Concrete Cancer Coverup, Ctd

PRIVATE EMAILS have confirmed what the company at the centre of a concrete cancer cover-up have spent months trying to hide – and the news is all bad.

For months now Auckland-based Drymix, best known for its Mitre 10 range of products, has been on a public relations offensive to hush up concerns over suspect cement being used in millions of dollars worth of construction projects.

But as a series of emails obtained this week reveal, privately Drymix were having to acknowledge to their customers that an issue did exist with cement imported from Vietnam in January, February and March this year.

In one email Drymix boss Hunter Crossan confirms that alkali levels in imported cement had not been within range of accepted New Zealand standards. He then goes on to assure the issue is being ‘worked on by our suppliers’ and will be fully resolved in the coming months.

But that’s it.

Drymix stop well short of alerting the construction industry to the fact there could be significant safety concerns with precast structures manufactured using suspect cement from its supplier in Vietnam.

In fact, WOBH has learned about a response from the Ministry of Justice to an Official Information Act request seeking answers about the quality of the precast concrete structures at the new $40 million Manukau Courthouse upgrade, and if this is any guide, Drymix did exactly the opposite.

The question was asked whether the Ministry knew if imported cement had been used in the construction upgrade and they have been told it hadn’t. From this we can deduce that Drymix hasn’t been in touch with them.   Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup, Ctd

by Stephen Cook

THE COMPANY accused of using suspect cement imported cheaply from overseas in its precast concrete products has gone into damage control mode as the spotlight shifts to its role in the whole controversy

With nine years in the business, Concretech New Zealand Ltd claim to be one of this country’s leading pre-cast concrete suppliers with “strict quality control systems
 to meet any challenge, no matter how architecturally demanding.”

However, rhetoric is one thing – reality can be quite another.

The focus is now on Concretec’s role in the whole scandal after claims from industry insiders the company may have unwittingly used suspect cement from Vietnam in pre-cast concrete products it later supplied to several major construction companies.

That cement, which had higher than usual alkali levels, was imported by Drymix who control about five percent of the $400 million-a-year cement market and through Mitre 10 supply the domestic market with the highly-popular ‘Super Easy Mix In The Bag’ range of cement products.

In January, February and March this year Drymix imported tens of thousands of tonnes of cement, which according to their own test samples, failed to meet recognised industry standards.

Drymix supply cement to a company called Techcrete, who make readymix concrete which they supply to Concretec who supply precast concrete products to companies like Watts & Hughes and Ebert Construction,.

Both these companies are also facing questions after concerns that suspect cement may have been used in the $40 million Manukau District Court upgrade and Yashili’s $250 million plant at Pokeno.


Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup, Ctd

Aerial simulation of Yashili's Pokeno plant

Aerial simulation of Yashili’s Pokeno plant

By Stephen Cook

THE WALLS are closing in on two giants of the New Zealand construction industry as more details emerge about how they turned a blind eye to concerns over potential structural issues with building projects running into the tens of millions of dollars.

The focus of the so-called concrete cancer controversy has now shifted to why two of this country’s construction industry heavyweights chose to do nothing when confronted with the news that suspect cement may have been used in at least two of their recent projects.

Up until now Watts & Hughes Construction and Ebert Construction have kept a safe   distance from the whole Drymix controversy, but last week both were forced to front foot the issue after claims suspect imported cement may have been used in two of their recent large-scale projects.

At first Watts & Hughes company director Rob Murphy said he’d never even heard of Drymix but then shortly afterwards acknowledged he was aware of issues surrounding high alkali levels in cement the company had imported earlier this year from Vietnam.

Murphy confirmed that Concretec had supplied his company with all the precast panels for the new $40 million Manukau Courthouse upgrade, but claimed there’d been no use of imported cement.

Concretec’s cement comes from Drymix.

“I am there weekly. I am with the consultants, the owners, the ministry, the whole shooting box and it’s news to me,” he said.

“There’s no issue. We are happy with the information we have received from our consultants,” he said before abruptly hanging up.

Ron McDonald of Ebert Construction, who built Yashili’s $250 million plant at Pokeno, also tried playing down the controversy.

He confirmed his company had subcontracted Concretec for the Fonterra job, but said where that company sourced its cement from was its business and not something he personally concerned himself with.    Read more »

ANZAC Day – Lest we Forget


Original Post: 25 April 2006

This is my ANZAC Day trib­ute post­ing. ANZAC Day means a great deal for me and my fam­ily. I sup­pose it is because we have a con­nec­tion to the orig­i­nal ANZACS in 1915 and Gal­lipoli and to a vet­eran of a war much fresher in our minds, Viet Nam.

Firstly I pay trib­ute to my Great Grand-father Harry Crozier. I never really knew him, he died many years ago. Harry served in the  Gal­lipoli cam­paign and thank­fully came home alive albeit with only one working leg. I know he spent con­sid­er­able time in Rotorua con­va­lesc­ing and learned to carve maori carv­ings as part of his reha­bil­i­ta­tion.

The sec­ond per­son I pay trib­ute to is a guy who truly epit­o­mises the ANZAC spirit. He is an Aussie, liv­ing in New Zealand who fought for New Zealand in Viet Nam. He is mar­ried to a Kiwi and has three Kiwi kids, and three Kiwi grand kids. He is also my Father-in-law.

41873 Gnr Atkins KG 161 Bty was in Viet Nam in 1966. Based in Nui Dat and one of the first to arrive and estab­lish the Base and gun posi­tions. “Oz” par­tic­i­pated in the famous  Bat­tle of Long Tan where the Kiwi guns were instru­men­tal in sav­ing 3 pla­toons of D Com­pany of the  6th Bat­tal­ion, Royal Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment(6RAR) and enabling the thrash­ing of a Reg­i­ment of Viet Cong.

Each gun fired over 1200 rounds that day and night in sup­port of the Aussies. The bat­tle was fought in a rub­ber tree plan­ta­tion near the vil­lage of Long Tan, about 40 km north-east of Vung Tau, South Viet­nam on August 18–19, 1966. The bat­tle was fought all after­noon and most of the night in pour­ing mon­soon rain. The guns ran so hot that wet blan­kets were draped over them in an attempt to keep the bar­rels cool.

Kevin tells many sto­ries of his time in Viet Nam but they are not at all “warry” to use his term. They speak a sim­ple truth that war is tough and bru­tal. He often says he hopes his chil­dren never have to go to war and thank­fully they prob­a­bly won’t have to.

It seems so long ago, yet for some only yes­ter­day. The Gov­ern­ment to this day still treats vet­er­ans with dis­dain with their han­dling, and obfus­ca­tion of the Agent Orange scan­dal. I say a scan­dal because that is what it is. You need only ask any vet­eran about Agent Orange and they will tell you they weren’t just sprayed with they were doused in it, they drank water soaked with it and were often wet to their socks with Agent Orange. Check out this photo of Nui Dat in 1966 . Every coun­try in Viet Nam at the time has acknowl­edged it hap­pened and com­pen­sated their vet­er­ans and New Zealand con­tin­ues to deny it occurred and con­tin­ues to hold spu­ri­ous enquiries. [The Government has since said “Sorry”, if it was at all possible to say sorry without actually saying the word, but for me it was too little, too late]    Read more »

ANZAC Day – Battle of Long Tan

My father in law, Skippy fought in the Battle of Long Tan.

This is the documentary made by Martin Walsh of that battle.

ANZAC Day memorial

I made this video in 2007 fro Skippy who fought in Vietnam with 161 Bty and fought in the Battle of Long Tan.

But do they have fricken laser beams

The Russians have nicked the Ukraine’s secret combat dolphins.

Foreign Policy reports:

The Ukrainian military is promising to one day reclaim its former bases in Crimea, but one unit has been lost forever: Ukraine’s combat dolphins, who are now swimming for Russia.

The dolphins, stationed in a Ukrainian navy oceanarium in Sevastopol, will now attack enemy scuba divers, attach buoys to sea-floor mines, and patrol open waters at the behest of Moscow, according to Russian news service RIA Novosti. The program had been set to shut down, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has apparently given Sevastopol’s combat dolphins another crack at navy life. “Our experts have developed new devices, which convert the detection of objects by the dolphins’ underwater sonar to a signal on an operator’s monitor,” an oceanarium employee told the news service in an overt attempt to curry favor with his new bosses. “But the Ukrainian navy lacked the funds for such know-how, and some projects had to be shuttered.”  Read more »

New evidence on perils of Agent Orange

Autumn leaves? More likely the product of a well-known defoliant. 161 Battery's tent lines among the trees. Photo courtesy Captain Mike Dakin

Autumn leaves? More likely the product of a well-known defoliant. 161 Battery’s tent lines among the trees.
Photo courtesy Captain Mike Dakin

For years the government denied our troops had been exposed to Agent Orange, despite an abundance of evidence.

Take a look at early photos of the base at Nui Dat and then later photos…there is no living foliage. My Father in Law was drenched to his socks in the field with Agent Orange, they lived, slept, ate, drank and fought in the residue of this poison and still the government denied its existence.

New evidence suggests exposure is wider than previously thought.

A new study published in the journal Environmental Research reveals that Air Force reservists were exposed to higher levels of the toxic chemical than previously known (or admitted). Many of the same aircraft that dispersed Agent Orange during the war were later used as transport vehicles during (relative) peacetime, primarily between the years 1971 and 1982. And tests taken many years after those transports show the planes still contained dangerous levels of the chemical. Initial testing of the planes after the war and before peacetime service was nonexistent.

The US Air Force and Department of Veterans Affairs have previously denied benefits to those exposed to the chemical from these planes, claiming it wasn’t a harmful level of exposure. Researchers have now proven this to be false. The study used the US Army’s own algorithms and samples taken from the aircraft to estimate how much the post-war level of exposure would have affected the body, with the results demonstrating that the levels in those aircraft were unacceptable under USAF and VA policies.

“These findings are important because they describe a previously unrecognized source of exposure to dioxin that has health significance to those who engaged in the transport work using these aircraft,” said lead investigator Peter A. Lurker. “Our models show that the level of exposure is likely to have exceeded several available exposure guidelines,” Jeanne Stellman, an Agent Orange expert at Columbia University, added. Veterans are automatically eligible for health benefits and disability if they were exposed to dangerous amounts of Agent Orange under the Agent Orange Act of 1991.  Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photographer Marc Riboud

Photographer Marc Riboud

Flower Power Read more »

China amping pressure in South China Sea

China is continuing to flex its muscles in the South China Sea, a situation which could escalate if they carry on.

China imposes fishing curbs: New regulations imposed Jan. 1 limit all foreign vessels from fishing in a zone covering two-thirds of the South China Sea.

China imposes fishing curbs: New regulations imposed Jan. 1 limit all foreign vessels from fishing in a zone covering two-thirds of the South China Sea.

China has ordered foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval from regional authorities before fishing or surveying in two thirds of the South China Sea, setting up the potential for new confrontations between Beijing and its neighbors over maritime sovereignty claims to disputed islands.  Read more »