And the stupid win

So, I know you all have been aching with curiosity for what is happening on the Civil Defense front.

Well, maybe not aching, but I will tell you anyway.

We lost. We had a public meeting last saturday. It was well attended (65 people). About 40% of the people spoke against the council and their plan, another 40% were neutral or spoke about unrelated topics (public meeting brings people out with their own agendas), and 20% spoke in favour of the council. The managers from council were caught out in lies a few times (to the derisive laughter of the audience), and after the fact we found evidence of more lies. But the structure of the meeting, which gave them nearly a half hour to put forward their uncontested case, let them dominate the whole discussion. We will have another meeting in 2 weeks.

But that is irrelevant. A new structure is coming into place. The Marketing-manager will be hired by then. The opportunity to affect the process is over. They will fulfill their statutory requirements under the CD/EM act of 2002 to have a system and staff. The act does not require good management, or that the new system be as good or better than the old. It just requires a system.

On the up side I have gotten to meet a number of local MPs face to face, one of whom may come and visit the farm after she heard we raised alpacas! 🙂

So now we just hope that there is no disaster in the next 5 to 10 years. Well, I really hope there is no disaster no matter what, but in 5 to 10 years we should have a management turnover that allows a new, hopefully competent, review of the CD system.

Designated Spokesman

We are in the midst of a bit of a scandal right now.

As of last Friday, Wellington had no more trained, full-time staff at WEMO (the Wellington Emergency Management Office). If the “big one” hit today, we would be in a world of hurt.

Why has this happened? Gross mis-management, of course. (Why are so many managers self-important idiots incapable of listening to advice? I think it is because people don’t like to feel stupid, so they only listen to people dumber/less knowledgeable than themselves. Thus management is a perpetual downhill slide as everyone within the hierarchy will be dumber than the leader- and if they accidentally hire a smart person he/she will be ignored and marginalized).

I belong to the TEMG, the Tawa Emergency Management Group, which is a bunch of CD/EM volunteers and professions with a lots of experience and knowledge. We are appalled by all this. We have, over the last few months, been filing OIA (official information act) requests for documents pertaining to the “review” of WEMO that has led to all but one person quitting over the last 6 months (and that last person had his job dis-established on Friday). About 3 weeks ago I sent out a very blunt email to the incompetent-WCC managers involved in the fiasco, as well as relevant government ministers and city elected officials (the Mayor). But with the final collapse last week, we had to go public with what information we had.

So Friday I spent 6 frantic hours working with Grahme putting together a media release, and then we called lots of media outlets. As the designated spokesman I have been interviewed, and had the dubious pleasure to listen to myself in radio reports.

On Saturday morning we met with Peter Dunne (local MP). He has an interest in CD issues, having worked/volunteered in it in the past, and he is going to rattle some cages for us.

I think that I am now a *very* unpopular person among certain WCC managers and elected councillors.

Update- MP Dunne was on National Radio Tuesday morning, and gace WCC a hiding (I thought so, at least). I met with the labour MP for CD at Parliament yesterday. She seems keen to bring the issue up. WCC sent out a press statement which is full of… creative versions of the facts. I look forward to sending a line by line fully-referenced deconstruction of that press release to the MPs for Wellington today.

Which llama will be king?

The first weekend in May ended up being double booked. So while Tam went off to the SCA Crown Tourney (where the best warriors in the land to see who will be the next King of Australia and New Zealand), I was off to Christchurch for the Llama Association AGM (annual general meeting).

I know Tam had fun at Crown Tourney. I know Martin came within a whisker of winning (which makes me feel better that I have a hard time beating him at fight practice since he is one of the best in Australasia). But I will leave it to Tam to tell any details.

I was down at Llama Lookout (, a place with million dollar views, about 45 very-friendly llamas, and some very friendly hosts. I gave a talk titled “science worms, and poo”. There was a great demonstration from Keith about packing/treking with your llamas, where he talked about what physiology was best suited for pack llamas, and how to fit a pack safely and comfortably. Good stuff. There was also some llama fiber-fashion on display that could rival any alpaca-based product I have seen (while there are not as many fiber llamas as alpacas, very good llama fiber is equivalent to very good alpaca fiber).

I was nice to meet lots of llama enthusiasts. I also expanded our network of friends around the country- I don’t expect we will need to book hotels that often any more- as we get to know more and more friendly breeders the offers for accommodation keep stacking up. Very cool!

Hello, police?

Had my first professional encounter with the NZ police last month. You see, someone broke into “my” civil defence center (CDC) some time in late March or early April. They did a good job cleaning the place out. Generator, radios, cooking equipment, emergency lighting, batteries- all that and more gone. And they left some “tags” and a drawer full of human urine as calling cards.

Damien, the investigating officer, was going to take photos of the tags to Peter, the community constable, to see if he recognized any. I did a mailbox drop in the local neighbourhood, as it was likely done by a local. The CDC is located by a small suburb with really mixed housing. There are only 101 (my count) houses. Some are nice a tidy, some are near bomb sites. Other obviously have *lots* of people living in them (man immigrant families from the pacific islands).

The real mystery is that the thief had the special key to the center. I have a copy. WEMO (Wellington Emergency Management Office) has a copy… and Parks and Gardens have an unknown number of copies (it is their building the CDC is in). We have changed the lock. I hope that the investigation finds the perp, but I am not that sanguine about it. At least most of the equipment has now been replaced. But all the police officers I deal with were friendly and professional, which is nice.

Other civil defence gossip will wait for a later post.