you combine the greater Wellington cities which include Porirua and Hutt they drop a bit down the scale.

Affordable housing, civic pride, and a strong sense of safety seem to be behind the good results for Dunedin in the biennial Quality of Life Survey.

Those in Dunedin were also more likely to be physically active and less likely to be stressed than their urban counterparts.

The study questioned 7155 Kiwis across seven urban areas and two wider regions. Quality of life in general was relatively steady across the two previous surveys in 2014 and 2012.

The Stuff article covers a number of issues affecting people’s opinion s on their cities, such as stress, traffic and safety.

Wellingtonians were also the most welcoming to outsiders. About three quarters of the capital’s respondents said that New Zealand becoming home for people with different lifestyles and cultures made their city a better place to live in.

Aucklanders were the least welcoming, with just over half (52 per cent) saying diversity was a net positive and one in five saying it was a net negative.

It’s interesting that Auckland has by far the most immigrants and is the least tolerant of them, but ‘locals’ will be seeing huge changes to their city (or in many cases their adopted city).

I will post separately on what the survey found about housing.

Immigrant: “If we can be kind to each other then the world will be all right”

A nice immigrant story from Dunedin and the ODT: Migrants dance in homage to new homeland

A dance  troupe of Dunedin immigrants will perform this weekend as a way of giving something back to their “home away from home”.

Natyaloka School of Indian Dance founder and choreographer Swaroopa Unni said the school recently celebrated five years in Dunedin.

While Dunedin isn’t well known for Indian culture various types of Indian cuisine is now widely available, and an Indian immigrant Suki Turner was elected and twice re-elected mayor of Dunedin, serving from 1995 to 2004.

Every dancer at the school was an immigrant, despite that not being a prerequisite,
Mrs Unni explained.

“It just worked out that way.”

The countries the dancers emigrated from included Bangladesh, Fiji, Germany, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United States.

So maybe no Highland dancing. Incidentally I’ve never seen any Morris dancing in Dunedin (I saw it once in Oamaru, about ten years ago).

The production detailed the immigrants’ journey to making a “home away from home” in Dunedin.

Dunedin is a city of immigrants. Scottish heritage is often highlighted but the ethnic mix that began in 1848 is very diverse, and increasingly so.

In general we and our cultures co-exist very well.

The production was a fundraiser for SPCA Otago and KidsCan to “give back to the community” and teach the children the importance of considering and supporting others, Mrs Unni said.

“If we can be kind to each other then the world will be all right,” she said.

It’s good to see a story about immigrants being free to express their ethnic backgrounds but offering a positive contribution to their new home of choice.

If commenting on this keep in mind “If we can be kind to each other…” – we won’t fix everything in the world but we can make part of it better.

NZ First targeting regions

New Zealand First will have their conference in Dunedin this weekend.The theme will be “It’s time”.

Leading into this in an interview with NZ Herald Winston Peters says they will be increasing their focus on the regions – Winston Peters: Regional NZ will be our election battleground.

In an interview with the Herald before the conference, Peters said the party would redouble its focus on regional New Zealand to grow its vote.

The 71-year-old has spent less time in Parliament lately in favour of his Northland electorate and the regions, with recent trips to Dunedin, Dannevirke and Kaikohe.

“We are seriously getting around the provinces,” he said. “The Greens can cough and get in the media. We pack halls and don’t. We pack halls in this country like no other political party.”

Peters is as good as any politician at coughing and getting media coverage. And he’s better than most at packing halls, but he puts a lot more effort into old style campaigning than anyone else.

There has been growing speculation that former Labour MP Shane Jones will leave the diplomatic corps and stand for NZ First in Whangarei against National MP Shane Reti.

There has been speculation on Jones joining NZ First for years, going back to when he was a Labour MP. If Jones stood for NZ First in Whangarei he would probably be very competitive there.

Peters would not name names but said there were more people interested in standing for NZ First than any time in its 23-year history.

“There are seats around the country that we can capture…we have a list of them but we are not disclosing where they are at this point in time.

“We are keeping our powder shot dry. We won Northland by totally and utterly ambushing their arrogance. So you can understand our desire to keep our plans to ourselves.”

Details perhaps, but Peters has been sharing his plans a bit in this interview.

While National is vulnerable to shedding support it’s not just them that NZ First are targeting.

NZ First deputy-leader Ron Mark has recently turned attention from National to Labour during exchanges in Parliament, accusing the fellow opposition party of stealing policy.

Peters reacted angrily after Little said the party was considering policy that would write-off student debt for graduates who worked in certain public service jobs in the regions – similar to existing NZ First policy.

NZ First had been called racist and xenophobic for calling for lower immigration levels in the past, Peters said, and didn’t like to see other long-standing policies “stolen”.

He did not think much of the memorandum of understanding between Labour and the Green Party: “It’s not for me to comment on what their political strategy might be. Suffice to say it’s not a winning one”.

The memorandum has not been the game changer (yet) that Greens and Labour were hoping for. Greens seem to have hit a support ceiling and Labour have not only failed to recover from an awful result last election, they are at risk of collapsing further. Peters no doubt senses this.

Peters continued his long-standing position of not commenting on possible coalition deals after the election.

So voters have no idea what he might do, something he keeps getting away – to an extent. It hasn’t worked in getting NZ First into government since 2005.

“Will we be ready for [the election’s] ramifications? Of course we will be ready. But we don’t talk about it as a caucus. In fact, I do my best to discourage anybody worrying about where they fit in the day after the election.”

He might have to do better discouraging his MPs: In response to The political tides are all flowing the way of ‘kingmaker’ Winston Peters:


Peters could remind Mitchell about counting kings before the election has hatched.

NZ First could potentially get anywhere between 5% and 20% in the next election, with 8-15% looking quite doable.

They are attractive to the disgruntled and disillusioned, but their biggest asset, Peters, is also their biggest deterrent. He is good at picking up protest votes but recent elections have shown an electorate reluctance to crown Peters with the power to dictate.

Mayoral candidate ‘rumoured’

Otago Daily Times reports on a ‘rumour’ of a new entrant to the Dunedin mayoral race that could liven up the contest somewhat.

If this proves top be true it would pit a fresh face with strong business interests against the incumbent Dave Cull who has had strong Green leanings, Aaron Hawkins who is the official Green Party candidate, and long time Cull combatant Lee Vandervis.

Bid for mayoralty rumoured

The Dunedin mayoral race could be about to heat up as  lawyer Susie Staley, of iD Dunedin Fashion Week fame, is believed to be considering a bid for the city’s top job.

Councillor Andrew Whiley said yesterday he would pull out of the race if another candidate, who he declined to name, entered the race.

The Otago Daily Times understands Cr Whiley was referring to Ms Staley, but she declined to confirm or deny she was standing when contacted yesterday.

“The rumours can keep going,” she said.

Apart from being a lawyer, Ms Staley has served on a variety of boards including those of Tower, Maritime New Zealand and PGG Wrightson, and was a finalist in the Women of Influence Awards in 2013.

She stood down as iD Dunedin Fashion Week chairwoman last year after more than 15 years of service to the event.

If Whiley doesn’t stand for mayor (he would presumably stand for re-election to council) Staley (if she stands and gets significant backing) could threaten Cull’s hold on the mayoral chains, especially if Hawkins splits Culls vote.

Hillary Calvert has announced she won’t stand this year,.

Cr Whiley said it would be in the “best interests” of Dunedin for him to stand aside should the other candidate stand.

“I think there is a very good candidate who could do a lot for Dunedin.”

If elected, they would give Dunedin a more “pro-business” focus and tap into a widespread sentiment that council had not achieved much in recent times and fresh leadership was needed.

This could make the Dunedin contest a clear clash of business versus green interests.

Plus Vandervis, who may continue to pick up protest and maverick votes but has proven to not have the temperament for leading the council after ongoing ugly clashes with Mayor Cull (he recently served defamation papers on Cull).

I don’t know if Staley has any political affiliations. If not she will be up against the Green Party, plus Cull, who I presume will be standing as an independent now that the fairly (some say very)  left leaning Greater Dunedin group has been officially disbanded this year.


Snow day

After several days of dire forecasts it looks like being a snow day in Dunedin today. There’s a very light smattering of snow on the ground and it is current snowing gently.

The forecast is still mixed – “Sleety rain, snow flurries about the hills. Cold southeast” – with light precipitation off and on through the day. It is currently 0.8 degrees in Dunedin (MetService), and on the University weather site it has risen to 1.0 degrees from a low of 0.3 but there is no sign of snow on their webcam (close to sea level).

The Roslyn webcams give a good indication of the state of the city, in the hill suburbs at least. One view:


So it is currently snowing there too with a light covering of snow on the road but many peoeple would drive on that.

Roslyn is about 150 metres compared to 100 metres where I live which can make a difference.

The Northern Motorway will either be closed or is likely to be causing problems for some motorists.

I won’t know what this means for my day until it gets light in a couple of hours. The snow could have increased by then, or it could have stopped and melted back. So I may or may not get a snow day at home, olr a part snow day, with light overnight snow it is often ok to drive by mid morning.

We will see what daylight gives us. But going by the current Highgate pics it looks like more snow for a while anyway:


Increasing but still passable for the foolhardy – it’s silly to be driving in these conditions especially as it is deteriorating.

Temperatures have dropped slightly in the last half hour but that’s common just before dawn.

But this doesn’t give me a day off work. I do most of my work by phone and online and wee are prepared for the occasional bit of weather, so I just communicate from a different location, and have important work that needs to be done today.

UPDATE: that flurry has already passed by, and there has been more traffic in Roslyn.

Another update:


It was a short snowfall that is clearing quickly off the roads already. This is fairly typical. Looks like work on time unless another flurry comes through.

Schools are closed until 10.00 am and hill suburbs are likely to be risky.


Snow and ice have closed Dunedin’s Northern Motorway, prompted a delayed start for many schools and affected bus services in the city this morning

The Hits: DUNEDIN NOTICES for Friday (updated 7:51am)

All primary and intermediate schools and Dunedin kindergartens from Mosgiel to Port Chalmers to Waikouaiti – delayed start at 10am

info on whether particular classes are being held.

Different angle to Baldwin Street

Baldwin Street in Dunedin is supposed to be the steepest street in the world. I’ve always wondered about that and am not sure how comprehensively that has been checked out but it’s quite steep. I’ve been up it two or three times.

It has become quite a tourist attraction. I’m not really sure why.

Today was a special occasion with the annual jaffa race, with a crowd of 15,000 odd attending. It was a perfect fine cool day for it.


It looks like the have different jaffas these days. I wouldn’t know, I eat them as often as i walk up Baldwin Street (but I remember them from a long time ago and they were rolled and bounced when we went to the ‘pictures’).

But Baldwin is getting some exposure on social media for other reasons too.

NZH: Bizarre photos from Dunedin’s Baldwin Street leave internet users scratching their heads

A suburban street in New Zealand has become an unlikely tourist attraction, after people shared photos on social media of a bizarre optical illusion.

That’s typical JAFA ignorance, Baldwin has been a tourist attraction for quite a while already so it’s not unlikely.

Photos posted on Instagram have been getting some attention.

Baldwin Street holds the proud title of being the steepest street in the world. Photo / @plscallmesam Instagram

Photo / @plscallmesam Instagram

Just looking at things on Baldwin Street from a bit of a different angle.

This Instagram user posted a photo of this house on Dunedin Street with the caption: 'How to mess with people's minds - anchor your letterbox so that it's on the same incline as the street. Voila! Your house is now sinking!'. Photo / @jemimakate Instagram

‘How to mess with people’s minds – anchor your letterbox so that it’s on the same incline as the street. Voila! Your house is now sinking!’. Photo / @jemimakate Instagram

Baldwin Street has become an unlikely tourist attraction, after people have shared photos on social media of a bizarre optical illusion. Photo / @kasparschiesser Instagram

Photo / @kasparschiesser Instagram

The Herald sourced that from the Daily Mail overseas (UK). Here’s it’s link:

Bizarre photos from a New Zealand street where all the houses stand at an angle leave internet users scratching their heads – so can you figure out the optical illusion?

  • Baldwin Street in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, holds the title for the steepest street in the world 
  • When photos of houses are taken on an angle, it creates a bizarre optical illusion
  • By tilting the camera to one side, tourists are creating the illusion that the houses are sinking into the ground 
  • The stretch of road is a short straight street that is a little under 350 metres long

They have some more pics and videos that show how steep it is, including this one that includes some more traditional jaffas.

The street is renowened for the Cadbury Jaffa Race where thousands of red chocolates are released at the top of the hill to raise money for charity


Defamation: councillor v mayor

The acrimonious relationship between Dunedin City councillor Lee Vandervis and mayor Dave Cull continues with Cull being served legal papers on a Dunedin Street yesterday in  defamation proceedings.

This is a further sign of the degree of dysfunction in the Dunedin council.

ODT: $500,000 claim against Cull

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is vowing to defend a $500,000 defamation claim, after being served with legal papers while walking down the street yesterday.

Mr Cull was handed the documents by private investigator Wayne Idour near the corner of Bath and lower Stuart Sts yesterday morning.

The documents related to a defamation claim filed against him in the High Court at Dunedin by Cr Lee Vandervis earlier this month.

Mr Cull and Cr Vandervis were both reluctant to comment in detail when contacted, but both expressed regret the step had been taken.

But one or the other must have not been reluctant to go to the media over the serving of papers, unless a reporter just happened to have witnessed it. It’s likely that someone went public deliberately.

Mr Idour said when contacted he had planned to serve the papers on Mr Cull in the council’s Civic Centre building, but had seen the mayor passing by while sitting in Sugar Cafe.

“I was in there, having a coffee and talking, where I go most mornings, and he was walking rather fast down Stuart St. I saw him and shot out.

“I just took the time to explain what they were and handed them discreetly to him. He looked a wee bit shocked.”

Mr Idour said he was acting as “process server”, under a barrister’s instructions, and not working for Cr Vandervis.

Just a chance serving is possible but seems a bit unlikely. Serving the papers in public and then the media finding out seems a bit suspicious to me.

The serving of legal papers was followed last night by Cr Vandervis’ decision to release a copy of his statement of claim to media.

The document confirmed Cr Vandervis was seeking $250,000 in “general damages” and another $250,000 in “exemplary damages”, plus costs.

The claim followed a heated exchange during a Dunedin City Council meeting last year, when Cr Vandervis claimed to have paid a backhander to secure a council contract in the 1980s.

He was labelled “a liar” by Mr Cull and ejected from the meeting after suggesting he had given Mr Cull “personal evidence” to back his claim.

In May, both men claimed a report by internal auditor Crowe Horwath, examining the backhander claims, backed their positions.

Cr Vandervis then threatened to “double the damages” after Mr Cull stood by calling him a liar in the wake of the report.

And this is where it has ended up, serving papers in public.

The ODT understands the council had insurance to protect ratepayers from the cost of claims against elected representatives in their council duties, although it was not yet clear if a claim resulting from Mr Cull’s comments would be covered.

Ratepayers could still be left to pick up the bill for associated costs, including legal bills, should Mr Cull lose, the ODT understands.

Ratepayers pay in two ways – picking up some of the bill for this spat, and continuing to have a dysfunctional and acrimonious council.

Both Cull and Vandervis have indicated they will be standing for mayor and for council again this year.

But this reflects very poorly on both of them and on the Dunedin City Council.

I think that this obvious and ongoing inability to work together raises serious doubts about the suitability of either for serving the public on council in either capacity.

It’s time voters looked for elected representatives who don’t allow personal animosities to dominate their work for council and for Dunedin.

Disillusioned with city council

One term Dunedin City councillor Hilary Calvert is disillusioned with what she claims are undemocratic agenda driven practices in Dunedin City and won’t be standing again. She also took a shot at mayor Dave Cull.

Calvert was an ACT MP for about a year, taking over from David Garrett when he resigned in 2010.  She stood for Dunedin mayor and council in 2013 and was elected a councillor.

ODT: Disillusioned with council

Dunedin city councillor Hilary Calvert announced yesterday she will not stand in this year’s elections, but not before taking parting shots at some of her colleagues and Mayor Dave Cull.

She said she was unable to make a difference in a council dominated by councillors “whose focus is on carrying out activities for the benefit of the planet and on advising central government on how they may go about their business, not ours”.

I think that one of the best ways to make a difference is as an elected councillor, and standing for mayor again would give her the opportunity to highlight the problems as she saw them, but she has chosen not to do that. She also chose not to stand again for Parliament in 2011.

“This preoccupation has been at the expense of the proper and transparent governance of the city.”

She took aim at what she said were “covert meetings” of councillors and staff before councillors went through “the role play of consulting ratepayers, only to ignore their views”.

“The council meetings held in public are therefore largely irrelevant.”

Cr Calvert (61) said the big issues for ratepayers – cycleways, fraud, what council-owned companies were doing, and maintenance of mud-tanks – were “never on the agenda of council meetings until a rearguard action happens after the problems are identified by others”.

“Unfortunately, I cannot foresee this changing. For me enduring council as some kind of disingenuous spectator sport is unsustainable.”

Unfortunately if no one stands up to undemocratic processes then they are likely to continue.

If Calvert had stood again she would have had a very good chance of being re-elected as councillor. She was the highest polling candidate for council and came second to Cull in the mayoralty.

There is a danger that the Green influence in council in Dunedin will be strengthened this year if strong candidates with alternate views don’t stand, and an existing public profile is almost a necessity.

On her allegations of covert meetings, Cr Calvert said the sharing of thoughts and understanding of issues often happened at workshops and briefings that were not public.

For example, the second generation district plan process went to workshops, and if councillors had concerns they would tell staff. If something was going “where some councillors would not like it to go” that discussion was not public.

Councillors with other views did not have the opportunity to discuss them in public.

Once a public council meeting took place, such policies were “fairly much in completed form” or could not be challenged.

“By that stage it’s almost a done deal.”

If that is true – and from what I’ve observed there may well be some basis to her claims – then claims by the mayor and some elected councillors of adequate consultation in the last campaign ring hollow.

I have seen a number of examples of jacked up apparent public support for things that the council does.

Asked if having green-leaning councillors was the will of voters, Cr Calvert said green concerns were the focus at the expense of local concerns “which we are not short of”.

Voters chose the current mayor and council, but it can be debated whether the council put the will of voters ahead of their own agendas.

The issue of parking space losses because of cycleways was one example, where residents took a petition to the council “but we didn’t take a blind bit of notice of them”.

“I don’t think when people voted the current council in that’s what they were anticipating.

There has been a lot of angst about the preference given to more cycleways and less car parks, especially when existing cycleways are not well utilised.

For example car parks were converted into cycle ways on both sides on Anzac Avenue. I travel there frequently, and cyclists don’t. It is unusual to spot a cyclist.

It will be interesting to see how much of an issue this is this election.

Calvert also had words for Mayor Cull.

Cr Calvert also took aim at Mr Cull, saying it was “quite clearly not a good position to be disagreeing with him”.

“You could find yourself discouraged from continuing, either quite actively or passively, to ask questions”.

Disagreements between Cull and another councillor, Lee Vandervis, have raged throughout this term to the extent that disciplinary action has been taken against Vandervis (whose city heart is in the right place but can be a bit hot headed at times).

Cull stood for the mayoralty last election and won easily (Calvert came second, Vandervis came third) and intends to stand again both for the mayoralty and for council this year.

I stood for both council and mayor in 2013 to see how things worked and yeah, I have some major concerns, but the reality is that without an existing public profile or a political party to promote you,  it’s difficult to attract media attention or votes amongst a crowd of candidates.

Most voters know little about the council or candidates.

It will be interesting to see whether there’s a backlash against ‘green-leaning’ voters or whether they strengthen their grip on Dunedin.