Jacinda Ardern 'alarmed' if Government was warned of fuel shortage risk

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1 NEWS | NZN

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says she'd be alarmed if the government was warned of the risks associated with a single pipeline providing fuel for Auckland Airport, where there's a jet fuel shortage following a leak in Northland. 

The Labour leader says the Northland pipeline leak causing a jet fuel shortage in Auckland is hitting travellers and airlines.
Source: 1 NEWS

Someone digging up a kauri log and damaging a fuel pipeline has disrupted New Zealand's largest airport for up to two weeks.

As many as 23 flights at Auckland Airport are cancelled today because of a jet fuel shortage following a leak in the pipeline near the oil refinery at Marsden Point.

The government has been forced to step in and provide assistance, and Prime Minister Bill English says he's being kept informed of the problem.

"It's my understanding it's the sort of problem that will require government agencies and the companies to work together ... [the government will provide] whatever assistance they may require," he said.

Ms Ardern was asked about suggestions the government may have been warned of the risks associated with a single pipeline providing fuel for Auckland Airport.

"I'd certainly be alarmed if there is evidence that the government has been warned of the situation we're seeing today because this will come at a considerable cost and impact to travellers but also carriers. If they knew about it that is worrying," she said.

"Of course there are international requirements around reserves that we're meant to keep. I'd certainly want to see whether or not we were keeping our end of the bargain and making sure that that was followed through on. But if the government was warned that this was an issue, I would find that concerning."

Auckland Airport is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand.

Mobil Oil New Zealand's Andrew McNaught says airlines have had their usual fuel allocations reduced and will have to find alternatives.

"This will include carrying more fuel in to enable return flights without refuelling, refuelling at other airports and stopping to fuel at other airports on the way to and from Auckland."

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins says additional stocks are being transported by truck directly from the refinery and a terminal in Mt Maunganui.

NZ Refining says it will take 10 to 15 days to fix the pipeline and they're flying in experts from Canada.

It isn't commenting on the cause of the leak, but the Northern Advocate newspaper is carrying a supplied photo of a kauri log lifted from a farm at Ruakaka, where the oil pipeline has been cut.

The 170km pipeline, which carries jet fuel, petrol and diesel from Marsden Point to tanks at Wiri in south Auckland has been out of action since Thursday afternoon when a drop in pressure in the pipeline was detected.

The leak, eight kilometres from the refinery, has been contained and contaminated soil removed.

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