Dividends to DCC at core of poles issue

In recognition of the importance of readers' contributions to the letters page, the newspaper each week selects a Letter of the Week, with a book prize courtesy of Penguin Random House. This week's winner is Stew Webster, of Halfway Bush, for his letter regarding the dividends paid by Delta to the DCC being at the core of the power poles issue. Stew receives a copy of Project Kiwi, by Sue Hoffart.

CR Lee Vandervis (ODT letters, 29.10.16) succinctly summarises yet another scandalous situation arising from the dysfunctional DCC/Delta/Aurora nexus in the form of hundreds of dangerous power poles scattered in every suburb of the city. In my own suburb a check showed far more rotten and dangerous poles than were shown on the city map in the ODT recently.

Following closely on from the South Dunedin stormwater infrastructure failure, this paints an ongoing picture of deliberate neglect by the DCC and its companies simply to preserve the so-called ``dividends'' to the DCC, at the cost of public safety and wellbeing. The fundamental problem is the huge debt racked up by DCC to pay for glamour projects, like the massively expensive Forsyth Barr Stadium.

It is doubly ironic the DCC and other local bodies recently resisted proposed changes to the Local Government Act which would give the Government more control over how core infrastructure assets would be maintained and financed more efficiently and transparently. I was employed by the DCC for 18 years and saw the same abject neglect with the city's drinking water supplies which were only upgraded when the Ministry of Health introduced a new water supply grading system which gave all DCC supplies the lowest Ee grading, which indicated high risk for consumers.

The Tahuna sewage treatment plant upgrade was also forced upon the DCC by the ORC when the new treatment plant proved to be woefully incapable of meeting peak flows and bacterial discharge consent standards.The DCHL model, in particular, is seriously  flawed and the DCC seems unable or unwilling to deal effectively to it but as long as the ``dividends'' keep coming in I suspect it doesn't really care too much and public safety and wellbeing come a far second. 

Is Cr Vandervis the only one on council with the guts to clean out this rot once and for all? I suspect he is and he pays the price for this. 

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