The fuel industry is cautiously optimistic as the pipeline disruption situation continues to improve, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins says.
“With the pipeline successfully repaired, the first two million litre batch of jet fuel is on track to arrive at Auckland Airport late tonight, subject to necessary settling and testing. Planes are expected to fuelled using this supply from the early hours of Tuesday morning. Another five million litres should be available through the pipeline from Wednesday,” Ms Collins says.
“The amount of fuel being trucked from Marsden Point refinery to the Airport continues to increase, with 184,000 litres expected to be delivered today. This is more than twice the amount delivered on Friday.
“More jet fuel should be available from Wednesday, with trucks transporting stocks stored at Wynyard Wharf. NZDF will be providing expert support around the use of their fuel filter that has been provided at Wynyard.
“While industry is responding well and I am encouraged by the improving situation, it’s important to realise that we are recovering from a 10 day disruption to normal supply.
“Industry remains cautiously optimistic but there’s still plenty of work to do. Government continues to monitor the situation and is ready to provide industry further assistance, if required.
“Flights in and out of Auckland Airport are continuing to look very much like business as usual, with only four international flight cancellations today. No domestic flights have been cancelled.”
Jet fuel has started to arrive to the Wiri terminal from Marsden Point, and is expected to reach Auckland Airport by Tuesday, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins says.
“The new section of pipeline has been welded, certified, pressurised and the first batch of jet fuel is now arriving at the Wiri terminal in South Auckland. Once it has finished arriving at Wiri, it will take 30 hours for the fuel to settle. It is expected to be ready to load on planes from the early hours of Tuesday morning,” Ms Collins says.
“While great progress has been made on restoring supply through the pipeline, government and industry are continuing to work tirelessly to ensure fuel is still getting where it needs to be.
“The Matuku has now offloaded 1.5 million litres of jet fuel and 7.9 million litres of diesel, at Auckland’s Wynyard Wharf, and this fuel will be ready for distribution by Wednesday, if not sooner.
“Three trucks are going between Marsden Point and Auckland Airport twice daily, with five trucks expected on the road on Monday. More than 140,000 litres of jet fuel was trucked to Auckland Airport yesterday, with 151,000 litres expected to arrive today.
“Airlines are continuing to operate their networks on the 50 per cent fuel allocation from Auckland, with increasing stability and minimal disruption to passengers. The number of flight cancellations has been steadily decreasing, with no domestic flight cancellations this weekend, only five fuel-related cancellations to international flights yesterday, and two expected today,” Ms Collins says.
“It’s fantastic to see the continual progress that is being made, and everything remaining on track.”
Fuel allocations to airlines at Auckland Airport have been increased and flight schedules are returning to normal, as the fuel pipeline repair is on track to be completed well before school holidays begin, says Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins.
“Auckland Airport is returning to business as usual, with the expected number of cancellations today dropping to seven – almost two thirds fewer than the number of cancelations yesterday and down from 37 cancellations on Wednesday. We are confident there will be no disruption to travel plans for the upcoming school holidays.
“Airlines have been effectively managing fuel consumption, and allocations have been relaxed from 30 per cent to a 50 per cent allocation.
“The easing of rationing shows the industry’s confidence in the progress of the repair, as Refining NZ reports the welding of the new section of pipeline has been completed and has passed its first testing.
“To further increase supply, fuel companies expect to discharge jet fuel and diesel into Wynyard Wharf over the weekend which should be available to transport to the airport, mid next week, subject to quality tests.
“NZTA has plans in place to safely manage traffic in Wynyard and around the airport, however motorists travelling to the airport are advised to allow additional travel time.
Trucks are successfully moving jet fuel from Marsden Point to Auckland Airport. Two trucks have made deliveries this morning so far.
“Retail fuel supply in Auckland remains secure, though a small number of service stations in Auckland may be temporarily out of stock of 95 Octane today, as tankers prioritise delivery of 91 and diesel.
“Government and industry will continue cooperative efforts to ensure Auckland keeps moving, and disruption is minimised.
Progress on the pipeline repair, and alternative jet fuel supply options mean that pipeline related disruptions will continue to ease from tonight, Minister for Energy and Resources Judith Collins says.Airline fuel allocations will move from 30 per cent to 50 per cent at midnight tonight. Air New Zealand has advised that it is expecting to operate its regular schedule tomorrow with no fuel related cancellations. Chief Executives have been advised that travel restrictions for public servants will be lifted.
“Central and local government have taken significant measures to both fix the problem and reduce the impact, and will continue to work with the industry.”
HMNZ Endeavour will arrive in Marsden point tonight. The New Zealand Defence Force has 20 drivers working with industry to transport Jet fuel to Auckland Airport. They will carry between 500,000 and 700,000 litres in a 24 hour period. Which is significant when airlines are drawing approximately 1million litres per day. In addition the NZDF is providing significant logistical support.
“This is great news. I am heartened that we were able to work so well, and so effectively, with minimal disruption.”
The government and industry continue to work to maintain the fuel supply into Auckland, with offers of support from New Zealand Defence Force having been accepted by industry, says Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins.
“The HMNZS Endeavour has been deployed and 20 NZDF Category 5 tanker drivers will be on the roads from today to support industry and minimise any disruption.
“With the HMNZS Endeavour able to transport up to 4.8 million litres of diesel fuel around the country – the equivalent of 150 tankers – this will allow the industry to focus more of their resources on Auckland.”
The HMNZS Endeavour departed from Devonport at 11am this morning to sail to Marsden Point, where it will be loaded up with diesel fuel for delivery to ports in New Zealand.
“While the allocation of fuel to airlines remains at 30 per cent, we are beginning to see the number of flight cancellations drop, reflecting the good management of the airlines with these restrictions.
“I’ve heard from Auckland Airport the number of expected cancellations has dropped to 14 today, which is eight international and six domestic flights. This is a significant reduction on the 36 flights cancelled yesterday. I expect disruption will continue to reduce.
“Refining NZ say repairs to the damaged section of the pipe are going well, with one of the four welds having been completed, and I have been advised they remain on track for the pipeline to be restored between Sunday 24 September and Tuesday 26 September.
“The government will continue to do everything it can to support industry efforts to address the disruption.”
A joint industry-government group has been convened to oversee the full re-instalment of jet fuel supplies into Auckland airport, says Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins.
“The Group is coordinating the responses to the supply issues arising from the Marsden Point fuel pipeline outage.
“It includes representatives from ExxonMobil, Z Energy, BP, Air New Zealand, KiwiRail, Auckland Council, Auckland Airport, Auckland Transport, New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, and the Ministry of Transport.
“The Group is working full time until issues are resolved, to streamline information flows and ensure logistics are effectively managed.
“It is part of the government’s wider response to support industry efforts to address the disruption,” Ms Collins says.
The government is moving on several fronts in transport to do everything possible to improve supply, including making it easier for carriers to get overweight permits so tankers can (safely) carry more fuel.
There is already an existing procedure for permitting overweight vehicles and New Zealand Transport Agency is working with industry to get the required permits. Twelve permits have been issued so far.
Importantly, certain checks are still required to ensure the routes cause minimal disruption to the roading network. This is being worked out as quickly as possible to get more fuel trucks moving.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is providing significant logistical support to assist in the movement of fuel and taking measures to supplement supply.
The government and industry have asked NZDF to deploy the HMNZS Endeavour to Marsden Point. The Endeavour will set sail for Marsden Point at 11am tomorrow.
NZDF is offering the fuel industry the use of trucks and drivers and is currently finalising logistics.
Immigration NZ is providing advice to clients whose NZ visa is at risk of expiring due to cancellations or postponements. Any people whose visas are due to expire will be given an electronic visa free of charge.
The Government is actively supporting industry efforts to address the disruption arising from the Marsden Point fuel pipeline outage, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins says.
“The Government is continuing to identify and implement a range of measures to free up the movement of fuel to where it is needed, and minimise disruption to Kiwi and visitors.
“While air travel will continue to be affected until the pipeline is fully operational, the fuel industry has advised government that impacts on petrol and diesel supply for motorists are minimal,” Ms Collins says.
The New Zealand Defence Force is providing significant logistical support to assist in the movement of fuel and taking measures to supplement supply.
“NZDF have taken steps to reduce its jet fuel demand and further options to help fuel supply are being worked through.
“They are currently talking with industry about when and where the 20 Category 5 NZDF tanker drivers and 2 trucks can best be deployed to transport fuel.
“We’re moving on several fronts in transport to do everything possible to improve supply. The NZTA are assisting with resources, systems and processes to allow Over Weight Permits (OWP’s) to be processed quickly. This includes ensuring the routes cause minimal disruption to the roading network.”
Weight restrictions have been lifted by 15 per cent for fuel tankers and a number of other measures are also being progressed including:Removing restrictions on when fuel can be delivered to service stations and truck stops Allowing fuel tankers to us bus and transit lanes Extending the permissible driving hours where safe to do so
The Government is also acting to minimise impacts on travellers. Immigration NZ is providing advice to clients whose NZ visas are at risk of expiring due to cancellations or postponements. Any people whose visas are due to expire will be given an electronic visa free of charge.
Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins says the Defence Force and government agencies are stepping up to help minimise disruption resulting from the Marsden Point pipeline being out of action.
Ms Collins says top officials from government agencies have held further discussions today with Refining NZ, which owns the pipeline, the Supply Group, representing fuel companies, airlines and others.
“The latest information I have is that aviation fuel supplies in Auckland remain of most concern, but that fuel supplies are sufficient for Auckland motorists.
“Airlines have already reduced schedules and are looking at what further changes they will need to make over the next week. But for now most flights are going ahead.
“It’s been made very clear to all of those working on this that the Government will commit whatever resources and effort are required to get this sorted out as quickly as possible with a minimum of disruption.
“I’m extremely heartened by the way everyone involved is working together and focused on what’s required. In particular, to those people who’ve had their travel plans disrupted or who face disruption in the days ahead, we understand they are frustrated. I want them to know we’re doing everything possible to get this fixed, but they should understand that it’s going to take a little time. At this stage, we’re a week or so away from the pipeline being restored.
“The nature of the damage means repair isn’t quick and the work has to be done very carefully. But if any additional personnel or expertise from the Defence Force can speed the work up in any way then they’ll be made available.
“To free up industry resources to focus upon Auckland Airport, the Defence Force will be using the naval tanker HMNZS Endeavour to move diesel fuel from Marsden Point to other parts of the country.
“The Defence Force will also be providing up to 20 additional tanker drivers to assist local operators in managing their increased workload, cancelling a major exercise with Singapore to preserve fuel, deferring non-essential training and it’s also investigating options around refueling smaller commuter aircraft at Whenuapai Airforce Base.”
Ms Collins says further work is also being done to get more tankers on the road to carry additional fuel to Auckland.
“We’re looking at what we can do to make that easier in a regulatory sense, whether that’s around hours of work drivers or weight restrictions for tankers. Safety is always paramount, but where we can have some further flexibility then that’s what we will do.”
“I am continuing to work with other Ministers and officials and industry and I’m also briefing the Prime Minister.”
Ms Collins says fortunately any environmental impacts from the pipeline leak appear to be very limited, with the 70-80,000 litres that escaped into a farmer’s culvert now largely recovered and plans underway to treat the soil.
Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins has spoken to Refining NZ and the heads of fuel companies affected by the disruption to the Marsden Point pipeline to Auckland and offered Government support if it is required.
A leak was discovered in a section of the pipeline which runs between the refinery and the storage depot at Wiri, and work is underway to repair it.
“I have spoken to Sjoerd Post, chief executive of Refining NZ, which owns the pipeline, as well as Mobil, BP and Z Energy, which all use the pipeline to supply fuel to Auckland.
“Refining NZ is doing all it can to repair the pipeline and industry is working to minimise any inconvenience to customers and the public.
“Refining NZ has all the expert technical assistance resources it needs, including international expertise. I have also offered them, and the companies supplying fuel, Government assistance, if we are needed.
“There are fuel stocks on hand in Auckland and additional stocks of petrol and diesel are being trucked in directly from the refinery, and from the terminal in Mt Maunganui. The fuel companies are confident that supply of these fuels will be maintained and it is unlikely that motorists will be inconvenienced.
“The pipeline is the only source of jet fuel for Auckland Airport, so precautions have been taken to restrict the amount of fuel being used. Airlines have options to manage their operations and will be looking to minimise any inconvenience for travellers. They will keep their customers informed of any changes to flight schedules, as required.
The Labour Party is misleading New Zealand workers by trying to suggest they won’t increase income taxes, National Party Revenue spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Labour is simply factually wrong – they would force someone on the average wage to pay $1060 a year more in tax,” Ms Collins says.
“Under the current law in New Zealand, passed by Parliament – including with the support of the Greens – the bottom two tax thresholds will increase from April 1 next year.
“That means annual earnings of up to $22,000 will be taxed at 10.5 per cent, and earnings between $22,001 and $52,000 will be taxed at 17.5 per cent.
“These changes were made in response to rising incomes, and go some way to countering the effects of fiscal drag on low and middle income earners, where they otherwise move into higher tax brackets as their income increases.
“In pledging to reverse the current law, there is absolutely no doubt that Labour is seeking to increase income taxes.
“If they were to be elected and proceed with their changes, people on incomes of $52,000 a year or higher will be paying $1060 more income tax per year from 1 April than will currently be the case.
“National doesn’t believe that someone on the median wage should end up with a tax rate of 30 cents in the dollar. Without our approach, that’s what would happen.
“Labour needs to be upfront with New Zealanders. Under Labour income tax is going up.”