Tag Archives: Central government

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.
Read more

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

****

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.

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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.

17 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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Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki

Related legislation currently before Parliament will raise the age of state care and protection to 18, and establish an independent youth advocacy service.

### NZ Herald Online 11:03 AM Thursday Aug 18, 2016
Ministry for Vulnerable Children to be established
By Nicholas Jones – political reporter
A stand-alone ministry that will replace Child, Youth and Family has been officially named – and will try and reverse what the Government admits are “atrocious” outcomes for children. Speaking at an event in Grey Lynn, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the new ministry would be named the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
“This is not a rebranding exercise. It is how this ministry performs, rather than its name, which will make a difference for vulnerable young people,” said Tolley, who will also become the first Minister for Vulnerable Children.
“The long-term outcomes for young people in the current system are simply atrocious. When we started this process nearly a year and a half ago I promised there would be no more tinkering around the edges. Too many kids who come into contact with CYF end up on a benefit, or in prison, or with few qualifications. This has to stop.”
Tolley said advice from the State Services Commission, Treasury and Ministry for Social Development had recommended a stand-alone department be established, given the scale of the proposed reforms. CYF is currently a service of the Ministry of Social Development. The new ministry will have a much wider brief than the existing CYF, with a $1.3 billion annual budget by 2019-20 to buy extra education, health, employment and social services for the families of all “vulnerable” children. […] The new ministry would focus on five core services – prevention, intensive intervention, care support services, transition support and a youth justice service.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

CYF page detail tweaked [cyf.govt.nz]

*Image: cyf.govt.nz – page detail tweaked by whatifdunedin

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SDHB Commissioners speed-bleed health system

hospital sick [mrsfaella.weebly.com] 2

“Mr Thomson said the board had had a “decimated finance team” because of a failed Government scheme to centralise finance teams in Auckland.” (ODT)

answer, BRING IN THE CONSULTANTS

### ODT Online Wed, 22 Jun 2016
Commissioner team faces public
By Eileen Goodwin
The commissioner team running Southern District Health Board has been publicly challenged about decisions it is taking at the embattled board. A meeting at Wakari Hospital yesterday was the public’s first opportunity to speak directly to commissioner Kathy Grant in a public forum. […] Dunedin resident Natalie Wilson said she was concerned by an “excessive” reliance on outside consultants. The “cloak” of commercial sensitivity was used to hide information. Ms Wilson criticised the emphasis on staff “culture change”, saying there was no research evidence that it worked. The board seemed to be playing “buzz-word bingo”, and its most recent attempt at culture change came after similar failed initiatives of the sacked board, she said.
Read more

● Richard Thomson is a health board deputy commissioner; and chairman of the DCC Finance Committee.

### ODT Online Thu, 16 Jun 2016
SDHB’s consulting bill queried
By Eileen Goodwin
A health union is questioning a bill of more than $978,000 the Southern District Health Board has run up with an Auckland consulting firm. The Public Service Association will raise the issue at a monthly meeting between unions and the health board next week. […] In a formal response to an Official Information Act request, acting chief executive Lexie O’Shea said the consultants had been working on “service alignment” in recent months. Asked what that meant, she provided another written statement: “This has involved a systematic analysis of areas across the DHB to gain robust and more detailed understanding of our expenditure and performance.”
Read more

### ODT Online Wed, 15 Jun 2016
$7000pw fees and expenses
By Eileen Goodwin
The commissioner regime is costing the Southern District Health Board more than $7000 in fees and expenses every week, an Official Information Act request shows. Between November 17 and May 17, the commissioner team incurred $159,600 daily fees and $25,405 for travel, accommodation and food. As commissioner, Kathy Grant receives the biggest daily fee, $1400, and over six months she charged for 55.5 days, a total of $77,700. Mrs Grant’s annual pay is capped at $180,000. Mrs Grant also incurred $8615 for expenses. Her biggest single expense was flights ($4487).
Read more

Related Post 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 and a head chef
30.10.15 Dunedin Hospital #despair
17.6.15 Southern District Health Board sacked !!!
9.6.15 Southern District Health Board
16.4.16 Talk of replacing Southern District Health Board with commissioner
5.12.13 Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

No SDHB election in 2016.

*Image: mrsfaella.weebly.com – hospital sick, tweaked by whatifdunedin

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Filed under Architecture, Baloney, Business, Construction, Corruption, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Geography, Health, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Travesty

Thoughts on ODT Insight : Chris Morris investigates Asbestos plague

 

asbestos - dob in a dumper [illawarramercury.com.au]Dob in an asbestos dumper [illawarramercury.com.au]

B E L A T E D L Y
Cowboy New Zealand Governments wake up after YEARS of Devastating Sleep.

New Zealand’s asbestos death toll will climb to about 5100, excluding deaths from asbestosis, which were difficult to determine, a WorkSafe spokesman said. It was expected the peak of asbestos-related disease would not be reached until sometime between 2030 and 2040, the spokesman said. (ODT)

Is the Dunedin City Council opening its eyes quickly enough even with the Amalgamated Workers’ Union (AWUNZ) on its tail ? Good council workmen dead and memorialised in photographs, frightening….

“They worked regularly with the city’s asbestos water pipes – cutting and grinding, kicking up asbestos dust and sweeping up the mess later.” (ODT)

Asbestos cement pipe [cep.bessens.free.fr]Asbestos Magnesia Pipe Insulation [Asbestorama via Flickr.com]Weathered asbestos cement pipe [cep.bessens.free.fr] and asbestos insulation wrap [Asbestorama via flickr.com]

HOW MANY Dunedin City Council (DCC) staff, work crews, contractors and subcontractors have been required to work with asbestos product and exposure to fibres over the years —without comprehensive safety training and correctly specified respirators and safety clothing for individual protection ?
The answer is likely to be unlimited numbers.
Has anything changed at DCC ?
Have all asbestos contaminated DCC-owned sites and work areas been identified to date ?
Are formal protocols and a register in place for personnel who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos and require admittance to a testing regime ?

Asbestos WarningProper warning [shutterstock.com]

ODT Insight: Asbestos: The Silent Killer

### ODT Online Sat, 18 Jun 2016
Asbestos toll will grow
By Chris Morris
The death toll from asbestos-related disease in New Zealand will continue to climb for decades to come, despite a ban on imports of building materials containing the toxic mineral. Environment Minister Nick Smith on Wednesday announced New Zealand would join more than 50 other countries in banning the importation of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), beginning on October 1, unless exemptions were granted. The move was designed to further reduce the “appalling” death toll caused by asbestos, used in building products for more half a century. It now claimed an estimated 170 lives a year, he said.
Read more

[DCC tragedy] ODT: Suspicions of cancer cluster
Former Dunedin City Council water maintenance staff based at the Midlands St yard say the risks of asbestos were not understood and early precautions inadequate […] a solemn memorial to 14 men taken too soon – photographs of the dead, showing men lost to lung, bowel or prostate cancer, pinned to a noticeboard in the Dunedin City Council’s former Midland St workers’ yard.

ODT: Asbestos: ‘We were totally ignorant’ of risk’ (+ video)
ODT: Asbestos claimed him (+ video)

Other stories:

11.5.16 ODT: Asbestos likely to be cost in future
Asbestos may impact the financial health of the Dunedin City Council’s coffers in years to come but the extent of the cost remains unknown, councillors heard at yesterday’s annual plan deliberations. Group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie told councillors work was under way at present to establish the extent of asbestos use and issues in council-owned assets, but the cost to rectify it would not be known until the investigation was complete.

4.5.16 ODT: Removing asbestos pipes
The Dunedin City Council says it will remove decaying asbestos pipes from public land after their existence at Sullivans Dam was noted by the Amalgamated Workers Union. The pipes are beside sheds near the entrance to the popular fishing spot in Leith Valley Rd. The council yesterday said it had not known the pipes were there.

21.4.16 ODT: Asbestos at pool no threat to public
The Dunedin City Council says there is no immediate threat to the public following the discovery of asbestos at Moana Pool. During a maintenance check of the building early last week, asbestos was discovered in the pump storage area under the pool level of the building and in restricted storage areas away from the pool.

20.4.16 ODT: No ‘immediate health risk’ from Moana Pool asbestos
Group Manager Parks and Recreation Richard Saunders said the maintenance checks identified further inspection and testing for asbestos was needed at several sites, of which Moana Pool was one. […] Initial inspections have been carried out at two other buildings – the Sims building in Port Chalmers, which is leased to a club, and a storage shed located next to Tahuna Park used by Parks and Recreation staff and contractors.

16.4.16 ODT: Council denies asbestos danger
A union says the public could easily have been exposed to cut and broken asbestos pipes left unsecured in a sometimes unattended Mosgiel yard. The Amalgamated Workers Union (AWU) said the pipes at the Dunedin City Council’s Mosgiel wastewater treatment plant were not in a safe state and could have been accessed by children in the residential street.

Asbestos Cement Pipe - close-up of Crocidolite & Chrysotile [Asbestorama via Flickr.com]Asbestos cement pipe, close-up of Crocidolite and Chrysotile
[Asbestorama via flickr.com]

ASBESTOS (pronounced /æsˈbɛstəs/, /æzˈbɛstəs/ or /æzˈbɛstɒs/) is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals, which all have in common their eponymous asbestiform habit: long (roughly 1:20 aspect ratio), thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic “fibrils” that can be released by abrasion and other processes. They are commonly known by their colors, as blue asbestos, brown asbestos, white asbestos, and green asbestos.

Asbestos mining existed more than 4,000 years ago, but large-scale mining began at the end of the 19th century, when manufacturers and builders began using asbestos for its desirable physical properties: sound absorption, average tensile strength, resistance to fire, heat, electricity, and affordability. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation. When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibres are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. These desirable properties made asbestos very widely used. Asbestos use continued to grow through most of the 20th century until public knowledge (acting through courts and legislatures) of the health hazards of asbestos dust outlawed asbestos in mainstream construction and fireproofing in most countries.

Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). Illness from asbestos exposure can be found in records dating back to Roman times. Concern in modern times began in the 20th century and escalated during the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1980s and 1990s asbestos trade and use was heavily restricted, phased out, or banned outright in an increasing number of countries.

The severity of asbestos-related diseases, the material’s extremely widespread use in many areas of life, its continuing long-term use after harmful health effects were known or suspected, and the slow emergence of symptoms decades after exposure ceased made asbestos litigation the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history and a much lesser legal issue in most other countries involved. Asbestos-related liability also remains an ongoing concern for many manufacturers, insurers and reinsurers.
Read more at Wikipedia: Asbestos

Myth: Asbestos Fibres are firmly locked in a cement matrix.
Fact: Asbestos Fibres are readily released from deteriorated or weathered surfaces.

Myth: Asbestos-cement cannot be crumbled to powder by hand pressure.
Fact: Products such as asbestos-cement corrugated siding become friable from damage.

Myth: Asbestos-cement products present no exposure hazard to building occupants.
Fact: Asbestos roofing and siding can release fibres inside as well as outside the building. Not all asbestos-cement roofing and siding remain in as good condition. In many countries, the inside of asbestos-cement roofing and siding is subject to the normal activities of the occupants that can release fibres from the surfaces. An asbestos-cement panel can be vibrated by wind, causing some abrasion of the edges.

Myth: Asbestos-cement pipes present no health or environmental hazard.
Fact: Health and environmental hazards start during the manufacturing process when the ends of the pipes are ground and the waste is disposed of carelessly. Fine dust produced during installation of the pipes is a hazard to the workers and community. When the pipes are dug up and removed, fibres are released as they are broken and crushed. Pressure pipe for water distribution was made with crocidolite and amosite as well as chrysotile.

Myth: Paint and encapsulants offer permanent protection against asbestos fibre release.
Fact: Paint and encapsulants deteriorate and take asbestos fibres with them when they peel off. Why is it necessary to protect a material that is touted for its weather-resistance and durability, yet encapsulants for asbestos-cement roofing and siding are widely marketed. Encapsulants are a form of paint, and a good paint job begins with surface preparation. The hope is that no one sands asbestos-cement roofing and siding before they paint or encapsulate it, because of the obvious dust and health hazard created.

█ NEW ZEALAND LEGISLATION

The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 came into force on 4 April 2016. They set out the new rules around the removal of asbestos, and the circumstances where WorkSafe must be notified.

New licensing system for asbestos removal
A national licensing system for asbestos removal was introduced on 4 April 2016. The licences available under the new asbestos regulations are:

Type of licence : What asbestos can be removed?

Class A
Any type or quantity of asbestos or asbestos containing material, including:
• any amount of friable asbestos or asbestos containing material (ACM)
• any amount of asbestos contaminated dust or debris (ACD)
• any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM.

Class B
Any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM
ACD associated with removing any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM.

No licence is required for removing:
• up to 10 m2 of non-friable asbestos or asbestos-containing material over the whole course of the removal project for the site
• asbestos-contaminated dust that is associated with this volume of asbestos or asbestos-containing material, and/or any associated minor volume of asbestos-contaminated dust or debris.

A new role of asbestos assessor has been developed. A licensed asbestos assessor will provide air quality monitoring during removal work, inspect the finished job and provide a clearance certificate. A licensed asbestos assessor will be required to assess Class A asbestos removal work from 2018 onwards.

Current Certificate of Competence holders will be able to continue removing asbestos (in the categories specified on their certificate), and supervise asbestos removal, until their certificate expires.

Related Posts and Comments:
11.5.16 DCC DRAFT Annual Plan 2016/17 —Harden up, Council [survey budget]
10.4.16 DCC: Council meeting Mon 11 April at 1pm [DCC sites – see Comments]
25.11.15 Mayor Cull and the GREAT Asbestos Defeat ….trucks in toxic waste
27.1.10 Stadium: CST to clean up contaminated land
14.10.09 Questions about landfill charges + DCC reveals contaminated sites

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAsbestos-cement roofing before and after cleaning [specialistroofcleaning.com]

Asbestos-cement roof shingles [Asbestorama at flickr.com]Asbestorama: Asbestos-cement roof shingles [flickr.com]

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