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Disabling Refinery would be pure economic vandalism

31 March 2022

by Chris Leitch, Leader

Any action to permanently disable the Marsden Point oil refinery in the current circumstances would be one of pure economic vandalism according to Social Credit Leader Chris Leitch.

He said reports had been reaching him of things like pumping concrete into the pipes, cutting holes in pipes and other essential infrastructure, removing or disabling key electronic components, and other similar actions.

“While I cannot confirm those reports as well founded or just speculation, there have been sufficient to ring alarm bells and cause me to seek assurances that no such actions are contemplated or taking place”.

Any employee, contractor, or sub-contractor taking part in any such action should seriously consider what their position would be in the event of an enquiry if New Zealand suffers fuel shortages.

Would they want to be held responsible for participating in an action that prevented the country from keeping essential transport services operating.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to Refining NZ Chief Executive Officer Naomi James, Mr Leitch wrote “I, and I would think the 18,300 signatories to the petition currently being considered by Parliament’s Petitions Committee, along with most New Zealanders, would consider any action to disable the refinery’s capability in the current circumstances an action of pure economic vandalism”.

“I seek your assurance that the refinery is not threatened in any way by any actions that would affect its capability to operate fully, and refine crude especially while:-

a)  The Petitions Committee completes its consideration of the petition

  • The Russia – Ukraine conflict continues and sanctions on Russia’s oil and gas production are in force

  • There is the possibility of an escalation of that conflict to other countries in the region

  • There is possible destabilisation of shipping between Asia and New Zealand due the recent actions of China in relation to the Solomon Islands and possible armed conflict with Taiwan”

Given the uncertainty of fuel supplies as a result of the Russia - Ukraine conflict, which could well escalate to nearby countries, the continued capability of the refinery to operate has become more critical than when the decision to move to imported refined fuel instead of refining it here was made.

Current circumstances mean a very real likelihood of worldwide crude oil and refined product shortages.

 “With that possibility facing us, New Zealand’s capacity to refine the oil it produces, to at least allow some key transport, agricultural, police, fire, paramedic and search and rescue operations to continue becomes critical”, Mr Leitch wrote.

The oil companies, having got as far as convincing other shareholders and the government of the need to import refined fuel rather than refine it here because supposedly it will be cheaper, do not want the refinery left in a state that it could easily be made operational again.

They are after bigger shareholder returns and leaving that open door would be a liability to plans to impose the refined import model on the country, so it needs to be closed quickly.

That could be achieved by either immediately commencing to dismantle the plant, making it too expensive to put back together (or so the story would go), or disabling it with the same result.

Today’s response from Naomi James appears to confirm the reports I have been receiving are all true, and that dismantling and disabling of the refinery is intended to proceed apace.

The refinery should be left in a state where it could easily be got running again, at the very least until the current uncertainty over fuel supplies is resolved.