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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Every drop

The stricken Rena is now losing containers overboard as well as leaking massive amounts of oil. Environmental, ecological and tourism disaster is now a navigational hazard threatening to close down the entire port of Tauranga. How could it have got to this stage?

If only the response from Maritime NZ was nearly a fraction as good as the comprehensive online response from that department. Although they still persist with lies:

The conditions since Rena ran aground have been quite rough so the response team has been unable to deploy containment booms.

Now that is a straight out lie and everyone in the Bay and everyone watching TV coverage of the weather for the 72 hours after the event knows it. This casts doubt on the truthfulness of the statements made by the department. As this picture clearly shows:

Maritime New Zealand’s Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS). This was the unit whose spokesperson was interviewed on Tauranga wharf on Thursday saying they would be "training" inshore for a few days before they go out to deal with it! He never mentioned weather as a factor. He didn't want to put anyone in danger... and consequently to hell with the environment. What are they doing all the other days of the year when there is no spill to combat? They choose to do training at the time when actual duty was needed. Who would give such an order!? My immediate reaction on hearing this was whoever is in charge should have fired him on the spot. But he was down the chain and just following orders, it is the people at the top who are responsible for these poor decisions. Even though they knew the weather forecasts were that it would turn bad and that at that point nothing could be done they persisted with a plan to do nothing.

I've posted on female managerial caution at the expense of action before - in particular:

COCK-UP No.1: Dr Lisa Ferguson/Leaky homes
COST: $52m to date
INCOMPETENCE: Nov.2002 to resignation July 2005 only resolved 344 out of 3,300 claims whilst staff partied and owners fumed.
COCK-UP No.2: Dr Ruth Frampton/Painted Apple Moth
COST: $50m to date, $50m over next 2 years
INCOMPETENCE: May 1999 to resignation in May 2002 let moth spread from 1kmsq that would have cost a few million to half of Western Auckland costing $100m and aerial spraying tens of thousands of people.

That post was from 2007. Since then the Immigration Service's woeful under-performance and inaction was later revealed to be in part due to the under-qualified "Doctor" Mary Anne Thompson being appointed by her mate, Helen Clark.

And so when we turn in this instance to the top tier of operational responsibility and who makes the calls and who leads we find...

The director of Maritime New Zealand is...

Catherine, a chartered accountant, became Director in December 2006.

Catherine Taylor - an accountant, a female accountant.

My contention, based on these examples, is this:

Woman - especially academics - are focused on process, study, monitoring and reports rather than focused on action and results. They prefer the safe environment of planning and preparation rather than take the risk - as they see it - of taking action ahead of getting every i dotted and t crossed to cover their arse. They would rather devote their time to preparing training exercises than go out in the field and doing something. They display little urgency and scant comprehension of what the task is. The bureaucratic environment of the government encourages and supports them in this wait-and-see/do-nothing management style - as they are able to avoid scrutiny and accountability as a faceless bureaucrat while the Minister takes the heat. In conclusion: they are unsuited to positions where immediate operational action must be undertaken beacuse - as females - they are inherently risk-averse, and as academics/desk-jockeys they are out of their depth in real-life situations.

A big call, but one I'm prepared to make based on recent NZ disasters that got out of hand and had a tardy response that made the situation much worse. Not that any of this lets the blokes off the hook.

As for the overall response in this unfolding Rena catastrophy it is still the government and the PM in particular who has the ultimate responsibility. As a male with little academic inclination - by my own reasoning - John Key has no excuse. That 'she'll be right' slackness is a male trait, to be sure - so we have a 'perfect storm' of gender weaknesses converging with this disaster.

The government's line is to keep the private interests (the shipping line, the insurers and the salvor) in the gun by refusing to take control themselves because at that stage the government would be wholly legally responsible and the public would start blaming them. Well the government - by refusing to take control and act - are already in the gun, being blamed and are responsible. It seems little use charging the captain for the initial mistake when the greater mistake is the government not taking the consequences seriously.

John Key and his National government are the ones who should be charged with negligence - and hiding behind bureaucratic pettycoats and insurance contracts won't cut it either. John Key is responsible for every drop of that oil and the people of Tauranga should never let him forget it.


At 12/10/11 6:39 pm, Blogger Tim said...

There's one explanation for my earlier post Tim - i.e. a female propensity for planning and process with risk aversity in mind (above all else), coupled with a male complacency and "she'll be right" attitude. Do we still use Number 8 wire? Probably not - it's more likely to be ISO9000 accredited, machine spun, galvanised steel stranded extrusion - guaranteed for extra long life.
I'm not sure it's entirely gender specific though.
It won't be long before we're prevented from assisting at road accidents lest we be sued!
It doesn't matter what the spin that's being applied is - if they'd got off their chuffs on day one, things would be different. And as for the latest promises from Jonky - effectively we will do whatever it takes to clean up. Don't hold your breathe (the principles of limited liability)...slightly reminiscent of the Pike River Mine promises. Relatives are still waiting.
Jonky thinks in terms of economic and political risk, not anything that might have social or cultural implications. Don't expect there to be any consequences though till sleepy hobbits wake up and Jonky has been banking on that embouldened by a compliant media.

At 12/10/11 7:39 pm, Blogger Neil said...

Good research on the history of the Rena


Strong Mossad connections, curious.

Putting on my tin foil hat, I wonder if this is retribution for exposing those Mossad agents a few months back.
The media do seem to be conspicuous in their lack of investigation into the ships history and owners.

Regardless of how this happened, you are absolutely right that responsibility for what happens now should be laid squarely at Mr Keys feet.

At 12/10/11 8:25 pm, Blogger Tim said...

Actually now I think about it TS...isn't there a pattern emerging here ??(I mean in as much as your remark about hiding behind bureaucratic pettycoats and insurance contracts. It applies to the Christchurch Earthquake(s), the Pike River Mine Disaster, AND this inconvenient little event!

I'm thinking specifically of the Red Zone problems in particular. There is an inland town in Queensland - the name of which eludes me. Devastated after the floods and clearly one that needed to be relocated.
What was the response of the "ORTHORITIES"? Why....Common fucking sense! Land elsewhere (Crown or local body owned) is simply allocated to those that need to relocate and the Crown or local body simply inherits the flooded/flooding space. It can become nature reserve, forest, wetland, parkland, site of a spy base, Earth-to-Mars tracking station, "New Waihopai", New-Tangaroa", what the hell ever! - what else would they use it for?.

What however is a Nat/Act response? It's a solution that HAS to involve commerce and money-making.
Their 'vision' can't see past the commercially-oriented tinted pair of spectacles that are permanently affixed to their most often ugly faces.

(Except Jonky of course 'cos he minces like a pretty-boy, and he dresses to disguise his blubber - and of course...what's her name - Bronagh? has apparently been giving him shit about certain things [take my advice bich - get while the getting is good and you can see a future - you're not getting any younger and staying together for the sake of the kids is always going to be a false see-through proposition - besides which - Fuck he's actually getting to be quite ugly aye? - blubber here, blubber there! -]).
Decisions decisions! Public Perceptions....OMG...what will I do...they just don't understand how difficult it is to be welathy and famous!

(Interlude courstesy of a generation Jonky [and actually Bomber] identifies with).

BUT...The Queensland solution for a town repeatedly flooded actually seems quite simple. Christchurch is fucked - it was fucked a long time ago when a circuitous Mall culture was introduced that diminished the importance of a central market gathering place - otherwise known as THE garden city.
Many sought refuge through a tunnel in Lyttleton in an extinct volcanoe.
Christ Almighty! (apologies to the founders and a College named after a Christ that my brother endured and I had a near miss with). WHEN though does it become evident that a future Christchurch akin to its composition in spatial terms IS NOT A GO? How many more shakes? And when there are'NT, how long before the next lot that is going to challenge a romantic notion of a growing market town centred around a Cathedral? AIN't gonna happen!
Given that...why the fuck are we even assisting in this commercially oriented agenda that enables shit dreams and visions to be foisted on us?
Oh...I know - John and Gerry and others made a promise - JUST like the ones they made at Pike River and the ones they're making in Tauranga. There's money to be made folks!
IF they had a genuine concern for Christchurch, they wouldn't be knocking over everything to gorund level! Gerry's agenda should be well known - THAT's what he wants!

Don't get me started on Pike River!
But when you look at the Rena thing - FFS sake do so with consant question and without the blind frikken faith that's gone before

At 12/10/11 8:31 pm, Blogger Nitrium said...

IMO you are way off base with your apparent blatantly chauvinistic theory regarding women as being poor decision makers. You are cherry picking events to justify this frankly outrageous claim. Even cursory examination of media events will reveal that risk adversity/indecision is totally non-gender specific, and much more a function of ever growing bureaucracy/red tape.
Pike River Mine?
Deep Water Horizon?
Hurricane Katrina?

At 12/10/11 9:30 pm, Blogger Shona said...

Your perspective while not totally invalid Tim, needs to move past gender and look closely at vocation.
She's a fucking accountant for christsakes! in charge of " Maritime NZ" this does notmake any sense at all.
Getting back to your perspective, It was a female former naval officer who hesitated to call for action when the Deepwater Horizon exploded last year.

At 13/10/11 2:18 am, Blogger Ovicula said...

Before you lay the blame on women, maybe consider that what you discuss are the qualities that any ass licking bureaucrat needs to rise in an organisation. My immediate boss is a woman. Her boss is a man. The idiot who refuses to take reasonable actions in my little piece of the world is not the female.
I never really expected to read this sort of stuff in Tumeke.

At 13/10/11 8:02 am, Blogger Fern said...

Tim just lost my party vote for Mana.

At 13/10/11 2:31 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...


These opinions are my own not the movement's. If a very small individul cog in a movement of many thousands can lose your vote by what they write in a blog then my suggestion is you don't read anyone's blogs, ever, because you will find that their opinions - if genuine and expressed forthrightly as mine are - will inevitably be different than your own and they will usually be basing it on a lot less evidence than what I put up to make my assertions. You would be better off basing your party vote support on the movement's actions, the calibre of its candidates and policy positions. This afternoon for example Mana members are assembling a crew at Papamoa beach and are helping to clean up the oil spill from the Rena. Mana is firmly against deep sea oil exploration and drilling. That ought to count for more in who you choose to support than anything I say in any blog post.

I've also posted before on how women tend to personalise things more than men, so I hope you will also look beyond that in your party political calculations if I should ever have the balls to revisit that topic again.


What I'm saying is that gender differences may well be in the mix - on one side a by-the-book, risk averse female accountant, on the other - probably both sides below and above her (ie. the Minister and that guy on the wharf doing "training") - males with a typically "she'll be right" attitude operating in a bureacratic system of nil accountability. None have demonstrated urgency. The only one I would count on is the Ports of Tauranga management to keep the port open (but they won't care so much about the oil slick on the beaches, just keeping the shipping lane open), because they risk being fired by angry shareholders - that's their incentive. The others in the govt. don't have the same acute incentive and immediate demand to perform.

At 13/10/11 9:35 pm, Blogger Ricky said...

Tim, do you stretch your essentialist notions of gender across to other identities, such as race, class, age? If so, I wonder what they are.


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