Asia Minute: Fuel Crisis in New Zealand’s Largest City

Sep 20, 2017

Auckland, New Zealand
Credit Wikimedia Commons

When you use the phrase “energy crisis,” those old enough to remember might think back to the 1970’s and the Arab oil embargo. But this week in New Zealand, there’s a different kind of energy crisis—at the country’s largest airport. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Dozens of flights to and from Auckland New Zealand have been cancelled since this weekend because of a rupture in a fuel pipeline.

Local media say that single line is the usual supply route for jet fuel, diesel and gasoline going to the country’s biggest city.

Radio New Zealand estimates about two tanker truck loads of jet fuel drained away in the leak disrupting travel plans for thousands of domestic and international passengers.

Airlines have been rationed to 30 percent of their normal fuel consumption, a practice an industry spokesman says is likely to last more than a week.

At least 13 Auckland gas stations are out of high octane fuel, although the city’s mayor says he’s been assured Auckland is NOT in danger of running out of gasoline or diesel.

The New Zealand Navy has been enlisted to ship fuel.

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce worries the incident will harm New Zealand’s reputation in the international business world.

The Chamber CEO says government leaders should have seen this coming, adding that the city’s fuel storage capacity has not changed in five years, while demand has gone up by nearly a third.

Government employees have been told to cancel non-essential travel, but here’s a twist, it’s the height of a political campaign.

New Zealanders go to the polls on Saturday.