The 18,300 signature petition calling for the Marsden Point oil refinery to remain operational has been buried by Parliament’s Petitions Committee.
The committee has dragged its heels on addressing the petition in what could be construed as ongoing corruption of the democratic process.
No public submissions have been called for.
No other groups with an interest in keeping the refinery operational, such as Air New Zealand, the Biofuels Association, the Sustainability Council, First Union (representing refinery workers) the Maritime Union and others have been offered the opportunity to make submissions.
The only submitters invited have been Social Credit, who initiated the petition, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (who wrote the paper presented by Minister of Energy Megan Woods to cabinet last September), both of whom presented verbal submissions this week.
The petition was originally presented to Parliament on December 8th last year yet the committee only heard those verbal submissions this week, fully six months later.
Meanwhile the refinery has stopped production and is being dismantled.
This means the final report of the committee is unlikely to be tabled in Parliament before the middle of July at the very earliest and likely much later than that.
The majority members of the committee, Labour and the Greens, have ensured that the petition of approximately 18,300 New Zealanders to get their voice heard on this vitally important energy security matter will have been a wasted effort.
Given the spike in fuel prices as a result of the Russia – Ukraine conflict and the very real likelihood of worldwide crude oil and refined product shortages it seems incomprehensible that the committee has not treated this matter with a great deal more urgency.
Sadly it appears that despite having significant stocks of crude oil in Taranaki, should international fuel supplies be disrupted, New Zealand will not have the capacity to process its own oil to keep essential services running.
The consequences of that would be supermarket shelves empty within a few days, the tap on our annual $20 billion in overseas income from dairy products turned off, 5.8 million litres of milk flooding farmland and rivers every day and thousands of tons of food going to waste.