Friday, February 17, 2017

HAVE A LOOK AT VIDEO FROM 2010/11 M's Mayor.

Leadership is often keeping your head while those about you are losing their's.

Another one;  (S)He who excuses them self, too often accuses them self.

For three in a row,  one of the decisions that a Mayor has to sometimes consider, is when to call a State of  Emergency, in the face of a looming disaster.

As I allowed yesterday, the first term Mayor of The Selwyn District Council would have been under considerable pressure and some of his "staff" somewhat struggling to cope as normally the big decisions in the "Riverstone Clad Wolfs Lair" in Rolly would equate to how many ginger nuts to put out for morning tea. Much of their experience of rural fires comes from stubble and hedge fires as the big country is so often under DoC control while lesser fires are primarily attacked  by local  fire   stations manned entirely by volunteers.
M's 'full of excuses and obfuscation' Dalzeil, with her very expensive, if shown to be possibly lacking  in real talent, general staff, did not have that excuse available, Five years ago the CHCH City rural fire outfit under Mitchell had an unplanned two day exercise  when a wild fire from lightning, ignited  the SW corner of a two thousand acre patch of gorse named Hinewai. A block controlled by a botanist,  Hugh Wilson, who believes gorse, one of the more formidable rural fire fuel sources, can form cover for regenerating the native forests that once covered Banks Peninsula. A remarkable chap Hugh as the now seventy year old, eschews motor vehicles, preferring to ride his bike to Akaroa and even the City, but his somewhat unique view has his two thousand acres almost totally devoid of any thing resembling an internal  fire break,  not even a bulldozed fence line that can give firefighters a small hope of a defence line. So two thirds of Hugh's dream world went up in smoke with only the lower slopes and the valley floor escaping as the fire died in overnight dew on greener less combustible live growth. All the area burned was only slowed by a fleet of choppers that would have totaled a  large debt payable, while in spite of untold thousands of dollars spent on two days of aerial assault, a cost I have so far been unable to ascertain.  One certain fact, the unproductive, if appealing to many, dream of Mr Wilson would have very little cash to contribute and possibly no insurance available.
In another minor change to the rules of war, somehow Hiniwai seems exempt from the bullying and badgering other land holders have to face from ECan  over maintaining clear strips inside boundaries as a minimum in noxious weed control.

Of course there was never any suggestion of The Hinewai Fire reaching the status of requiring a State of Emergency as almost entirely covering the valley between Stony Baÿ Rd and Long Baÿ Rd, natural fire breaks were available east and West with  well managed farm pastures on the boundary at sea level and to a lesser extent on the Harbour side of the crater rim. Tactically and management wise the fire abounded with learning opportunities, so why five years later The City seemed reluctant to become involved as an adjunct to Selwyn DC in this fire is a reasonable line of inquiry.

So M's Mayor of The City, pee or get off the pot and cease with the defence of as yet un-laid charges, all the minister was saying was his office had concerns about information flow and the tactical response from those prosecuting the front line. Not the 'soldiers' or even the company and battalion commanders  but the gold braid adorned shiny suits who sit around sipping lattes in air conditioned offices while many of the troops under fire have another real job that they only want to get back to quick smart. No body wants to be fighting fast moving unpredictable wild fires.

So I respectfully suggest Ms Mayor a few minutes reviewing some of the footage of your predecessor, now Sir Bob Parker, as he dealt with fronting as the leader in the aftermath of  the earthquakes and you might pick up on a few pointers to real leadership skills. Your screechy ott response to what are genuine calls for an understanding of what went wrong and it is conceivable that there were some of those  that exist prima facie, to be answered at a later date.
For now just be a leader and not the chief defendant. If there is a hole stop digging.


paul scott said...

Dodger, excellent. I would bet one Dodger would have been worth 100 Dalziel staff inside the action. I know you know all that area well.
There are some sorry stories of the information flow emerging.
I can only assume you were being cynical and weary when you expect Dalziel to show leadership.

Chris said...

Great comments. Interesting that with the earthquake recovery here in the North of the SI it seems to be the bureaucrats/shiny suits, call them what you like who are all clipping the ticket on the way through, and those who need urgent help are just strung along and are told to wait their turn!!

Paulus said...

Nothing new - it's Dalziel - she never made a decision in Parliament so why should she do so now.
Christchurch has the Mayor they deserve.

The Veteran said...

Sage post. See it all.

The Veteran said...

See = Sez. Koru lounge 'tiredness'.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dodger. I live right at the top of the Valley where the fire family went through hell wondering where i was when i was fighting the fire and couldn't contact them.
our House just survived the Monday night and then we went through anguish waiting to find out the next day if we had a home and our cats , that were in the house , because i thought that the safest place , were still alive.
We watched the faces of our neighbours who lost everything , and the worry on the faces of all the firefighters , police and others who were doing everything to help us. we then had another night where the fire came back from the other side through my neighbours house ,through our land and into our yard ,stopped only by the bravery of the fire fighters who stayed all night , parked on a track with fire on both sides of them .
A fire one of the volunteers said was so loud it was terrifying.
I have spent 2days shooting burnt animals that survived the fires , on mine and my neighbours property , having spoken to my neighbour about it first , and after his house was burnt to the ground and he could barely speak.
This has been like a war zone with an enemy who changes tactics regularly.

Yesterday I arrived back at the house after a group of friends arrived to help out , and found a box of assorted food , water ,assorted useful information and a card from the mAYOR OF selwyn. It bought tears to my eyes after some bad days.
It was an amazing personal touch , all the more so that I am in the Christchurch City area , and Selwyn is over the other side of the road.
The best our Mayor could do was a press conference where a number of residents informed me ,being as polite as possible , that she needed a few more coffees.

No emergency response is perfect but our leaders can be judged on their belated responses.
On that basis the mayor of Christchurch has failed and no doubt will add a chapter to the book she is currently writing on how she saved christchurch from the Earthquakes, about saving us from the fires.


gravedodger said...

My sincere condolences Herb, for the trauma you and yours have endured, comprehending the dispair is impossible for many involved but more so for those watching on.
I do have a small degree of understanding your loss and suffering having lost a home in an overnight total loss event some 25 years ago without the added burdens of the fire enemy surrounding and threatening you. Our disaster was over in two hours with only the ruin and the smell of destruction left to consider, you had days of it happning.
Ghastley doesn't come close, we had the consolation no one died only assorted cockroaches ants and a swarm of feral bees that occupied a wall of the leanto wash-house

Thankyou for taking the time to share it, I concur Selwyn and Mayor Sam and the staff did good service but some questions still must be addressed. I have little confidence Ms Diesel will be of any assistance at all. So far it is covering her arse and I see little else

All the best, I am not being trite but my experience says it will get better, Cheers Murray

ps If you allow I would like to post your personal story as a stand alone post. I can be contacted on email although that is probably not a major on your list of things to do. m