The Henderson deal

August 16th, 2008 at 6:39 am by David Farrar

The Press editorial today is on the deal with to buy five properties off him.

The deal may or may not have been a good thing to do, but I agree with that the way the Council went about it is the issue. This is why there is such a big backlash.

I would almost go so far as to predict the Mayor may only be a one term Mayor, on the basis of this deal.

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29 Responses to “The Henderson deal”

  1. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    It may not have been the smartest of negotiations but you have to laugh at the comments of Cosgrove;

    “I’m mystified when our own mayor says “if they hadn’t moved they would have had to engage in a fire sale,’ well fire sales tend to be a lot cheaper,” says Clayton Cosgrove,

    has he forgotten how many buyers were lining up to buy the Rail from Toll?

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  2. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Toll were obviously planning to take everything back to OZ to use in a Museum!

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  3. Inventory2 (10,100 comments) says:

    “Bob Parker – this is your epitaph”

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  4. jafapete (766 comments) says:

    Patrick Starr at 8.18am may laugh, but Cosgrove has a point. There is something really weird going on here. Where is Ian Wishart then?

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  5. burt (7,820 comments) says:

    I was extremely skeptical of the deal befor I saw the Hosking’s/Parker interview. Hosking’s was all over the floor, what a lightweight. Hosking’s obviously had pre prepared ‘conspiracy’ questions and he totally missed the point when the reality was explained to him.

    I think the deal makes good sense. The buy back options are very much in the Council’s favour. I’m not a supporter of Henderson and the deal looked sensible to me.

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  6. ghostwhowalks2 (126 comments) says:

    All various developers around the large cities have to say is I will knock down the inner city building for a carpark so I can sell it for the most money and the councils will come running with an open cheque book.

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  7. Mike Readman (358 comments) says:

    “The deal may or may not have been a good thing to do, but I agree with The Press that the way the Council went about it is the issue. This is why there is such a big backlash.”

    I think people in Christchurch are being ridiculous. If the council indirectly makes me money by making a good investment, then it doesn’t matter how long it takes to make its decision. Besides, if it was a council owned enterprise, it probably wouldn’t even be an issue!

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  8. kiwi in america (2,436 comments) says:

    Henderson is a nasty piece of work. I had professional dealings with him and he was universally haughty, rude, arrogant and evasive. I now understand why the IRD decided to go him (not that I’m condoning their shabby tactics).

    That said, his Lichfield St project is/was bold and innovative but the CCC’s defence that they needed to preserve a proper ambience is a pure crock. Any developer (and I had many clients who were and I also did a development myself) who’se ever had to deal with a local council in NZ knows they can change the rules and screw the scrum precisely to their liking exactly for such lofty high mindedness as preserving the visual environment.

    Mike
    The issue is transparency of process. If the issue had been open for debate, no sneaking of the purchasers under the $5m threshold and two reputable valuers independent of Henderson used to establish value then I agree, the deal could have commercially beneficial spin offs. The CCC needs to spare us the spin and just bite the bullet on this huge PR cockup.

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  9. artemisia (208 comments) says:

    You gotta admire the council though, for making a bold decision quickly. Most territiorial authorities would have set up a few committees, requested reports, faffed around with endless questions. Oh and consulted the local iwi of course. By which time the boat has long sailed.

    Agree with Burt above about the Hosking interview. Piece of carp …

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  10. Seán (396 comments) says:

    I agree with Burt above. Mike Hosking looked like a fool to Bob Parker who dealt with the questions admirably. All the pamphlets Bob brought into the studio did make me laugh though. If he had more time I’m sure we would have seen all sorts of props!

    DPF said “I would almost go so far as to predict the Mayor may only be a one term Mayor, on the basis of this deal.”
    -Doubt it. For those actually brassed off they will have forgotten about it in two years time, others will see the action as decisiveness on behalf of the council. It will take a lot more than this to make Bob a one-term mayor, assuming the matter dies away and no new related controversies surface. Compared to Dick Hubbard in his 2004-07 term, Bob has been cruising.

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  11. Rex Widerstrom (5,266 comments) says:

    And there I was trying to explain to someone over at the Standard that no one (least of all John Key, who was yet again the target of some ill-considered gibbering) would go into an interview with Mike Hosking expecting it to be about anything other than pandering to Hosking’s ego by allowing him to create a piece of performance art with him cast as “fearless interrogator” and the subject cast as “powerful deceiver at the heart of a conspiracy”.

    I swear, if Hosking were to be assigned to interview a newborn his first question would be “You might look sweet and innocent, but what are you hiding in your nappy!?” Trouble is he wouldn’t even have bothered sniffing the kid first to see if his accusation had any chance of flying :-D

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  12. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    Compared to Dick Hubbard in his 2004-07 term, Bob has been cruising.

    Yeah, if Bob were Dick he would’ve spent the $17 Million on some nice paving stones.

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  13. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    At least they didn’t use the power of immenent domain as they can in the US and just take all the properties.
    But what the councils do there is declare an area blighted and then wait for it to get blighted, then they seize the property and sell it to their mates to create their favourite vision.
    And Government here is warming to this idea so get ready for it.

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  14. Seán (396 comments) says:

    Well put Rex. Does Hosking actually listen to the answers he receives form his guest? Or his he more keen to start the next question while the answer from the previous one is still in progress to make it look like he is a “fearless interrogator” as you put it? His questioning of John Key last week over the secret tapes was also frustrating.

    Didn’t Hosking learn anything from his dumping from TV One’s Sunday and Breakfast? And what’s with the “out of bed” hairdo? Apparently he’s going to be hosting the new “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” game show….his ego will be through the roof. He’s probably already having visions of becoming CEO of the network, following in the footsteps of Eddie McGuire.

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  15. big bruv (13,311 comments) says:

    Is Hosking an admitted Labour party supporter or can we expect him to grill dear corrupt leader in the same fashion as he did with Key?

    I agree with Rex, it seems that Hosking has let his rather massive ego take control again, what a pity he is taking over Paul Holmes radio slot in December.

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  16. Sushi Goblin (419 comments) says:

    I’m shocked to say this, but Ghostwhowalks has a point. The developer in this case may have simply sold a negative outcome to get what he wanted. Mind you, that’s business, and if people don’t like it, they can vote out Parker and those who voted for this in two years time.

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  17. Jack5 (4,591 comments) says:

    Henderson has been a major sponsor of the ACT Party in Christchurch. This imbroglio with the council won’t do ACT any good for party votes in the garden city.

    Today (Saturday) Press has a full-page advertisement paid for by the council putting the case of Bob Parker and his gung ho chief executive.

    The feeling is strongly that they acted precipitately and could have got the properties far cheaper if they had waited. Parker is quite unpopular and known widely as Side Show Bob. I doubt he will be able to survive a full term as mayor. He has made other dive-in mistakes such as buying the Ellerslie Flower Show when Christchurch had a perfectly good one of its own.

    Media celebrities often turn out to be just air heads.

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  18. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    Sorry buddy, Parker is not unpopular as he was able to get elected counting on the support of local body voters. The term side show is not widely in use at all.

    Christchurch did not have a good flower show, actually it did not have one at all except for a privately run one that folded a couple of years ago and a ridiculous attempt by a previous council to start one up that swallowed up several hundred thousand dollars.

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  19. Reb (249 comments) says:

    The issue is transparency of process. If the issue had been open for debate, no sneaking of the purchasers under the $5m threshold and two reputable valuers independent of Henderson used to establish value then I agree, the deal could have commercially beneficial spin offs. The CCC needs to spare us the spin and just bite the bullet on this huge PR cockup.

    Kiwi In America, you have to understand that Mike Readman is an ACT member, so when a controversy comes out like this, his default position is to be biased towards supporting Dave Henderson (who could never do anything wrong), rather than look at things objectively and impartially. Therefore that’s why you get an answer like this, which shows a complete lack of regard for the situation:

    I think people in Christchurch are being ridiculous. If the council indirectly makes me money by making a good investment, then it doesn’t matter how long it takes to make its decision. Besides, if it was a council owned enterprise, it probably wouldn’t even be an issue!

    I think you will find that Mike knows fuck all about what has happened and if you pressed him to delve deeper into the issue he will be unable to present you with further facts. It’s one of those: “I have to make Henderson look good so I’ll just pretend I know what the fuck I’m talking about”, responses.

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  20. Jack5 (4,591 comments) says:

    Swampy: The name “Side Show Bob” for Parker has been in The Press letters to the editor section a number of times this week. You should read it instead of relying on the internal council briefings.

    And Parker was elected on a minority of votes, given that the turnout was abysmyally low. He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of being re-elected now.

    You sound like one of the army of PR consultants/journalists that Parker and his CEO lackey use to try to brainwash the citizens. The council has more journalists on its payroll than most regional newspapers do.

    As for the purchase of the Ellerslie flower show, this has been yet another financial flop. Auckland with the population will continue to host a top flower show.

    And I’m not your buddy!

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  21. burt (7,820 comments) says:

    Reb

    I’m also an ACT member and I think your position that an ACT member has a default position of supporting Henderson is absurd. A more accurate sweeping generalisation would be that ACT members don’t tolerate corruption and back handers. You will note the difference in the treatment of Donna Huata vs Taito Field, Benson-Pope as a good example of how ACT people expect integrity and transparency. More recently the contrast between how Labour & National have dealt with the issues surrounding Winston Peters and how ACT has been more active pursuing answers.

    One thing is sure, the deal between the CCC & Dave Henderson raises some issues. But I think you need to understand that the CCC have a vision for Christchurch city and it’s really about the buildings and their location – rather than some conspiracy of Winston proportions.

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  22. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    Let me guess “jack” you must be one of the disillusioned Labour supporters who are still sore that they not only lost the mayoralty race but have lost dominance of the council in the past two elections.

    I do not bother reading much of what is the highly opinionated and polarised letters column although I write occasionally this week. I have voted Parker, I do not actually support this decision, but I don’t think Parker is the lightweight his Labour opponents have made him out to be.

    At a time of Labour Government it is good their dominance of the CCC has finally been broken and even better in the previous election when the nepotism of candidates standing who were married to Labour cabinet ministers was resoundingly rejected.

    Councillor Johannsen reinforced his loose cannon image by referring the decision to the auditor general, it may be a worthwhile move in terms of the overall campaign but it is not going to help him personally any more than Robin Booth in a previous council.

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  23. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    Hmm, Act party, VP Trevor Loudon, alleged adherent of Zenith Applied Philosophy. As are Dave Henderson and former councillor Robin Booth.

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  24. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    Mayoral election results 2007

    Candidate Votes received
    PARKER, Bob Independent 47033
    WOODS, Megan Christchurch 2021 32821
    GILES, Jo Christchurch City Vision 14454
    ROSS, Mark The Street Cleaner 4505
    WAKEMAN, Peter Independent 1868
    ANDERSON, Blair blair4mayor.com 898
    CLARK, Byron Workers Party 720
    CHAPMAN, Kyle National Democrats 680
    TELFER, Paulus http://www.future–nz.org 295
    HANSEN, Michael Economic Euthenics 228

    Parker gets close to 50% of votes cast and with a commanding lead over 2021 candidate.

    Who are you going to blame for the low turnout? I’m sure 2021 did their best to increase it.

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  25. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    “Patrick Starr Says:
    August 16th, 2008 at 8:18 am

    It may not have been the smartest of negotiations but you have to laugh at the comments of Cosgrove;

    “I’m mystified when our own mayor says “if they hadn’t moved they would have had to engage in a fire sale,’ well fire sales tend to be a lot cheaper,” says Clayton Cosgrove,

    has he forgotten how many buyers were lining up to buy the Rail from Toll?”

    Only one – the Government, and that’s because the whole situation was totally contrived, Labour engaged in dirty dealing to force Toll to sell out.

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  26. freethinker (681 comments) says:

    Christchurch CC in the last year have pissed off ratepayers by spending a reputed $100m on a new town hall, changed the rubbish collection system and now the deal with Henderson. The problem is not necessarily the deals but the underhand way they have been handled which reinforces my view that binding refernda are a must if only to pose the threat of recall before election time. Henderson has vision and his Lichfield st redevelopment has revitalised a run down area of the city, whatever he may be like personally at least he does things unlike so many National & Local politicians.

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  27. Jack5 (4,591 comments) says:

    Kiwiblog followers who don’t live in Christchurch shouldn’t be fooled by the deluge of ACT supporter comments above on the Henderson-Parker dea. They are mischievously trying to paint it as a belly ache of the far left.

    The Christchurch Chamber of Commerce and National MP Gerry Brownlie have been two of the strongest critics of Sideshow Bob and Henderson over this sweetheart deal.

    Kiwblog readers outside Christchurch might not be aware that ACT in the city has been strongly infiltrated by Zap members like Henderson. They might also be unaware that Zap is an offshoot of Scientology. Zappers aren’t your usual run-of-the-mill libertarians.

    Letters to the Christchurch newspaper and comments on talkback overwhelmingly slate Mayor Parker on this issue. And no, Swampy, I’m not a Labour voter nor a far-lefter, nor even a centre-leftist. Just until now a potential ACT voter. Thanks for reminding me ACT includes a bunch of crazy bastards as well as decent people like Mrs Roy and Sir Roger Douglas.

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  28. burt (7,820 comments) says:

    Jack5

    Yes the ACT people are a bunch of crazy bastards – they want accountability from govt!

    Mad mad mad, imagine expecting politicians being accountable to the voters rather than self serving lovers of corruption and retrospective validations.

    Enjoy supporting the most self serving govt this country has ever seen – it might not be here for much longer and once it’s gone you might even understand why accountability and principles are more important than Helen Clark winning a 4th term.

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  29. Mary (1 comment) says:

    Swampy, it’s time to come out and be honest. We all know you’re Bob Parker. It’s been a while since you were blogging; you must be feeling particularly sensitive about this issue.

    You did well in the election, but I think it’s time to go back to the game shows. Lightweight is a little too kind. You’ve demonstrated you are clearly out of your depth. Your central city vision is sound, and I’d suggest shared by many. The problem is, that’s about the only thing you’ve got right. You are unable to lead, unable to bring the city with you, and unable to get simple process right. Throw in to the mix the uncertainty over your campaign donations and things are starting to look very dicey.

    Frankly, I don’t really care what the Labour Party is up to. But it is significant that Gerry Brownlee, David Carter, Clayton Cosgrove, Jim Anderton, Lianne Dalziel, Ruth Dyson, and many others have all united to criticise this decision. And I particularly respect the views of Peter Townsend on this issue.

    One term mayor? I’m not even sure you’re going to last that long.

    Having said that, the media may campaign to keep you, simply for the entertainment value.

    PS: Hey Big Spender, I’m sure this is going to get more airtime over the next 2 years: http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=aXShgZrqMjk

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