What GIVES : Aurora/Delta/DCHL/DCC ?? Energy Safety/WorkSafe ?? ComCom ??


Due process and natural justice demand a different outcome in the Delta/Aurora case, writes Robert Hamlin. (ODT)

### ODT Online Thu, 22 Dec 2016
Rotten process needs fixing, too
By Rob Hamlin
OPINION Employment law is a minefield, which only those who assiduously apply due process can navigate. After the publication of the damning report by Deloitte, there have been calls in this community and this newspaper for Grady Cameron, the CEO of Delta, to be removed. Any lawyer will tell you that even with this report in hand, there will be a procedure to be followed before any such removal can occur. […] Enough time has now elapsed since the Deloitte report was published for the boards of Delta and DCHL along with the DCC to make their intentions clear to the community.
Read more

Robert Hamlin is a senior lecturer at University of Otago Department of Marketing, commenting in a personal capacity.


Comments at What if? Dunedin:

2016/12/22 at 11:45 am
Of course the Dunedin Mayor, DCHL, Aurora and Delta will always say that the network is “safe” because once they admit to it NOT being safe then they are liable. Actually that raises an interesting issue. My understanding is that if an officer of the Council is aware, or made aware, of an unsafe environment or practice on or around any Council property – and that includes roadways, pathways, parks etc and does nothing about it, then that officer is personally liable for any subsequent issue. Surely Cull, as an officer, is now aware through his much delayed meeting with Richard Healey that the network is unsafe. He only needs to read the ODT to learn of the continued failures if he still can’t bring himself to accept the truth from Mr Healey. Why then is Cull not being pursued by Energy Safety or WorkSafe or the DCC internal Health and Safety personnel?

Alex Brown
2016/12/22 at 12:39 pm

Click to access leadership-sme-guide.pdf

Page 2 Directors Duties – “ensure company has appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise those risks and uses them”
Prioritising funds for a sports stadium would not be a defence.
Ask any small business (easy target) slapped with instant fines for incorrect scaffold or any commercial truck driver who receive huge fines for safety issues.
If ever the law should be applied it is in this case. WorkSafe needs to send a clear message to troughers who love sitting on boards under the safety of Council always backed up by the ratepayer.

Alex Brown
2016/12/22 at 12:51 pm
Penalty for the Directors – 5 years imprisonment, $600k fine.
So our lawmakers also intended it be taken very seriously.

█ For more, enter the terms *aurora*, *delta*, *grady*, *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.

*Image: googlesnipers.org – topsecret1


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

35 responses to “What GIVES : Aurora/Delta/DCHL/DCC ?? Energy Safety/WorkSafe ?? ComCom ??

  1. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

    Exactly the same scenario, Richard says, as the photos of the dead sheep at Three Mile Hill last New Year’s Eve.

  2. Elizabeth

    Sat, 17 Dec 2016
    ODT: Anger after cemetery roses sprayed with herbicide
    More than 380 roses in Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery, some of which are more than 130 years old, have been sprayed with some kind of herbicide. Heritage Roses Otago convener Fran Rawling told the Otago Daily Times yesterday she was shocked and angered by the action, particularly by the damage to 40 memorial roses planted by families of some of those buried at the cemetery in the 1870s. […] Dunedin City Council parks operations manager Hamish Black said the council was working to identify the source of the chemical damage. Cont/


    ODT 22.12.16 (page 2)

    odt-22-12-16-dave-cannan-the-wash-deltas-role-part-of-spray-mystery-inquiry-p2[screenshot – click to enlarge]


    At Facebook:

    • Elizabeth

      Is DCC shielding Delta over the spraying ???? Because now we find no report until after Christmas ???!!!! Damage control in more ways than one, perhaps.

      Sat, 24 Dec 2016
      ODT: Damage to roses, bushes, trees
      Trees and native bushes are now thought to have been damaged by a mysterious substance which decimated heritage roses at a Dunedin cemetery. The results of tests to determine what damaged as many as 500 roses in the Northern Cemetery, some  more than 130 years old, were expected to be released this week. However, council parks operations manager Hamish Black yesterday said  results were now expected to be released next month. Cont/

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Is it definite that this is down to Delta? It’s so bizarre, there’s no apparent reason for using that spray, in that way, in that area.

        Delta employee gone rogue? Other victim of Delta/Aurora/DCC? Face it, among them they’ve a wide range of ways they jerk people over (and over) causing loss, damage, unnecessary expense, and feelings of having been repeatedly whipped by robots, no appeal to fairness and sense available.

        Two theories: eff-up or fury.
        Any advance on two?

        • Elizabeth

          No idea if it was D-grade-Delta – but they have the (Category 1 historic place) Northern Cemetery contract. They remain a suspect, until further notice.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Such a shocker, the spraying at the old cemetery that’s killed so many roses. Just hoping they come away from the stumps, if the poison hadn’t had time to spread right through each plant.
    Why was picloram being used at all, I can’t understand that. It’s not the most suitable spray for all that many situations in a town.

  4. nick

    Well written ODT piece Rob Hamlin.

    As the year closes out on the ramshackle lines network saga that continues to fall apart with thankfully no more lives lost yet, Dunedin City Council must get its act together to remedy the rotten culture that has fostered this appalling situation of gross mismanagement at many levels.

    Aurora/Delta has become the ultimate symbol of what happens when lack of effective oversight allows progressive liberties to be taken by those who should know a whole lot better. More than a decade of very inadequate governance, combined with extraordinary corporate largesse and wholesale neglect of essential asset maintenance has resulted in a situation which can only be described as a monumental disgrace to those entrusted to run the two companies.

    Directors now walk away with impunity, while generous salary packages have rewarded those whose inept mismanagement has ‘helped’ get us to this point.

    And the one brave and prinicipled individual, who recognised the rot and took the necessary corrective action which has finally uncovered the extent of the mess, is now unemployed.

    DCC. You are indebted to this man. Don’t squander this opportunity.

    Thank you Richard Healey.

  5. russandbev

    Well said Nick, but never forget that the DCC are complicit in this mess and indeed could be blamed for much of what has happened. It was the DCC who demanded that Aurora/Delta borrow to pay the DCC a dividend to pay for the stadium build, and the DCC along with DCHL who demanded millions in subvention payments to operate the stadium. In my view there is little to separate out in terms of responsibility and accountability. You are right though in terms of the Directors walking away – unless WorkSafe decide to act tough.

    Richard Healey deserves to receive either his job back as soon as Cameron finally leaves and certainly a substantial thank-you package from DCHL and the DCC. That won’t happen as we know the people involved.

    • nick

      Yes, “the tangled web we weave . . . ”

      Both Crombie and Cameron are on record as saying that Aurora was under no pressure from DCC for dividends.
      Seems that Aurora was just overcome with benevolence and provided these anyway.
      And Cameron was making no red-alert sounds about the rotten state of his network, which his own commissioned report had already clearly identified.
      And his directors didn’t wish that report to be tabled in full.

      I understand now why Whirling Bros and Ridgeway circuses haven’t bothered to make an appearance in Dunedin lately.

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    Remember when Mayor Cull decided to give gang members jobs, helping them turn their lives around and be useful members of society?

    It’s time for another initiative. I suggest the establishment of Ratepayers For Real Justice Squad. First task, set up a Give-A-Lot site. Secondly, visit those people who while splendidly remunerated failed to do their jobs thereby imposing even more costs financial and potentially corporeal on burdened Ratepayers. Encourage, vigorously, these individuals to contribute to the RFRJ fund whose first payout is – of course – to Richard Healey. He has made a huge sacrifice for our sake. It’s well past time some other people felt the pain of wealth gushing from their bank accounts.
    It may be some time before Mayor and councillors stiffen their spines and all grow a pair to match Cr Vandervis’s (Lady Councilloresses included, women have balls – located above the waist so no excuses from you chicks) and those of the sadly missed Hilary Calvert. Though I think she continues to be more influential off council than most of the incumbents and it wastes far less of her time.
    Till they demand a roundup of cocker-uppers and direct the CEO to do serious arse-kicking and hobble-fitting, DCC will gallop free as Kaimanawa horses without even providing valuable additions for our compost heaps.
    So the role of the RFRJ won’t be over any time soon, funded by a small percentage or perhaps gratuities from those they visit, as thanks for the “tactful reminder” to donate via the Give-A-Lot site. I foresee many ex-villains gaining valuable skills, progressing their career from in-person cold-caller to admin thence to employment anywhere in the world no-nonsense HOD’s are required. Over the years Dunedin will be proud of its ex-offender alumni.
    And its CEOs, Managers and Directors will be famous for high ethical standards and outstanding competence, the envy of other cities.
    The city slogan will have to be changed – I hope. Nothing fluffy, nothing unspecifically feelgood. “Rectitude Or Else” appeals to me.

  7. JimmyJones

    nick said that: Both Crombie and Cameron are on record as saying that Aurora was under no pressure from DCC for dividends and indicates that this assertion lacks credibility. The Deloitte report seems deliberately feckless in its recommendations and fails to emphasize the important points. It does, however, cover a number of important aspects:

    The report shows very clearly that both the boards of DCHL and Aurora+Delta were aware of the DCC’s demands for unsustainable levels of dividends from Aurora+Delta which compromised its ability to inspect, maintain and renew its poles and equipment. Deloitte says (page 17) – We acknowledge that the Aurora directors agreed to the annual dividends only after recording that in approving the higher dividends it had acted in the best interest of the company’s ultimate shareholder and debt funder [ie not in the best interest of: the safety of its workers and the safety of the public]. Also (p16):Reference to the “Aged Network” and underinvestment in the network, have been included in numerous board reports and presentations to DCHL.

    The DCHL and Aurora+Delta boards were well aware of the consequences of the DCC’s demands for high levels of dividends, but they did nothing effectual. The Deloitte report calls the Aurora+Delta directors a bunch of yellow-bellied cowards (paraphrased) (p18) for being aware of the developing problem and not acting to prevent it happening. The DCC has shown that it can control the decisions of DCHL and Aurora+Delta.

  8. JimmyJones

    Aurora+Delta has for a long time been seen as the golden goose of the DCHL companies – it has paid out the most dividends and whenever our DCC staff and councillors dream up another expensive project it is Aurora+Delta that bears the financial burden. Over the years, the inevitable consequences of the non-viable level of dividends taken from Aurora (that we see today) has been hidden from most councillors and the public. We should all be familiar with the magical event that happens at the end of the DCC annual planning process when the councillors have overspent and then the staff wave their wand and find a big chunk of money so that the rates increase becomes within the politically acceptable limit. The magic to achieve this often involves DCHL and Aurora and some bad financial decisions. Councillors are not informed about these compromises that enable them to spend more than is sensible. They don’t ask, they’re not told and they celebrate a job well done.

    Aurora is constrained by limits to lines charges increases and must maintain reliability measures. In addition there are debt limits imposed by the DCC’s credit reporting agency and dividend requirements determined by councillors as a consequence of the annual plan process. Aurora accepts these constraints and gives them priority in deciding their budgeting. The result is that the funding for pole and equipment renewals is squeezed down to bugger-all. The Deloitte report criticises the Aurora+Delta board for prioritising the DCC’s dividend requests instead of prioritising essential maintenance and asset renewals (page 17).

    Our councillors are responsible for the rotting poles. They are responsible for their own ignorance of how their decisions have squeezed Aurora’s renewals spending and responsible for allowing the mayor and staff to make some very bad decisions without their involvement.

  9. Martin Legge

    Whistleblowing in this country is a sham – a cheap crime prevention tool used by Govt agencies creating their myriad of idealistic policies and media statements to make us all feel we are safe. No clearer example of this was demonstrated in the Pike River mining disaster when the Commission of Enquiry criticised the Labour Dept for creating safety manuals and reports that were so far removed from the reality of what was occurring at the coal face of the Pike River Mine.

    Believe me when I tell you the Office of the Ombudsman, the agency responsible for policing The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (whistleblowers) is not proactive despite the media rhetoric. I hope you have a damn good lawyer who is prepared to take on the establishment and the support of fellow contractors/employees because when DCC, Delta and Aurora calm the media you will need it.

  10. Rob Hamlin

    It’s a remarkable situation. The remedies to this point won’t come close to resolving the danger that the ‘aged’ (actually strategically neglected) network poses to those who live and work around it. Despite the critical conditions that the recent incident reveals, there appears to be absolutely no sense of urgency – or of anything at all for that matter beyond denial. They looked OK last week from a helicopter – You might as well say that the State Highway 1 around Kaikoura looked OK last week from an F16.

    Like Richard Healey, I find the re-use of the ‘aged network’ justification in this case to be hard to classify in logical or polite terms. As to the claimed ‘safety’ of it – well these meaningless DCC ‘reassurances’ are becoming very irritating. We have today been ‘reassured’ that all the large Macrocarpas that hang over the Portobello Road are ‘safe’. What an idiotic statement – No large tree is safe – They are all prone to shed limbs and fall over without warning – and that can happen even if you inspect them – somehow I doubt if this latest reassurance is backed up by any complete and systematic inspection of the hundreds of tired and undermined macrocarpas that hang over this road.

    One might presume that when someone who is not working on them gets killed by these lines then finally “they’ll be for it”. But will they – in fact, for a start which members of ‘they’ is legally visible to the system – if any of them? ‘Elf and Safety’ actively harass farmers market traders, the Police actively harass drivers about seat belts, the Coastguard now are all over boaties for not wearing life jackets, and smokers just get harassed 24/7. All these are potentially dangerous activities that the targets actively choose to indulge in. I can’t think of anybody who would voluntarily choose to be blown apart by high voltage electricity while minding their own business doing something innocuous.

    We are told (reassured) that there is no danger as the system shuts down in a second… Indeed? – A second is a very long time if one is acting as the link between the world of 33,000 AC, and that earthly one upon which we stand. But have we seen any action from the ‘elf and safety’ community here after these repeated and potentially lethal neglect-related incidents involving these high voltages? Well, no as it happens.

    This shattering inactivity from the authorities with regard to these events, coupled with the lack of any ‘outcomes’, and none is sight, with regard to crumbling non-compliant buildings, shortbread structural steel and and exploding non-compliant mines, might suggest to some well connected bods that you really can kill as a foreseeable by-product of planned, profitable activities and expect to get away with it.

    Let us return to the previous scenario of a 33,000 volt line falling onto a 240 volt line serving a school swimming pool, killing its young occupants. Beyond the Ministry of Coverups immediately plugging the doors and windows on the pool building with 20 metres of concrete – with the small bodies (and evidence) safely left in-situ behind said plugs for ‘safety reasons’ – what further action might we expect to see for the authorities? They might indeed have the cheek to reassure us that the aged network, having now done its worst, is now safe!! Think about it – who would actually do anything before the scattering cockroaches reached cover? One suspects the cockroach, being the most persistent and successful of creatures – has it sussed.

  11. russandbev

    At the moment the main players are now ensconced in their respective summer lodgings and from their point of view, all they have to do is to hunker down, slap on the sunblock and wait for the fiasco to die down a bit. While Mayor Cull no doubt tarries in Tarras and Crombie collapses in Clyde, young Grady will no doubt be relaxing by a corporate pool, drink in hand and knowing that all he has to do to keep sweet is to ignore all that is going on round him. Nothing to see, move on.

    The reality is that unless consistent pressure is maintained then the persons that have enabled the Aurora network to descend into an un-maintained (not aged) network which is neither safe nor reliable – will walk away without being held responsible nor accountable.

    Some have already done so.

    Much has yet to come in the form of the Energy Safety (WorkSafe) and Commerce Commission reports, but I’m not holding my breath.

  12. Elizabeth

    Not everyone is not taking legal action. Say no more for now.

  13. JimmyJones

    It looks like all of the main culprits have faith in the spin-doctors to change our perceptions. I count three teams of communications/marketing people: DCC, Aurora and a private firm. From where I sit, the comms plan (disaster recovery plan) is to: minimize the severity of the problem, pretend that they have a solution to the problem and make a minimal number of public statements while they wait until the media coverage stops. But the media coverage hasn’t stopped. Probably it would have, were it not for a continuing string of spectacular failures – fires, small explosions, fallen poles, failed underground cables and other power outages.

    Their spin-doctor teams have been total failures so far. We are told that “the network is safe” when it is obvious to everyone that it isn’t. And the problem is blamed on the “aged network” as if this is some kind of passive natural process that happens to all power networks. This phrase is an attempt to discourage people from realizing that the rotten poles and failing equipment are the result of the decisions of Aurora+Delta, DCHL and the mayor, councillors and DCC staff. Rob’s phrase “strategically neglected” is a lot more honest than “aged network”.

    To me the presence of a communications/marketing department is a declaration of dishonesty and every statement from that organization should be assumed to be lies.

  14. Elizabeth

    It is therefore remarkable that the likes of long-in-the-tooth councillors Vandervis and Benson-Pope have lost their voices as the network fries bit by bit – do they finally understand their individual liability under the Health and Safety legislation. Perhaps time to revisit the South Dunedin floods on this count as well.


    Good to see NBR’s special investigation in this and last week’s print editions.

    Part 1 (16.12.16) Roading industry’s rotten underbelly
    Karyn Scherer discusses her story on corruption in New Zealand. The bribery and corruption involving two Auckland Transport managers has only scraped the surface of the dirty dealings in the roading industry, veteran engineers say.
    NBR paywall | https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nbr-special-investigation-roading-industrys-rotten-underbelly-ks-197944

    Part 2 (23.12.16) ‘Paradigm shift’ or highway robbery?
    Karyn Scherer delves into NZTA and the civil contracting sector. The NBRspecial investigation uncovered claims of standover tactics, bullying, rigged tenders, rorting of delegated financial authorities, and cosy relationships that sometimes cross the line of what is considered acceptable for corporate hospitality.
    NBR paywall | https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nbr-special-investigation-part-2-roading-revamp-or-highway-robbery-ks-198266

    Grady Cameron and friends would know all about this sort of thing. Eh.

  15. Elizabeth

    Meanwhile (CODC) at Clyde camping ground as potentially 500 holiday campers arrive – how many dangerous poles was that ?

    One of our contributors may be able to provide an update.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      They’re not dangerous poles. When potential risk is identified remediation is swift. Reclassification followed in short order by replacement of tags that could have caused people to come over all misperceptional.

      Post-truth, Elizabeth. Please keep up.

  16. Rob Hamlin

    I have had an idea that might help the cemetery roses. Delta is apparently in charge of these roses. Apparently they are dead – A bit like a category 0 power pole.

    However if you remember Delta have an algorithm for fixing category 0 power poles – which magically transforms them into category 3 power poles and a second run through takes them up to category 5 poles – as good as new. It has been suggested by some insiders that too many runs through the algorithm turns them back into trees that need pruning every year.

    Maybe the same algorithm can be applied to dead roses. The first run through should take them back to category 3 roses – seedy, but alive, and the second run through the algy. should take them back to category 5 – flourishing as if Monty Don was nurturing them himself.

    Absurd? – Well I suppose so….but it’s no less sensible than many other recent claims concerning our power lines – So why not give it a go?

    Merry Xmas!!

  17. Anonymous

    Very low key story from ODT about another power line falling down. Another example close to residential properties albeit this one focusing on an officer having to ditch the fire engine trying to safely navigate the downed cables.

    A resident said “The lines came down and set a patch of grass on fire.” but the article doesn’t include his thoughts on this experience or whether he was concerned about safety of himself and others.

    It’s only a matter of time.


  18. Hype O'Thermia

    Fire engine, patch of grass on fire … at the same time as resources were at last easing off from the worst phase of https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/fire-crews-watch-overnight

    How much worse could it have been – imagine 2 intense fires simultaneously in dry windy conditions.

    Wind – dries out vegetation, blows sparks, fans the fire. And thanks to Delta/Aurora 10yr maintenance freeze, wind has lots of poles and lines to play “all fall down” with.

  19. Gurglars

    Cause unknown by Delta and the DCC.

    The three D’s!

    Deloitte, the third D [was upset DCC did not seek to prosecute (for Citifleet)].

    {Moderated. Your assertion, now replaced by the moderator’s square bracket, was not correct. Deloitte provided DCC with sufficient evidence to seek prosecutions.

    See also, s26 Criminal Procedure Act 2011 or look up ‘Private Prosecutions’, meaning: ‘A private prosecution is a criminal proceeding initiated by an individual or private organisation (such as a prosecution association) instead of by a public prosecutor who represents the state. Private prosecutions are allowed in many jurisdictions under common law, but have become less frequent in modern times as most prosecutions are now handled by professional public prosecutors instead of private individuals who retain (or are themselves) barristers … Private prosecutions remain legal in New Zealand.’ Further reading: http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nzlc/report/R66/R66-10_.html -Eds}

  20. JimmyJones

    As Anonymous mentioned, the ODT story “Crash On Callout” is primarily about a fire engine that got stuck in a ditch. They just happen to mention that the fire was caused by another failure of Aurora’s equipment – another fallen power line.

    While high voltage power lines falling on the ground has become a common occurrence for Aurora, the ODT should not treat this as being unimportant. This is a big story because it is the latest in a long string of failures which have put lives at risk, killed animals, set fire to things and caused black-outs. It is also a big story because Aurora’s infrastructure neglect represents grossly incompetent behaviour from the Commerce Commission and WorkSafe. Also, censored by the ODT, is any mention of blame on the part of Audit NZ, DCHL, DCC staff, Dave Cull and his dim-witted councillors – the infrastructure neglect has been DCC policy for several years. DCC councillors have not understood that they have approved, every year, funding squeezes that make infrastructure neglect inevitable (this includes drainage, water and sewerage).

    It seems like if you are the ODT Editor then it takes courage to tell the truth – in opposition to company policy. Kirkness and now Stewart have accepted the policy of appeasement, misinformation, non-coverage and acting as an extension of the spin-doctor departments of the DCC, ORC, DCHL, SDHB etc. Allied Press’s policy is causing harm to Dunedin and elsewhere. It needs to stop.

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    Did DCC ever give a reason for not prosecuting?
    Surely nothing in the Deloitte report gave them reason to persist with the furfy “nothing to see now the dead man’s been burned/buried”.

    Dunners euphemism: Dead man = facts, truth, evidence.

    • Elizabeth

      Internal politics not disclosed by DCC, nor the connections to local (vehicle sales and servicing) business such that DCC and Police had same provider of fleet vehicles. Then bingo – code of conduct issues and Cr Vandervis making it plain the police investigation was limited, by DCC (!). All previously covered here as ‘query’. The garage doors came down.

  22. Elizabeth

    ODT 2.1.17 (page 8)


    [Same day – Shall we laugh or cry, Rodders]


    • nick

      The “loose metal strap hanging from the power pole” sounds like the cross arm brace. Without these in place, the cross arms (carrying the insulators and lines) can swing around at right angles on the pole causing lines to touch and arc.
      Again, a lack of routine inspection / maintenance amounting to neglect has caused this and probably other poles on that same stretch have this problem as well.
      I think Rodney is praising the lines crew who do a great job in responding to keep the network cobbled together. He won’t be praising the management who directed this lack of maintenance in the first instance.

      A couple of years ago, the same loose cross arm brace problem caused arcing and a tussock fire on my line. Myself and 4 neighbours quickly turned out and put the fire out before it could take a serious hold. It would have gone for miles.
      I suggested to Delta management that they might like to make a donation to our local community hall for our efforts on their behalf. After several prompts, they reluctantly donated $200, and no acknowledgement or thanks for our actions.

      Considering we saved them a very costly and extensive fire fighting operation, possibly amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, I was bemused by their response. ($250 is Grady Cameron’s hourly pay rate).

      Any future repeat of property damage caused by Delta’s negligence will probably now see us rethink our response.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        “A Dunedin hunter who called 111 after spotting a fire near his Waitaki Valley camp this summer was shocked to receive a $60,000 invoice from the Otago Rural Fire Authority this week.” http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/60000-fire-bill-shocks-hunter

        “Seven Sharp reported earlier in the week that the fire investigator believes Mr Dodds’ bullet ricocheted off a rock, bounced 80 metres and hit another rock, which caused the fire 45 minutes later.” http://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/fire-gun-experts-offer-help-hunter-accused-starting-bushfire

        “Considering we saved them a very costly and extensive fire fighting operation, possibly amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, I was bemused by their response. ($250 is Grady Cameron’s hourly pay rate).”

        • nick

          Hype O.
          Perhaps the bigger issue of Delta’s tussock fire (which we put out) is still lost on them.

          Although Aurora/Delta will undoubtedly hold 3rd party Public Liability insurance cover, there is no insurance company that will pay out where negligence is shown to have caused the event claimed for.

          This is where A/D are seriously exposed, as the costs of fighting extensive rural fires can quickly escalate to 6 figure sums.
          Unfortunately, the net widens again should the Otago Rural Fire Authority chase A/D for costs – and that is now their policy.
          Choppers with monsoon buckets don’t come cheaply. Nor do the big ground crews. And that is just the cost of putting out a blaze. Add in the cost of replacement fencing and compensation for lost grazing and possibly livestock, and A/D is again in nightmare territory.

          Unfortunately, it would be the DCC ratepayers who are ultimately the losers . . . again . . . in any fire fighting cost recovery action. This is probably another illustration of the cynical regard that the A/D directors and management have held for ratepayers with respect to their ‘run to fail’ policy of asset mismanagement, and the huge safety risks that this course of action has allowed.

          Central Otago is tinder dry and knee deep in rank growth at the moment. We will all breath a huge sigh of relief if we manage to get through this summer without any more rotten poles toppling over. Of most concern is that they topple in the wind, which is when vegetation fires from resultant arcing sparks can spread rapidly.

    • Elizabeth

      ODT 14.1.17 (page 28)


  23. Hype O'Thermia

    “Picloram is a systemic herbicide used for general woody plant control. It also controls a wide range of broad-leaved weeds, but most grasses are resistant. A chlorinated derivative of picolinic acid, picloram is in the pyridine family of herbicides.
    Picloram can be sprayed on foliage, injected into plants, applied to cut surfaces, or placed at the base of the plant where it will leach to the roots. Once absorbed by the foliage, stem, or roots, picloram is transported throughout the plant….”

    Picloram is not available to shoppers who do not have the appropriate permits for use of restricted chemicals.
    The people legitimately using herbicides in and around the Cemetery should be easy enough to track through the contractor’s records.

    It is possible that a malicious person obtained some from a person with such permits. This possibility could be investigated if full examination of the contractor’s actions provides no leads though it is difficult to imagine motivation for such thorough vandalism.

    I hope this is not one of items on Dave’s “don’t re-litigate the past” list.

    {Moderated. Please avoid use of product brand names and stockists at this website. Lab results for the samples taken from the cemetery have not been completed. – Eds}

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