Delta implicated in significant Saddle Hill fire (October 2015)

Channel 39 News:

Deputy editor Craig Page says tomorrow’s ODT carries “a really strong story”.

“We talked earlier about Delta being the story that keeps giving, and that’s the case”.

“We’ve got a group of seven Saddle Hill property owners who, we understand, are suing Delta for more than two million dollars, because they believe they [Delta] were to blame for the fire back in 2015, quite a significant fire around Saddle Hill area, [with] something like ten buildings including garages damaged.

“They’re not saying too much about their claims but we understand it’s to do with mismanagement of some safety equipment in the power line there, branches fell on the lines which started the fire and some sort of switch shouldn’t have turned back on, but did…..”

News presenter Craig Storey: “We’ll see you in court.”

Craig Page: “Exactly.”


saddle-hill-fire-7-oct-2015-jsnnz-at-imgur-comSaddle Hill fire 7 Oct 2015 [JSNNZ at]

TheManCave Published on Oct 6, 2015
Large fire on Saddle Hill Dunedin 2015
A large fire close to Dunedin city on Saddle Hill with multiple fire engines and helicopters with monsoon bucket, with very high winds fanning it and making it hard to get under control.


### ODT Online Wed, 14 Oct 2015
Saddle Hill fire warning to Taieri residents
By Timothy Brown
….The warning of a hot, dry El Nino summer and last week’s Saddle Hill blaze should remind all residents to prepare for the worst and be vigilant, Otago Rural Fire Authority deputy principal rural fire officer Graeme Still says. Nine structures – including two homes – were damaged by the blaze which swept through between 50ha and 100ha of land and put one woman in Dunedin Hospital with serious throat burns. “People need to just be aware,” Mr Still said. “Keep a bit of defensible space around their structures, especially living in the rural areas. Keep their lawns mowed and spouting clear of debris.” Those carrying out permitted burns needed to watch the fire danger and ensure their fires were out. […] The Saddle Hill fire now appeared to be under control, but firefighters would maintain a watch on it until the area received heavy rain.
Read more + Images

### ODT Online Thu, 28 July 2016
Saddle Hill fire ‘chaotic’ – review
By Shawn McAvinue
An operational review of the “erratic” Saddle Hill fire in Dunedin last year has revealed the first ground crews at the scene had to battle the blaze for more than two hours with “chaotic” communication, including cluttered radio channels, forcing many key decisions to be made by cellphone. A key finding of the review – undertaken by the Otago Rural Fire Authority (ORFA) and New Zealand Fire Service – was the communication between fire crews on the ground was compromised during the first hours of the fire. The crews were called to a fire in Morris Rd at 1.51pm on October 7 last year.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Business, Delta, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Electricity, Events, Infrastructure, Media, New Zealand, People, Property, Public interest, Travesty

8 responses to “Delta implicated in significant Saddle Hill fire (October 2015)

  1. nick

    Sounds like just the first bit of civil litigation against Delta over substantial damages caused by their deliberate and systemic network negligence. I doubt that Delta’s insurers will want a bar of it, unless their policy specifically covers them for it (in which case, the need for this legal action would not have arisen).

    Which again becomes a further burden on dear old long suffering ratepayers to wear the legal costs of fighting a case, and the millions being rightfully sought by the aggrieved property owners. Will the Fire Service also seek costs?

    Aren’t Dunedin ratepayers such a wonderfully tolerant, forgiving and unending source of cash for continually covering the woeful and expensive blunders that our highly paid Delta executives manage to keep dishing up.

    Anyone keeping a tally on how much Aurora/Delta has cost the City since 2009?

    (Hint: Along with failed property deals, it will have to include all the directors fees and massive salary increases that the top executive plonkers have been receiving annually for overseeing the numerous failings that have brought Aurora/Delta to this present dreadful position.)

    Think Infrastructure.
    Think now a Gutted and Dysfunctional Corporate Structure.
    Think Poor Ratepayers . . . again.

  2. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

    Sat, 25 Feb 2017
    ODT: Delta blamed for 2015 fire
    By Vaughan Elder
    Delta is being sued for more than $2 million by seven Saddle Hill property owners who say the company is to blame for a massive fire in 2015. The Otago Daily Times understands that the case rests on whether the fire, which damaged nine structures including houses and garages, was caused by an “act of God” or whether Delta mismanagement was to blame. One of the property owners, who said he was not ready to go into detail about the case yesterday, confirmed that seven of 10 property owners affected by the blaze were involved in the action and they were suing Delta for a total of $2.05 million. The property owners believe the October 7 fire was caused by a piece of a tree coming down on a power line, but that it could have been prevented, had Delta managed lines company Aurora Energy’s infrastructure properly. Whistle-blower Richard Healey, who has knowledge about the case and has read Delta reports on the fire, said the case would rest on the use of a piece of equipment called an auto-recloser, which automatically turns the power back on following a fault, to limit power interruptions. Cont/




  3. Peter

    In the meantime Delta burns. Thanks to Steve Thompson who hasn’t the balls/gumption to do something now…….Like sack Cameron and management cronies and see them in court for ‘unfair dismissal’ for obvious incompetence.
    Come on Steve. Grow some balls, mate.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    What?!!! Steve Thompson is only there for the money and to do what he can for rugby. He’s not there to deal with real issues like the fire damage as it may affect Delta/ Aurora. That’s not what trained accountants do. They sit in corners and count things. Now and again they move about as directors, why? I don’t know, it’s just what happens.

  5. Lyndon Weggery

    I understand from my source that Councillors are to receive a private briefing on Aurora/Delta on 7 March. There is a meeting of the Finance and CCO Committee on 13 March but no agenda yet. What concerns me is that when the draft budget was set last month at the annual plan workshops with a 2.99% rates increase, the DCC chief executive said they had no advice from DCHL as to whether any dividend income for 2017/18 was forthcoming nor was there any discussion as to how the $7M shortfall in Stadium funding from subvention payments would be met. This is worrying as many Councillors seemed to be burying their heads in the sand afraid to ask the hard questions. In addition and using the excuse that this is an “in between AP” year they have voted to not hold any public hearings on the draft Annual Plan although written submissions will still be called for. In the meantime I am stil pushing South Dunedin Action Group (SDAG) to host a public meeting next month about South Dunedin and remain hopeful. So you can see apart from the various public forum opportunities that remain with Council Committees there is little opportunity to engage with Councillors under this present Administration.

    • Elizabeth

      Lyndon, you’re not quite correct. I attended the last full council meeting where AP consultation was debated. And yes while there will be no formal hearings this year (described as a cost saving measure because there is apparently [!?] not much budget change to consider…. we all know this is a heap of steaming bovine poo given the DCC’s very poor financial position generally in the face of Aurora/Delta, implementation of the three waters strategy, the stadium, and all debt servicing costs etc), there will be a program of alternative forms of public consultation for the AP, to be announced. This is likely to include access to elected representatives including Community Boards.

      I would have to say the majority of Councillors are sound asleep on Finance and CCOs…. Cr Lord should be particularly concerned by the lack of his colleagues’ wakefulness – but he is a relatively inexperienced Council chair heading the Finance and CCOS Committee – his neck is On The Line. Buck stops with Cr Lord.

  6. Kane

    Buck you too. Unfortunately Cr Lord has made a living in an industry (agriculture) that over the years has survived on subsidies (taxpayer funded). He is now chair of Finance and CCO Committee (ratepayer funded). It shouldn’t be too hard to make ends meet. Just increase the subsidies (rates).

  7. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

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