A raft of new policies have been introduced in the wake of a fatal car crash in Auckland in which a man died in front of rescuers eyes as they waited for power lines to be switched off so they could reach him.

Raymond Riripi Tuporo, 26, smashed his car into a concrete power pole in Onehunga's Neilson St in the early hours of September 2, 2012, on his way home from a party.

His car was surrounded by overhead power lines hanging from the broken pole and underground electricity cables which were ripped out of the ground in the crash.

The high voltage lines prevented emergency services from reaching him for almost three hours, as he lay trapped inside the Mitsubishi, slowly dying.


An inquest into his death continued in Auckland today. Coroner Morag McDowell was told of how a number of internal reviews were held by both the Fire Service and the electricity companies involved that day, Northpower and Vector.

Yesterday, the inquest heard evidence from a Northpower engineer, with interim name suppression, who spent more than an hour searching the Onehunga streets for an electrical substation to switch off the high voltage cables after his tablet computer failed to connect to the internet, denying him access to an online aerial map, known as a GIS map.

The fault meant he was solely reliant on a hard-copy map which did not provide an exact street address. He also did not call the operations centre to ask an operator to check the GIS map for him.

This morning, the engineer said a new policy had been introduced since the incident, requiring engineers to inform dispatch if their GIS map fails to load.

A technician would then be sent to the scene with additional equipment.

Faults workers had also been equipped with 3- enabled iPads as an upgrade to the WiFi-only tablets they had previously used, he said.

Vector and Northpower had also commissioned a report into the incident. The report created a new policy for motor vehicle crashes involving a power pole.

In future incidents, two faults workers and a supervisor would immediately be called to the scene to help isolate the power and earth the high voltage cables as quickly as possible.

The Fire Service's national operations manager Stuart Rooney said the organisation had taken "two or three learnings" from the incident, and was in the process of developing a hotline into the Vector operations centre to give Fire Service calls top priority.

An earlier inquest hearing in June heard how Mr Tuporo, known as Ray, had been travelling about 120km/h in a 50km/h zone, and had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the then legal limit, when he crashed about 2.15am.

Paramedics did not get the all clear to approach the vehicle until 4.40am.

The inquest continues.