Dave Cull

Taxpayers’ Union slaps Dunedin City Council

What sort of council lets the Mayor loose at an auction house to throw around ratepayers’ money?

The Mayor who spent $4000 on a pair of camel shackles that he thought were once used to hold Maori prisoners during the 1800s has been lambasted for his mistake.

The Otago Daily Times reported today Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull had no regrets over the purchase despite new evidence showing they were used on camels, and not Maori warriors.

The council paid $3900 for the shackles in March for display at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.

But the museum’s own investigation has found the seller’s suggestion that the leg irons were found inside a cave near where Maori prisoners from Taranaki were forced to labour between 1869 and 1881 are just not credible.

Instead, the shackles are believed to be of Middle Eastern origin from the early 20th century, and their size suggests they fit a camel or a Clydesdale-sized horse.

This has prompted the mayor to call on the seller – Dunedin man Steve McCormack – to “examine his moral position” and consider refunding the purchase.

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The Press on Dunedin City Council’s backhanders to Labour man

The Press calls out the Dunedin City Council over the dodgy backhanders deal bewteen the mayor and Labour’s Pete Hodgson.

The “gentlemen’s agreement” is an old-fashioned notion, almost to the point of quaintness. It suggests that a gentleman’s word is as good as his bond, and a handshake as binding as a written contract.

Of course, it belonged to a time when women were not expected to worry themselves with business matters, avoiding the possibility that one of the gentlemen involved might actually be a lady. But there are better reasons than that for not relying on such handshake deals in the modern age, particularly for the spending of public money.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is defending the agreement under which former Dunedin North MP Pete Hodgson was paid by Cull’s council to lobby the Government to retain the core functions of AgResearch at Invermay. Hodgson was paid $3400 for duties which included advocating on the council’s behalf, contributing to a letter to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and writing a 10-page report for the board of AgResearch.

The council says that Cull was its main point of contact with Hodgson, but it could not locate a single email, contract or any other document relating to the agreement. Cull said: “I could describe it as a gentleman’s way of doing business in the south.”  Read more »

Money for mates – Taxpayers’ Union uncovers Dunedin Mayor and Pete Hodgson

Former Labour Party dirty tactics coordinator Pete Hodgson and current Labour party representative on the Representation Commission has been stung by the Taxpayers Union in what looks to be a cash for mates scheme down in Dunedin. Pete’s apparently been doing some ‘lobbying’ for his best mate, fellow Labour Party comrade and Mayor Dave Cull.

This morning the Taxpayers’ Union went public with material concerning a payment (or payments) totalling $3,400 by the Dunedin City Council to former MP Pete Hodgson with no documentation or contract.


According to the Council, Mr Hodgson’s work consisted of “lobbying and advocating on behalf of the Council” and there is no supporting documentation.

The Council has told us that:

  • Everything was verbal. The Council could not provide a single report, email, or even letter of engagement.
  • All of the contracts were negotiated verbally.
  • The contracts were negotiated by the Mayor and there is no documentation to explain the deal.

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