Dear Oh Dear. Another Process Breach.

Posted: January 27, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

An eagle-eyed reader has pointed out that any application from Duco (as referred to in the previous post) wasn’t on the agenda at the last Events Committee meeting:

ohdearWhoops.  Seems that that is in breach of the Kremlin’s own policies, if not the law.

Look At What They’ve Spent Your Rates On Now

Posted: January 26, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized



Unbelievable.  Duco is a commercial enterprise, turning over plenty of cash as this recent quote from the National Business Review illustrates:

Mr Higgins says Duco, which is well known as the promoters of boxer Joseph Parker and the NRL Nines, wants turnover to grow to $100 million within three to five years.

The events company’s current turnover is about $15-20 million, he says.

So while you’re wondering why your potholes aren’t being fixed, think of the poor Councillors having to sit at their ringside table in July.

But it gets even better.  You’re going to be paying for it for the next three years:

A three-year agreement was signed this week between stadium officials and Auckland-based Duco Events which will see events brought to the city in each of the next three years.

Get used to them potholes.

The Last Post

Posted: January 18, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized


The Ginga when I was fired thanks to an attention-seeking elected official in 2000:

“If you need any cash or a hand with anything, let me know.”

30 seconds later:

“I think we need a drink.  Mainly you, but it’s rude to leave a man to drink alone after he’s lost his job.”

30 minutes and three drinks later:

“Let’s burn his fucking house down.  Or order a truckload of chicken manure dumped in his driveway.  I’ll pay for the truck.”

The then single Ginga to Liv Tyler (2000):

“I don’t know what Paddy has said to you about him, but I can beat it.  And I love Aerosmith and worship your mother.  And I love Hollywood.  If you do.”

The Ginga as I very gingerly came on the field for the last 10 minutes of the closely fought Ruru Shield Challenge:

“Remember your family motto.  But don’t give away a penalty in our half as a result.”

The Ginga after I told him the first born was in the oven:

“Where are you?  We need to have a drink. My shout.  Is it a boy?”

The Ginga on our first meeting:

“Here, have this steak sandwich.  You need it more than me.  And help yourself to the fridge.  Just don’t drink anything that has Colin written on it.”

The Ginga in Hong Kong:

“I know you’re sipping that drink to try to beat me to the Yellow*.  Drink up.”

The Ginga after we both got injured at the Hong Kong 10s:

“Look on the bright side.  No matter where we are, it’s beer o’clock for both of us for the rest of the trip.”

The Ginga after the Weenis’s christening where he was godfather:

“God, I love being a Catholic.  I feel absolved.”

The Ginga to the bouncers at Dockside:

“You’re big men, but you’re out of shape.  For me it’s a full time job**.”

His subsequent exploding out of the Dockside kitchen door with two bouncers attached and a small woman chasing them is one of my most treasured memories.

The Ginga at my wedding:

“I’d like to apologise to the good people of Invercargill for last night, and especially to any of you we may have met last night….”

The Ginga at my stag do:

“I think we need a new fish slice.  Sorry about that.”

The Ginga to the groundsman at Athletic Park after the Teds played the last game there and he was trying to dig up a bit of the hallowed turf (which we discovered wasn’t allowed as a result):

“All I want to do is have a bit of Bernie’s Corner growing on my windowsill, you queer ****! You’ve got 7000 other square metres!  Fuck off!”

The Ginga at Trentham:

“I’m sick of these rubbish fields, I’m going to talk to Snow Lupton.”

15 minutes later, we were $1600 richer thanks to Snow’s trifecta and the Ginga’s chat.

And the greatest Ginga story of all, apart from the one which could see both of us prosecuted under the Electoral Act after we took over a polling booth in 1999, The Meat Pie.  We had been at Dockside from about 4pm one Friday.  At 11pm the Big Red decided he wanted to eat but the Docky kitchen was closed:

“So I wander across to the BP, get a mince pie.  There was a bit of a queue, so I leave a fiver on the counter- it was only $2.50, but I didn’t have any change – and head back across to Docky.

Next thing, the team policing van cuts me off outside Shed 5 and I’m thrown in the back for stealing a pie. I tried to ring you but obviously you couldn’t hear your phone, so I ring the Wellington Central Police Station and ask for the duty sergeant in the watchhouse.

I tell him who I am and what’s happened and that I’m innocent.  He tells me to stand by.

Next thing I hear him doing the RT thing to the team policing van:

‘Do you have a Michael Flanagan in the van?’

‘Uh, yep, why?’

‘Can you take his cellphone off him?  He’s just rung me and asked me to let him go!’

Needless to say, the BP station attendant had realised his mistake but not passed it on to the coppers, and the Ginga rejoined us within an hour, with a police escort to the door of Docky.  No one believed him until one of my police friends confirmed the story which had sent the watch house into hysterics.

I have as many best friends as you can count on the fingers of a three-fingered man.

The Ginga was one.  He was found dead on Tuesday as the result of an accident even he would have seen as a terrible irony and I have been a bereft sleepwalker ever since.  You hear it said that someone is “one of a kind”.  Michael Damien Jude Flanagan was.

He was no saint, but he was closer to being one than most of us.  His gregarious nature, his joie de vivre no matter what he was going through, his love for his friends and family was something I always envied.  He was a listener and an advisor, despite often not applying the same principles to himself.  But that was him.  His friends were everything to him and he made you feel like you were the most important person in the world.

He could recite most of the great Group One race finishes verbatim, including this which always began with “they;re coming from everywhere”.

He was a genius, even if applying that genius caused him enormous stress that few of us saw.  Yet every time, no matter how tight the margin, the Big Red would come through.

His kindness and devotion to his friends, despite also having a bold exterior when required, was non-pareil.  I often curl my lip when they say people are taken too early.

He was.  RIP Ginga.  Your life and your stories were cut far too short.  His last text to me was just before he started the adventure that ended his life.  He was going to be coming to New Zealand in February or March.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  Now, his visit to New Zealand is going to be his final one.

It’s fair to say that Goon wouldn’t have appreciated me using a Freemason’s quote, but Albert Pike’s saying applies to him:

 What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.

He should have died either in his bed or at the very least after knocking off most of Goodmans’ menu.  As a friend I find it tough and will do for a while.

Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. Amen.

* The Yellow Kerchief – the Old Boys – University equivalent of the Tour de France yellow jersey.  Awarded to the last person home with a plausible witness.

**WADROC Michael Caine

New Year Resolutions

Posted: January 7, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

Haven’t had much time to think over the holidays, to be fair.

One thing that did come to mind as I was shifting annual appointments from one online calendar to another was that around the end of this month, every year, the Dunedin City Council get together to do a first trim of their budget – call it the Draft Draft Annual Plan.  I keep a weather eye on proceedings as it’s often quite enlightening.

Anyway, it sets the scene for the subsequent debates and also gives headline-chasing Councillors the chance to demand rates decreases for business/the aged/gay whales et cetera at an early stage in proceedings.

I thought to myself, why doesn’t the Kremlin do that?  But of course, they do – just not in public meetings.  They will workshop the living daylights out of proposed budgets in secret meetings and then present it to the public as an annual fait accompli not unlike that of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council (Google it).

Then as I didn’t have much else to think about, my mind wandered off on to the annual Government Budget planning process, which (in short) runs a little like this:


Now, there’s quite a bit more to it than that.  But, I thought to myself, every year we are presented with what Kremlin staff think are the priorities for the year.  Every year, we realise they (other than the roading, water, wastewater and waste management which is pretty much decided by asset management plans) have no clue.

So here’s an idea for a new leaf for the Kremlin.  Instead of shoehorning ratepayers into making submissions on a Draft Annual Plan whose outcomes have already been decided behind closed doors, how about opening the process up a bit?

Tell people the Annual Plan process is starting in August, and they have six weeks to come up with ideas as to what they would like to have included.

Think of it as crowdsourcing opinion on what matters to ratepayers.  Now, this doesn’t mean they get what they want, as you will always have someone who thinks core council business is running steam trains between Invercargill and Bluff.

The initial stage of the process in the last quarter of the year allows the public voice to be heard, costed, and where necessary justified before it is included (or not, as the case may be) in the Draft which goes out for public submissions in the new year.

Too often the citizenry turn up at the Draft Plan hearings looking for a handout for their pet projects. That should not be the time where projects are snuck into the funding pot.

The Draft Plan hearings should be for debate, not begging.

But I digress.  Wouldn’t it make things a lot more inclusive (Christ, I almost choked typing that) if ratepayers were invited to be involved at the start of the planning process, rather than at the end when they’re forced to take another rates increase?

Just a thought.  Back to work.

Another Missed Opportunity

Posted: December 23, 2014 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

I gave them a few days, but there’s been nothing, so you have to wonder why, when this hit the headlines:

Deloitte’s report into fraud at the Dunedin City Council has proved as damning as suspected.

Not only did it involve the pocketing of money from the sale of 152 vehicles, but it appears former team leader Brent Bachop was at the ”centre of” other potential issues.

The debacle is an indictment on the council and a serious warning to others.

Supposedly, the council had systems and checks, but they failed spectacularly.

It is almost beyond belief that suspect dealings worth at least $1.59 million, and possible considerably much more, took place.

What makes it worse is the way several ”red flags” were ignored or investigated insufficiently.

…that the Kremlin didn’t race out a press release pointing out their internal audit and checking systems would ensure nothing like this could happen in Invercargill.


  1. It could happen and/or
  2. They don’t have systems in place.

What do the auditors say in the Annual Report?


Anyone nervous?

Tomorrow’s News Today

Posted: December 19, 2014 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

Normally, it takes about five days for the Part Time Mayor’s fish n chipper column to appear online.

This time, though, it’s a day early!

Still nothing of any interest about what he’s doing to make the city a better place, but there was this interesting tidbit:


Presents?  My experience in local government is that to avoid all semblance of ‘buying favours’, an email goes out to suppliers and contractors well before Christmas saying “no gifts to staff or Councillors, thank you very much.  Perhaps make a donation to charity instead.”.  Any ratepayers stupid enough to drop off booze or food are warmly thanked and then the stuff goes out the back door to the Salvation Army foodbank.

What does it say in the Kremlin code of conduct (not that anyone follows it anyway)?


Reported to the chief executive?  So he can write them in a gifts register?  If I recall correctly, no such thing exists in Esk Street.

It’s easier and safer to respectfully decline them.  Now, where is my LGOIMA template?

Did you wonder…

Posted: December 19, 2014 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

…why you didn’t get a Christmas card from the Kremlin this year?

Well, here’s what they sent out:


The front is innocuous enough.  It’s the inside that gives it away though:


Ah, of course.  How typical.