Delta’s PR consultant

WHEN Delta’s ‘award winning’ young executive Grady Cameron, the Delta Board – woebegone* directors Ian Parton (from 25 Oct 2012), Stuart McLauchlan (1 Jun 2007), David Frow (25 Oct 2012), Trevor Kempton (1 Nov 2013) and Stephen Thompson [Deloitte!] (1 Jun 2016) – the rotten-tooth chair of DCHL Graham Crombie, and the Mayor of City Liabilities and Risk Dave Cull FAIL to Communicate Honestly with the concerned public on Delta’s utter degradation and collapse of Our electricity network —What Do You Do ?

You send in the crows or, a PR clown.

spiro-anastasiou-senateshj-comNone other than public relations consultant and former broadcaster Spiro Anastasiou. Mr Ana-sneeze rates himself as “a strategic communications specialist with extensive experience in managing issues of public and political sensitivity”. The newest partner in SenateSHJ’s Wellington office, who heads their government relations practice. He returns to consulting “from a role leading strategic communications at the Ministry of Health where he managed the Ministry’s public information programme during the Swine Flu pandemic and was seconded to the Canterbury earthquake response in the All of Government communications role during the two and half month state of national emergency”. Ana-sneeze joined the Ministry of Health “….after more than 10 years consulting in a range of sectors where he provided strategic advice and tactical support to CEOs and senior leaders. This included specialist projects such as industrial relations and change, many with a very high public profile.” Ana-sneeze’s strength is his experience in “….building successful working relationships and a proven track record in government relations. He has excellent media and communication skills developed during a 15 year career in broadcast journalism before he entered consultancy….a native Wellingtonian [blahblah] He enjoys reading and cooking, is a keen fisherman and an enthusiastic golfer.”

Let’s see where this goes —and if Grady and Spiro darling, are to be seen golfing together or co-occupying Delta’s corporate box at the Stadium – on which we have cameras trained. It was bad enough having to secret-squirrel GPS trackers to All (excessive numbers of) company vehicles two weeks ago.

*Understatement, meaning incompetent and grossly negligent.

The Varmints:

● Delta Utility Services Ltd

● Aurora Energy Ltd
[Mr Thompson of Deloitte appointed 20 Jun 2016]

● Dunedin City Holdings Ltd

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Delta, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, 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

23 responses to “Delta’s PR consultant

  1. Gurglars

    When poles need replacing – and the money is tight due to having to pay unholy salaries, and dividends to keep the stadium afloat, don’t buy poles or hire pole replaces – Get a PR guru.

    Haven’t Dave Cull and the DCC learnt anything from Brexit or the election of Donald Trump.

    The people are sick of it!

    • Gurglars – won’t you ever learn -Dr Parton has learned the art of delegation. Spiro will deal with the media. He can spin ANYTHING. I dare say that even Cull de Mare has picked up on it too while he was in Wanaka. You only need to look at Spiro’s own self promotion to judge his skills. Do keep up Gurglars.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        He’s the man. “Swine Flu pandemic” – now troughers with swinish disregard for public safety and reliable supply of an essential – electricity – to thousands of households and businesses.

        Oink oink!

        And they huffed and they puffed and they said there was nothing to – OH! Too much blowhardiness, down came another gaggle of poles.

  2. nick

    PR consultant now?
    The cost of spin spirals . . . or is that spirols?
    What this signals with neither Crombie nor Cameron fronting is that specialist skills are required to defend the indefensible.

    And the directors will not be wishing to have their names associated any more with this chaotic mess by making further public comment. Their reputational damage from this is huge.

    And they are probably quietly seething that they believed Grady Cameron’s bit about “advanced asset management systems” for so long.

  3. Elizabeth

    Did he or didn’t he use Spiro in reply to Graham Bulman.
    Same OBFUSCATION as before : see Grady’s reply to Lee Vandervis’ LGOIMA of 24 July 2016.

    ODT 14.11.16 (page 6)


  4. Gurglars

    Hopefully the $30 million will come from staff salary cutbacks.

    Pipe Dream? Yes

    The $30 million will come from ratepayers through higher Delta borrowing.

    Grady Cameron will get a rise because Delta will be a larger entity.

    Richard Healey, however will not get his job back.

    Whistleblowers will get the message. Rock the boat and no trough for you.

  5. Anonymous

    How many poles is this non-engineer worth? 5? 10? Probably more given the egos and other peoples’ money involved.

  6. Elizabeth

    Dunedin City Council meeting today.
    Download: Council Agenda 15.11.16 (PDF, 749 KB) | DCC Link


    Unfortunately I had to sit through bleeding heart toothless crap about Council’s submission to Central Government on the Petroleum Block Offer 2017. Pathetic. Variously, Cull and Co are converting to electric cars…. [?? tritely – this was not a DEEP discussion had by our elected representatives] so they think that’s a good reason to Sell Out on all former efforts by Enterprise Dunedin / EDU personnel to market the city and district to exploration companies and service industry connections. Today the clear message was ‘Cull has changed his mind’….. all the (ratepayer) funds expended by ED to this end have been laid waste. Des Adamson at EDU would’ve been deeply disappointed by these goings-on. The green-tinged Council is frighteningly shudderingly naïve about what it takes to power business and transportation in the absence of Any Viable Fuel alternatives.

    Cull and Co and the (???? – I won’t determine their IQ) council officers reporting have listened to mass submissions by the Oil Free Otago lobby (as bad as the Spokes and Generation Zero zealots who co-ordinate to bend ‘democracy’, the wee dears). Forget consulting with the Ratepayers of Dunedin. Forget talking to businesses at all scales. Forget talking to business entrepreneurs. SHABBY DCC THROUGH AND THROUGH.

    Then I had to listen to persons who felt it was OK to speak loudly into the microphone, representatives from the awful co-housing project for High St. The progenitors of this er grand exercise in passive-housing think it’s OK to transport their private build (note, slightly old hat design vision) into the realm of DCC investment via City Property – ie Council purchase of some dwelling units for social housing – but wait for it, as the ‘only way’ to get leverage with the banks who otherwise won’t touch the scheme. Alarm bells ring! Of course the deadwood Councillors fell for it. Not one of them with a business head. Spending Other People’s Money.

    This was the lead in to !!eventually!! the DELTA MATTER on the agenda.

    [the meat]

    Cr Benson-Pope’s (item 12) Notice of Motion : That Council asks DCHL to urgently advise whether or not it still has confidence in the Chair and Board of Aurora/Delta.

    In addressing the motion, Cr Benson-Pope noted the Council’s sole point of contact with Aurora/Delta and their company responsibilities is (via) DCHL – given the “regime” Councillors have to follow.

    Cr Benson-Pope undermined himself by saying he has “no issue with objectivity of the investigation” being undertaken by DCHL. [Given the soft audit in process by Deloitte’s Kyle Cameron – in determinedly politicised circumstances – do try to keep straight faces, Whatiffers.]

    Cr Benson-Pope then made needless digression to comment on Delta salaries [he later described the CEO’s salary as “obscene”] via page 15 of the Aurora/Delta Annual Report(s). A stumbling sideshow that only Cr Benson-Pope is capable of…. before he led Councillors to the next paragraph on the Audit and Risk Committee – he was interested in Mr Crombie’s conclusions on whether the functions of the Committee have been met.

    Discussion in brief:
    Cr Whiley couldn’t support the motion. He said the Chair of DCHL had responsibly sought review. He noted that the Council on receiving the Annual Report had no issue with the [Aurora/Delta] company directors. The people auditing our companies have done their job, he said. Therefore the motion to the Board [DCHL] was “a waste of time”.

    Cr Hawkins admitted there was little the Councillors could do to influence the process as it currently stands. He hoped the investigation would be thorough and timely.

    Cr Garey said the majority of the Community do not understand Council’s relationship with DCHL or the companies. She acknowledged there were people in the public gallery that were extremely concerned about this issue…. Communication from the Board and management “wasn’t reassuring”.

    Cr Stedman said communication on the issue was “a big let down”. The motion was a clear communication from us that “we are angry and we will get a result”.

    Cr Lord said that he wasn’t “angry” but he did want a response from Graham [Crombie]. He didn’t like the motion being tied to the CEO’s salary.

    Mayor Cull said the relationship between Council, DCHL and the companies “must be one of confidence….people’s lives are at stake”. He said the motion was at an appropriate level for governance and oversight…. the motion “puts this on the record…. we’re asking DCHL to express its confidence”.

    In Cr Benson-Pope’s right of reply he said the motion was not tied to the CEO’s salary…. and the motion “was not intended to be hostile”. The answer sought from DCHL “was not under urgency”.

    █ The motion was put to the vote and carried by a majority 12-3.
    Against : Crs Lord, Whiley and Hall.


    Lastly, I’m impressed by the new Councillors as a whole. They seem capable of threading careful thinking into discussion whereas, for example, Cr Hall remains silent or tongue-tied, as prior to the elections. We have NO IDEA why he voted against Cr Benson-Pope’s motion. Is it because as a private businessman, he has potentially, if not already ? contract(s) with Infinity Yaldhurst at the JV Delta/Noble subdivision. [Undeclared conflict of interest ?]

    {Comment updated 16.11.16 – ODT links added for Council’s submission on the block offer, and the co-housing project. -Eds}

    • Kleinefeldmaus

      November 15, 2016 at 8:25 pm
      Re co-housing project for High St
      You say “The progenitors of this er grand exercise in passive-housing think it’s OK to transport their private …into the realm of DCC investment via City Property”.
      Please correct me if I am wrong – but didn’t the DCC divest itself of many of the Elderly Person’s Houses some time ago?

      If that is the case why then is it now considering buying into this scheme?

      {Refer to this month’s Council staff report which recommended options including purchase into the High St co-housing scheme. Our blessed Councillors voted to buy in. Also, social housing (adult applicants, young or senior, being accommodation poor) has not been divested from the City Property portfolio. A further build of Council housing units on DCC-owned land has been budgeted for in the LTP. -Eds}

  7. Lyndon Weggery

    I am deeply disappointed that Messers Whiley and Lord in particularly didn’t vote to support this Motion. As I pointed out in the Public Forum today the Motion was (in simple terms) asking DCHL to give Council an assurance that the Network is up to a standard that future blackouts will be avoided due to failing equipment as has been the case in Auckland in recent times. This is exactly why I took the pains to point out to Councillors the various deficiencies of the Network (besides power poles) that were freely acknowledged in Aurora’s Asset Management Plan 2016 as supported by various page quotations. This Motion should have been carried unanimously to draw a line in the sand that any future Review should not be a “whitewash”.


    Dunedin City Council
    Public Forum – Tuesday 15 November 2016 
    Thank you Mayor and Councillors for this opportunity to address you concerning Agenda No. 12.
    My thanks to those Councillors who have promoted this Notice of Motion because it highlights a concern that many Dunedin residents and ratepayers have with the overall condition of our local power supply network. This concern in simple terms is how does DCHL give an assurance to the DCC that there will be no major power blackouts in the City arising from an ageing Network? I recall that we are still seeking a similar assurance from Council that there will be no more flooding of South Dunedin properties as long as the stormwater infrastructure has been upgraded to reasonably cope with future events. As power consumers we all pay our line charges in good faith but because Aurora is a Lines Company owned by the Dunedin City Council it is starting to rankle that our money appears to be siphoned off from core business functions into other areas. The annual net subvention payment of approx. net $5M from Aurora Energy to DVL is a case in point. Sadly, the late Richard Walls’ vision of dividends coming back to Council to offset rates is no more.
    The state of our power poles has received wide publicity (thanks to the ODT) but it is the wider network as well that I wish to draw your attention to, as outlined in Aurora’s 185 page Asset Management Plan 2016 that has recently been endorsed by their Board.
    In case you haven’t seen it I have enclosed extract copies of some relevant pages in which interesting facts have been highlighted:

    p.59 “as of December 2015 there are 991 condition zero and 1130 condition one poles which require some form of intervention within the next 12 months”. You will note that Delta are not subject to the 3 or 12 months deadline under the Energy Safety Regulations 2010 because they have an audited Safety Management System in place. Worksafe are coming down on 22 November to review Delta.

    p.62 “many zone substations in Dunedin are housed in buildings that are up to 70 years old”
    “Perhaps the most significant risk of a catastrophic asset failure relates to our remaining 33V gas filled cables”.

    p.71 “….storm/flooding, earthquakes and high winds are our major natural disaster risks”

    p.79 “The current rate of discovery of Condition O poles amongst those poles previously to be greater than O is around 15%. This is high compared to industry averages which typically range from 5-12%. Did you know Councillors that according to a recent survey of 29 Line companies by the Electricity Networks Association, Delta has 1181 Condition Zero power poles while the rest of the country has 321 in total?
    p.95 “the impact of older coastal overhead infrastructure is evident in the lower condition grading in Dunedin”.

    p.96 “while there are some indications that our 33/66KV lines particularly in Dunedin are ageing actual line failures are extremely rare. As a result our current strategy is to fix on failure”.

    p.98 “historically there has been little or no investment in the LV network which has led to heightened concerns about potential safety risks”.

    p.142 “It is expected that most of the equipment at Andersons Bay substation will be at the end of its economic life in 2019 so it is proposed that the substation be upgraded with new transformers and switchgear at this time.”

    p.162 “with many of the Aurora assets either well into the second half of their design life or approaching the end of their design life, additional provision for renewal expenditure has been made across a number of asset classes, refined through consideration of condition and asset health”.

    p.173 Under Key Challenges that need to be addressed: “achieving adequate shareholder returns while meeting the needs of the community for reliable secure energy in both high density urban and low density rural areas.”
    “Ageing plant; many of our assets are now entering the second half of their design life. While we have a planned refurbishment/replacement programme (detailed in the AMP) the purpose of maintenance is to care for these assets in a manner that extracts the maximum value now and in the future.”
    Your worship the Mayor, and Councillors, in light of the above revelations I urge you to fully debate this Motion today and trust that you will unanimously support it as a first step on behalf of the citizens of Dunedin. 
    Lyndon Weggery
    Middleton Rd

    Worried about Power Pole opposite our property which has a Condition One Red Tag No.73248 affixed and no indication from Delta when it will be fixed.


    Aurora 2016-2026 Asset Management Plan

  8. Elizabeth

    Wed, 16 Nov 2016
    ODT: Question of confidence
    They are not expecting an immediate answer, but a majority of Dunedin city councillors yesterday publicly put the question to those in charge of beleaguered council companies Delta and Aurora. Twelve councillors and Mayor Dave Cull yesterday supported a motion to ask council-owned Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) to ”urgently advise” whether it still had confidence in the chairman and board of Delta and Aurora. […] The notice follows news of three separate investigations, including one by DCHL, launched into the infrastructure maintenance company and the lines company which are both in the spotlight amid claims they failed to deal with dangerous power poles. Cont/


  9. photonz

    So a live wire comes down in Tainui and scorches the ground, and Delta claims it posed “no danger to the public”……..

    What planet are these people on?

  10. Elizabeth

    Another LGOIMA request, seen together with Grady Cameron and the Board’s tenuous grip….

    Delta engineer considers taking out advertisement in the Otago Daily Times telling people how to avoid being electrocuted.

    Tue, 22 Nov 2016
    ODT: $16,000 spent on consultants
    Aurora Energy spent almost $16,000 on consultants in two weeks as it dealt with fallout from accusations it dangerously mismanaged Dunedin and Central Otago’s power network. […] An Aurora spokesman said the $15,926.35 spent on consultants in the second half of October went towards legal firm Chapman Tripp and public relations company SenateSHJ, which specialises in “crisis communication”. […] Delta project development engineer Steve Tilleyshort yesterday came forward to express concern about the way the company was being managed. Cont/

    The facile Grady Cameron says it is “inappropriate to discuss an employee’s concerns in the media” and that there is “an employee assistance programme” which staff can use “confidentially at no cost”.

    How big and falsifying does the Spin get? Would you trust this CEO as far as you could kick him. Maybe the Spin Merchants can stop another chair being thrown at the glass walls, or keep it quiet.


    Delta has nothing to say.

    Tue, 22 Nov 2016
    ODT: Arcing on pole causes cut
    Arcing on top of a power pole in Dunedin last night could have caused an explosion, whistleblower Richard Healey says. Power was cut to at least one of the surrounding homes as a result of the arcing on Ravensbourne Rd near the intersection with De Lacy St and Delta was called to repair the fault. Firefighters cordoned off a footpath and slowed traffic on State Highway 88, the main road to Port Chalmers. Cont/

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    A Grader is useful on gravel roads.
    A Grader is no help at all on bitumen and concrete.
    A Grader is a bloody liability in a big hole such as a quake chasm, or a chasm resulting from board and managerial failure.

    Some tools are unsuitable for purpose. It’s time for the Grader to go, repurposed perhaps into hospitality, or folk music, or fiction in the pot-boiler genre for undiscriminating readers.

    Grader – jeez, what a tool!

  12. Peter

    Oh… to be a consultant. Maybe unfair, but I always have a wry, inward smile when someone tells me they are a ‘consultant’ or you hear someone else calling them as such.
    Immediately I wonder if the person is a big noter, a gravy trainer, a wanker, or actually doesn’t have much of a job to speak of and needs a nice, little title to fill the void, and promote greater self esteem to others, that they are still employable in the job market.

  13. Gurglars

    What do you mean Peter, those are the real jobs. Have a look at the DCC, there are no jobs for engineers, none for street cleaners, none for night men, none for mudtank cleaners.

    The only jobs are for incessant report writers and spin doctors.

    Apart from the mayor himself whose job it is to blame dead men and climate change.

    He waits for a dead man at Delta, that is highly likely, so climate change willl be able to have a well earned rest in their case.

    {We desperately hope not at Delta. One unnecessary death, that of linesman Roger Steel on 9 December 2010, due to an untagged dangerous pole, is already the worst tragedy. No more! -Eds}

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