Otago Regional Councillor to Launch ‘Stop the HQ’ Campaign
Otago Regional Councillor to Launch ‘Stop the
Otago regional councillor Michael Laws said today that he will be launching a ‘Stop the HQ ’ campaign, to better inform the Otago public about plans to construct an estimated new $30 million headquarters building in Dunedin, for the Otago Regional Council.
Cr Laws said that the “fortunate breakdown in negotiations” that led to the ORC not purchasing the Dowling Street carpark from the Dunedin City Council, “gives all involved a chance to pause and reflect upon the faith-based nonsense that drives this decision.”
“ There’s no logic nor financial sense to what the Otago regional council is doing. There’s just an obscene desire to waste $30 million of ratepayers’ money upon its own extravagance.”
Cr Laws said that “even if it were true that the regional council’s Stafford Street HQ building is no longer fit for purpose, constructing an entirely new building in Dunedin is just lunacy.”
“ There would be many experienced, reputable property owners and developers In Dunedin who could construct a suitable base for the ORC, utilising existing buildings.
“ The other option is for the Port of Otago’s successful commercial development arm, Chalmers Property, to refurbish or construct any new headquarters building. In that way, you could reduce the ratepayer cost to zero, by simply increasing the port’s annual dividend to cover the rental costs.
“Neither of these saner alternatives are being promoted within the ORC senior leadership. It’s pretty obvious that any legally required consultation on this project will be a sham. The decision has been made and the listening shutters have gone up.”
Cr Laws said that utilising the estimated $30 million construction costs “upon preserving and enhancing the Otago regional environment is the truer investment in the region’s future.”
He expected to announce a ‘Stop the HQ’ steering committee next month and launch a formal campaign “in the spring.”