Greens: Fuel pipeline debacle puts environment at risk

Written By: - Date published: 3:57 pm, September 18th, 2017 - 25 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, energy, Environment, greens, science - Tags: ,

Note: I had a look last night and this morning and could find very little in the MSM about the environmental impact of the spill. Morning Report interviewed the CEO of Refining NZ, who said that the regional council were satisfied with the initial recovery. Guyon Espiner did ask about the environment a couple of times, but in a very PR supportive way.

RNZ later did better coverage that includes the Northland Regional Council saying they will need to inspect the site, and there will need to be further clean up. They also published further assurance from Refining NZ. So already we have conflicting stories. This is not good enough. I have no reason to not expect Refining NZ to have complied with regulations, but given NZ’s appalling recent history with the environment, including regional council complicity with industry in allowing pollution, it’s not enough to accept the assurances from industry on this. We need independent assessment, lots of questions asked and answered, and detailed reporting on what is going on.

No, you can no longer expect us to trust you just because you say so. Best case scenario is that this is well contained, then cleaned up and restored, and NZ is given full and frank detail about the ecologies affected so we learn from this and move on. Platitudes and she’ll be right won’t be enough – weka.

Press release from

 Fuel pipeline debacle puts environment at risk

Northland Regional Council and Refining NZ need to release scientific evidence to support claims there has been no environmental damage from the rupture of the pipeline taking aviation fuel to Auckland airport, the Green Party said today

The Regional Council and the company need to be open with the public about how and why the rupture occurred, and the damage the fuel spill has done to the peat wetland, wildlife habitat and water quality at Ruakaka and beyond the site.

“Even if contaminated soil has been removed, further excavation of the wetland could be needed. This could have implications for the water table in the wetland, water quality and native wildlife.

“Kuaka/godwits are about to return from their migration to Siberia. We need to avoid any pollution of the estuarine habitats they use to feed.

“The fact a pipeline with such significance to our transport can be ruptured and create contamination so close to a wildlife refuge shows why we need proper enforcement of the Resource Management Act to ensure our environment is protected.

“Northland Regional Council needs to ensure Refining NZ not only cleans up the site, but that strong measures are taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again and wetlands are protected. Our environment and remaining wetlands deserve better,” said Ms Sage.


Bigger picture issues, including climate change, are looked at in Closing the loops on oil spills and broken pipe lines.

25 comments on “Greens: Fuel pipeline debacle puts environment at risk”

  1. cleangreen 1

    Heard on RNZ this morning that the labour/Greens are polling higher then the National party incumbent Nick smith!!!

    Hell, – although I’m not a green party supporter, I would be happy to see Nick now unseated, as he has been a disaster as Environment Minister this second two times around.

    He just blooodywell rubbber stamps all the dirty toxic plans that this toxic National Government push forward now.

    Nick was good for us in his first term when he used to travel around the provinces.

    We met him in Gisborne in 2010 on our rail issue and he was very amenable then.

    So go Greens/labour we hope you win the seat.–poll

  2. Bearded Git 2

    On Morning Report this morning Guyon put to Bennett the fact that in 2012 the cabinet had a paper from AirNZ in front of them saying that there was a potential for disaster and that fuel storage facilities costing $58 million should be built (I think) near the airport.

    The do-nothing short-termism Key cabinet canned it because it was too expensive. Shambles is too kind a word.

    This issue of the fuel disaster was just discussed on The Panel where nobody brought the above up even though it had been on RNZ earlier in the day.

    This from Stuff today:

    “In 2012 the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) warned that a nine-day disruption to the line would have significant impact on flights to Auckland.”

  3. david 3

    The statement is ambiguous from the Greens. Under a future Labour/Green government, will they ban oil pipelines? But Jacinda wants to double the pipelines to Wiri from Marsden.

    What is their stance?

    • weka 3.1

      This announcement is about the leak last week. If you want to understand the GP policy generally on oil, I’d suggest reading their policy (it’s all on the website), or engage with them in person, on twitter, or on FB.

      However Shaw did tweet this today,

      “I look forward to the day all cars and trucks run on batteries and planes on biofuels and fuel leaks and oil spills are a thing of the past.”

      • WILD KATIPO 3.1.1

        Once upon a time I had my suspicions of James Shaw of being a third way neo liberal new ager, but I was wrong. I’m kinda warming to the old coot ,… however, … going by how my vaping pipe battery’s need constant recharging ,… we better get some good long life ones for these new fangled battery cars…

        When oh when and why oh why haven’t we pursued the findings of John Searl , Nikolai Tessler and many other pioneers of free energy and anti gravity technology… yeah , I know,… its all these oil barons and political power heads who want to keep petroleum power to themselves… one day , when I get older , I’m going to move to the Aussie desert and learn horseology, and you can keep your smelly city’s and cars to yourselves.

        • weka

          I agree that the power barons have been dragging the chain. But free energy would horrendous. Can you imagine the development and pollution that would follow? I really think the way out of this mess is to learn to live within our limits. Physical ones, and social/economic ones.

  4. UncookedSelachimorpha 4

    And now the Idiot National Party wants to risk worker safety, in addition to the environment. Driving hours are a fundamental safety regulation. From the same fools who brought you Pike River. Gotta love that workplace “flexibility” – flexibility to get killed, that is.

    “Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said the Defence Force would be using HMNZS Endeavour to move diesel from Marsden Point to help free up industry resources to get fuel to Auckland Airport.

    It was considering options for allowing smaller commuter aircraft to refuel at Whenuapai Airforce Base and would also be providing 20 additional tanker drivers to help local operators manage their workload.

    “We’re looking at what we can do to make that easier in a regulatory sense, whether that’s around hours of work drivers or weight restrictions for tankers.

    “Safety is always paramount, but where we can have some further flexibility then that’s what we will do.””

    • McFlock 4.1


      Yeah, let’s put fatigued fuel tanker drivers on a highway. What could possibly go wrong…

  5. Bruce 5

    Pity there’s no rail.

  6. Drowsy M. Kram 6

    Marsden Pipeline – not delivering for New Zealand.

    SDBH – not delivering for prostate cancer patients.

    National ‘Standards’ – not delivering for students.

    Nick Smith – not delivering for the environment.

    HNZ – not delivering for the homeless.

    PB – not delivering for the media.

  7. Unicus 7

    The whole thing is a set up so the government can look competent in an emergency

    Tonight’s news was covered in ” defence vessels” delivering fuel by sea – all the drama of a contrived disaster for the governments benefit and without anyone actually seeing what’s happened or what damage can be verified .

    This is an electoral scam – just like the phoney ” terror” attack the Aussie torys trumped up for the National party last election .

    • Marcus Morris 7.1

      Couldn’t agree more. Crusher Collins, grinning like a cheshire cat, telling us that the armed services are essentially there for emergencies like this and aren’t we lucky to have them. The point is, this is not a natural disaster but a catastrophe caused by a government that repeatedly ignores sound advice and then refuses to acknowledge its part in the consequences. Leaky homes appeared on the agenda again today. When will people join the dots and wake up to the fact that this never-ending saga of grief and broken dreams was a direct result of the deregulation of the building industry by the Nats back in the nineties. Would Pike River have happened had the number of mining inspectors not been depleted. The list goes on. Please let me be smiling on Sunday morning.

  8. Upnorth 8

    Labour were told in 2005…did nothing!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      “but but but but Llllaaaabbbboooouuurrrrr!”

      …did nothing for three years. National did nothing for nine, and if Judith Collins wasn’t profiting from illegal kauri exports (has anyone been arrested for the Oravida bleach attack yet?) it wouldn’t have happened at all.

  9. Lara 9

    I live and surf in this area, Ruakaka is one of the surf spots we visit regularly. Checked out the closest surf spot we could get to Marsden Point recently for the first time (usually go a bit further south to Power Station or Race Course) at Rama Road. God, what an awful stink! Sunny day, recent rain, and a horrible chemical stink that made us quickly turn and go back.

    Anyhoo… my point is that Ruakaka already has large areas of it, close to Marsden Point, that appear to be environmentally fucked. Fore-dune systems covered in gorse, wetlands drained and farmed.

    The few wetland areas left really do need to be looked after, if one cares at all for the species that rely upon them. Unfortunately for those species they make no $$ for people.

    If there’s surf up that way in the next week I’ll make a comment here on what I see.

    • weka 9.1

      Have to admit I looked at the aerial shots of the site and went, oh right. I know those kinds of farm areas. Still, live in hope that that area will be reforested and repurposed to regenag or organics, so we need to look after it.

  10. Exkiwiforces 10

    Can someone tell me if there was an easement along the pipeline corridor? If there is one, then someone will be up to his or her neck in shit.

    Anyway some of the pictures I’ve seen so far the soil looks real dark, nice and rich soil for growing food stuffs or running livestock on it.

  11. cleangreen 11

    Simple answer, Use rail to bring it to Auckland!!

    Oh wait a minute wasn’t the rail line placed alongside that fuel pipe corridor when it was privatised????

    What a bunch of loosers they are in “privatisation policy”

    Bring back public services in our “essential services” so we can survive and do what winston was suggesting years ago bring rail to the port from Auckland.

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