Posts by Tet Yoon Lee

  • Hard News: Paying for the storms to come,

    One thing which seems have been ignored with the AECT/Entrust discussion is while we at least have some money to pay for undergrounding in the Auckland, Manukau and Papakura areas, there is none in the Waitakere, North Shore and Rodney areas. In case it’s unclear the agreement does only cover thoes areas. Basically I think if you’re not in an area that receives the dividend and votes for the board, you’re not in an area covered

    Since the outages were so widespread, there must be many affected who are in Entrust areas with overhead lines. Mt Albert is one and I’ve come across many stories from before the storm of residents complaining about the lack of progress e.g. and .

    But there are many others in areas not covered, West Auckland is after all one of the areas which has received a lot of attention. To be fair, I imagine in some area especially those still without power it’s complicated. E.g. if the problem is a single line through bush, what’s the cost/benefit to undergrounding this? However others e.g. Te Atatu are a lot more of the classic suburb with above ground lines scenario which could just be handled like others in Entrust areas if, only there were funding for it.

    (I live in West Auckland but fortunately an underground area. Didn’t have any power cut either on Tuesday or due to the the substation problem on Friday.)

    I guess there’s theoretically a way, likely involving a vote in the Entrust areas to expand the agreement to cover undergrounding in area’s currently not covered. But Dan Bidois’s comments highlighted by another commentator demonstrate one thing. If you think there’s any realistic chance of this happening, you must be new to Auckland politics. It doesn’t matter, as another commentator highlighted, that in the long term undergrounding may pay for itself in terms of reduced maintenence costs i.e. increased dividends.

    Remember that Entrust owns 75.1% of Vector, so while Vector’s management could independently decide to commit much more to undergrounding particularly outside the Entrust areas, ultimately Entrust will need to agree with what they’re spending their money on.

    BTW, according to that earlier Vector & Entrust pages on undergrounding, the amount currently committed for undergrounding is $10.5 million a year. (It’s also not solely for undergrounding anymore, but also used for new tech like solar.) So even half the dividend will mean we’re spending about 6x what we currently spend. I wouldn’t say it’s insignificant.

    I’d note also that even if you solve the Vector funding problem you still have another. The news reports on Mt Albert mention that one reason the areas aren’t being undergrounded is because Chorus is reducing their funding for these initiatives and doesn’t want to pay the costs in that area given the volcanic rock concerns Russell Brown mentioned. Vector doesn’t see much point undergrounding if there are still going to be telecommunication lines above ground. And actually despite the benefits, given the disruption and costs I’m not sure if it makes sense for the companies to do these separately either. So you have another funding problem with Chorus.

    Some have suggested ratepayer or taxpayer funding for undergrounding but it’s always a bit tricky when a private company is receiving funding for something which will also significantly benefit them. If this does end up happening, it needs to be designed carefully.

    On a slightly related point, while I agree that generally the UFB project was a good idea, I think these problems and those mentioned in the story Russell Brown do raise questions over some of the specifics. It does seem Chorus is going down the ultra cheap and shoddy route in some cases, especially with the home installs. I mean even their standards are seemingly often not followed with many reports of cables being barely buried. 20cm may not be much but at least it’s something. And while this may arise due to the contractors, ignoring that they are ultimately Chorus’s responsibility I think it’s also clear that one reason they’re doing such a poor job is because the amount Chorus is paying them.

    Whether all these are because Chorus underbid to win nearly all of the contracts, the standards etc that were part of the agreement weren’t good enough or whatever, I don’t know. (From what I’ve read, the cost of home installs wasn’t something well considered.) I do think we have another timebomb or at least cost which both consumers and shareholders are going to be paying for over a long time due to excessive cost cutting when it would have been far better for everyone if only a little bit more had been spent. (And this is one of the sad things, I suspect as often the case that the amount saved is actually quite small even just compared to what’s being spent, let alone to what it will eventually cost.)

    Since Nov 2013 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Narcissists and bullies, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That's an interesting article. It's tallies with the small amount I've seen. Namely that while there's a lot of talk of bullying, the stuff I've seen has mostly been disgusting brags, sometimes of apparent illegal activity, but rarely really any clear attempt at intentional bullying or shaming. I don't know what the original Facebook page was like however and the page was so long I quickly gave up.

    Since Nov 2013 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Narcissists and bullies, in reply to BenWilson,

    IANAL, but my understanding is yes. That said, as you’ve said earlier if the victims can’t compelled to testify my expectation is it’s likely to be an advantage to defence anyway without a key witness rebutting their claims.

    Even with video evidence, unless you’re able to convince some other witness perhaps one of perpetrators to testify, your case will surely fail. I remember reading somewhere someone saying you won’t need to even identify the victim as she’s underage but we’re talking about 14 year olds. So without an identified victim, all the defendant will have to say is she was a young looking 16 year old and your case will go out the window. Random boasts aren’t likely to count much (otherwise a lot more teens will be at risk).

    Perhaps a case involving someone who was clearly intoxicated would work but I don't think any prosecutor will call a case like that relying solely on video evidence without the victim testifying as a strong case. (In any event, as I've already suggested I'm pretty sure the defendants will be able to compel the victim to testify in such a case.)

    IMO this is a key point some people may be missing, there are victims here and there’s little chance anything will happen without it significantly affecting them.

    Or in other words, I’m with Lucy here. As much as we be disgusted by the actions of the people in the group and want them to be stopped, we should not forget the victims and what’s good for them.

    While I’m sure the police have made mistakes, I’m not sure things are better now that the public got hold of it (although I have heard it suggested the police threw it to the media in frustration). People may celebrate the effect of the outcry on the perpetrators, but let’s not forget, it’s likely the victims are also suffering. Since while the general public are behind them, I fully expect some members of their peer group both male and female, who’s opinions at this stage of their life, I expect they care much more about, are not, even though they didn’t even do anything to cause this outcry!

    Fingers crossed things will eventually pan out as positively as possible in a situation like this. I do seriously hope the victims have the right support at this time.

    Since Nov 2013 • 3 posts Report Reply