Kaikoura ‘Earthquake Boss’ Duncan Gibb To Quit After Just Months in the Job

Another migrant exit story?

An Australian expert who was head hunted to lead the (allegedly) $2 billion rebuild of damaged Kaikoura earthquake infrastructure is to quit his job after less than six months.

According to the New Zealand Herald

Duncan Gibb was hand-picked after the November 14 quake to lead the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance – the group comprising NZTA, KiwiRail, Fulton Hogan, Downer, Higgins and HEB Construction to oversee the unprecedented repairs to State Highway 1 and the rail line north and south of Kaikoura.

Gibb, who led Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) after the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, left a top job with Fulton Hogan in Australia late last year to come back to New Zealand.

But just months into the massive rebuild task, which authorities want completed by the end of this year, the Herald can reveal that Gibb will finish up with NCTIR at the end of the month…

The news comes as the NZTA announced that Compass Group has been awarded the catering contract for the multi-million dollar temporary village being built in Kaikoura to house the road and rail rebuild workers.

Seventy five prefabricated units have been shipped over from Australia to form the basis of the village at corner Mt Fyffe and Ludstone Rds that will house more than 300 workers frantically trying to have the critical Kaikoura coastal route opened by the end of the year.

It will take 105 truckloads from Lyttelton, via the Inland Rd through quake-battered Waiau, before it’s expected it will take a month for them to be assembled…

…Last year, hundreds of people protested outside Dunedin Hospital after Southern District Health Board began outsourcing hospital meals through Compass Group.

Patients called the food “slop”, prompting a stream of complaints, and the doctors’ association threatened to sue the SDHB over the food quality… read the full article here

Duncan was to oversee the rail and road repairs between Oaro and the Clarence River, and manage the State Highway from Picton and Christchurch via Murchison and Lewis Pass. source.

In a New Zealand Transport Agency newsletter in March, Gibb said 400 people will live within the local community during the rebuild work and

it has become evident we will need to bring in a prefabricated accommodation facility from overseas, similar to those used for fly-in fly-out project sites to meet our future needs. We are working through the logistics of getting the facility shipped out, on-site and set-up, as well as finding a suitable location within the community. source

At a recent Kaikoura residents meeting Gibb told attendees that the aim was to have the coastal road route reinstated by the year year. Albeit, he acknowledged, this would be a “challenging task

It is understood that some residents in attendance questioned if all alternative options had been fully considered, with it noted that future slips could still impact the reinstated road and that catering for increased trucking volumes would negatively impact the tourist experience.

In this vein, a viewpoint was reportedly expressed that future consideration could be given to using shipping services over road or rail for non-urgent and non-perishable goods, in order to lessen greenhouse gas emissions, noise and “perceived intimidation” of increased trucking…source

It remains to be seen whether his departure will have an effect on the schedule for the reconstruction work, which is unlikely to be completed until the end of 2017 – well over a year after the  magnitude 7.8 earthquake. By comparison, work in Christchurch is still incomplete six years after its lesser intensity earthquake, and is likely to take another four before its finished. Nothing ever moves at a pace in New Zealand.


Gibb’s Linkedin profile lists his as the group executive manager for Health Safety, Quality, Environment and Business Systems at Fulton Hogan (July 2016 – present).

His earlier post as manager for the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team is also listed. The profile ends with

…The need to report to three independent client organisations representing both local and central government sectors, and five private sector organisations, provided a challenging environment to navigate whilst continuing to maintain progress in the task of delivering a value for money rebuild outcome


Six Months Since Kaikoura Earthquake and Businesses are Desperate for Visitors. Never Fear, Compass is on the Way – Updated

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