Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Wed, 30 Nov 2016 at 10:21 a.m.
>> Like most of Dunedin, in the last fortnight your correspondent has been looking with equal parts of fascination and horror at the torrent of deferred maintenance disasters and associated dissembling from Delta that Vaughan Elder of the Otago Daily Times has wrought upon Aurora. Mr Elder is detonating “aged hand grenade” potheads on an almost daily basis. Delta is surely beginning its death dance.
If readers think that “death dance” is too strong a term and your correspondent is a pothead of a different type, bear in mind the killer statistic revealed when last week Mr Elder publicised the results of Delta’s staff survey : 34% of staff thought that management was “honest” which, put another way, meant that two thirds of the staff considered the management dishonest. Given the preponderance of managers at Delta, this means even some of the managers considered themselves dishonest ! When the managers of an organisation are confident that the management is dishonest, then it is definitely time to do something about it…. However, we can be sure that Deloitte are not going to do anything about it by reporting to DCC what is obvious to all readers of the ODT and What if? : That the Delta and Aurora directors are either corrupt or incompetent to the point of criminal liability under Health and Safety legislation. (Only the first in a long list of fundamental director defects). Mr Crombie can spout excuses all he wants about Deloitte’s alleged “forensic expertise”, the issue is not about forensic expertise but independence and integrity.
Your correspondent has found that accountants’ ethical considerations and field of interest stops precisely at the door of whoever is paying their bill.
Lawyers have a more muscular process and even many lawyers who operate at, shall we say, the barely acceptable margins of their profession have a healthy regard for the disciplinary processes for unethical behaviour. Added to that, there are a number of lawyers available who view taking other lawyers to task as a form of sport. Yes before you ask, your correspondent has seen this in action, and there are regularly reported cases of lawyers being punished by the Law Society.
What your correspondent has not seen, is one accountant taking action against another, or any recent examples of accountants being censured by their professional body. Accountants policing their own ? That won’t work – the cost/benefit is all out of whack. But what we have here is not just one accountant looking the other way. It is the quadruple accountant play for maximum obfuscation and back scratching. One accountant, Mr Crombie (The Godfather) has carefully selected another of the brotherhood, a young go-getter, Kyle Cameron, wanting to make his mark in the Dunedin network (Tartan Mafia if you will). The Godfather carefully explains the rules of the game. The young go-getter knows there may be some short term consequences to him but understands that he will become a corporate career corpse if the rules aren’t followed. The go-getter will question the ‘change manager’ at the bottom of the play, Matt Ballard (Capability and Risk), a former Deloitte brother and member of the tartan clan. The young go-getter will hear no evil, see no evil, and most importantly, find no evidence of deliberate underfunding of the network from 2007 to 2016. That now protects the ‘older’ accountant, the sulphurous Stuart McLauchlan. The go-getter, will report that all is under control, the issues are not new and have been known for a long time. It was just a dreadful and unfortunate coincidence that whistleblower Richard Healey resigned and “some unfortunate publicity” meant it was timely to reveal Grady Cameron’s secret plan to spend $30M on replacing poles. ‘Grady’ will be gently chided for keeping this plan so secret that no one else knew about it and it wasn’t actually in the Long Term Plan, but you know, can’t make an egg without breaking an omelette. To diffuse that particular wet bus ticket, ‘Grady’ will also be commended for his vision and determination to create a safe network out of an aged one. Nothing less should be expected of a Deloitte Young Energy Executive of the Year. (Shameless plug for Deloitte also included).
The villain of the piece will be that Bad Man, John Walsh. He neglected to properly fund the network from the 1990s until his departure in 2009. It is, most definitely, All His Fault.
It hardly needs to be said that what is needed here is not Kyle Cameron, but a lawyer or former judge, someone with some real forensic cross examination talent, who levers the facts from liars and dissemblers every day. Someone with no ties to the incestuous and stifling Dunedin mafia.
However, Mr Crombie is correct that Deloitte does have “forensic” experience – from a besieged client perspective – and that experience is very useful in subtle engineering of the terms of reference, not asking relevant or difficult questions and indulging in Key-style vagueness. Deloitte specialise in appearing to provide a report that involves some gentle chiding, and wet bus tickets, but protects the client from further scrutiny.
In the event Kyle Cameron is the mouse that roared, and actually produces a factual report detailing the disgusting complicity of the directors who created a major public safety hazard by deferring essential maintenance to allow unsustainable dividends to Council, it will be amended by his superiors at Deloitte who have a very simple choice. Do Deloitte want to continue to receive lucrative work from Council, or do they provide a truthful report ? Mayor Cull will do almost anything to avoid ratepayers knowing that they are facing imminent and large de facto rates increases in the form of exponential lines charge increases ….because, huge amounts of Aurora line charges have been squandered on bloated and self-interested management, failed property deals and of course, paying for the stadium, over many years, and for many years to come.
The Crombie and Cull playbook 1 is to get malleable and weak individuals to say what you tell them to, hacking and modifying the facts to suit. Ratepayer funds at risk ? – a trifle as light as air ! What is important is that Mayor Cull and his council’s dividend drug habit is not exposed.
>> All right, readers, stop thinking that someone put genetically modified aggression supplements in the Bells ! Proof of these bald statements you say? Very well, here is the proof…. Until very recently a firm of property management consultants completed Building Warrant of Fitness inspections for the City. Now the firm had a sudden change of ownership recently, which may or may not have had something to do with the “non-voluntary” (careful words needed here readers) ! departure of an individual from the City, not unrelated to someone at the firm, at around the same time.
It appears that the firm may have lacked the necessary, ahem, independence or distance to enable them to provide, shall we say, a more accurate picture of the Building Act compliance status of ratepayer-owned facilities, including the Dunedin Town Hall and Wall Street Mall. When the new owners of the business produced their Warrant of Fitness report this year on those facilities, there was a list – a very long list – of 360 fire rating defects in Wall Street alone. These fire rating defects and other faults dated back to when the buildings were constructed in 2008 and 2011.
(By way of confirmation, If ratepayers care to check the publicly displayed Building Warrant of Fitness at Wall Street they will find there is no certificate, and we understand there are recently lodged official information requests to get to the bottom of this matter).
The establishment, allegedly very unhappy with this burst of unpleasant fire rating revelations from the new and improved firm, may have said words to the effect of “We have 50 buildings that need inspections ! Do you understand what we mean?” …. “We want you to issue the WoF on the basis that we will get around to do some of the work when we feel like it, when we are good and ready and not before !” (We could call this the Aurora option….). The response from the new firm was basically, “We have standards and professional obligations, and we can’t certify something on that basis as you have a record of ignoring previous identified serious faults.” We understand the establishment was then invited by the new firm to employ a specialist Fire Engineer to review the list and the new firm’s report.
So what did the establishment do ? Did it immediately start work on fixing the problem ? Of course not, it sacked the new firm from all work for having the cheek to put in writing things that were deemed “inconvenient”.
Kyle Cameron, what will it be ?
Truth or Consequences?
The Money or the Bag ? (To dispose of the Delta’s directorial corpses).
Dunedin is watching and waiting.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
This post is published in the public interest.
*Image: pinterest.com – ‘It’s in the Bag’ with Teneke Stephenson (formerly Bouchier) and Selwyn Toogood, tweaked by whatifdunedin [Kyle via Deloitte]