Mr Crombie, not quite the spent force


Graham Crombie: Review starts Monday, preliminary findings not public by then as Mayor Dave Cull hoped….

### ODT Online Sat, 29 Oct 2016
Crombie: heads could roll
By Vaughan Elder
Jobs could be on the line at Delta and Aurora after claims lives are at risk because of the two companies’ failure to replace dangerous power poles.
Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) chairman Graham Crombie yesterday said there could be “consequences” for the board and management of the two council-owned companies if an independent review found their response to the power pole situation in Dunedin and Central Otago had been lacking. Mr Crombie was working through the final stages of appointing an independent party to review the claims yesterday, but was not ready to announce who that party would be because nothing had been signed.
Read more

OK. So Mr Crombie’s comments in the ODT today (joy oh joy for readers!) do help to force chief executive Grady Cameron and the Aurora/Delta Directors into an unholy corner for their multiple sins.

Understandably, they have turned media shy, no doubt while they consult their lawyers – Every Man for Himself now applies. Will they shop their fellow henchmen.

Watch and wait.

However, stupidly, Mr Crombie admits he was not shocked about the extent of the problem “because everybody knew that”….

WOW, Graham Crombie, chair of DCHL, knew there was a problem.

How soon did he know ?
But hey. Aurora’s asset management plan (AMP) is not a FIX. Mr Crombie is a little confused.

Best he trots out the reports to DCHL from Aurora/Delta which describe – ie quantify and qualify – the extent of the problem, received on his watch (!).
How long have DCHL/Mr Crombie known about VERY SIGNIFICANT non compliance with statutory Health and Safety requirements, and SCALE of risk and endangerment to company staff and the public.

How can any of this be A SURPRISE.
To a professional chairman-director of a council holding company.

Well, in surprising fashion, Mr Crombie states his advice ‘from Aurora and Delta had been the network was safe and he did not believe this was contradicted by Aurora’s asset management plan acknowledging thousands of compromised poles needed replacing’.

Further, ‘He thought the financial effects of replacing thousands of poles could be managed by changes to the timing of Aurora’s planned capital programme.’ Oh dear.

An EXTRAORDINARY statement, Mr Crombie.
As chairman of Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL), you are responsible to Dunedin City Council (the Shareholder) for KNOWING AND ENSURING that all Council-controlled organisations (CCOs) are compliant —not, that they are LIABILITIES for every Ratepayer and Resident in the district, who it appears are repeatedly picking up the tab for true lack of governance and oversight by the vainglorious Dunedin Mayor and Councillors.

‘Gusty’ Mr Crombie, proverbially thus far, came down in the last rain shower. But he may yet be of public assistance to have the company chief executive and bunch of defunct directors SACKED.


[Black White] on the nearly 3000 dangerous poles now scattered across the network, John Walsh says: “That’s not evidence. That’s hearsay.”

Delta worker Graeme Jeffrey, in an email to Mayor Dave Cull and councillors, said the companies had “closed their eyes in the pursuit of maximising profit”.

### ODT Online Sat, 29 Oct 2016
Dunedin Insight: Warned, in black and white
History of headaches for Delta
By Chris Morris
The warning was there in black and white. It came in an Otago Daily Times article, published in 1998, blowing the whistle on maintenance cuts across Dunedin and Central Otago’s electricity network. In it, former union delegate Ian Berry cautioned against the “never ending pursuit” of profit by Aurora’s predecessor, Dunedin Electricity Ltd. Unless the practice changed, the consequences for the network would be dire, he warned. […] But, far from rejecting the allegations, then-DEL chief executive John Walsh — later the man in charge of Delta — defended the cuts. […] Fast forward 19 years to the present, and former Delta worker Richard Healey has resigned to blow the whistle again — this time on the dangerous state of 2910 power poles across the network.
Read more

Key figures in Delta and Aurora’s history declined to comment this week, including former chairman Ray Polson, current chief executive Grady Cameron, and long-serving board member Stuart McLauchlan. The ODT asked repeatedly for an interview with Mr Cameron, but he pulled out on Thursday night, saying he had “nothing to add” beyond emailed responses.

rotten-power-pole-falls-and-cuts-power-dunedin-19-2-13-photo-by-tyler-christmas-via-odtRotten power pole falls and cuts power, Dunedin ODT
Photo: Tyler Christmas 19 Feb 2013


“The story really is how a culture can shift from ‘we are doing this to provide a safe service to the community’ to ‘Jesus, if I just keep my head down’.” –Richard Healey

### ODT Online Sat, 29 Oct 2016
Informant, Delta poles apart
By Vaughan Elder
Giving up a 35-year career and a healthy pay cheque to blow the whistle was not easy for Dunedin man Richard Healey. But one tragic day loomed large in his decision. In lifting the lid on the serious danger from Aurora Energy’s “neglected and decaying” network, Mr Healey keeps going back to colleague Roger Steel’s death on December 9, 2010. Mr Steel was working on his own at  Millers Flat on a power pole when it toppled over. The fall of more than 20m left him with injuries a coroner said were “immediately and inevitably lethal”. […] Mr Steel’s death was followed in 2014 by an incident in which Vincent Moore suffered left leg fractures and a fractured lumbar vertebra falling from a pole while completing a service connection in Cardrona. […] Once again Delta pleaded guilty and was fined for health and safety breaches and once again Mr Healey said not enough changed at the company.
Read more


### ODT Online Sat, 29 Oct 2016
Hoping husband did not die in vain
By Lynda van Kempen
Karyn Steel fears safety standards have not improved in almost six years since an untagged, dangerous power pole caused the death of her husband. Delta was fined $75,000 for failing to take all steps to ensure the safety of its employees when lineman Roger Steel (63) died after the concrete power pole he was working on near Millers Flat toppled over, in early December, 2010.
….Following the inquest finding, Delta chief executive Grady Cameron said the company had upgraded and enhanced its work practices “to make sure we never have another workmate in this position again”.
….[Mrs Steel’s] husband had spent 43 years as a maintenance worker on electricity lines and loved his job but talked to her about his concerns over a “lowering of safety standards” at his workplace. The comments by whistleblower Richard Healey echoed those concerns and she admired his bravery in speaking out.
Read more


### ODT Online Sat, 29 Oct 2016
Regions: Central Otago
Wait to hear pole advice
By Tracey Roxburgh
Delta has responded to an urgent request from the Queenstown Lakes District Council seeking assurance that residents and visitors in the tourist town will be safe in the wake of allegations the company had neglected to replace dangerous poles across the district. What Delta has advised the council, however, will not be made public until next week, after the council has had a chance to consider it. Maps showing dangerous poles in Central Otago and Queenstown-Lakes towns were leaked to the Otago Daily Times this week.
Read more


What should you do if there is a dangerous power pole near you?
Call Aurora Energy and ask for details about the condition of the pole/s and ask about its replacement plans.
Look out for movement over time, swaying in the wind, cracking, and the tension on the lines to your house increasing to the point where the barge board is damaged.
Contact Aurora immediately if you notice any of the above happening.
Consider not parking your car next to a damaged pole. 

█ Aurora Energy Ltd
█ Delta Utility Services Ltd

Alternatively, contact Delta on 0800 433 582

ODT: Detailed map of dangerous poles at Dunedin
ODT: Dangerous power poles – Mosgiel
ODT: Dangerous power poles – Corstorphine and part of South Dunedin
ODT: Dangerous power poles – North Dunedin and Leith Valley
ODT: Detailed map of dangerous poles – Central Otago and Queenstown

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Images: [source: ODT] – graham crombie, accountant | – blue white umbrella skeleton, tweaked by whatifdunedin

1 Comment

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

One response to “Mr Crombie, not quite the spent force

  1. Calvin Oaten

    I still believe this all stems from the appointment of Jim Harland. The casual attitude to debt has permeated through the whole institution bringing about the Aurora line company (with guaranteed income on a monthly basis) deciding (being coerced into diverting) around $8million pa as subvention payments to the Stadium for debt repayment plus operating expenses, are being a cause of the present problem. When you spend beyond your ability to service without raising your rates beyond the mandatory 3% level then other means must be found. [Of the CCOs] Aurora has the only monthly cash flow so it was destined for the job. Now we are seeing the results. Not a good position for Mayor Dave Cull as he has been the 3% man all along knowing full well that other means were being used. I trust he sleeps easy.

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