(Social Credit Party media release)

The Marsden Point oil refinery will likely be dismantled before Parliament’s Petitions Committee tables its report on an 18,300 signature petition calling for the refinery to remain operational.

The petition was presented to Parliament by Dr Shane Reti on 8 December on behalf of Social Credit who initiated it, yet the committee only considered it last week — 13 weeks later.

In a letter sent yesterday to committee chairperson, National’s Jacqui Dean, Social Credit leader Chris Leitch says “Last week the refinery received its final shipment of crude oil from overseas. When that has been processed the closure of the refinery will begin. That will be in just 18 days time”.

The committee has now requested further information, from presumably government departments and industry players, all of whom have already provided much input that formed the basis of a cabinet paper presented by Minister of Energy Megan Woods to cabinet last September.

“That process means the final report is unlikely to be tabled in Parliament before the middle of June at the very earliest and likely much later than that”, Mr Leitch wrote. 

“By that time the refinery will be completely shut down and dismantling of it may well have commenced”.

“Should your committee report to Parliament a recommendation in favour of the petition it will then be a wasted effort on the part of approximately 18,300 New Zealanders to get their voice is heard on this vitally important energy security matter”.

 “The continued operation of the refinery has become even more critical given the spike in fuel prices as a result of the Russia — Ukraine conflict”. 

“There is a very real likelihood of worldwide crude oil and refined product shortages as countries like the United States and those in Europe scramble to replace the Russian oil they will no longer import as a result of sanctions on Russia and try to secure alternative sources”.

“It seems incomprehensible that the committee has not treated this matter with a great deal more urgency”.

Sadly it appears that despite having significant stocks of crude oil in Taranaki, should international fuel supplies be disrupted, New Zealand will not have the capacity to process its own oil to keep essential services running.


(letter to petitions committee)

14.03.22

Jacqui Dean
Chairperson
Petitions Committee
Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Dear Jacqui

I have been informed by the clerk of your committee that our petition calling on parliament to keep the Marsden Point oil refinery operational was considered by the committee last Thursday. 

That petition was presented to Parliament by your colleague Dr Shane Reti on December 8th, yet the committee has only just considered it — 13 weeks later.

I am advised that the committee has decided to seek further information and that typically takes about 4 weeks.

I surmise that it may well be several weeks after that before the Committee again considers the petition and that it may well then seek further public and industry submissions. 

That may be considered a satisfactory process for the majority of petitions however this particular issue has significant urgency.

Last week the refinery received its last shipment of crude oil from overseas. When that has been processed the closure of the refinery will begin. That will be in just 18 days time.

Once that process is commenced it will be almost impossible to reverse. 

It will certainly be impossible to reverse in 4 weeks time when the information your committee has sought becomes available, it then schedules a time for its consideration, possibly seeks public and industry submissions, considers those, and does a final report that is presented to Parliament. 

That process means the final report is unlikely to be tabled in Parliament before the middle of June at the very earliest and likely much later than that. 

By that time the refinery will be completely shut down and dismantling of it may well have commenced.

Should your committee report to Parliament a recommendation in favour of the petition it will then be a wasted effort on the part of approximately 18,300 New Zealanders to get their voice is heard on this vitally important energy security matter.

The continued operation of the refinery has become even more critical given the spike in fuel prices as a result of the Russia — Ukraine conflict. 

There is a very real likelihood of worldwide crude oil and refined product shortages as countries like the United States and those in Europe scramble to replace the Russian oil they will no longer import as a result of sanctions on Russia and try to secure alternative sources.

It seems incomprehensible that the committee has not treated this matter with a great deal more urgency.

While I appreciate the committee feels the need to seek additional information, surely it could set a substantially shorter time frame for its receipt.  After all, it is not as if this matter has not been widely canvassed by cabinet, and in discussions and submissions with large fuel uses like Air New Zealand, organisations like the Bio-fuels Association, along with unions representing workers at the refinery and on the coastal tankers that supply fuel to most places around the country apart from Auckland.

Therefore I would ask that your committee seeks the information it needs with greater urgency and a much shorter time frame, and schedules its next consideration of the petition at the earliest possible opportunity.

With thanks

Chris Leitch

Leader, Social Credit NZ

PS – Attached: Russia – Ukraine conflict tests fuel supply security 13.03.22