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Petition - Put NZ's fuel security first - not oil company profits

09 Aug 2021

by Chris Leitch, Leader

We're calling on the government to declare the Marsden Point Oil Refinery a nationally strategic asset, to compulsorily purchase all the shares from the private owners and turn it back into a state owned enterprise which continues to refine crude oil into the fuels needed to keep the New Zealand economy operating.

The petition has got nearly 8000 signatures already and is here.

While we need to transition away from reliance on fossil fuels, the decision to shut down the refining operation at Marsden Point has been made by the shareholders purely in the interests of generating larger profits and not in the interests of New Zealand's strategic fuel needs.

This decision means we will still be burning the same amount of fuel, but become even more reliant on imported products controlled by overseas owned conglomerates.

The majority shareholders in the refining company are the oil companies who own refineries across Asia and who want to ensure those refineries run at full capacity to maximise their profits.

In the event of a natural disaster or a geopolitical conflict the shipping routes to New Zealand could be cut off and the supply of fuel to major sectors of the New Zealand economy severely compromised.

This list is not exhaustive but includes:-

- Air transport into and out of and around NZ including air freight exports
- Helicopter rescue services
- Coastal shipping, inter-island ferries and shipping to the Pacific Islands
- New Zealand's Army, Navy and Air Force including rescue and disaster relief operations
- All fishing boats including short distance ferries
- The country's trucking fleet that moves goods and food around NZ
- Heavy construction machinery and infrastructure and road building equipment
- Agricultural machinery including forestry, farming and horticultural equipment
- Goods and passenger rail operations

If the refinery was still in operation and crude oil was not able to be shipped to New Zealand for whatever reason it could use New Zealand's own oil supplies and at the very least keep all major essential transport, freight, air and defence operations going.

Approximately 600 jobs will be lost if the refining operation shuts down. With an economic loss of about 8% to the Northland economy many small businesses will close with further catastrophic job losses.

The Reserve Bank has already created around $60 billion in the last 18 months and the money needed to purchase the refinery shares would be a drop in the bucket.

There are times when the government needs to act to put the interests of New Zealanders ahead of everything else. This is one of them.

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