“Civic administration” reacts to hard hitting Listener article

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

S o u t h • D u n e d i n • F l o o d

Truth and decency are owed to the flood affected people of South Dunedin.

Interpretations post flood and in the months since —appear without technical evidence, making false claim to Climate Change (the ‘end is nigh’ if only to avoid local government liability), in contradiction to data and analysis provided by local engineers, ORC, MetService and former council staff, amongst others.

Listener 11-17 Jun 2016 p22 [20160606_154423] 36 June 2016
[post] Listener June 11-17 2016 : Revisiting distress and mismanagement #SouthDunedinFlood

‘Our leader’ is in a self-flagellating hole —prepared to say anything to attract votes in the October local body elections. Serious ? Genuine ?

We owe it to ourselves.
The Mayor of Dunedin should not get a third term.

‘Leadership’ has involved neglect of core council business – specifically, maintenance of key infrastructure network and services.

This has done too much damage: tens of millions of dollars of damage at South Dunedin. A massive hit sustained by constituents and insurers. Yet today ‘the administration’ rattles and unsettles the community it has comprehensively failed, with latest wanton burble at the opinion pages of the Otago Daily Times.

The Mayor should immediately resign his office at Dunedin City Council.

Bullshit from the Mayor and underlings is UNACCEPTABLE.
South Dunedin has a stormwater system that when properly maintained is well able to take rainstorms equivalent to that experienced a year ago.

Systems can always be improved but the current stormwater system is not all that old and has been designed with sufficient control mechanisms and stopgaps.

The Administration failed (for years) to deliver on budget, contracts, drain and mudtank maintenance; failed to check pump performance and screens at pumping stations during the June 2015 storm event; as staffing changed, failed to set in place procedures for weather events; failed to understand Civil Defence requirements for the most densely settled suburb of Dunedin; failed to adequately consider storm run-off from surrounding hill areas and the increase of impermeable surfaces as The Flat developed; failed to release stormwater to the ocean, etc etc……. but ultimately FAILED to put proper thought and planning to AVOIDANCE of Endangerment to the lives, health and livelihoods of thousands of South Dunedin residents.

Seriously. That’s the sort of ‘care and concern’ the gold-chained opinion-writer represents at ODT today. Further, there are Absolutely No Grounds to grease up the loophole backside of the technically inexpert Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

The Listener article raises the issue of “mismanagement” during the rains of early June 2015. The liability rests at council doors.
That is a hammering public fact.

█ For related posts and comments, enter the terms *flood*, *sea level rise*, *stormwater*, *hazard*, *johnstone*, *hendry*, *south dunedin action group*, *debriefing notes* or *listener* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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19 Comments

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19 responses to ““Civic administration” reacts to hard hitting Listener article

  1. Free Wheeler

    This is a rerun of the big noise made in the town hall on the stadium issue. Can now see the need for cycle ways. On ya bike Dave.

    • Elizabeth

      So long as the Highway cycleway that magics him off to Tarras for good, also deletes itself soon as the last vestige of his tail feathers are out of view. Looking up the backside of an Ostrich is repugnant.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Hit the road, Dave, and don’t you come back next term
      you squirmy turncoat worm
      Hit the road, Dave, and don’t you come back no more

  2. Ray

    If the mayor was playing golf the South Dunedin flood would be his worst water hazard ever. He should resign right now.

  3. Free Wheeler

    Ray, talk about floods in South Dunedin. I see that South Dunedin is to get another kick in the guts, with the cycleway money being transferred out Portobello way. Why couldn’t the money be diverted to stormwater infrastructure.

  4. Elizabeth

    ODT 11.6.16 (page 30)

    ODT 11.6.16 Letter to editor Garbutt p30 bw

    Russell Garbutt, unabridged 6.6.16

    “I note that in the latest Listener, award-winning author Rebecca Macfie has written a comprehensive article on the 2015 June South Dunedin floods.  Clearly this flood and the failures of the DCC to operate its own infrastructure were of national interest.  I am curious just why the ODT hasn’t devoted the same amount of investigations and reporting when it has its own investigative reporter and purports to be a strong and independent voice of the city and region.  While the DCC are reported in the article as wanting to “move onwards”, it is timely for ratepayers to be reminded of the responses of those elected Councillors at the time of the flood and since when considering where to place their votes in October.”

    [ends]

    • Lyndon Weggery

      It is a good article and it will be fascinating to see what elected DCC officials turn up next Monday week at the second Public Meeting called by Clare Curran MP on the South Dunedin flooding. What worries me now is despite the wise decision to defer any more South Dunedin cycleways (apart from fixing Portobello Rd) the money saved is being channelled towards the Central Business District as part of the DCC’s planned $37M “upgrade”. Waiting in the wings is another pet project, namely the Harbourside Development which will also cost us big time. Meantime residents and ratepayers wait patiently for the DCC to spend money on South Dunedin infrastructure to minimise future flooding.

      • Elizabeth

        Unless there’s an independent chairperson at that South Dunedin Public Meeting on the evening of 20 June (time and venue details to come) who is well grounded in meeting procedure – the meeting will be a lost cause.

  5. Anthony

    Maybe they don’t like being called a strong and independent voice of the city and region. Why else would they abridge Russell’s letter.

  6. Elizabeth

    S O U T H • D U N E D I N
    Dunedin constituents might like to remember….

    David Slack ponders the culture of evasion in business and politics

    Businesses grumbling about accountability might like to remember the Pike River disaster.

    ### Stuff.co.nz 05:00, June 12 2016
    David Slack: ‘All PR, no responsibility’
    Opinion: Someone called Legal Reasons has all the excuses.
    I didn’t ask for a reference when I finished at Kentucky Fried Chicken because in my three weeks there I managed to break an expensive set of scales and they thought I was a spy. I wasn’t a spy. But I was still working for Homestead Chicken on the side, after I’d promised not to. And what normal person reads the staff noticeboard on their tea break? Open and shut case, no doubt about it. Also – and here they had a point – how unbelievably stupid do you have to be to let an expensive set of scales get shaken off the edge of a twenty foot bench by the vibrating flour bin? I didn’t ask for a reference as I pulled on my helmet, and they didn’t offer me one. But most people earn it, and when they finish up, the boss hands them a nice letter. At least that’s how it used to work.
    A young man I know has had a job for the past nine years making spectacle lenses. But a couple of months ago, the company shut down that part of their business.
    Not a huge surprise. Happens all the time these days. One minute you think you’re making steel for a world-class state-of-the-art iconic bleeding-edge Auckland international convention centre, the next thing they’ve ordered it from Thailand. Kia ora.
    But get this: after nine years of being punctual and hard-working and making lenses all day long, he’s not getting a reference. No one is. Off you go. They say they can’t provide one. Why not? “Legal reasons.”
    That’s the totality of their answer. “Legal reasons.”
    But they did their job perfectly well! What’s the problem? “Something something liability something,” apparently. Perhaps we could blame the lawyers, being all super-cautious about everything all the time. But should we? There’s a business frame of mind that only hears the part of their lawyers’ advice they want to hear, then tells the world “My lawyer said I can’t” when in fact the lawyer only told them “be careful”.
    This is how, for example, the phrase “Privacy Act” becomes a mantra. “We can’t issue you a refund, sir.” Why not? “It’s our policy. Privacy Act.” “We can’t tell you the name of our driver who just backed over your dog.” Why not? “It’s our policy. Privacy Act.” “We can’t tell you where your car is, sir.” Why not? You guessed it. If you ask them to explain this ‘policy’ they may say: “Our lawyer told us to.” If you ask their lawyer, she’ll sigh and say: “That’s not what I told them. Not at all.”
    Many businesses today come in two unpleasant flavours – full of swaggering pride about their vital importance to the world and/or lawyered up to a fault. Both of those flavours seem to make them incapable of ever admitting they’re wrong about anything. Ever.
    Company directors have been grumbling lately about law changes that make them more accountable. Big personal liability! Huge fines! Jail! Stuff that for a game of soldiers, eh?
    But if you’ve read Rebecca Macfie’s astonishing account of the mismanagement that preceded the Pike River disaster (Tragedy at Pike River Mine – Awa Press) you may see things differently. You may think some stronger controls and greater accountability might make some people behave a little more carefully, a little more wisely, a little better.
    ….Everyone gets things wrong, but this sharp-elbowed world is full of people who struggle to accept that.
    Read more

    In a city like Dunedin they gave names like…..

  7. Elizabeth

    Unless there’s an independent chairperson at that South Dunedin Public Meeting on the evening of 20 June (time and venue details to come), who is well grounded in meeting procedure – the meeting will be a lost cause.

    Could the South Dunedin Action Group (Hi Ray) please ask Stan Rodger in for that task or someone clearly with similar stature and expertise.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Yes, someone who “is well grounded in meeting procedure” and has mature self-control, and doesn’t call people liars during and after the meeting, particularly when there is not a shred of evidence to support the allegation.

      • Elizabeth

        The “council” is appearing at the meeting – which council politicians, and which staff officials is unclear.

  8. Tom

    Don’t forget that this is election year. A good chance for those who will lose their safe ward seats to lift their profile. Been there done nothing.

  9. Calvin Oaten

    If Cull’s ‘Council taking flooding seriously’ on last Friday’s ODT Opinion page is anything to go by, the meeting will be simply “no fault here, time to move on”, from councillors. Cull makes it plain that as far as he is concerned, it was high ground water combined with an extreme rain event. He then reiterates the Climate Change crap and sea levels rising, neither of which was fact. That suggests he is in serious denial.

    {Moderated. -Eds}

  10. JimmyJones

    Hype O’Thermia, you made a good point over here (those comments are now closed).
    I recall someone mentioning this – how the ingress of silt into the
    pipes can build up over time and become rock hard with the result that the pipe flow becomes restricted. The South Dunedin ICMP (2011) mentions this, it says (page 68): Failure to remove silt and gravel from the catchpits can also lead to siltation and hence capacity reduction of the pipe network; siltation has been identified as an issue in some areas of Dunedin by the Network Management and Maintenance team, and this is currently being investigated as part of a city-wide CCTV (closed circuit television) programme.

    The important points are:
    — siltation of some stormwater pipes has occurred
    — capacity reduction of the pipe network has occurred as a consequence
    — the long-running failure of the DCC to properly clean the mud-tanks (“catchpits”) may have caused silting of the pipes (siltation)
    — the results of the drain-cam inspections have been kept secret (if they have even been done)
    — the cost of repairing the silted pipes has been kept secret

    I don’t know if it is practical to clear out the hardened silt, but this will be expensive, especially if the only solution is to completely replace the affected pipes. No doubt the mud-tank maintenance failure was a cost-cutting measure – but this could now have become an extremely costly cost-cutting measure, an example of very short-term thinking, in an organization infested with the religion of Sustainability.

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