Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Dunedin lessons for the Christchurch Stadium

Newsroom put up a superb piece last week on all of the messes that Dunedin got itself into by spending stupid amounts of money on a stadium

I knew it was bad but hadn't known it was this bad. It was "Let's divert money from the CCO that runs the local lines company, deferring maintenance and leading to outages" bad. 

The judgment reads: “Aurora accepts it failed to exercise the skill, diligence, prudence and foresight to be reasonably expected.”

Between 2010 and 2016, Aurora failed, “without adequate justication”, to spend $37 million of forecast expenditure replacing and renewing assets. This led to a significant proportion of network assets “being at or near the end of their lives”, the judgment said.

The timing of this scandalous neglect was no coincidence, says whistleblower Richard Healey, of Dunedin, who exposed Aurora’s potentially harmful problems in 2016.

While a backlog of dangerous power poles weren’t being replaced across Otago, Aurora and sister company Delta paid $30 million in “subvention payments” – shifts within a corporate group, between profit-making to loss-making companies, for tax reasons – to Dunedin’s stadium.

“There were other factors and decisions related to maintenance that made sure we were always going to end up in this mess,” Healey says. “The key to the whole proposition is the fact that that money, which should have been used for the rebuild of the network, was portrayed by various people within council as some magic pot of gold that could be shifted across to fund the stadium – and it wasn’t.

Go read the whole thing. 

Yay, Sportsball and blackouts. 

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