Tag Archives: Lack of transparency

Topical debates on Corruption in New Zealand

At Twitter:

Other media items:
22.5.17 Can the Auditor-General be trusted to combat corruption?
21.2.17 NZH: Ex Ministry of Transport manager jailed for $726k fraud
26.8.16 Former Ministry of Transport fraudster denied bail

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Read Bryce Edwards’ full opinion piece linked below, and the associated reference links.

It’s Worth Your While Dunedin
Because you know instances of this bigger story, and you know them well.

The following is an abridgement.

This website has bolded some words provided by Mr Edwards and the commentators he cites. Words that bloggers increasingly have a ‘steam problem’ to include in everyday use of the English language.

So much for district heating schemes, eh.

### NZ Herald 2:48 PM Tue May 23, 2017
Political Roundup: The unaccountability of elites
Politics
By Bryce Edwards
OPINION —How much accountability is there in New Zealand politics and public life? Not enough, it seems, going on recent controversies. Mistakes by those in authority can lead to disasters and misfortunes of various magnitudes. Yet a number of recent examples – ranging from the Pike River tragedy through to the Havelock North water contamination crisis – suggest that there is often a worrying lack of consequences or accountability for the authorities involved.
Following on from yesterday’s Political Roundup column about managers failing to prevent serious fraud in a government department (Can the Auditor-General be trusted to combat corruption?); an obvious question is whether New Zealand has a culture in which there’s a lack of accountability for elites who make serious mistakes.
This need for this question is further underlined by Peter Newport’s strongly argued opinion piece, Is fraudster Joanne Harrison’s old boss really fit to lead NZ’s top public watchdog? In this must-read piece published yesterday, Newport details all of the whistle-blowing attempts to alert Ministry of Transport managers to the crimes being committed in the government department, and how those whistle-blowers then lost their jobs, seemingly as a result. Reading Newport’s account, it seems that much of the fraud was entirely preventable. He asks: “Where was human resources? The Public Service Association? The police? The SFO? The auditor general? The chief executive? This all happened in a modern New Zealand government ministry. In the full light of day.”
He concludes that “the chief executive, and his successor, have consistently refused to properly investigate either what she got away with or the further systemic failings behind the scenes… It’s disgusting. Where does the buck stop and who gets the whistle-blowers their jobs back?”
….[break]
Part of New Zealand’s democratic deficit relates to a lack of a culture of accountability in public life and governance. According to Karl du Fresne, “Accountability, the long-established principle that someone should be seen to take responsibility for serious mistakes, is frequently talked about but rarely practiced” – see his column, Accountability the price of keeping the system honest. He makes some important points about the apparent decline in standards of accountability in political and public life in New Zealand, pointing out that the end result, is “public confidence in ‘the system’ continues to be steadily eroded.” This is a major democratic problem, says du Fresne: “If no one ends up accepting personal responsibility and incurring a penalty, there’s little incentive to make sure it doesn’t happen again. […] Part of the problem is that “genuine political commentary and critical analysis in New Zealand has been eroded almost to the point of non-existence over the past few decades”. This is the view of Bob Gregory of the Victoria University of Wellington, who links the decline of accountability to the decline of public debate and information…..
….[break]
So, does all of this lack of accountability mean that New Zealand is possibly more vulnerable to corruption than people assume? This is discussed by former parliamentary staffer Grant McLachlan in his opinion piece, NZ should raise the bar on corruption. McLachlan suggests that New Zealand isn’t well protected from corruption: “Our processes to deal with corruption are flawed. […] When a judge in our highest court doesn’t declare a conflict of interest, the Attorney-General shouldn’t offer the judge a golden handshake to save the taxpayer the cost of an inquiry. When a dodgy mine explodes killing 29, out-of-court payments should not influence the dropping of a prosecution. The Protected Disclosures Act was meant to protect good faith whistle-blowers when reporting ‘serious wrongdoing’. Poor internal processes, however, have resulted in witch-hunts and whitewashes.”
….[break]
Finally, does the culture of misinformation and opaque politics play a part in limited accountability? Graham Adams thinks so, and says that there’s good reason for being appalled by the deception that comes out of government these days. He says “Kept in the dark and fed endless bullshit, it’s difficult for even engaged citizens to make sense of much in New Zealand’s public and political life” – see: Information underload: We’re all mushrooms now.
Read more

█ Bryce Edwards is a lecturer in Politics at the University of Otago. He teaches and researches on New Zealand politics, public policy, political parties, elections, and political communication. His PhD, completed in 2003, was on ‘Political Parties in New Zealand: A Study of Ideological and Organisational Transformation’. He is currently working on a book entitled ‘Who Runs New Zealand? An Anatomy of Power’. He is also on the board of directors for Transparency International New Zealand.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

[picdn.net]

4 Comments

Filed under Business, Corruption, Democracy, Education, Finance, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Politics, Public interest, SFO, Travesty

Cumulative DCC rates rise; council boffins continue ruse of ‘found savings’

At Facebook:

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The council had engaged with the public well, and arrived at a figure under the 3% limit. It was pleasing to keep faith with the community, and keep that promise. –Mayor Cull

### ODT Online Wed, 17 May 2017
2.99% Dunedin rates rise
By David Loughrey
Despite an extra $100,000 of spending approved this week, the Dunedin City Council scraped in under its self-imposed 3% target for rates rises for the next financial year. The council approved a budget that will see ratepayers asked for an extra 2.99% for 2017-18. Annual plan deliberations ended yesterday, after councillors spent a day and a-half discussing spending for the year ahead. The only major changes affecting ratepayers were an extra $100,000 approved for two projects, changes that came after staff found a further $100,000 in savings. […] Mr Cull said some people had reservations about the annual plan process, which featured feedback meetings rather than formal submissions this year, before full submissions are brought back for the long-term plan next year.
Read more

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### ODT Online Wed, 17 May 2017
DCC approves $1m for artificial turf
By David Loughrey
Dunedin is set to get two artificial turf sports fields at Logan Park late this year or early next, after a proposal set to cost the city $1 million won unanimous approval yesterday. The move has delighted Football South, which had asked for the money to be provided urgently to attract available funding from Fifa. The Dunedin City Council annual plan deliberations meeting supported the proposal despite concerns from Cr Aaron Hawkins there had been no official public submissions this year, and others had been discouraged from suggesting new projects until next year’s long-term plan.
Read more

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We’re not interested in (thank god) ex Cr Jinty MacTavish’s or the Green Party’s vision (what vision). DCC’s job IS to look after the environment together with infrastructure service provision. No further strategy is needed. Note the contradictions and hypocrisy contained in this item (italics by whatifdunedin):

The council moved the decision to give the strategy $200,000 to continue work towards making Dunedin a zero carbon, healthy environment.

### ODT Online Tue, 16 May 2017
Funding set for strategy
By Margot Taylor
The environment, bus governance and pool admission fees dominated discussions at the first day of Dunedin City Council annual plan hearings yesterday. The absence of public submissions was a notable difference at the hearing. The public had a chance to voice their opinions on the 2017-18 draft annual plan at public forums and drop-in sessions from March 30 to May 1, rather than at annual plan hearings as in previous years. Dunedin’s environment strategy received 26 comments during the consultation. Mayor Dave Cull said the comments provided “a pretty clear response” about funding for the initiative.
Read more

CUMULATIVE RATES INCREASES –
NO FAITH IS KEPT AT ALL EXCEPT THAT MAYOR CULL HAS TO GO

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

32 Comments

Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Central Otago, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Electricity, Finance, Geography, Health & Safety, Infrastructure, LTP/AP, Media, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Pools, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, South Dunedin, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

As predicted —Aurora Energy delivery stuffed on pole replacement

I T ● W A S ● N E V E R ● G O I N G ● T O ● H A P P E N

Aurora Energy board chair Steve Thompson should shuffle back under his rock.
DCHL chairman Graham Crombie, mowing lawns at Clyde, has nothing to say.
The largest risk to the Otago Community continues to be Aurora itself.

At Facebook:

### ODT Online Mon, 24 Apr 2017
Aurora sets new date to ‘remove risk’
By Vaughan Elder
Aurora Energy has abandoned a target to have all condition-zero poles replaced by the end of this month, saying it was now on track to “remove the risk” of 2910 poles by the end of this year. […] An Aurora spokesman said it had abandoned its original plan to replace all 1181 condition-zero poles, which are the worst-rated poles on its network, by the end of this month.
“Our target is to remove the risk around 2910 priority poles by the end of the year and we are on track to achieve that. That’s the target we are working towards. The April target was an initial working target before detailed programme planning had been completed.” After being given more than two weeks to respond, the spokesman did not say how many new condition-one and zero poles had been discovered during its fast-track programme, saying: “We don’t have these figures to hand today”.
Read more

The article also says: “Aurora had stepped up customer service support and communication so its customers were informed when power needed to be cut.” As far as we know this support and communication has been seriously deficient in many instances.

█ Customers should check the Aurora website on outage days for cancellations.
http://www.auroraenergy.co.nz/outages/

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At Facebook:

Related Posts and Comments:
21.4.17 Why would DCC shaft its own company instead of investing in its change and development ?!
14.4.17 Dunedin homes face power blackout #Delta #Aurora
11.3.17 How Safe Are We/Our Businesses with the Corporate Disaster that’s Aurora, owned by DCC ? #reliability

█ For more, enter the terms *aurora*, *delta*, *grady*, *godfrey*, *poles*, *asset management plan*, *dchl*, *auditor-general*, *epicpolefail* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

12 Comments

Filed under Aurora Energy, Baloney, Business, Central Otago, Construction, DCHL, Delta, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Electricity, Finance, Geography, Health & Safety, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, SFO, Structural engineering, Technology, Tourism, Town planning, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

Famous Fat Bros’ Aurora/Delta news trickles in…. but can the sisters divorce

### channel39.co.nz Wed, 29 Mar 2017
Delta and Aurora Energy to separate
About 95 Delta employees are expected to transfer to Aurora Energy by mid-year as the two companies separate. The business divorce is one of the recommendations from an independent review by Dunedin City Holdings Limited. Delta and Aurora Energy Chair Steve Thompson says they expect no redundancies from either business. Delta will employ just over 500 staff following the transition. Aurora Energy will be a network company with network renewal as its priority, while Delta will provide electricity distribution, green-space and solid waste services.
Ch39 Link

Review of Aurora Energy Limited / Delta Utility Services Limited – Network Safety Concerns (December 2016). Deloitte.

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### radionz.co.nz 9:22 pm on 29 March 2017
Dunedin’s Aurora Energy to take on Delta workers
Almost 100 employees from Dunedin power lines company Delta will transfer to its sister company Aurora Energy as the two firms separate.
The split of the council-owned companies was sparked by the discovery that thousands of power poles in Otago were rotting.
A whistleblower last year revealed thousands of power poles managed by Delta and Aurora were failing.
The Dunedin City Council released a report in December that recommended splitting the council-owned companies into separate entities, after three official inquiries.
A report by Deloitte recommended separate board management structures.
In a statement today, Delta said 95 employees would transfer to Aurora by mid-year, and there were no expected redundancies.
RNZ Link

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DCHL/DCC farming of the conjoined twins deserves a break….

█ The devilish ongoing loss of one billion dollars of Otago line user and ratepayer funds. And Steve Thompson can’t be contacted. Oh brother.

Yes we really believe the two council-owned companies have great governance and superb management!? We also totally believe DCHL is a solid grounded entity!? Pity about the number of executive and staff resignations from Delta to date, and the resulting inability to fill job vacancies. Would you touch these blighted babies. Oink.

At Facebook:

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### ODT Online Thu, 30 Mar 2017
Restructure proceeds
By Vaughan Elder
Dunedin City Council-owned companies Delta and Aurora are a step closer to becoming separate entities. Aurora and Delta announced in a joint press release yesterday about 95 Delta staff were expected to transfer to Aurora Energy by mid-year as part of the companies’ transition to standalone entities. The transition comes after a Deloitte report into accusations Aurora dangerously mismanaged its power network and failed to replace compromised poles recommended the two companies be split. According to Aurora’s annual report, it employs no staff and the management of the company is carried out by Delta, which is also contracted to carry out network maintenance. The Deloitte report said the closely linked arrangement was “fraught” with challenges, but acknowledged Aurora had been working on a restructuring programme which would have split the two companies in any case. Delta and Aurora chairman Steve Thompson, who was not available to answer questions about the press release, said significant progress had been made in the reorganisation of both businesses.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
11.3.17 How Safe Are We/Our Businesses with the Corporate Disaster that’s Aurora, owned by DCC ? #reliability
16.12.16 Tim Hunter, NBR —Aurora/Delta, DCC and ComCom
12.11.16 Delta/Aurora : Current strategy to “fix on failure” [extreme neglect]
22.10.16 DCC struggles with Governance…. Delta/Aurora/DCHL in slipslidy mode
● 9.6.16 Aurora Energy Ltd warned by regulator

█ For more, enter the terms *aurora*, *delta*, *grady*, *poles*, *asset management plan*, *dchl*, *auditor-general*, *epicpolefail* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: monsters international via blogspot.com – Siamese Twin Pigs by Alicia B Lim, ink on watercolour paper (US), tweaked by whatifdunedin

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Filed under Aurora Energy, Baloney, Business, Central Otago, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Electricity, Finance, Geography, Health & Safety, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, OAG, Ombudsman, ORFU, Other, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, Sport, Technology, Tourism, Travesty, What stadium

How Safe Are We/Our Businesses with the Corporate Disaster that’s Aurora, owned by DCC ? #reliability

Latest Aurora ‘safety’ ads at ODT Online this week [screenshots]

A N O T H E R ● L E A K —Aurora confirms it has breached standards over the average amount of time power has been cut per customer after its data was leaked to the Otago Daily Times.

### ODT Online Sat, 11 Mar 2017
Aurora fails reliability for third year
By Vaughan Elder
Aurora Energy could be fined or face court action after breaching a limit on power interruptions for the third year running. The Dunedin City Council-owned company said it took the breaches “seriously” and would probably ask the Commerce Commission to relax its reliability standards. If the Commerce Commission agreed, Aurora would be only the second lines company to operate under relaxed standards under a system called a customised price-quality path. The only other company to operate under such a system was Orion, after its infrastructure was damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes. Meeting the standards is important because the Commerce Commission takes into account liability when setting limits on how much lines companies can earn. …[Aurora] would not be drawn over whether a lack of investment had contributed to the breaches. […] A Commerce Commission spokesman said it was not aware of the reported breach as Aurora was not required to provide the information until June. However, if Aurora had breached standards its response could range from warning letters to administrative settlements and court proceedings. It could also penalise Aurora by cutting up to 1% of its revenue.
Read more

We hear poor Steve Thompson is not coping with all these leaks….

Related Posts and Comments:
16.12.16 Tim Hunter, NBR —Aurora/Delta, DCC and ComCom
12.11.16 Delta/Aurora : Current strategy to “fix on failure” [extreme neglect]
22.10.16 DCC struggles with Governance…. Delta/Aurora/DCHL in slipslidy mode
● 9.6.16 Aurora Energy Ltd warned by regulator

█ For more, enter the terms *aurora*, *delta*, *grady*, *poles*, *asset management plan*, *dchl*, *auditor-general*, *epicpolefail* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

19 Comments

Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Central Otago, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, DVL, Economics, Education, Electricity, Finance, Geography, Health, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, Structural engineering, Technology, Travesty, What stadium

D’oh [Mayor Cull can’t name all the successful manufacturers at #Dunedin]

Rather, Daaave promotes the SHONKY programmed spend on non-essential CBD tart-ups. Not reprioritising council budgets then, Daaave….. to solve the Superduper-Mystery of council-owned Aurora/Delta LOST OR MISPLACED FUNDS, WHERE DID THEY GO ? WHERE WERE THEY SPENT ? Hundreds of millions of dollars lost from Otago ratepayers and electricity users, Daaave…..
You are going to make them pay again.

ODT 25.2.17 (page 34) tweaked

odt-25-2-17-letter-to-the-editor-crick-p34-tr[click to enlarge]

Otago Manufacturers need a Safe and Secure supply of Electricity.
The Mayor of Dunedin is making sure this won’t happen.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

24 Comments

Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Central Otago, Corruption, Crime, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Electricity, Finance, Geography, Health, Hot air, Infrastructure, LTP/AP, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, SFO, Town planning, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

Aurora Energy at ODT 24.2.17 follows #LGOIMA

Broad spectrum (?!) LGOIMA request from earlier this week and interim acknowledgement:

From: Elizabeth Kerr
Sent: Monday, 20 February 2017 7:24 PM
To: Grady Cameron
Cc: Elizabeth Kerr
Subject: Aurora Energy Ltd – Official Information Request (LGOIMA)

Attention Grady Cameron
Chief Executive, Aurora Energy Ltd

Dear Grady

How is Aurora Energy Ltd funding the $30million pole replacement programme you speak about – from capex (capital expenditure), opex (operational expenditure), a combination of the two? or by other means? (please state)

Will Aurora Energy Ltd attempt to raise line charges for Otago power consumers, to achieve the number of (dangerous) pole replacements required in the next 3-5 years – how soon will line charges increase and by how much given regulatory scrutiny by the Commerce Commission?*

Is Aurora Energy Ltd solvent at this time? Explain.

Please provide any financial detail(s) salient to these matters.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Kerr
Dunedin

*emphasis added 24.2.17

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From: Grady Cameron
Sent: Wednesday, 22 February 2017 1:02 p.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr
Subject: Aurora Energy Ltd – Official Information Request (LGOIMA)

Dear Elizabeth

Thank you for your enquiry. We acknowledge receipt of your official information request received by us on 21 February regarding Aurora Energy (our reference 0945).

We will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than 21 March, being 20 working days after the day your request was received. If we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will notify you of an extension of that timeframe.

Kind regards,
Glenda

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Received.
Fri, 24 Feb 2017 at 1:58 a.m.

[click to enlarge]

ODT 24.2.17 (page 4)

odt-24-2-17-aurora-planned-power-outages-p4

ODT 24.2.17 (page 5)

odt-24-2-17-aurora-energy-notification-of-electricity-delivery-prices-p5

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

2 Comments

Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Central Otago, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Electricity, Finance, Geography, Health, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, SFO, Technology, Tourism, Town planning, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium