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Invited guests should boycott refinery celebration

08 March 2022

by Chris Leitch, Leader

A party for invited guests being held at the Marsden Point Oil Refinery on Friday to celebrate its closure has been slammed as hypocritical, insensitive, and insulting.

The plant has not even been closed yet, but a select group of guests has been invited to attend a function to 'celebrate its proud legacy'.

That function is an insult to the 600 workers and their families who will be without an income due to the closure.

It's an insult to nearly 100 mariners whose jobs will go when the two coastal tankers delivering fuel around the rest of the country are no longer required.

It's an insult to hundreds of businesses across Northland that will face additional economic stress due to the $800 million income annually the refinery provided that no longer be spent in the community.

It's an insult to every water user in Whangarei who will face massive increases in their water charges as a result of the council spending mega bucks to ensure it had the capacity to supply the refinery with water which it will no longer use.

It's an insult to the future of young people who want to become highly skilled and qualified tradespeople but will no longer have the refinery as their training ground.

It's insensitive to the workers’ immediate and wider families and the social upheaval many of them will go through as those workers move overseas for jobs.

The function on Friday is a celebration for the CEO of the successful accomplishment of the job she was sent here to do - close the refinery.

Guests invited to the celebration should send back an “I won’t be attending’ RSVP and boycott it.

Their attendance would be hypocritical, supporting the closure and all the damage it will cause to the Northland community so that a few shareholders can bank bigger profits at the cost of the community.

My petition with 18,300 signatures calling on the government to keep the refinery operational languishes on the desk of Parliament’s Petitions Committee despite having been presented to Parliament by MP Shane Reti 3 months ago.