Saturday, June 22, 2024

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Why Transpower's press conference backfired this morning

Well, Transpower has given us a master class in how to look guilty, hasn't it?  

I mean, come on. Who doesn't now think that the crew took the bolts out of the leg, which caused the thing to fall over, which caused the entire region of Northland to lose power? And why do we think that? Because Allison Andrew, the Chief Executive, sounded guilty as all hell in her media interviews this morning.  

“I didn't want to talk about it, it's really unhelpful to speculate at the moment, we have to focus on the power restoration.” - I mean, come on. In 2024, when modern communication is in your pocket – no one believes that Allison Andrew doesn't already know what happened. Of course she does. If she doesn't, then she sucks at her job. 

Because in any decent organisation, the first thing that happens when there is a major snafu is the boss calls the points person who's on the ground and gets a preliminary idea of what happened. And they do that because if there’s a bigger problem, they need to know what happened.  

You cannot tell me that Allison Andrew, the chief executive, was like, “Oh, did you call them? No, don't tell me. It's not helpful. I'll wait for the investigation.” No one can tell me Allison Andrew did not want to know what happened. If she's or any good at her job, she already knows. So why didn't she just fess up this morning? She had multiple interviews, pulled the same lines and looked so guilty.  

The reason, I would guess, is that Transpower is trying to bury the details until we've moved on and lost interest. Because right now we are at peak interest. Not everyone's got their power back yet. And we've all seen the pictures on Reddit, haven't we? So we're all super interested right now, but fast-forward two weeks, two months... God only knows how long their investigation is going to take. Now, all of a sudden, it's not so interesting, right? And that is what they're banking on.  

But it's backfired on them. Because instead of burying the info this morning, Allison Andrew just left us with the with the impression that, “Yep. It was them.” They just don't want to say it. And look, there is always the chance that the investigations will find that it wasn't them. Maybe. You never know. 

But we all think it was them now, don't we?

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show HERE - where this article was sourced.


Robert Arthur said...

Transpower will probably be fined $200,000 or so, not for crippling Northland but for allowing staff to make some monumental blunder endangerung themselves (assuming some gear did not fail from some hiddden factor)

Anonymous said...

I am sure Transpower can find someone more proficient in public relations. There should be plenty of takers for the job - after all her remuneration package last year was $1.5m!

K said...

Resigned in April and due to finish up June 30... Timing.

CXH said...

Just send everyone home on full pay and get the Greens to run the investigation. Then in a year's time bring them all back and claim there was nothing to see in the first place.

Anonymous said...

It has to be sabotage. A big step up from the protests so far.

Anonymous said...

While it is prudent to await the outcome of the investigations into the incident, I was taken aback when the pictures came up of the two upended tower feet. Clean bolt holes, no obvious sign of tearing of the plates or remnants of bolts hanging in the holes. It would seem from this that the nuts would not have been in place (and we are talking huge nuts) at the time of the upending of the tower. So, the assumption might be that someone has removed them all at once, be it a prior sabotage or part of what the maintenance crew were in process of doing. Whatever, it vindicated us buying a standby generator and a few extension cables several years ago, that has hitherto sat in the garage unused. It started first time, so we are ready for the next tower toppling .....

Anonymous said...

At the time of the incident, the other line was out for maintenance and had to be hurriedly put back into service. This must mean that those working on the tower that fell over were working on a tower with live circuits on it. As they were only at ground level they were not in danger from the live conductors but it does raise the question as to if any work should be done on towers with live circuits on them. I wonder if Transpower rules allow this.
One thing's for sure, removing all of the nuts as the same time, and worse on two legs, instead changing them one at a time is a monumental stuff-up.

robert Arthur said...

Forty or more years ago there was a spectacular fauilure of a new line under sonstruction near Makara, Wellington. One tower failed and a row of went down like dominos.
I have always been amazed how vulnerable the towers are, especially to modern heavy traffic run amok; 50 ton trucks at 100 kph whereas 10 tons and 70 kph was more the norm when first erected.
When the Chinese invade if they get some co ordinated locals with an oxy bottles or battery power grinder each to venture forth they could cripple the whole country in an hour. Deranged indegenous could acheive the same.
Decades ago I pointed out the risk to some Minister and received a typical trite reply from some clerk.

Anonymous said...

(quote) - " I mean, come on. Whos doesn't now think that the ....(end quote), this one line reminds me of another incident, which occurred with British Post & Sub Postmasters.

Many will have both read newspaper reports & seen the TV series (TVNZ) on this topic. It has now been revealed that many of the Management Team & Board KNEW - what had taken place - but the interesting factor that Paula Vennells has consistently "lied about the events that took place & even denied knowing anything about it".

So can "we apply the same maximum Allison Andrew". and is she going to keep avoiding the 'truth', when potentially (upon investigation) it is proven that the Field team were at fault.

It will be interesting, when "a report is presented" - how many 'heads at Transpower will roll across the floor'.

Anonymous said...

Part of Maori decolonisation? They didn't have power then they don't need it now.

Anonymous said...

Well, all they needed to do was tough it out for a couple of days and the Interislander’s Aratere came to their rescue. Most of us have completely forgotten about Transpower’s tower in Northland falling over with us worried about Cook Strait ferries driving into the South Island