MPs lament jet fuel crisis
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett accepts that a mistake by a digger driver which caused widespread disruption to the nation’s aviation industry is ‘‘embarrassing’’.
Energy Minister Judith Collins estimates the incident could cost Auckland ’’millions and millions of dollars’’.
On Thursday, it was revealed that a digger had once struck a key fuel pipe near Marsden Point in Northland, which by Sunday had caused a major leak that starved Auckland Airport of its main jet fuel supply.
Bennett agreed with RNZ host Guyon Espiner on Monday when he suggested that the ‘‘embarrassing’’ episode had cut New Zealand off from the rest of the world.
Thousands of passengers have already been stranded by the fuel shortage, and Air New Zealand believes around 2,000 people a day will be affected for the next two weeks as the aviation network attempts to recover.
Bennett told RNZ that this is a rare occurrence and hasn’t happened for 30 years.
She added that she doesn’t expect it to happen again.
Bennett said Air New Zealand has informed her that they ’’feel comfortable’’ of avoiding huge disruption.
She added that there’s now a ‘‘10-day but moving timeline’’ of when the pipeline will be fixed.
Prime Minister Bill English said that a contingency for this type of incident had been previously been looked into but wasn’t economically viable.
‘‘There have been a couple of studies done that looked at different alternatives for backing up the current infrastructure, and the decisions were made that the investment that would be required to double up would be too much to be passed onto consumers.
‘‘But I expect that after this that they’ll go back and have another look at it.
‘‘In the meantime, the oil companies, the airlines, the agencies, are all working together, we’ve offered all the support, any support that they need, they haven’t actually made any requests yet.’’