Tag Archives: Central government

Good news for Cerebos Greggs and business development in Central Otago …….DCC stands divorced

Channel 39 Published on Nov 16, 2016
$20 million upgrade for historic Dunedin coffee factory
An historic Dunedin based coffee producer has received a multimillion-dollar overhaul. The Gregg’s coffee roasting facility has redeveloped its production line to meet growing demand for the caffeinated drink.

cerebos-greggs-building-plaque-16-11-16[screenshot ODTV]

### ODT Online Thu, 17 Nov 2016
Gregg’s spends $20m on Dunedin plant
By David Loughrey
Cerebos Gregg’s yesterday celebrated the completion of a $20 million investment in its Dunedin plant in Forth St. The investment over the past two and a-half years has paid for manufacturing upgrades including new production lines, a warehouse extension, improvements to environmental compliance, a new staff car park, staff facilities and an open plan main office. Australian-based chief executive Terry Svenson said the investment in the plant that supplied coffee throughout New Zealand meant production would continue on the site where coffee had been made since 1869. The factory produces coffee for brands including Gregg’s, Robert Harris, Orb, Civo and Bruno Rossi.
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### ODT Online Wed, 16 Nov 2016
$14.7m for space centre
By Jono Edwards
An Alexandra satellite research centre could be operational by the middle of next year. There was elation in Central Otago yesterday as Minister for Science and Innovation Steven Joyce announced a grant of up to $14.7million over four years for the Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST). Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan called the announcement a “game-changer” for Alexandra and Central Otago, and said the centre, which would boost Alexandra’s economy by an estimated $2.8million to $3.6million a year in its first three years, was “up next to the gold rush”.
Read more

### ODT Online Thu, 17 Nov 2016
Innovation hub in Alex possible
By Jono Edwards
An Alexandra “innovation hub” hosting science entrepreneurs could be one of the spinoffs of a space-based research centre in the town. This week, Minister for Science and Innovation Steven Joyce announced a grant of up to $14.7million over four years for the Centre for Space Science Technology. Central Otago District Council economic development manager Warwick Hawker said that from the early days of the project, there had been discussions about creating an “innovation hub” in the town as an offshoot.
Read more

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The ODT editorial congratulates “Alexandra and its commitment to secure a scientific future for Central Otago”. —And YAY(!), it swats Dunedin City Council as it should be SLAMMED.

In turn then, praise to ODT – for speaking out against DCC’s pig ignorant lack of support for local and regional business development, thanks to Mayor Cull and his greenie Councillors.

### ODT Online Thu, 17 Nov 2016
Editorial: Contrasting councils
OPINION A significant amount of government money is being invested in creating the Centre for Space Science Technology which will be based in Alexandra. In total, the Government is spending up to $14.7 million over four years for the new institution with additional funding from industry. It will operate as a private, independently governed organisation. Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says the centre will undertake research to explore the use of space-based measurements and satellite imagery unique to New Zealand to meet the specific needs of regional industries. Mr Joyce says a standout aspect of the proposal was the centre also having research hubs in Dunedin, Canterbury and Taranaki, further encouraging research and development and innovation in regional New Zealand. […] Contrast the attitude of the nine members of the Dunedin City Council who quickly showed their so-called green credentials on the same day of the Alexandra announcement. Those nine councillors voted to call on the Government to place a moratorium on deep-sea oil and gas exploration and extraction. Only four members of the council understood the implications of the vote. The council is again proving itself to be not business friendly. Sadly, those 11 members do not understand the landscape on exploration has changed.
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BS / Lunacy extraordinaire or, “You backed Cull, Julian” :

### ODT Online Wed, 16 Nov 2016
Council green as grass on oil exploration issue
By David Loughrey
The latest version of the Dunedin City Council has been quick to show its green credentials. A majority of nine “yes” votes overwhelmed four “no” votes and an abstention when the council voted to call on the Government to place a moratorium on deep-sea oil and gas exploration and extraction. The vote was, in a way, an early test of the collective thinking of the new council after last month’s elections, in which there were allegations of a green “bloc” that voted together at meetings.
Read more

Douglas Field Published on Nov 16, 2016
Green as grass
Dunedin City Council (again) voted to call on the government to place a moratorium on deep sea oil and gas exploration. “Green as Grass” the ODT says. Cabbage heads led by a ‘man o’ straw’ is what I say.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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SDHB #FAILS with Healthcare Communication and Governance

randy-glasbergen-2000-glasbergen-com-via-funnyandhumorous-com[glasbergen.com]

“I read it in the paper — all the information I’m getting is from the ODT. Management doesn’t talk to us, really.” –Prof Jean-Claude Theis

### ODT Online Mon, 7 Nov 2016
Patients turned away
By Eileen Goodwin
Nearly a third of orthopaedic patients referred for a first specialist assessment are being turned away from Dunedin Hospital, and the situation is becoming “untenable”, orthopaedic surgeon Prof Jean-Claude Theis says. The Dunedin School of Medicine professor of orthopaedic surgery  said the relationship with Southern DHB management had become “very bad”. Orthopaedic surgeons were not consulted about a recent decision to outsource 129 surgeries. Prof Theis had not known about the outsourcing until an Otago Daily Times story a little over a week ago. […] “With management, we’re not getting anywhere. There’s no engagement. There’s no clinical governance any more, across the hospital.”
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Locum ophthalmologist Dr Peter Haddad last week blasted the SDHB for keeping quiet, calling the decision “grossly unethical”.

### ODT Online Mon, 7 Nov 2016
ODT: SDHB wanted ‘free and frank’ debate
By Eileen Goodwin
The need for “free and frank” debate among Southern District Health Board bosses meant they kept quiet about the growing ophthalmology waiting list and cases of patient harm. The issue was not discussed in hospital directorate reports presented at public committee meetings since May, when those meetings resumed. […] The board notified patients less than two weeks before the release of the annual national adverse events report, later this week, in which patient-harm cases have to be disclosed. It will show 30 cases of harm from ophthalmology delays in 2015-16. There is likely to be more recent cases not included in the report …. [Interim chief executive Chris Fleming] admitted patients should have been told sooner. In an interview last week, Mr Fleming argued the situation was in part “good news”.
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the-most-common-hospital-surgical-procedure-today-inkcinct-com-au[inkcinct.com]

Sun, 6 Nov 2016
ODT: Petition started about hospital rebuild
Frustration with what she sees as lack of progress on the rebuilding of Dunedin Hospital’s clinical services block has prompted a Dunedin woman to circulate a petition she wants people to send direct to the Prime Minister or National MPs. Those who sign will “pledge not to support the National Party in the next general election unless we have an officially approved blueprint from the Government, acceptable to staff at the hospital and the medical school, to rebuild the clinical services block at the Dunedin Hospital by November 2017”. Cont/

Sat, 5 Nov 2016
ODT: Mental health petition delivered to Parliament
Dunedin mental health campaigners delivered a petition to Parliament this week calling for a nationwide inquiry. The Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust collected 1740 signatures. Chairwoman Corinda Taylor, with Denise Kent, presented the petition to Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox on the steps of Parliament on Wednesday. “The petition respectfully requests the House of Representatives to conduct a nationwide inquiry into mental health services to determine if current services meet the demand and if future planning is adequate to meet future demand.” Cont/

Fri, 4 Nov 2016
ODT: SDHB conduct ‘unethical’
Not telling patients sooner that they risked permanent sight loss from delayed hospital appointments was “grossly unethical”, says an eye doctor who last year warned the board about the problem. In response, the Southern District Health Board admitted yesterday it should have told patients earlier. More than 4600 patients have been notified they are overdue for their ophthalmology appointment. In the past two years, 34 patients have lost part of their sight permanently, and that number is likely to increase. Cont/

Thu, 3 Nov 2016
ODT Editorial: Eye off the ball?
OPINION The latest revelations around ophthalmology pressures at the Southern District Health Board are confronting, and the problems are only part of the iceberg nationally. Earlier this week, this newspaper reported patients were going partially blind while they waited for SDHB appointments. […] Fixing or managing problems can prevent issues compounding, and alleviate financial and physical pressures on the health system further down the line. […] Commissioner Kathy Grant has said she has confidence in SDHB medical oversight and governance, yet the problem is such that the board is prepared for more cases of harm to emerge and has notified more than 4600 patients they have been identified as being overdue for appointments. Cont/

Wed, 2 Nov 2016
ODT: Ministry of Health ‘ducking’
The Ministry of Health has been accused of “ducking responsibility” on the hospital eye appointment “disaster”. The ophthalmology pressures at the Southern District Health Board have caused some patients to go partially blind while waiting for an appointment. The senior doctors’ union and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists say problems highlighted in the SDHB are widespread throughout New Zealand. Cont/

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“The problem has been exacerbated by the state of our information systems not being able to clearly identify this issue.” –Commissioner Kathy Grant

Wed, 2 Nov 2016
ODT: Grant stands behind Southern DHB
Commissioner Kathy Grant declined to be interviewed yesterday about the patient harm cluster in ophthalmology, but says she has confidence in Southern District Health Board medical oversight and governance. In a statement, Mrs Grant said she was told about Dunedin Hospital’s ophthalmology waiting list problem in the middle of this year. This week the board revealed 30 patients suffered partial sight loss in 2015-16 because of overdue appointments, on top of a group of four patients the year before. Six of the 30 have a “severe” degree of loss. […] The board has admitted it is not on top of the situation in Dunedin, and more cases of harm may emerge. More than 4600 affected patients have been notified. Cont/

2.11.16 ODT: Eye clinic treatment lists blow out

Sun, 30 Oct 2016
ODT: Extra orthopaedic operations sought
The Southern District Health Board is trying to find an external provider for an extra 129 orthopaedic surgery cases in a bid to meet a national health target. A request for proposal issued last week on a government website says SDHB would fund up to 129 extra orthopaedic procedures in 2016-17 in order to achieve a national health target. […] Orthopaedic surgery waiting times have been a source of tension between DHB management and orthopaedic surgeons. Surgeons have lobbied for more operations, and have suggested southern orthopaedic patients need to be more debilitated than in other parts of the country before qualifying for surgery. Cont/

Sat, 29 Oct 2016
ODT: Doctors’ strike caused hundreds of postponements
The Southern District Health Board has released new figures showing the impact of the junior doctors’ strike. Fifty-two patients had a procedure postponed and 725 outpatients had a hospital appointment postponed. Another 52 patients were not booked for an appointment or procedure once the strike notice was received, the board told the Otago Daily Times yesterday. Cont/

█ For more, enter the terms *sdhb*, *southern district health board*, *hospital*, *commissioner*, *food*, *pool*, *south link health*, *swann* or *white collar criminals* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

nicefood-wolfescape-com[wolfescape.com]

10 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Geography, Health, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Politics, Pools, Project management, Property, Public interest, SDHB, Site, Travesty, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

COMPLETE Dis-satisfaction with DCC, DCHL, DVML, DVL, Delta….

marigold-tweaked-by-whatifdunedin-cdn-guardian-ng

Fake it til you make it, and hey, don’t lift the marigolds.

Sorry Daaave, looks like a D for your council’s governance. —Actually, for the avoidance of euphemism, make that D- and lower for DIRE Performance, accompanying Drivel, and Diabolical treatment of Residents and Ratepayers in the aftermath of emergency situations.

Listening to Yes People and your dwindling voter base isn’t your best hope to resolve ongoing multimillion-dollar losses being sustained by a couple of the council-owned companies, to the point where the holding company led by chairman Crombie, fronts with a “qualified audit” only on presentation of its annual report(?) to Council.

[In July 2015 Graham Crombie was appointed to the Commerce Commission as an Associate Commissioner for a five year term.]

Damages to employment, liveability and opportunity in a No-growth city keep stacking.

“It is also yet another example of good public service jobs being lost from our smaller towns and cities.” –PSA spokeswoman

### ODT Online Thu, 13 Oct 2016
ACC jobs to go in Dunedin
By Vaughan Elder
After consulting with staff since June, the decision had been made to relocate all the roles over the next 12 to 18 months to the larger Christchurch office and have “one centre for consistent customer and rehabilitation services across the Southern region”.
Read more

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Asked about people who continued to be negative about the city, he said: “Negativity is an attitude, it’s not a fact.”

### ODT Online Thu, 13 Oct 2016
Survey ‘shows Dunedin on right track’
By Vaughan Elder
A survey showing Dunedin residents feel increasingly positive about their city shows the city is on the “right track”, Mayor Dave Cull says. […] the annual survey was not all good news. Last year’s June flood was picked as a reason for increasing dissatisfaction with the city’s stormwater system [down 13 points to 43%]. Satisfaction rates also fell when it came to public toilets, the suitability of the city’s roads for cycling and the availability of parks in the central city.
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[Chief executive Sue Bidrose] said some of the areas where there had been negative results this year and in past surveys correlated to negative media coverage in the Otago Daily Times.

*1577 survey responses from 5400 residents randomly selected from the electoral roll,

The Talking Head (without helmet, unprepared)

█ Dunedin City Council (media release)
Residents’ Opinion Survey released 12 Oct 2016. Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: cdn.guardian.ng – marigold, tweaked by whatifdunedin

6 Comments

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Kaipara rates row : High Court finds “serious and substantial” errors

“If the council had just accepted the money, admitted that the people withholding their rates were wronged, that their case had merit, we could have all moved forward together” – Mangawhai ratepayer Bruce Rogan
(via Checkpoint) Audio | Download: MP3 (3′04″)

### radionz.co.nz 6:01 pm on 16 Sep 2016
New Zealand: Northland
Northland rates rebels win partial victory
By Lois Williams – Northland reporter
The rebel ratepayers of Mangawhai in Northland have won a partial victory in the High Court. The court has found that rates levied from 2011 to 2014 by the Northland Regional Council, via Kaipara District Council rate demands, were unlawful. In an interim decision, Justice Duffy found the Northland Regional Council (NRC) has no power to delegate the assessment of rates or the recovery of arrears to other councils. “The errors I have identified are serious and substantial,” the judge said. “In short, the NRC has failed to exercise its statutory powers properly when determining rates resolutions and it has unlawfully sought to delegate the performance of a number of its functions in relation to rates to the Kaipara District Council.” […] The Mangawhai ratepayers’ chair, Bruce Rogan, said the ruling was very welcome, although the court did not uphold the group’s challenge to penalties and GST imposed by the Kaipara District Council. The council should now agree to negotiate a deal to end the six-year-old Kaipara rates row, Mr Rogan said.
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From Kaipara Concerns (community website):

INTERIM HIGH COURT JUDGMENT RELEASED 16.09.2016
Duffy J has made an interim judgment in respect of the judicial review brought by the MRRA and Bruce and Heather Rogan challenging the lawfulness of rates set by the NRC and the KDC.

She has made the following decisions:

NRC
1. The NRC rates were not set lawfully for the 2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 rating years. [27]
2. The NRC’s delegation to the KDC of the assessment of rates and recovery of rates for the rating years between 2011/2012 and 2015/2016 inclusive was unlawful. Accordingly those rates were not lawfully assessed. [58]
3. The NRC’s delegation to the KDC to add penalties to NRC rates was unlawful. Therefore the penalties imposed on rates in respect of NRC rates was unlawful. [74]
4. The Validation Act only validated the unlawful rates of the KDC. It did not validate the unlawful rates of the NRC. [111]

Result
[129] I make the following declaration: The NRC’s rates for the KDC region have not been lawfully set or assessed for the rating years from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016 inclusive.

Duffy J has not yet decided what order to make in respect of ordering the NRC to refund the unlawful rates charged. She has invited the NRC to make further submissions and especially to examine how this ruling might affect the legality of the rates that it has set for its other constituent areas – Whangarei and the Far North. Those rates might also be unlawful.

She will make her final decision once both parties have made further submissions.
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New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has issued a press release in respect of the Duffy J’s High Court decision:

winston-peters-16-9-16-lessons-for-govt-in-mangawhai-residents-court-win-1

Related Posts and Comments:
31.3.16 Ratepayers achieve for Kaipara District —what Dunedin counterparts…
3.10.15 Kaipara Concerns —ADOTROL* disease [Dunedin mention, again!]
13.2.15 Associate Minister of Local Government: Return democracy to Kaipara
2.2.15 LGNZ run by Mad Rooster Yule, end of story
27.11.14 Auditor-general Lyn Provost #Resign
31.10.14 Whaleoil on “dodgy ratbag local body politicians” —just like ours at DCC
9.9.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara: Latest news + Winston Peter’s speech
19.7.14 Whaleoil / Cameron Slater on ratepayers’ lament
29.5.14 Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Assn wins at High Court
31.3.14 Audit services to (paying) local bodies #FAIL ● AuditNZ ● OAG…
29.1.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!
3.12.13 LGNZ: OAG report on Kaipara
12.11.13 Northland council amalgamation
29.6.13 Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!
21.4.13 Councils “in stchook” —finance & policy analyst Larry.N.Mitchell
19.3.12 Local government reform
21.2.12 Kaipara this time

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

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Calvert on DCC, ‘We could have a much more democratic and transparent operation of council’

leunig-cartoons-%e2%80%8fleunigcartoons-%c2%b7-aug-21Leunig Cartoons ‏@leunigcartoons · Aug 21

### ODT Online Thu, 8 Sep 2016
Scope for more democracy with checks and balances
By Hilary Calvert
OPINION In the past three years Dunedin City Council has functioned just as central government does, with a government and an opposition. But the problem is that in Dunedin it means central government-style politics without the checks and balances. Because the mayor of the day is allowed to choose the chairs of the council committees, if the mayor anoints those who are similar in their views to him or her, effectively a “government” is formed. Those on the “government” side support each other, forming a version of the “cabinet”, with meetings between themselves alongside senior council staff to discuss the issues of the day. Those who are not part of this grouping are obliged to form a loose “opposition”, because this is the only place where any public challenges and questions are likely to come from.
In Dunedin […] the chairs of committees forming the “cabinet” meet secretly and without any minutes which can be accessed. They may be part of working parties with other groups, which never report back to the council, for example groups meeting with NZTA about cycleways. They may have information either before the rest of the council or outside the rest of council papers, never to be seen by council. […] In Dunedin, the ODT describes what happens in council meetings, talks to the chairs of the meetings, and prints press releases, having clarified the situation with a relevant staff member. There is little chance for any challenge of prevailing views unless a major debate happens during meetings, or unless the issues raised are ones which the ODT chooses to follow up in an in-depth way.
Read more

● Hilary Calvert is a Dunedin City councillor, who is not standing for re-election.

luenig-political-substance-8-9-16Leunig Cartoons ‏@leunigcartoons · Sep 8

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B L O W N ● O U T ● O F ● P R O P O R T I O N ● B Y ● C U L L

If, for example, the solutions involved “massive urban renewal or massive pumps” then Government help could be sought.

### ODT Online Fri, 9 Sep 2016
Work on South D issues
By Vaughan Elder
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says it is too early to make a formal approach to the Government for help with the problems facing South Dunedin. Mr Cull made the comments while outlining the council’s response to its vote last month to “immediately engage” the Government over the threat groundwater and sea-level changes pose to the low-lying area. Mr Cull said that in recent weeks he and chief executive Sue Bidrose briefed local MPs on the situation in South Dunedin and in the past he had spoken to ministers Bill English and Paula Bennett about the possibility of “collaboration” between local and central government in addressing South Dunedin’s issues.
Read more

Animal Cognition @animalcog · Mar 27 [Birdie Cull, the wrecker]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

13 Comments

Filed under Business, Climate change, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Public interest, South Dunedin, Travesty, What stadium

SDHB ‘food’ : Our eyes glaze over . . . .

Hospital food IMG_1206 main [Gurglars 1.5.16] 1Main, Dunedin Hospital – 1 May 2016 [Gurglars Media]

Fri, 2 Sep 2016
ODT: Petition calls on SDHB to ditch Compass
A petition calling on the Southern District Health Board to ditch its contract with the company supplying hospital meals in the area has been presented to the board’s commissioner. Real Meals coalition spokesperson Anna Huffstutler said they had gathered 3000 signatures for their petition to get rid of Compass. “We want the Compass contract gone, and the job of preparing hospital meals and Meals on Wheels back where it belongs – in hospital kitchens where local ingredients are used and local people are doing the work.”

Deputy commissioner Richard Thomson said a survey of SDHB patients showed satisfaction with meals in July was over 90%.

Sat, 3 Sep 2016
ODT: Anti-Compass deal petition presented
A petition calling for the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) to end the contentious Compass food contract was presented to SDHB commissioner Kathy Grant yesterday. The SDHB has faced criticism over the quality of the frozen meals since previously in-house hospital kitchen meals were outsourced in January. [Dunedin South MP Clare Curran] said the Compass contract was a “flawed project” which had caused a lot of grief for people in Otago and Southland.

### dunedintv.co.nz Thu 1 Sep 2016
The South Today
Petition calls for dumping of Compass contract
A food-oriented organisation has called on the Southern District Health Board to end its contract with Compass. The Real Meals Coalition has gathered thousands of signatures supporting the dumping of the contract. The quality of Compass meals in the region’s hospitals has been called ‘rubbish’. The petition, with 3000 signatures on it, is going to be presented to Commissioner Kathy Grant tomorrow. Compass has a 15 year contract with the DHB to provide ready-made meals, which some have criticised as disgusting and inedible.
Ch39 Link

Related Posts and Comments:
1.5.16 Hospital food according to Gurglars
8.4.16 Worsted
23.12.15 SDHB underfunded, no bandage
3.11.15 SDHB will ‘takeaway’ more than freshly cooked meals…
30.10.15 Dunedin Hospital #despair
17.6.15 Southern District Health Board sacked !!!
9.6.15 Southern District Health Board
16.4.15 Talk of replacing SDHB with commissioner
21.8.14 Dirty pool? #SDHB #University
6.8.14 Otago Therapeutic Pool at Dunedin Hospital
1.5.14 Dunedin Hospital buildings SORRY STATE
5.12.13 Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

28 Comments

Filed under Baloney, Business, Corruption, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Finance, Health, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Perversion, Pics, Politics, Project management, Public interest, SDHB, Site, Stadiums, Travesty

Johnstone on ORC report : ‘The Natural Hazards of South Dunedin’ (July 2016)

The Natural Hazards of South Dunedin – July 2016 [read online]
Otago Regional Council
ISBN: 978-0-908324-35-4
Report writers:
Michael Goldsmith, ORC Natural Hazards Manager
Sharon Hornblow, ORC Natural Hazards Analyst
Reviewed by: Gavin Palmer, ORC Director Engineering, Hazards and Science
External review by: David Barrell, Simon Cox, GNS Science, Dunedin

Received from Neil Johnstone
Sun, 29 Aug 2016 at 8:17 p.m.

Message: Misinformation on the causes of the June 2015 South Dunedin flood have abounded since the event. As if the victimised residents haven’t suffered enough from others’ inactions (before and during the event), they are now being subjected to a hazards discovery process whose vigour appears to be exceeded only by its own recklessness. Following are a commentary of the hazards approach adopted by the Otago Regional Council (ORC), and a summary of my investigations into the flood event that I commenced after the publication of Dunedin City Council’s first flood report back in November 2015.

You can download Neil Johnstone’s report or read it below (formatted slightly differently to suit the WordPress template).

█ Download: A REVIEW OF ORC REPORT THE NATURAL HAZARDS OF SOUTH DUNEDIN (1) (PDF, 587 KB)

AN APPRAISAL OF RECENT REPORTING OF SOUTH DUNEDIN HAZARDS

N.P JOHNSTONE, BEng (Civil), MIPENZ

1. Introduction

There is some irony that DCC and ORC should be planning “drop in” sessions for residents in respect of South Dunedin hazard issues during September 2016, some 15 months after the major flood. The prime cause of flooding in June 2015 was DCC’s failure to maintain its infrastructure (not just mudtanks), and its failure to operate its pump stations to their intended capacities. The subsequent spread of misconceptions (i.e. groundwater levels, rainfall significance etc) surrounding the flood causes was at least partly due to inaccurate ORC analyses and reporting.

Repetitive and new doubtful information emanating from ORC via its latest report has been noted. Presentations and an over-simplistic video production have been observed. A footnote covering these observations is included at the end of this appraisal.

Long-delayed DCC reports on causes of the South Dunedin flooding have already been strongly criticised by the author. Specifically discredited are misrepresentations of sea level, groundwater and rainfall ranking. Accepted now by DCC as factors (somewhat grudgingly, and depending on the audience) are mudtank blockage and Portobello Road pump station failures (plural); still to be fully acknowledged are the failures at Musselburgh Pumping Station.

Attention is now turned to significant parts of hazard reports produced by the Otago Regional Council and utilised by DCC.

2. Coastal Otago Flood Event 3 June 2015 (ORC, published October 2015)

This report deals with a wider area than South Dunedin. It is apparent that ORC staff never visited the flooding areas of South Dunedin on 3 June, but took advantage of fine weather to take some water level readings the following day. The opportunity for useful progressive surface water level recording was thus lost. Levels were collected at some 150 points on 4 June. ORC’s main conclusion was that “localised variations in topography were probably the main driver of flood depth”. Or, put another way, water depth was deepest where the ground was lowest. This seems hardly surprising, and even trivial. No attempt was made to explain the photographic images presented of extensive ponding remaining well after the rains had ceased. The phenomena of blocked mudtanks and unutilised pumping capacity went seemingly unnoticed.

The report does usefully reference ORC’s four borehole recorders of groundwater, but makes the somewhat misleading assessment that groundwater levels were “elevated” prior to the rainstorm. This misinformation was seized upon by agencies such as DCC and the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to highlight climate change impacts.

Having obtained the actual groundwater level data from ORC via the LGOIMA process, the author was able to reveal this “groundwater fallacy” in reviews from February 2016, but it was not until the publication of NZ Listener’s article (June 11-17, 2016) entitled ‘FLOOD FIASCO’ that ORC admitted that pre-flood groundwater levels were in fact “just a little bit above average”. ORC now seems intent on resurrecting this fallacy.

The ORC report fails to address the real and key issues of pumping station failures (Portobello Road and Musselburgh), or comparisons with much lesser flood impacts in the larger rainfall event of March 8/9 1968.

The report states that the 2015 24-hour rainfall was the largest since 1923. This was patently incorrect, but again was utilised by DCC to divert blame from their role in the disaster.

3. The Natural Hazards of South Dunedin (ORC, published July 2016)

The report states unambiguously in its Opening Summary that the major flooding of June 2015 was “a result of heavy rainfall, surface runoff, and a corresponding rise in groundwater”. By now, most people are aware that the causes of the flooding’s disastrous impact were failure to optimally operate pumping stations, failure to clear mudtanks, and failure to deploy staff to key areas during the event. Again, none of these factors is addressed in ORC’s report.

The report presents a table on its second page entitled “Factors Which Can Influence Flood Hazard”. Examples of exaggerated negativity include:

1. Heavy Rainfall:
– Many recorded instances of rainfall leading to surface flooding.
– Heavy rainfall events have occurred frequently over the last decade.

Comment: These conclusions do not appear to be supported by the report’s text, and are vague, factually challengeable and alarmist. Prior to 2015, no major flooding had occurred in South Dunedin since 1968, and even that was minor by comparison.

2. Sea Level:
– Groundwater level fluctuates (by up to 0.5m near the coast) on a twice-daily cycle in response to normal ocean tides.

Comment: All of South Dunedin is near the coast; most of the area does not experience such large fluctuations. This should have been made clear by the inclusion of groundwater data from all 4 ORC sites across the plain, not just from Kennedy Street.

3. Seismic:
– Large earthquakes could result in increased flood hazard on the South Dunedin plain, due to liquefaction-related land subsidence or direct, sudden, changes in land elevation relative to sea level.

Comment: All areas of NZ have some susceptibility to earthquake damage. Dunedin is amongst the areas at lowest risk; no incidences of even minor liquefaction have ever been reported in South Dunedin, and little or no clearly liquefiable materials have been identified (Refer GNS, 2014*). Continue reading

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