DCC meeting and apology NOT Enough— #SouthDunedinFlood

Election Year : The following post is offered in the public interest. -Eds

Received today.

android-email-app [carleton.ca]From: Hilary Calvert
To: Dave Cull
Cc: Golds [Godfrey Dodd], All Elected Members, Vaughan Elder [ODT]
Subject: Re: Flooding

Thanks for copying us in.

May we know when you requested that the mudtanks were cleaned thoroughly?

I had thought that it was an initiative from Ruth Stokes, as part of the looking into and reporting back on the flood.

I am also interested in your “fact” that the stormwater system is not capable even at optimal condition and performance……. Do you mean that it was not then, or that it would not be even if we made adjustments and sorted out the mudtanks and fixed the screen/pump and made changes which we have signalled to the general stormwater system which flows through South Dunedin?

If council modelling showed the extent of the flooding would be precisely as it was in the event of that magnitude, what relevance had the problems with the screen/pump and the mudtanks? I guess all the problems in South Dunedin during the flood were localised problems and many of them as a result of water lying about, so did our modelling show that as well?

I understood that there was still more work to be done to understand what we could best do particularly about the interconnection between the water from various sources and what we could afford of the options available.

Do you see the governance part of the Council completely blameless in this process?
Since you have apparently arranged for the mudtanks to be cleared, surely you/we could have done something sooner.

Do we have a role at all in your view, apart from advising people they are wrong when it turns out we may have incomplete information?

As seems true for all of the information surrounding this horrible flood, the more information we receive the more questions we have.

Kind regards,



On 26/04/2016, at 5:30 AM, Dave Cull wrote:

Dear Mr Dodd,
Thank you for your email. I am puzzled by the apparent assertion that I have blamed the 2015 June flooding on Climate Change. While that may be the root cause I don’t recall saying that. The cause of the flooding, as has finally been comprehensively reported (for a meeting today) was the fact that the stormwater system in South Dunedin is not capable, even at optimum condition and performance, of coping with the amount of rain that fell over that period. That is a simple calculation given the capacity of the system in both volume and pumping terms, and the severity of the event. The mudbank maintenance failure was reprehensible from both a contractor and staff oversight perspective, especially as exactly the same issue had been raised some four years ago and assurances given that it would not happen again. The fact that some mudbanks were not up to scratch may have caused some localised problems and perhaps prolonged the water lying, but they did not cause the extent of the flooding. That was exactly as Council’s modelling showed it would be in an event of that magnitude.
Six years ago Council received reports stating (among other conclusions) two things. First that more frequent and severe rain events were likely. Second that the stormwater system in South Dunedin was not capable of handling those. So flooding was very likely. Last year the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment issued a report showing that rising ground water, pushed up by sea level rise will increasingly afflict South Dunedin.
It’s most important to recognise that while stormwater and groundwater can each affect the other, they are different and have different causes.
The failure was operational and managerial as Council was repeatedly assured that maintenance was up to scratch.
Council’s challenge now is to address both stormwater and groundwater issues. We have already, at my request, ensured that the stormwater system is in the best shape possible as winter approaches, by having all the mudbanks cleaned properly. Additionally the screen at the Portobello Rd pumping station, which was blocked by debris carried by the overwhelming amount of water, will be replaced by July.
Council will consider that report which has taken such a frustratingly long time to get to us, and determine the next necessary steps.
At your request I have copied this to all elected members.

Dave Cull


From: Golds [Godfrey Dodd]
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2016 7:07 PM
To: mayor @dcc.govt.nz
Subject: FW: Flooding

Dear Mayor
I am sending you this email in that it may make you understand how one ratepayer views your complete failure in the flooding in South Dunedin
WE all know that climate warming is a fact but your glib PR spin and articles in the paper does nothing for your credibility and your lack apology shows that you and the council do not except responsibility for this lack of governance
It is sad that only one of the council appears to have enough bottle to ask you to do in an old fashion way the decent thing
My wish is that you pass this email as part of an agenda item a the next council meeting on how one ratepayer views your lack of understanding in the way a Mayor should carry out his role
I would interested in your reply

Godfrey Dodd


From: Golds [Godfrey Dodd]
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2016 10:00 AM
To: Andrew Whiley [DCC]
Subject: Flooding

Hi Andrew
It is with disappointment reading the failure of governance by the council I was a chairman in those days that was the title of a high school board If the school had a problem which effected the community you had to stand up and take the blame
I do not expect the council elected members to clean mud tanks but when there is failure of this size then the expectation of the community that something is seriously wrong with the governance of the council The glib excuses as regards rise in sea level is the catch cry of the council which you as a member are part of
In my view the council members should of put on gumboots and gone out with the CEO and inspected the mud tanks instead of waiting a year for a report It saddens me to find that people in South Dunedin were not accorded this Instead we had articles written that showed how out of touch the council members were These articles were part of the green PR spin which now blights any decision that this particular council makes All that was needed was clean mud tanks and clear governance by the members of the council not excuses I hope that this is a lesson that you as a council member takes on board when making decisions in the future
Kindest Regards

Godfrey Dodd

ODT 25.4.16 (letter to the editor)

ODT 25.4.16  Letter to editor Vandervis p10

Tue, 26 Apr 2016
ODT: Vandervis forcing mud-tank issue [+ Letters]
A series of emails released by Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis show he was raising concerns about the state of Dunedin’s mud-tanks as long ago as 2011. Cr Vandervis said he released the emails because only publicity forced the council to change its ways. “This publicity is going to make sure it really is sorted once and for all this time.” The release of the emails follows a report released by the Dunedin City Council last week into last June’s flood, which found 75% of mud-tanks in South Dunedin were not properly maintained.

Tue, 26 Apr 2016
ODT: Staff apology for mud-tank failure
Council staff were responsible for not properly overseeing mud-tank maintenance in South Dunedin, not councillors or the mayor, a senior staff member says. Council infrastructure and networks general manager Ruth Stokes started today’s council infrastructure services committee meeting by apologising on behalf of council staff for the failings identified in a report on last June’s flood. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and Crs David Benson-Pope and Lee Vandervis were among those who had raised mud-tank performance prior to the South Dunedin floods, and been given incorrect information by staff. “For that I would like to, on behalf of the executive, apologise,” Ms Stokes. The failure was a management failure and not governance one, she said.

lee pushing head in mudtank words [Douglas Field 26.4.16] detailDouglas Field 26.4.16 (detail)

Comment at ODT Online:

Mayor Dave Cull outraged
Submitted by JimmyJones on Tue, 26/04/2016 – 1:49pm.

Mayor Cull says he is outraged at the failure of Fulton Hogan and council staff to adequately ensure that the mudtanks were in working condition. He should also be outraged at his own poor leadership and failure to respond to developing problems. Under his leadership the city continued to build up a backlog of worn-out stormwater pipes and equipment waiting for funding to be allocated. With this lack of funding we have seen the inevitable result of a deteriorating stormwater system. The poor state of the stormwater system was the primary cause of the severity of the flooding at Kaikorai, Mosgiel and South Dunedin last year.

This under-funding of the stormwater renewals is not an accident. Every year the DCC Mayor and councillors decide and vote on this spending – and every year they vote to under-fund the stormwater renewals because they think that a new stadium and a new swimming pool and more bicycle lanes are more important than a functioning stormwater system. The Annual Plan shows that the under-funding will continue next year. Expect the deterioration to continue.

Related Post and Comments:
20.4.16 DCC Politics : Release of Infrastructure Report #SouthDunedinFlood

█ For more, enter the term *flood* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Email image: carleton.ca – android-email-app


Filed under Business, Climate change, DCC, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Events, Finance, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design, What stadium

53 responses to “DCC meeting and apology NOT Enough— #SouthDunedinFlood

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    Mudbanks [Cull]
    Mud sh-sh-shark [Zappa]
    FZ: That’s right, you heard right, the Secret Word for tonight is Mud Shark! And of course with the Mud Shark Secret Word is the Mud Shark Arpeggio . . . a marvellous little arpeggio, and now the mating call of the adult male Mud Shark . . .

    Mud Sh-sh-shark

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    The reason staff didn’t get out to Portobello to clear the screen was they were busy elsewhere, we heard at the meeting.
    It’s only one of the innumerable delays while anyone could see (or hear – there needs to be more information within DCC and Council about the use of telephones to find out what isn’t immediately under one’s nasal septum) that water was rapidly getting beyond a joke in South Dunedin.
    No matter what else went on, the water-go-away system relies on any water that gets into drains being able to get back out of them, somewhere else, so ascertaining that the exit was fully functioning should have been a priority. It wasn’t, so by the time some poor blighter got out there nothing could be done without serious risk to the worker(s).

    Isn’t there a plan for floods, a plain step by step how-to?
    Local radio, alerts, phone numbers to call if water reaches your house, if illness / accident. Pass on info to radio station as soon as it comes to hand. DCC emergency site ditto, make sure ahead of time site works well on smartphones… and URL is easy to find, not go to DCC home page and click through a dozen choices hoping to find the emergency one under (non-intuitive) department heading.
    Civil defence. Fire Service. St Johns.
    Sandbags. Supply, call 03XXXxxxx / local radio to rally fillers.
    Evacuation, find out if necessary YES/NO. Recheck in X minutes according to local report from [person]……..
    Have some idea where you’d evac people to, don’t do the headless chicken dance in your gumboots while a frail elderly person is being helped into a vehicle……
    ……….and so on.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    There was a smart observation made at the meeting to the effect that if one mudtank is blocked water makes its way to the next one.
    It’s unfortunate that nobody at the meeting had caught up with South Dunedin wisdom, in particular the reality-based observation by one woman that such indeed happened, then when DCC farted around with the streets, possibly associated with cycle lanes though they do it all over the place, making intersections more problematic for motorists and dangerous for cyclists who have to veer out into the narrowed roadway to get past them – those absurd bulges on corners, sometimes elsewhere to plant a tree in. Water flows along, cannot continue to next grating, rises till it can get over the kerb and whaddayaknow, down a convenient path to a doorstep. Result, water in householder’s garden, if they’re lucky. In the house saturating the carpet, the gib board and any low-lying electrics, if they are unlucky a.k.a. victims of incompetence.

    • Mike

      Exactly this happens to the intersection above where I live, the mudtank up the hill from it overflows back up again – water flows down one grating, back up the next (one full mudtank) – then pools at the third one in the intersection itself (a second maybe full mudtank, though often it’s simply the grating full of leaves because the street is not cleaned often enough), overflowing across the road jumping the curb and heading into my neighbour’s garden and/or my driveway.

  4. Gurglars

    Not a Governance problem!

    Cr Vandervis had been complaining to other councillors about uncleaned mudtanks since 2011!!!

    Nothing done until after the floods he predicted???

    Shutting the door after the horse has bolted has now been replaced by –

    “Cleaning the mudtanks after we have abandoned South Dunedin”

    Dave Cull did not blame Climate Change??

    Must have been the Tooth Fairy.

    Short memories
    No blame apportioned

    Rollicking from one disaster to another

  5. Gurglars

    What did Dave Cull say?

    Here it is


    If he didn’t say it- he definitely WROTE it.

    The expression unable to look at the trees for the forest escapes you then consider- unable to look at the infrastructure for the climate change mantra.

    The only way we will be able to quantify the real root causes of the floods is to keep the mudtanks clean, keep the pumping stations in good working order and wait for the inevitable annual rain event.

  6. Ro

    ” Infrastructure in South Dunedin had coped as well as could be expected, Mr Cull said. ” ….
    ” ‘This kind of downpour is exactly the kind of climatic change that is predicted for the eastern South Island in the event of unfolding climate change,’ he said. ”

    Source: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/344767/flood-will-cost-ratepayers-cull

  7. Ro

    “Cull says Dunedin is confronting something akin to a “slow-motion earthquake” – an unfolding disaster in which extreme rainfall events such as happened in June (when 142mm fell in 24 hours in South Dunedin) will occur more often, and will conspire with gradually rising groundwater to cause much more frequent floods.”
    Source: http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/science/water-views/

  8. Ro

    ” “The evidence is overwhelming,” says Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull. Rising sea level is not a remote future threat for his city; it is already here. “It’s ­happening to us, and it’s happening now.” ”
    Source: http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/science/water-views/

    • Hype O'Thermia

      I’m currently in Concord, small problem of anchor caught on the edge of the drowned Concord Tavern roof. Planning to sail to Whare Flat, shouldn’t be long now. Do you feel like water-skiing up to join us for the Matariki barbie, Ro?

  9. Gurglars

    So Ro it can’t be true-

    Don’t you believe the Mayor?

  10. Elizabeth

    The council could be held liable for a class action by flood victims or the insurance companies. –Cr Lee Vandervis

    Lee Vandervis [DCC files]### radionz.co.nz 3:25 pm on 26 April 2016
    RNZ News
    Councillor reveals flood warning emails
    The Dunedin City Council could face legal action based on emails showing it knew about problems with the city’s drainage tanks years before they flooded, a councillor says. Councillor Lee Vandervis said he had warned the council about problems with the tanks in 2011, four years before flooding last year caused damage that would cost millions of dollars to repair. Many people were left homeless after about 1250 properties flooded in South Dunedin last June, leaving the city with a $30 million bill.
    Mr Vandervis said the emails he had published showed the council was well aware the mud tanks that were supposed to be cleared were not being properly maintained. He said the equipment needed to do the job was not even in Dunedin for a substantial period of time.
    RNZ link + Flood Photos

    Related (RNZ)
    Drainage system inadequate for floods
    Families struggling after Dunedin floods
    Dunedin flood insurance bill hits $28 million
    South Dunedin considers sea level threat
    Dunedin homes still damp after flooding

  11. Elizabeth

    The resolution brought to yesterday’s DCC Infrastructure Services Committee by Mayor Cull received changes to read (noting this has yet to be formally verified and confirmed in the minutes – difficult to read from the public gallery):

    “That staff report back to the Infrastructure Services Committee in July with an update on progress against the 30-year infrastructure strategy noting particularly:

    ● South Dunedin stormwater and sewerage infrastructure.
    ● Mosgiel stormwater and sewerage infrastructure

    And a timetable for updates or possible measures to ensure that stormwater management in South Dunedin is capable of preventing or mitigating flooding caused by severe rain events.

    That communications with South Dunedin residents is progressed as a matter of priority with regular reports back to the Council as the communications plan is implemented.”

    In ensuing discussion, Cr John Bezett commented that ‘In general I support it [the resolution] – can staff achieve what the resolution says?’ …. The resolution fits our strategy …. ‘adding Mosgiel in the resolution’ [brings] ‘an impossible workload before July’.

    [resolution put and carried]

    █ Note: At the meeting, discussion revealed that DCC intends to create a new “stormwater engineer” position.

    • Brian Miller

      Elizabeth. I am very interested in your thoughts about the resolution from council yesterday. Especially the point about staff reporting back about the Mosgiel stormwater and sewerage infrastructure.
      I have just read the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board submission to the DCC Annual Plan. It is available on the council website on the board’s agenda for the April meeting. What is surprising is the fact that apparently everybody including the council knew about this stormwater and sewage problem out in Mosgiel, except the Community Board. There is no mention in the board’s submission to the DCC Annual Plan about this problem, nor are they asking council to fix the problem. Once again we have a community board asleep at the wheel, that has been caught short when it comes to representing the people in the Mosgiel Taieri board area.

      • Elizabeth

        Too busy thinking about money for pet pools (due to their powerful friends). Not core infrastructure – unlike some of their companion community boards who are always quick to look at roads, bridges, seal extensions, foot paths, rubbish collection, erosion and slip mitigation and the like.

  12. Elizabeth


    ### radionz.co.nz 5:53 pm on 22 April 2016
    Checkpoint with John Campbell
    Dunedin Mayor outraged after flood report finds multiple faults
    Dave Cull says he’s outraged with council contractors Fulton Hogan and those charged with overseeing their work, following a damning report into catastrophic flooding in South Dunedin last year.
    Audio | Download: Ogg   MP3 (10′ 25″)


    Ratepayer money should not be seen as some lesser currency, a commodity easy to come by and easy to spend.

    Tue, 26 Apr 2016
    ODT Editorial: Floods highlight wider issue
    OPINION Ten months after swathes of Dunedin were left submerged by floodwaters a report on how the city’s infrastructure performed has finally been completed. Released last week, the Dunedin City Council report covered many issues and highlighted the severity of the June weather event […] the report’s real focus was on infrastructure and its findings on that score are sobering. […] The Dunedin City Council must change how exacting and demanding it is of the people we pay to maintain our city.

  13. Elizabeth

    Wed, 27 Apr 2016
    ODT: Manager apologises for city council staff failings
    The probable need for huge investment in South Dunedin’s infrastructure was accepted by Dunedin city councillors during a marathon meeting yesterday. Councillors spent more than two and a-half hours at yesterday’s infrastructure services committee meeting discussing a report released last week which found 75% of mud-tanks in South Dunedin were not properly maintained before last June’s flood.

    █ The clearest indication yet was also given that staff were being disciplined as a result of the failures, with chief executive Sue Bidrose saying “appropriate employment processes are being followed where needed”.

    Wise Words: (via ODT)
    Cr Lee Vandervis said it was important the council investigated how much the flood had cost the people of Dunedin, so it could balance whatever investment it had to make against the “real costs” to people. “When we have an appreciation of those sorts of millions then we can more confidently in the future vote [for millions in spending] as an investment in South Dunedin, knowing that it’s going to improve the value of the properties.”

    █ He believed knowing the costs would help blunt councillors enthusiasm for “pet projects” and result in more spending on “basic infrastructure”.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Talking about money required for adequate storm water system for South Dunedin, Ruth Styles said the current budget was for (precis) staying the same as before. Presumably this was paid out to contractors* but what they did was much less than “same as before”. So with the same amount of money, how good/bad would it be if everyone from CEO to dude with stop/go sign pulled their fingers out and did what they were paid for?

      *Contractors – refunded some of the money they were paid when someone other than Lee Vandervis took notice of the fact they hadn’t done the work. Where did that money go? More lights for professional sports?

  14. Observer

    I’ve just listened to John Campbell’s interview with Dave Cull.
    How can Dave Cull seriously believe that “26% of the mudtanks being completely blocked and 36% being partially blocked” not have “caused the flooding”? – or at the very least even have “contributed” to the flooding?
    If his staff report told him to jump into the flooding and it would cease would he buy that as well?

  15. russandbev

    Cull writes to a resident telling him that he is puzzled by the “apparent assertion that he blamed the flooding on Climate Change”. He doesn’t remember saying what he said to various media after the flood nor what he wrote in his opinion piece. I will be more than interested in reading or hearing what he has to say to Cr Calvert.

  16. Ro

    Both Ruth Stokes and Dave Cull said on Checkpoint on Friday that the flood would have happened whether or not the stormwater system had performed properly. One wonders why we have mudtanks at all if being blocked had no effect on the water-levels. But that matter aside, the Council’s report said that there was insufficient information to draw any conclusions on what would have happened had the infrastructure operated properly. This means that the claim that it would have happened anyway is entirely without support

    • Hype O'Thermia

      There’s a kind of minimal truth in saying there would have been a flood anyway, irrespective of the condition of mudtanks and the pump.
      But the disinformation – can we be that blunt these sensitive days? – lies in not acknowledging that there is a huge difference between the lawn being flooded for a couple of days, and the house having a water mark up the wall and being still uninhabitable months after the event.

  17. Calvin Oaten

    It seems that Dave Cull suffers from ‘selective memory syndrome’ a contagious malady within both bureaucracies and elected officers. It is doubly dangerous when the sufferer is also afflicted by ‘talking off the lip’ before the brain infuses the question’ syndrome. We see it “in spades” here.

  18. brownestudy

    Apropos of nothing, here is The Format for Radio Announcer Apology. “MEA CULPA On the Air! First, an apology. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so effing sorry! I have contritely smashed the recordings, ‘Louisiana Flood, 1927’, ‘4 feet of Water in the Streets of Evangeline’, and that song about Otira, ‘River, Stay ‘Way from My Door’. I don’t know what came over me. Darn, there I go again, ‘over me’. I’m sorry..”

  19. Lyndon Weggery

    Readers will pleased to know that the South Dunedin Protection Group has a formal meeting with the Mayor and DCC Management next Tuesday 3 May at 4pm. As a member of that Group I will take the opportunity to ask the Mayor if they are going to reprioritise their LTP capital budget to bring forward more money to spend on Stormwater network renewals as at the moment this work is not scheduled until 2060s!!!! If he says yes then we are getting somewhere and at long last the DCC are taking their 3 Waters Strategy seriously.

    • Elizabeth

      Yes aware of the meeting, thanks Lyndon.
      I’m sure there will be hard hitting from SDAG after the disgraceful ISC meeting yesterday (where most councillors and staff seemed divorced from South Dunedin residents’ and businesses’ post-flood plight).
      Although the Mayor doesn’t have the say on Annual Plan budgets, he needs to make a commitment to be persuasive with his fellow Councillors when they come to vote on the final Plan. However this will require leadership.

      Notice the Central City Plan is still lumbering on because no one is brave enough to curtail it…. What woud we rather spend money on – the under-budgeted core infrastructure at South Dunedin and Mosgiel (and city-wide), or pretty (PET) things for private CBD businesses that did not stand a major flood from their own pockets ?

    • JimmyJones

      Lyndon, are you going to “ask the Mayor if they are going to reprioritise their LTP capital budget”? or are you going to tell the Mayor that you demand that the DCC upgrades the South Dunedin stormwater system to a minimum performance standard of being able to cope with a rain event of a one in ten year severity? My impression is that if the South Dunedin stormwater system performed to a one in 10 year standard (currently one in two year), then the June floodwaters would not have reached floor height. I suggest that you get an expert to confirm that. The Johnstone independent peer review determined that the June rainfall severity may have been a one in 25 to 30 year event, not the exaggerated one in 100 years.

      Explain to him that over several years the funding to pay for the stormwater renewals and upgrades has been pilfered to pay for their various non-infrastructure pet projects. It is logical, therefore, that the funding for the stormwater upgrades should come from the currently planned various non-infrastructure pet projects. There should be no funding cuts to any other infrastructure projects unless it is one of the really stupid ones, like destroying the south and north parts of the One-Way System or the Central City Plan or funding Jinty’s Energy Plan.

      Be aware that the lack of mud-tank maintenance has been only part of the problem: there are several other problems that need fixing which are currently being ignored. Aim to leave with a pathway to achieving the one in ten year standard.

  20. russandbev

    Lyndon, everything shows that the DCC are in lockdown mode with a defensive screen rising by the day. Experience shows that unless this meeting is conducted on the basis that everyone there is equal then I don’t think that anything will be achieved except meaningless words. I hope that you have an independent Chair as a first step – otherwise it has the potential to be treated as another meeting to be controlled.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “I hope that you have an independent Chair as a first step” : snowball’s chance.
      Stan Rodgers agreed to chair when approached by S Dunedin group.

      NO WAY!

      Elbowed out of the way by Mayor Cull who “I bags’d” the Chair.

  21. Lyndon Weggery

    Jimmy – I can promise you that in the current DCC climate where a lot of people have been caught “failing in their duties” to the Ratepayer that a lot of hard questions will be asked and honest answers (including an acceptance to reprioritise our money into infrastructure renewals) expected. You are correct to zero in on the upcoming Annual Plan budget and making sure adequate funding is directed into the important areas so that Water and Waste [department] does have adequate resources to do the job. At the moment [the department] has no “stormwater specialists” to oversee the huge backlog we face as a City and has put in funding for half a position. Because Elected Officials and Staff will be at the meeting it won’t be an easy task to convince all to move away from “pet projects” like the $37M Central City Plan to fund renewals but the reality is that is what is needed.

    {Moderated. Certain names cannot be mentioned at this website for legal reasons. -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      Lyndon – missing the point, I think. No private meeting can decide budgets – the Annual Plan is subject to full public scrutiny. Do not get your hopes up – and listen to russandbev when they say an independent chair should conduct the 3 May meeting. Some of us have been there before… and we also use an independent minutes secretary (or a trusted GSO) so that any decisions reached or follow up discussed is duly noted and agreed in writing. Clare will know the routine.

  22. Elizabeth

    More strangeness from the Mayor

    Wed, 4 May 2016
    ODT: ‘Quite constructive’ flood meeting
    Residents of South Dunedin think the Dunedin City Council believes flood control and prevention is too big an issue to handle, Dunedin South MP Clare Curran says. Ms Curran was part of a 20-strong group which attended a meeting with the council yesterday to discuss issues relating to the June 3 flooding. […] “I don’t think anyone would deny that there are tensions between the community and the council [about the flood]. This is the first time that the community has had any engagement with the council in 11 months [but] I certainly think that there’s some progress that’s been made.”


    Tue, 3 May 2016
    ODT: Former MP to chair flood meeting
    A former Labour MP and cabinet minister has been called on to help ensure a meeting about Dunedin City Council’s response to last June’s flood runs smoothly. South Dunedin Action Group, which is made up of concerned residents, is meeting the mayor and council staff today to express its concerns about the council’s response to the floods and a report that identified failings in South Dunedin’s infrastructure during the flood.

  23. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz Wed, May 4, 2016
    Your word on winter flooding
    The city council says two thirds of South Dunedin mud tanks weren’t properly maintained when last June’s record rainfall hit. That exacerbated problems for residents and property owners. So our word on the street team asked members of the public if they’re worried about more flooding this winter.
    Ch39 Video

    The boutique owner did well.
    Not much comprehension of the disaster that affected so many South Dunedin homes and businesses. If that’s how random we are with others safety and security (city visitor or not!!) then god help us all.

  24. russandbev

    I’d like to see an unsanitised report of the meeting. How dare Cull “uninvite” the independent Chair. That demonstrates an unwillingness to relinquish control. Petty behaviour that does nothing to engender confidence that the DCC is hearing rather than listening. Cull will continue his “green” answers to his Council’s failure to design, install and operate infrastructure for totally forseeable weather events.

    While NZ’s weather continues to be tropical throughout autumn with firewood being reduced 20% and the airport hits a high of 27 the people of South Dunedin will forget what it was like a year ago with the DCC standing by doing nothing.

  25. Elizabeth

    If Ray Macleod from the South Dunedin Action Group is reading here tonight:

    Ray, will a Group record of meeting with DCC become available for public release – this website is willing to be one of the hosts for the information.

    • Lyndon Weggery

      Elizabeth – notes were taken of the key points by Clare’s secretary and I will ask if these can be reproduced as I would also like to post them on the St Clair Action Group Facebook page. In the meantime I can assure you that it was a positive meeting with the DCC at long last taking us seriously.

      • Elizabeth

        Thanks Lyndon – I’m glad they’ve woken up and know there’s serious pressure afoot upon the house of cards.

  26. Diane Yeldon

    The meeting where the flood report was discussed was 26th April. Still no minutes posted in the DCC website and no meeting video. Prettty pointless not having this information quickly available when the agenda items discussed are still topical. It means the Dunedin public will mostly likely be forming impressions of what occurs at council meetings according to the ODT’s reporting. I would have thought a really good and cost-effective PR move for the DCC would be to have the FACTS in the public domain as soon as possible.
    Eleven days after a meeting is far too long for minutes. And I wish, when the meeting video finally does come out, it would be linked to the minutes. Then it would much easier to find, and people looking for it would know whether it had been posted or not.

    • Elizabeth

      Diane – thanks for the wake up. I got my dates wrong using my smartphone… have deleted that comment. Good suggestions. The YouTube DCC channel at least could be sorted into Council and separate standing committee threads. It’s like the dark ages.

  27. Calvin Oaten

    In the latest ‘FYI’ news letter from the Mayor’s Desk an illuminating discourse. On the June 2015 Flood Report he says: “It is clear from the report that, even working at optimal condition, most stormwater systems throughout the city were installed many years ago and are simply not designed to cope with the volume and intensity of rain experienced last June. Yet extreme rain events are predicted to become more frequent…………… and so on. “More Mayoral conjecture not backed by facts nor the report. In a word, ‘A great Flannel saying nothing.’ This is the person who was the “unbiased” chair of the meeting between the folk from South Dunedin and Council to resolve matters of concern.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      He’s saying nothing about the adverse effect of the kerb projections that prevent water that can’t go down a blocked grating, from flowing along the side of the street to the next grating (mudtank).

      Those kerb bulges are weird, especially on intersections. Cars have to negotiate the narrowed passage when turning, OK when there’s only that one car and no other living creature within coo-ee.

      As for cyclists, for whom so much has been spent so recklessly, even riding straight along a street which like the majority has no dedicated cycle lane – nor should most streets even though most cyclists need to ride on non-laned routes every day – they may do their best to ride safely, keeping to the left, but then they have to swing out wide to go around these kerb bulges. Safe? Sensible? Usual DCC standard of wise planning taking into consideration all relevant factors?

    • JimmyJones

      Well Calvin, reading Dave Cull’s comments, I can see that he spelt his name correctly, but only the first sentence and the last paragraph are true. I describe it as puerile populism. He repeats the infantile claim that even if the stormwater system was working properly, there would still have been flooding. He says this because he hopes that we are all too stupid to know that there is a difference between puddles on the ground – and sewerage and floodwaters flowing through your kitchen at waist height. Obviously ODT reporters don’t see the difference.

      He makes the wild assumption that because the stormwater systems were installed many years ago that we should have expected the very poor level of performance and the serious flooding last June. The problem wasn’t when the pipes were installed, but how they have been maintained. Old things work fine if you replace the worn out parts, but that’s what hasn’t happened.

      He wants us to believe that extreme rain events will be more frequent, but in Dunedin, history shows that the trend is the opposite of the word of Dave. As usual, we have the claim of rising groundwater in South Dunedin: the ORC have measured this (2014) for several years and determined that the ground-water levels are not rising. There are no measurements that show that the South Dunedin ground-water is rising. There are also very accurate measurements (ORC 22/7/15) that show that South Dunedin groundwater levels were completely normal before the June flood (average, 628mm below ground surface). This fact completely destroys the DCC’s carefully crafted comms plan.

      In my view the DCC has absolutely no intention of improving the city’s stormwater systems to reach what used to be the DCC’s design standard of performance – the ability to cope with a one in ten year rain event (8mm per hour of rainfall). The resolution passed at the 26/4/16 ISC meeting will not improve anything because the Infrastructure Strategy that it refers to is the blueprint for the June 2015 stormwater failure.

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    Out of the total amount for the total contract, Fulton Hogan refunded (or did not claim) an amount that I think was $19,000, for non-performance of the mudtank clearing part of the contract.
    It was also noted that for a year their sucker truck was in Christchurch, a year of mudtanks being left in peace to solidify their contents without anyone noticing – well, hardly anyone, and his attempts to bring this to attention ended up in the “nothing to see here, move along please” file.
    I wonder how much they earned for their work in Christchurch using that equipment, and whether it was less or more than the amount foregone from DCC. Did they come out better, or worse, or break even? Just musing……..

    Some people are blind/deaf from birth, some become blind/deaf through accidents, illness or shit-happens: generally they don’t regard it as the best that could ever happen to them. Yet others foster both blindness and deafness selectively as part of professional development. Practice makes perfect. It is only fair that those who have worked so hard to develop these skills are rewarded well with bonuses in recognition of their perseverance.

  29. Elizabeth

    ODT 5.5.16 (page 8)

    2016-05-05 19.59.54

  30. Elizabeth

    Fear not. whatifdunedin is seeing interesting things happening about.

  31. JimmyJones

    Press Release: South Dunedin Action Group
    Statement from South Dunedin Action Group

    Wednesday, 4 May 2016, 2:23 pm

    Some progress has been made in starting a dialogue between South Dunedin and City Hall but the council needs to work hard to rebuild trust, says the South Dunedin Action Group. 11 months after the floods that badly affected South Dunedin, St Clair, St Kilda, Tainui and parts of Musselburgh and Caversham a meeting was held yesterday with the Mayor, senior Council staff at the instigation of the newly formed South Dunedin Action Group (SDAG).

    While the Council acknowledged it had got things wrong in maintaining and managing key infrastructure such as the pumping stations and drains, it was still not prepared to acknowledge that the flooding was made considerably worse by these issues. To some extent Council has admitted the effect of the pumping station issues in the November 2014 report by saying that flooding would have been about 200 mm less had the pumping station been working properly – and that would have saved water entering many houses and buildings.

    That admission has become somewhat lost with later comments by the Council that even if the whole system was working optimally, serious flooding would still have occurred. It is important that the community receives consistent evidence-based information on the causes of the flood and we note that there is considerable engineering knowledge and expertise of our stormwater and waste systems existing within the South Dunedin Action Group.

    Council did however agree that it could improve its performance around civil defence preparedness and communication with communities about how to deal with a major event such as a flood. The SDAG tabled numerous questions that need detailed answers from the Council and it was agreed that another meeting would be held soon. The Group stressed that better communication was needed with the wider communities affected by last year’s floods and a commitment to South Dunedin’s future.

    The SDAG will soon call another public meeting in South Dunedin to report back to the community

    (via Scoop)

    • Hype O'Thermia

      My laundry flooded one day. It took me over an hour to mop up all the water. It was a far more serious flood than the time our hand basin overflowed.
      So excuse me for being a bit yeah-nah about use of the words “serious flooding” here: “comments by the Council that even if the whole system was working optimally, serious flooding would still have occurred.”

      Would the water have come almost up to some people’s doorstep? Would it have been impossible to cross the street without getting soaked past ankle level? Or are they saying a great many houses would have had soaked carpets and some would be uninhabitable months later? How many houses would have needed their occupants evac’d?

      Definition required. Definition including water height compared with water height when current systems is not seriously compromised thanks (yeah, thanks a lot chaps) to neglect of duties.

      Just a thought, now. The mudtank contract non-performance led to a certain amount of non-payment [out of rates, let us not forget]. So since rates are levied on the basis of services and admin provided, is there a rates rebate for property owners who suffered material loss due to non-performance, which looks a lot like failure to honour implicit contract with ratepayers to supply core services as usual in return for rates paid as usual – with over-inflation rate of increase also as usual.

  32. Calvin Oaten

    The problem mainly lies in the fact that neither the council nor its staff are prepared to front up and admit fault in this matter. A thoroughly disgraceful performance by the organisation to whom the citizens look for support.

    {Moderated. Actionable. -Eds}

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