Verbal Submission on our petition to keep the

Marsden Point oil refinery operational

June 9th 2022

This is only the introduction and conclusion.

Read the full submission here (pdf)

Introduction

I want you to consider for a moment what would happen if diesel fuel supplies ran out across New Zealand tonight.

Meals at Bellamy’s (or any other of your favourite restaurants) would not be available next week.

Supermarket shelves would be empty by Monday.

Tractors, harvesters, and the trucks that carry our farm products to processors and to our export hubs would stop. The tap on our annual $20 billion in overseas income from dairy products would be turned off. Every day, 5.8 million litres of milk would flood farmland and rivers. Thousands of tons of food would go to waste.

Our fishing fleets would remain tied up in port and inter-island ferries and those serving far flung communities would not run. Ships delivering essential supplies to the Pacific Islands would not put to sea.

Railway tracks would remain silent and our truck fleet would stay in their yards. Thousands of tons of cargo would stay stacked at our ports and in warehouses. Container ships would back up at our ports.

Heavy construction machinery and infrastructure and road building equipment could not operate and our forestry operations would come to a halt.

The list is only the tip of a vastly more complex iceberg. The accompanying job losses and commercial losses would bankrupt thousands of businesses and cripple the country’s economy for years.

Food shortages would see New Zealanders facing the starvation and deprivation we only ever see on television in countries in Africa.

This is not a fanciful risk. We are heavily dependent on a regular fuel supply. Yet our government has relied on the promises of the oil companies that they’ll be able to supply adequate refined fuel imports to ensure that we
will never have to face the grim circumstances I just outlined.

Conclusion

The advantages of New Zealand owning the refinery

Fuel supply is essential to the economy. With control of the refinery the country would gain:

  1. Greater fuel security with the option to refine our own oil in a crisis.

  2. Reduced costs for New Zealanders with control over pricing leading to lower transport costs and a reduction in prices for goods and services.

  3. Reduced costs for exporters in getting products to ports and lower air freight charges.

  4. An infrastructure base for the development of new fuel options

  5. More competition at the pumps as new retailers would have an easier entry into the market (with the refinery acting as a wholesaler).

  6. Reduced pressure on our overseas exchange as profits would not be transmitted off-shore using up valuable overseas exchange.

We therefore call on this committee to recommend to the House of Representatives that it declare the Marsden Point Oil Refinery a nationally strategic asset and require the Government to purchase it from the private owners (using money created by the country’s central bank) so it continues to operate and provide fuel security for New Zealand.