Robin Dicey’s name is synonymous with the wine industry in Central Otago. Robin grew up in South Africa, and moved to New Zealand in 1977, having trained in viticulture and winemaking.
He has had a huge influence in the wine industry in our area, in teaching, in establishing vineyards and in viticulture and consultation.
In 1996 he established Grape Vision Ltd, to maintain and manage vineyards, often for absentee owners.
He is very much a ‘mover and shaker’, with an ‘in boots and all’ style, and he has been involved in various ways in the majority of our vineyards.
Dissatisfaction with the lack of integrity in the processes of the Cromwell Community Board is the reason Robin gives for his resignation mid-term, making a sudden exit with immediate effect at the end of the board meeting on 20th April this year.
In early June, Robin agreed to an interview to discuss the resignation, but requested an embargo until after the by-election, so that the focus would be on the candidates.
After voting closed at midday on Friday 23 July, Bob Scott was elected the new board member.
Robin’s dramatic exit from the Cromwell Community Board marked the end of an unhappy four and a half years as a board member.
From the very first resolution of the first meeting after he was elected, in October 2016, Robin disagreed with the processes of the board.
“I got interested because all my life I have been a developer, and I wanted to contribute to guiding that development,” says Robin, but he believes we have been ‘terribly short-changed’ on some issues, like the Big Fruit project, and the community centre project, the latter of which has stalled for over 15 years.
He is also frustrated by the way the board and the Central Otago District Council have dealt with some of the development issues in the Cromwell area, and their failure to address issues around Aurora Energy’s inadequate network.
He has been warned that he was not abiding by the board’s code of conduct on occasions, but says,
“I’m not a team player if the rest of the team aren’t playing by the rules.” Robin believes that the processes of the board are ‘mired in bureaucracy gone wrong’.
Asked to comment, Cromwell Community Board chairperson Anna Harrison said that she appreciated that Robin felt constrained by the processes of the Board, and that his hands-on, get-it-done style meant that he was often frustrated. She respected his decision to move on.