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.”
The Government will invest $150,000 in stimulating demand for geothermal heat resources in the Bay of Plenty region, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins announced today.
“Geothermal energy is a global industry estimated to be worth $62.8 billion by 2020,” Mr Bridges says.
“Currently only 5 per cent of geothermal energy is being used in New Zealand. There is significant potential for greater use both across the Bay of Plenty and other regions in New Zealand.”
The investment will be used for a Geothermal Business Development Lead to support work in stimulating demand for geothermal heat resources, including attracting investment from industry and promoting the value proposition and commercial opportunities.
“The costs of renewable geothermal energy are often comparatively cheaper than gas and coal. New Zealand could be at the forefront of this as we have a secure and renewable energy source at our fingertips,” Ms Collins says.
“If used for high value products, geothermal heat could add millions to the local and national economy, growing industries in timber drying, aquaculture/tourism, horticulture and milk drying.”
This work is a significant action from the Start 2 Steam Workshop held in Rotorua in May and also forms part of the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan.
The project will be led by the region with central government support from the Regional Growth Programme.
New regulations for New Zealand’s fuel specifications will support the growth of lower-emission fuels that are better for people, the environment and cars, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins announced today.
The Regulations set out minimum standards for fuel performance, and change incrementally over time to keep up with new technology and international best practice.
“There are four significant changes – three that enable greater fuel supply choice and market-led innovation in the fuel mix; and one to reduce harmful emissions:
· Introducing a total oxygen limit, which potentially allows a wider range of fuel blends;
· Increasing New Zealand’s limit for methanol in petrol from one to three per cent volume;
· Raising the biodiesel blend limit in diesel from five to seven per cent; and
· Reducing the sulphur level allowed in petrol from 50 to 10 parts per million.
“The changes carry multiple benefits for consumers and for our environment.
“Three of the changes – the introduction of a total oxygen limit, increasing the biodiesel blend limit, and increasing the methanol blend limit – could potentially allow more flexibility in fuel mixes, a reduction in harmful emissions and increased diversity and enhanced security of local supply.
“The other change of reducing the sulphur level in petrol is specifically targeted to reduce harmful emissions, which will have health and environmental benefits. This is consistent with the most stringent fuel standards in the world, most notably in Europe, Japan and the United States,” says Ms Collins.
All of the amendments will take effect from 2 October 2017, apart from the change to the maximum sulphur level, which will come into effect on 1 July 2018.
Media contact: Julie Johnston 021 280 3253
Minister for Ethnic Communities Judith Collins has today announced the opening of the next funding round for the Ethnic Communities Development Fund.
The contestable fund provides $520,000 annually for projects that support leadership and social cohesion in ethnic communities as well as cultural events.
“The purpose of the Fund is to support the development of established and emerging ethnic communities. It’s important that all our ethnic communities have a sense of belonging and participation in our wider society.”
The Ethnic Communities Development Fund replaced the Settling-In fund in 2016, and made 62 grants in its first year. A list of recipients is available on the Office of Ethnic Communities website.
The funding round opens today and closes on 27 September 2017.
For more information on the Ethnic Communities Development Fund and how to make a request for funding, visit the Office of Ethnic Communities website www.ethniccommunities.govt.nz/story/ethnic-communities-development-fund
Defaulting student loan borrowers in Australia have stumped up nearly $5 million in payments, thanks to new information received from tax authorities across the Tasman, Revenue Minister Judith Collins and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith say.
An information exchange between the countries allows the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to provide Inland Revenue with up-to-date contact details for Kiwi borrowers living in Australia.
The first exchange in November 2016 provided new contact details for more than 57,000 borrowers, 38,000 of which were in default. A sample of these was then sent by Inland Revenue to a collection agency.
By May 2017, repayments received were in excess of $4.7m, with some borrowers paying off their debt in full, and contacts from more than 3,000 to set up repayment plans. An additional 12,000 borrowers have voluntarily contacted Inland Revenue since the arrangement has been in place.
“I’m thrilled with the results from the first exchange, now is the right time for defaulting borrowers living in Australia to come to the party and make good on their debt.
“This first round of figures from the information exchange reflects the hard work that’s gone into it by Inland Revenue,” Ms Collins says.
A second exchange recently took place and more repayments are expected as the names and contact details of 10,000 borrowers have been provided to a collection agency.
“The message to all borrowers, particularly those who are overseas, is to keep in contact with Inland Revenue so that they can help keep you on track or sort out any problems you may have meeting your repayments,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“New Zealand’s student loan system has provided the opportunity for a tertiary education to hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. But it will only continue to work if borrowers repay their share.”