Daily Archives: October 25, 2016

Delta #EpicPowerFail 2 : Plaudits to Saunders & Elder : Delta FunnyMoney


Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 at 11:08 p.m.

Readers, we must again raise our teacups – yes, a bit of condensed milk would be nice, makes the shareholder revenge all the sweeter ! – to Vaughan Elder of the ODT, who rose to the What if? challenge, and lifted the lid (25.10.16) on some astounding revelations at Delta : Management “instructing” staff not to deal with urgent, “compromised” poles but instead, continue with programmed pole replacement. The following is the intellectually threadbare accounting intellect practised by Grady Cameron and the directors (and others) : We only have X funds allocated, and those funds have to replace Y poles and Z number of urgent compromised poles. No one knows the number of Z, but everyone knows Y because we have to publish it in our public records. Therefore we will continue with non-urgent Y, because if we reduce it awkward questions we can’t be bothered answering will be asked, and we will just defer – yet again – urgent work. She’ll be right. There’s not that many Z number poles falling down – we’ve just made a resolution that they are within our risk tolerances – no one’s been killed yet (Oh yes, Steelo, shame about that) – moving on – pass the madeira cake with the almond icing over here will you Trevor ?

Readers, it does appear that Nigel Saunders has confirmed that Delta management are telling staff to break the law, and refusing to put it into writing. Mr Saunders wrote in a memo “line supervisors are currently acting on a verbal instruction only which no-one seems to be willing to back up in writing, and if something goes wrong we all know what happens next”. What happens next in the event of an accident, is that Grady would solemnly pronounce that Procedures Have Not Been Followed, and Immediate Disciplinary Action Has Been Taken, and We Are VERY Sorry About the Failure By Line Staff To Follow Clear & Comprehensive Delta Regulations. (Code: Nothing to do with me, NOT MANAGEMENT’S FAULT….). That Mr Saunders had to put this in a memo and put his neck on the line shows what a toxic, dysfunctional place Delta has become.

If we were in any doubt that Delta and Aurora must be terminated, it came with Mr Saunders next revelation, that even when compromised poles are stabilised the solution actually involved waratahs and number 8 wire. Delta and Aurora must be the laughingstock of the lines industry.

The depth of the arrogance and cynicism displayed by Grady Cameron and directors Parton, Frow, Kempton and McLauchlan towards the shareholders is nowhere more evident than the 2016 accounts :

The directors gave Grady Cameron a massive pay rise for failing to meet 5 of the 8 Financial Objectives set by the Delta board last year; but Grady says in the report “we have increased shareholder equity with a prudent approach to risk and revenue growth”, and we get the euphemism meter off the scale as Grady attempts to explain why operating cash flows, the life blood of the business, are down from the forecast $9.974M to just $3.439M. Grady came up with this pearler, “Operating cash flows were $3.4M for FY16, below the forecasted $10M, due to temporary differences in the timing of receipts from customers.” Grady, would those “customers” be effectively just ONE customer, and would that customer have been Noble Investments, and is the temporary difference in timing, your sub-truthful way of saying that Delta will not receive all of its expected funds until, as the DCHL chairman admitted, until 2024 ? Shall we expect to see this disgraceful quarter truth featuring in your reports until 2024 ?

As well as the debacle over the cash flow, Grady and Delta failed spectacularly on the debt : The objective was debt at $21.728M, but debt is at….$29.165M, which is over $2M MORE than last year, ($26.5M), when Grady was singing the same cheerful song, all is well, we have our debt well in hand.

The truly depressing thing, is that if we look at what 3 financial objectives Delta did achieve, there is no cause for celebration there either :

Net Profit : achieved (just) $4.67m, vs objective of $4.61M. Now as any accountant knows, with turnover of $100M, it will not be hard to adjust the average $8.5M work in progress (WIP) to get whatever profit figure you want, within reason, so we should take no comfort that the $4.67M is a real figure, but that it might suffer an embarrassing reversal next year. (Remember readers, “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone”…. that refrain in the boardroom must be getting louder….)

Capital Expenditure : Delta achieved its “target” of not spending MORE than $6.421M, by only spending $4.101M. This is an odd measure to gauge the health of a capital intensive business – to gauge how LITTLE the company spends on essential assets needed to perform their work efficiently. It shows the company is very constrained and has almost no capital base of liquid funds or retained earnings to use for capex.

Finally, Dividends : Yes, The target $2.5M DCHL dividend was achieved, because once again, the debt levels went up $2.7M to accommodate this, from $26.5M last year to $29.2M. Directors, if you want to deny this, show us, don’t tell us, and by the way, where is the “Investment in Financial Instrument” of $2.19M recorded as an asset ? Back to the dividend, at $5,000 each, this would have given Dunedin 500 new power poles and a much safer electrical environment. Grady, for all your faff about your environmental performance (heard the news, fleet fuel consumption down from 9.68 to 9.62 l/100km!) – what about the ratepayers’ street environment who have to dodge hundreds of your disgraceful poles with fear and trepidation. The fear and trepidation will soon belong to you – because there will be some waste management of the management waste, to coin a phrase, and it will involve “recycling” you to an “out of region facility”, and “recycling” those dismal directors back to their day jobs.


Related Posts and Comments:
22.10.16 DCC struggles with Governance…. Delta/Aurora/DCHL…
21.10.16 Dunedin City Council must hang the companies out to dry
20.10.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail : Delta fulfils Adam Smith’s 1776 Prophecy
19.10.16 Grady Cameron and Graham Crombie : Eyes tightly shut #FAIL
13.10.16 COMPLETE Dis-satisfaction with DCC, DCHL, DVML, DVL, Delta….
9.6.16 Aurora Energy Ltd warned by regulator

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *aurora*, *epic fraud* or *dchl* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: cagle.com – cold comfort by Nate Beeler, tweaked by whatifdunedin


Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, DCHL, Delta, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Health, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Travesty, What stadium

Report from the University Landscape Trenches : Financial shoring collapsing, trouble brewing

Received from Rhodes
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 at 9:14 p.m.

Saturday’s ODT had an interesting article about delays on the troubled University of Otago landscaping project. This article is the canary in the University construction goldmine, as there are other even much larger disputes brewing on current University projects that certainly will become a goldmine for the contractors, to the detriment of the University’s financial health.

uoo-landscaping-20160508_135933Hoarding, University of Otago

Mr Mackay said the complications on the landscaping included “replacing old water, sewage and drainage pipes”. What he did not say is that this work was meant to have been done two summers ago, BEFORE the academic year, but due to the project management, it was not. However, this landscaping project is small beer, there are much bigger problems looming.

The University, in their biggest ever project, at the 11th hour, on the “advice” of a contractor, Fletcher Construction, who we understand did not even finally submit a bid, told the University they could save a few hundred thousand on the $100 million project by deleting the need for a cost control schedule…. that would have severely limited what the contractors could charge for changes and extra work. In a monumental display of incompetence, the University stopped production of the schedule – which was already underway and had to be part paid for anyway and put the drawings and specifications out to tender without a schedule. If the drawings were 100% complete and the University wasn’t to change its mind that would be OK, but the Pope is more likely to preach at Canterbury Cathedral than this happening. Of course, the drawings are woefully incomplete, and the arguments and changes have started. Watch out for Someone from the University Property Services division, in about a year, to be in full dissembling mode about the delays, and how, “even though it’s six months late, it’s still on budget”. If that is the case, the budget has massive doses of incompetency cover built into it !

An additional problem that’s about to come home to roost in the University and Otago Polytechnic’s coffers is insistence, by University Property Services, on the use of “Early Contractor Involvement” (ECI). (Someone at University Property Services has never met a new construction euphemism he did not use or a project delay that he could not justify). Both the University and Polytech on recent large projects have engaged in tender processes where there is no fixed sum, because the documents are far from complete, and the current fashion du jour is to have “early contractor involvement” where the builders are paid to be involved in the design phase, to provide “constructability” expertise. Basically the builders make a submission to say what nice people they are, and advise percentage site overhead and profit margins they would build the project for. The rest of the cost, about 85-90%, is just guesswork. (“Provisional Sums”). This process allows the “tender evaluation team” (mainly the Architect and the University) to choose who they want, without regard to price, because the weighting for “non-price attributes” is a lot more than 50% of the total weighting.

On both the University commerce building project, just started by Naylor Love, and the Polytechnic Hostel project (also won by Naylor Love), this was the process. Both projects are around $20 million all up. Significantly, the architect on both projects was Mason & Wales. There were a number of other consultants in the design teams. The politest way to put the next point is that there appeared to be “confusion” about the proposed early contractor involvement process from the team. It was thought, inexplicably, that this wonderful new system of selecting builders without worrying about price meant not only did they get to choose ones with very high margins who wouldn’t cause problems when the inevitable design problems arose, some consultants also thought that they could charge full fees and offload all of the detailing onto the builder…. which of course did not happen. Builders, in the South Island anyway, do not employ armies of CAD operators who can document bespoke large projects. That is what designers are for…. In both cases, the successful Naylor Love bid was hundreds of thousands of dollars more expensive than lower bids. Also in the case of both bids, the University and the Polytech paid a premium of around $500-600,000 to have the “ECI/ constructability” experience of Naylor Love…. only to find that the advice received was NOT what was expected…. the Polytech project has been now costed by Naylor Love and is $1.5-2.0 million over budget, and the “expert” constructability / ECI advice that the Polytech effectively paid $600,000 for is…. wait for it…. to make the building smaller. Hmmm, expensive and brief advice! Best not tell the Humanities students ! The other unsuccessful contractors may well feel aggrieved about how this process played out, as before they were even allowed to provide a proposal they had to prove their capability and experience to do the work, so in theory all tenderers were equally capable, and there was no logical reason for the favouritism to Naylor Love…. but were there other reasons ? There appears no meaningful financial oversight, the project teams seem a law unto themselves, and the suspicion is that both institutions’ funds are being spent in a very free and easy fashion.


Related Posts and Comments:
18.7.16 Misero-mercenary at U of O
1.7.16 No one wants to work for U of O
25.9.15 University calling Property Services
28.3.15 University of Otago landscaping
24.7.13 University: Leith flood protection scheme and landscaping
31.5.13 University of Otago development plans
27.5.13 Carisbrook and Leith flood protection
17.11.10 Leith Lindsay Flood Protection Scheme
17.5.10 Campus Master Plan
28.1.10 University of Otago Campus Master Plan

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Media, New Zealand, Otago Polytechnic, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Travesty, University of Otago