DCHL/Aurora/Delta ‘PR fashion statements’ fb DCC rates increases

Otago Daily Times Published on Dec 11, 2016
Aurora Energy to implement review’s recommendations
A report on beleaguered Dunedin City Council-owned companies Delta and Aurora has called for a major shake-up to the way the companies are run.
[—Aurora had been guilty of placing too much emphasis on providing dividends to the council and keeping debt levels under control as opposed to investing in the network.]

Deloitte review report – Aurora Energy and Delta Utilities (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Review of Aurora Energy Limited/Delta Utility Services Limited – Network Safety Concerns.

What Shocks.

If the Otago Community has a BILLION OR SO DOLLARS WORTH of network replacements owed to it, but for the pleasure the Community must pay these sums Again —as well as having to meet the not insubstantial cost of new build facilities across the growth-focused districts of Central Otago— with the self-congratulatory psychology of the Companies and INDIVIDUALS running the Dangerous and Degraded Aurora/Delta power network, stringing along the bumbling Dunedin City Council as OVERLORD (meanwhile running its ‘static’ city)…….. exactly how does that affect DUNEDIN RATEPAYERS, do you think. [DCC steered by “SpongeBob” running the holding company; the mayor inane factotum to the GOBs.]

So yeah, if there’s no word yet (?) on how the INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE for constant rates increases (exceeding New Zealand’s rate of inflation) will be cleaned out financially themselves (along with their private trusts), with jail sentences to serve…….. Then you stand to be OUTRAGED by anything these knaves are saying.

We can’t call them liars.

But think about what these immoral money stealing mongrel-individuals are costing us. You are being robbed, mercilessly, repeatedly, over and over. Public funds through your rates have gone out both front and back doors in almost limitless fashion. The male mafia have been in your pockets doing what they like —across nefarious deals and rorts for “the past 25 to 30 years”.

You have been fully violated, the power network you rely on is completely stuffed. ‘They mongrels’ are not simply incompetent.

Personally, you bear the price; your extended family and descendants pay the price. ‘They mongrels’ each buy an expensive house or three in Queenstown Lakes, they live off the spoils, in style —while you and yours, your businesses and community run desperately out of hope for better times. Clearly, the Bad are being replaced by more of the Bad with unedifying track records.
Same, same again.

Otago Daily Times Published on Dec 12, 2016
Delta whistleblower Richard Healey
Mayor Dave Cull said the whistleblower, Richard Healey, had been largely vindicated. The poles network was not as safe as it should be.

Newly-appointed chairman Steve Thompson [ex Deloitte head] said chief executive Grady Cameron would not be sacked as a result of the failings identified in the report, as he had confidence in his leadership. “I think he’s done a good job in difficult circumstances.”

### ODT Online Tue, 13 Dec 2016
Shake-up agreed for Delta, Aurora
By Vaughan Elder
Dunedin City Council-owned companies Delta and Aurora are in for a major shake-up. The planned changes come as a result of recommendations included in a review by consultant Deloitte into Delta/Aurora network safety concerns, and in particular accusations Aurora dangerously mismanaged its electricity network and left thousands of poles to rot. The shake-up would involve having separate boards and chief executives for the two companies and introduce a more proactive approach to maintaining the network. After the review, commissioned by Dunedin City Holdings Ltd, was released yesterday, Mayor Dave Cull said the changes could have a significant financial impact on the council, resulting in rates increases.

“I don’t believe it’s unsafe, but we just need to do more work on getting the infrastructure to a better level than it currently is.” –Steve Thompson

Mr Healey said he was satisfied for the most part with the report, but not with the response from Mr Cull, DCHL chairman Graham Crombie and Mr Thompson, who he said were all still trying to minimise the extent of the problem …. Mr Thompson’s claim the network was safe and his continued confidence in Mr Cameron were “mind-boggling”, Mr Healey said.
Read more

bill-english-stuff-co-nz-1Brief me, Paula.

—Without a Safe and Secure power supply for Otago, new Business Development, Tourism and Productivity are severely impacted, Prime Minister.

Who is responsible?
—Dunedin City Council, sir.

Agh, that lag Cull.
—He hasn’t mentioned climate change this time, sir.

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *aurora*, *luggate*, *jacks point*, *dchl*, *auditor-general*, *noble*, *yaldhurst* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Images: stuff.co.nz – Richard Healey | Bill English PM


Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Central Otago, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, DVL, DVML, Economics, Education, Electricity, Finance, Geography, Health, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, OAG, Ombudsman, ORFU, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, SFO, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Travesty

29 responses to “DCHL/Aurora/Delta ‘PR fashion statements’ fb DCC rates increases

  1. Elizabeth

    richard-healey-stuff-co-nz-3### Radio New Zealand
    Delta-Aurora like an alcoholic with a problem – whistleblower
    From Morning Report, 6:44 am today
    A Dunedin City Council report released yesterday into the state of thousands of failing power poles has recommended splitting its company Aurora-Delta into two and fixing up its long-term planning.
    Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 (3′26″)

  2. Elizabeth

    Aurora/Delta’s network includes 54,000 wooden and concrete poles out of a nationwide network of 1.3 million. 1181 poles are rated condition 0, the lowest level, which places the company as the worst in the country.


    ### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 18:40, December 12 2016
    Otago lines company review released after whistleblower raises concerns
    By Hamish McNeilly
    A review commissioned after a whistleblower raised safety concerns about a Otago lines company’s network has been released. Aurora and its parent company Delta came under scrutiny after former manager-turned-whistleblower Richard Healey said its power poles were dangerous. […] Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the review recognised there was a “risk” to the community due to the company’s asset management.
    Read more

    Aurora chairman Steve Thompson likens the network “to a 1962 Ford Cortina car and said the challenge was to make it “a more modern vehicle”. The safety of the public and the company’s workers was the “absolute starting point”.”

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    ““I don’t believe it’s unsafe, but we just need to do more work on getting the infrastructure to a better level than it currently is.” –Steve Thompson”

    Weren’t they lucky to find in Steve Thompson the perfect replacement, available to start immediately, and so close to home!

    I don’t believe Roger Steel’s still dead.

  4. Elizabeth

    As if it wasn’t enough to see connection with purchase of three South Auckland pokie bars for ORFU to eek unlawful out-of-area gambling proceeds….

    There is a friend, of interest*………….

    Passmore Consulting Services Ltd
    Incorporation Date: 22 May 2015
    [sole] Director – Stephen Richard THOMPSON

    Total Number of Shares: 100 Extensive Shareholding:
    No Shareholders in Allocation:

    Allocation 1: 95 shares (95.00%)
    Christine Marie THOMPSON
    45 Passmore Crescent, Maori Hill, Dunedin 9010

    Stephen Richard THOMPSON
    45 Passmore Crescent, Maori Hill, Dunedin 9010
    *Murray Neil FROST
    43 Penrith Park Drive, Wanaka, 9305

    Allocation 2: 5 shares (5.00%)
    Stephen Richard THOMPSON
    45 Passmore Crescent, Maori Hill, Dunedin 9010

  5. lyndon weggery

    I can’t believe the Mayor’s warning that rate rises will follow this debacle. Doesn’t he remember that we haven’t had any dividends for the last 2 years from DCHL and won’t get any more for sometime because of the Aurora/Delta mess. If he wants to get back in our good books then he should reflect seriously about stopping the flow of DCHL funds to the Stadium and re-directing them back to offset rates as they used to do.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Further to that, lyndon weggery, today’s editorial:
      “…Mr Thompson defended Mr Cameron, saying he had done a good job in difficult circumstance….”

      The DCC DEMANDED a “dividend” even when there was no profit.
      To keep debt to a minimum what was Cameron to do? It’s like the poverty dilemma, do you skimp on decent food and become less and less healthy, or do you go to the doctor when you’re sick? Do you use a heater in the middle of winter, or pick up your prescription from the pharmacy?
      Looks like the dangerous poles are on Cull & Co’s head – only figuratively, unfortunately.

  6. Elizabeth

    Did Steve Thompson write/advise the Deloitte report in his ‘consulting role’ – how can we find out ?

    The Deloitte report has no stated author, investigator or senior supervisory signatory(s).

    Kyle Cameron, properly, was the Deloitte investigator conducting interviews.

  7. Calvin Oaten

    To me, now that the Report has surfaced suggests a cover up of monumental proportions. The whole composite of the city management is incestuous. Steve Thomson, now chairman of Aurora, says he didn’t believe the system was unsafe. The man is an accountant for God’s sake, he would know nothing about its safeness or anything else for that matter. Graham Crombie, chair of DCHL, is likewise an accountant. The report was produced by Deloitte accountants. The one who might have known anything – assuming he was interested – was the defrocked director Parton. The Institute of Directors have a case to answer if anybody chose to challenge them. The Mayor is a man in an embarrassing position with his stance as well. The whole mess has been roundly highlighted by Mr Healey and he expresses dissatisfaction with the report.
    The trail still points to the Stadium as the main Elephant in the room. With its serious connections to rugby, and the people in the rugby firmament. Mr Thompson is part of that establishment, as the former director of the ORFU “Pokies ‘rort’ in Auckland”, designed to extract funds for and on behalf of rugby. Then there is the matter of dividends converted to ‘subvention’ payments made to the Stadium financiers and promoters, from Aurora, thus leaving the lines company short of capital to do what is now screaming out to be done.
    What does Dave Cull say? He says it will mean greater debt and as a consequence rates will probably be affected substantially. Beaut!! That’s lovely for the 50% of users who aren’t in Dunedin. Oh, but that will be for the Stadium as well, he’ll say, as there will be no ‘subvention’ payments available. So, a double whammy for the poor ratepayers. Lovely, that Dave Cull presided over the whole bloody story, and now the threat of rate increases as well. Don’t you just love the guy. He will be off again to China soon, perhaps best that he should stay there.
    No good will come of all this as the report is a huge whitewash. Nothing done to release Mr Healey back into the world or even much to justify his ‘whistleblower’ stance which started the whole thing up. Mr Thompson lauded Grady Cameron for doing a very good job under difficult circumstances. What about Mr Healey, Mr Thompson? What about his having to leave his senior job to blow the whistle, funny, no mention of that. Just a victim of the battle I guess.
    What a load of crap is now under the carpet, but I guess Mr Crombie has the build to deal to that as well.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “Steve Thomson, now chairman of Aurora, says he didn’t believe the system was unsafe.” Roger Steel’s family might have a different opinion.

      So might the workers who have to work in these unsafe conditions – not at a desk but up a ladder, and at the base of a pole that’s not safe to climb.

      So might the people who’ve luckily avoided “terminal misfortune” from poles + live wires (not dangerous of course – they only scorch the ground!) that fell where they had been a few moments earlier, or a few metres from touching their house or car.

      What a f’nuckle!

  8. Peter

    Steve Thompson, new Aurora Chair says of Grady Cameron, “I think he’s done a good job in difficult circumstances.”
    Oh, I see. Grady is a victim…. like Roger Steel…..someone who has had to work under ‘difficult circumstances’ not of his making, it would appear. A CEO, who for the entire time of his role as CEO, has played no part in decision making concerning the infrastructure programme his company is responsible for. Aside from Roger Steel’s death, what else has he been responsible for?
    Maybe it is the Delta tea lady who has led Delta to this sorry state of affairs? Sack her.

    • Elizabeth

      Hopefully, Peter, the role alternated with a tea man.
      Grady preferred to throw office chairs, we hear, through the glass walls of his office – at one or two staff members he disagreed with, for whatever reason. Not an immoderate man. Possibly lacking management competencies on that basis, but multiply this by every dangerous pole and power facility of his we can spot.

      Solved. Grady is a danger junky.

      *Chair throwers are the equivalent of screamers, in the workplace.

      • Vicar Age

        “You’re doing a great job, Brownie”.
        President GW Bush, to New Orleans Civic leader, Mr Brown, after Gulf Louisiana flattened by Cyclone Katrina.

  9. Elizabeth

    More on Delta/Aurora at ODT tomorrow.

  10. nick

    A few thoughts on the key players, who are almost all employed by ratepayers.

    Steve Thompson, on looking to the future. “The safety of the public and the company’s workers was the absolute starting point”.
    The first public admission from Aurora that it has not been this way to date. Thank you Steve.

    Grady Cameron. In the 7 years that he has been CEO, his salary has doubled to over $550,000. His most notable contribution to Aurora since then has been overseeing the accelerated and managed neglect of the network assets, requiring a unique skill set.
    To assist him in this task, he has grown his management team from 25 to 90 staff (The cost of these salaries has grown from $3.3m to over $12m, courtesy of ratepayers). Perhaps someone may uncover those KPIs that drove his salary increases so generously.

    Graham Crombie. Has neatly circumvented the Commerce Commission’s review of rules around related party transactions between Aurora and Delta by creating a necessary separation, requiring an additional new board of directors and management team.

    Dave Cull. Will be delighted about an extra Head Office in Dunedin, with another tranche of management salaries and directors fees to be paid by ratepayers.

    Richard Healey. Has single-handedly taken on the Aurora/Delta management culture and its appalling attitude to the health and safety of all who maintain and use this electricity network.
    Without Richard’s courageous and selfless decision, we would certainly have seen more accidents and deaths caused by what is now widely regarded as the most ‘at risk’ network in NZ.
    And remember, this action has cost him his livelihood.
    At the very least, he deserves appropriate recognition for his stand on our behalf. Sincere thanks Richard.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Lewis Carroll the mathematician could have based another “Alice” story on this. Alice in Deltaland.
      A Caterpillar’s salary doubles, and he grows his management team from 25 to 90 staff – while doing an extraordinarily tiny fraction of the job that needs to be done.
      What colour is your parachute, how bent is your looking glass and don’t you need to spend more time with your Cheshire Cat, Gr’alice?

  11. Gurglars

    Must have been Disappointing for Deloitte that they were unable to blame Roger Steel.

    After all the other Deloitte DCC cover up managed to find only one dead man guilty of the theft, sale and conversion of 152+ cars.

    No one at the DCC missed them, no one at the DCC ever drove them home and no one connected to the DCC bought one for a Cheap price.

    No DCC manager noticed that the dead man was not busy at work, he filled in no paperwork and was just busy selling cars for himself.

    Not one at Delta management knew that the poles were incorrectly marked?

    Eh? Richard Healey told them.

    Ah but as with Lee Vandervis telling the Mayor that he had bribed a DCC manager “was not evidence”.

    Evidence is something else, a smoking gun, a dead linesman, poles shorting out on the ground, debris from potheads hitting people. Now that is evidence – isn’t it?

    • Elizabeth

      Actually, Deloitte found enough to prosecute for Citifleet but our beloved DCC decided another path. This was upsetting for Deloitte.

  12. Rob Hamlin

    When one’s expectations are so low it is hard to be disappointed. Should the Delta/Aurora board go in its entirety – Yes. Should the management also go? Yes, $500,000 pa should at least buy either the competence necessary to maintain existing assets, or the principle to dig in and/or depart if conditions make it impossible to discharge these basic duties over an extended period.

    Should the DCHL Board go, and the senior DCC execs to which they report. One could argue ‘yes’, and here’s why. On page 4 of this report we have the following passage:

    “Equity to total assets has ranged from a high of 52.3% IN 2007 TO 42.1% IN 2016. This has largely been driven by capital expenditure being substantially debt funded during this period of time.”

    I get the impression that maintenance (recently aka emergency bodges) are treated in these accounts as capital expenditure – why am I not surprised?? Thus it is not only DCHL’s profits going to the Foobar and other possible fiscal ‘leaks’, but also the revenue derived cash flow that would have been spent on the inadequate work that they were doing – Debt was used instead. As Delta debt is raised via DCTL it is hard to see how the DCHL CEO/Board, DCTL CEO/Board, the DCC GCFO and thus the DCC CEO cannot have been aware of this debt funding.

    One might describe public revenue funded subventions to ‘good causes’ both within and beyond DVML as misappropriating public money – along with such things as luxury ‘public’ rugby changing rooms that are locked all the time except when large well-branded gentlemen want to use them.

    However, when such activities are funded by ratepayer guaranteed debt via the MOVRNF and DCC’s $850 million on call capital commitment to DCTL – (for which you will personally pay, and for which neither were you asked nor did you give permission), they might be described as nicking your personal cash in the same way as bending a lead pipe over your head and lifting your wallet might be so described.

    Between 1850 and 2000 this City and all its infrastructure was hacked out of virgin forest and swamp, and what was hacked out was of adequate quality and it was well maintained. This included an integrated power network, all water supply, stormwater and sewage, massive earthworks and reclamation, reticulated gas, all the roads, many major public buildings, a full tram system, a cable car system and a trolley bus system etc etc.

    The debt in 2000 after all this was done was minimal. Since 2000 this City’s debt has ballooned by some $600 million. At the same time rates and charges in all areas under the DCC’s control have similarly exploded. And for what? During the same period we have seen rampant neglect of civic infrastructure, a few shoddy bodges such as the Foobar and the St Clair sea wall and now clear neglect of those assets that are controlled by DCHL.

    The St Clair outfall pipe is oft trumpeted. Most Cities fully treat their sewage. The Thames is drunk and discharged more than five times before it reaches Brent. Transporting Dunedin’s turds a couple of kms further out to sea does not represent a great feat, compared to those elsewhere or those that have gone before here, if it is a feat at all. If this report represents what has happened to Aurora, how can one have any faith in the state of City Forests or the railway bridges up the Taieri Gorge, let alone the water and sewage?

    Adding all the pluses (revenue and debt) and minuses (neglect etc), it looks like around a billion dollars might have gone AWOL from this City’s consolidated accounts over this period. The Stadium, other high profile vanity bodgy-projects, and the extended turd-pipe only account for around a third of this sum – So where the hell has the rest of it gone??

    Don’t expect Deloitte to be given THOSE terms of reference any time soon.

  13. Gurglars

    Lots of good unanswered questions therein Rob!

  14. Elizabeth

    grady-cameron-delta-ceo-story-19-10-16-newshub-co-nz-1[newshub.co.nz 19.10.16]

    Deloitte’s recommendation for there to be separate chief executives meant Mr Cameron would need to reapply for his job and he would not be selected as chief executive of either company.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 14 Dec 2016
    Doubt over Cameron’s future
    By Vaughan Elder
    Questions remain over Grady Cameron’s future as chief executive of Aurora Energy as the fallout from a damning review continues. The questions over Mr Cameron’s position come as his more than $560,000 salary was once again labelled “obscene” …. two neighbouring councils have called on Aurora and its sister company Delta to prioritise fixing dangerous poles in highly populated areas. The Central Otago District Council (CODC) and Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) are asking for some poles to be reinforced or replaced before an accelerated programme to replace poles starts next year.
    Whistleblower Richard Healey, who had a meeting with Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull for the first time yesterday, said it was clear Mr Cameron would lose his position as chief executive of both Aurora and Delta.
    Read more

    -Additionally reported by David Loughrey



    ODT calls for an apology to ratepayers from the companies, and Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL).

    Lack of oversight by elected officials is to be deplored. They have trusted the paid executives and dragged dividends from Delta and Aurora to give the appearance of good business practice in keeping rates down. In fact, the money should have been spent keeping ratepayers safe.

    Ratepayers elected councillors to act in their best interests. Their money has not been used wisely and there must be consequences.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 14 Dec 2016
    Editorial: Network concerns vindicated
    The concerns expressed about the state of the Delta-Aurora electricity network by former employee Richard Healey were vindicated with the release this week of a review of the Dunedin City Council-owned companies. The review, carried out by Deloitte, contained recommendations that will be acted upon and include the separation of the Delta and Aurora boards with no commonality of directors and with separate chief executives …. Chief executive Grady Cameron, surprisingly, continues in his role, despite the damning review of the companies’ operations …. At the very least, Mr Cameron must be made to reapply for his job and face the market on his record. The best result is for him to resign and admit his failings in leading the companies.
    Read more

  15. Elizabeth

    I’m surprised we didn’t hear of Stuart McLauchlan’s resignation from the boards of Aurora and Delta, in October, when it happened – having served dutifully since 1 June 2007…..

    October, of course, was the month that whistleblower Richard Healey went public. 19 October 2016 to be exact (Story at TV3 Newshub).


    However, Mr McLauchlan, you remain individually liable.

    • Peter

      Good spotting, Elizabeth.
      Love the photo of Cull, Crombie and Thompson above. Notice Cull and Crombie are mirroring their body language with crossed fingers and hands.Not sure what this signifies, but a funny image nevertheless.
      Are they holding themselves together, under duress? They don’t look too happy, but I guess they wouldn’t be. Not a good day at the office with the Christmas hols seeming to be so far away. Another shit end to another shit year on the DCC.
      Don’t these people have another life? A pity they can’t resign on a high note like John Key. Too late for that. I almost feel sorry for them. I said, Almost.

    • Simon

      Interesting snippet in the ODT Business & Money section today. Under the heading Whiskey Co still hope for distillery.” Professional Dunedin company director Stuart McLauchlan is now a director on the Whisky Company board, but not a shareholder.”

      {Link: https://www.odt.co.nz/business/whisky-co-still-hopes-distillery -Eds}

  16. Elizabeth

    I was admiring Dave’s tie in other footage of the meeting.

  17. Elizabeth

    There’s probably a great new Clarke and Dawe skit to cover this, Peter.

  18. Elizabeth

    ClarkeAndDawe Published on Nov 16, 2016
    Clarke and Dawe – Some Great Xmas Gift Ideas Here
    “Bert Waitdesmore. Seasonal Products Consultant” Originally aired on ABC TV: 17/11/2016


    Wed, 14 Dec 2016 at 3:07 p.m.

    A company’s search of former Dunedin accountant Murray Neil Frost shows there are many partnerships and co-directorships with Stephen Richard Thompson. No doubt you are aware of that.

    It was clear when Frost was involved at Yaldhurst (and he still appears to be) that Frost was acting for Noble interests while faking that he was acting for Delta’s interests. Frost turned down offers from caveators that would have resulted in Delta retrieving many more and maybe all their owed millions, and/or owning the subdivision. Instead Frost’s involvement took millions from DCC ratepayers to profit the developer and rip off the caveators.

    Given Frost and Thompson are extremely tight, Thompson may well be of the same ilk in taking money from ratepayers to give to others and will very likely conceal Delta’s corrupt decisions to write off tens of millions instead of turning those millions owed into first ranking mortgages.

    A review/audit of Delta’s actions in writing off millions that it could have recovered would be very interesting.



    2.8.16 Subdivision plan change opposed by planner
    26.1.16 https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown-lakes/developers-covet-open-space-land [Infinity]

    11.11.15 https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/safety-fears-trucks-cross
    28.10.15 https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/busy-summer-earthworks-new-81-lot-subdivision

    2.12.14 https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/councillors-visit-two-homes
    29.11.14 https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/tears-couples-fears-expressed
    25.11.14 https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/planners-back-81-lot-subdivision
    5.11.14 https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/subdivision-consent-applied

  19. Elizabeth

    National Business Review (NBR)
    Electricity Authority proposes softer grid price reform
    By Patrick Smellie Tue, 13 Dec 2016
    The Electricity Authority is softening its proposed reforms for national grid payments and suggesting that, even where its proposals raise power prices, other reforms under consideration by the Commerce Commission will mostly cancel them out.
    Read more at https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/electricity-authority-proposes-softer-grid-price-reform-b-197808

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