The Limited Gene Pool

5 Oct

One thing that becomes pretty obvious in little ol’ Invers is how small it is.   Is our gene pool of business people that limited? The tendrils of some companies seem so intertwined that those that speak out are seen as conspiracy theorists.

I have been fortunate enough to meet and talk with some very interesting people while on the hustings this election period.  The varying people I have spoken to have made me realise how ‘connected’ some groups are.  It takes only a very little research to start connecting dots, the concept that deals are made with a nudge and wink (and a directorship or two) isn’t a big reach.

The concept can easily lead you to question the competence of the people in power   When the names are well known and they receive significant payments in varying roles, you assume they have skills.  Why do we attribute money to ability?  Look at the long running debacle in Invercargill at the moment, Stadium Southland.

Millions of dollars spent and many millions to go.  So much of that money is public money and ICC have a $20M+ lawsuit hanging over them (us) because of it.  Short trusses, repeated delays, cost over runs,…you’d think they were ‘cowboys’.  The Stadium Southland website says this:

Stadium Southland is governed by the Southland Indoor Leisure Charitable Trust as owners of the building, and the Stadium Southland Board of Directors.


Acton Smith (Chair), Alan Dennis (Deputy Chair), Shona Richardson, John McDowell, Greg Mulvey, David Adamson, Wayne Harpur, Peter Kett, Denis Woods

Keep seeing the same names on so many groups.  Acton Smith is well known as part of the H & J Smith family and had been involved with SBS Bank for 21 years.  The latest SBS annual report shows he only served four months as chairman but received $250,000.  Alan Dennis is not only an ICC councillor but possibly better known as part of ILT and the ILT Foundation.  Greg Mulvey looks to be one of those connecting dots we see too often in Invercargill.  Greg Mulvey is General Manager of ILT (getting over $350K p.a. according to the finances) AND a director of SBS receiving $61K a year.

And the Board of Directors of the stadium?…


Bruce Middleton (Chair), Gary Muir, Karen Moore, David Main, Julie Shirley

More tendrils, ILT Deputy Manager and Sales and Marketing Manager Gary Muir is a director of the Stadium Southland Board of Directors.  They are only the names I know from my limited involvement, some research will probably find more connections. 

SBS and ILT are the two companies that were vying for naming rights.  It wasn’t put out to the wider community.   Closer inspection of the stadium trust shows right and wrong aren’t black and white to them.  To accept $2m with conditions and then find a loophole is just plain WRONG to most of us.  The ineptness of the organisation is obvious, their own website (as of today) claims Wayne Harpur and Peter Kett are trustees.  Wayne left in 2008 and Peter in 2010.  The email contact address on Charities is an ILT address.  Mulvey, when discussing the naming rights deal, claims it is an unconditional grant….ummmm….but it’s conditional on it being named after ILT isn’t it?  Maybe I’m just confused because I don’t know what hats the three ILT/Stadium representatives are wearing.  Those negotiations must have been tough.  Yeah right.

Tendrils is a too kind word.  Slimy tentacles slithering into every nook and cranny to suck the life out of what should be a community asset.  Well paid, but are they well worth it?  No!  Over paid is an understatement.


2 Responses to “The Limited Gene Pool”

  1. Philip.T October 5, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    You are correct, as a small city we have lost our way and it is mainly because a very few have been happy to see practices develop that are self serving and immoral. Money has corrupted people who should know better. In part we can only blame ourselves for sitting back and letting it happen but we should still be able to trust in our civic leaders to act in a manner above reproach. I think everything has a tipping point and lets hope Invercargill is close to its one.
    Sometimes you need to say things differently to put them in context. The revelation that the directors of the Holdco and its subsidiaries happily pocket 572K is bad enough. But in context of its declared profit or dividend the the ICC that is 14% of that money! Good business people look to declare profits of 11% in todays world from businesses they own.
    This same sickness bought down so many finance companies over the last few years and lets hope the test of transparency will do the same here.

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