Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Fuel shortage after Far North fire

If you're planning on traveling to Far North of the country - make sure you fill up first. Photo / Thinkstock
If you're planning on traveling to Far North of the country - make sure you fill up first. Photo / Thinkstock

A fire which destroyed a Far North petrol station early this morning means people will have to travel more than 100km to get fuel.

The Waitiki Landing petrol station and its shop were already burnt to the ground when firefighters arrived at about 2am.

Graeme Neho, spokesman for local iwi Ngati Kuri, which owns the land the petrol station was on, said this would cause huge problems for the Far North community.

There is a petrol station in Pukenui, about 50km south of Waitiki, but this is due to close later this month.

This means there will be no petrol for the more than 100km between Kaitaia and Cape Reinga.

"By the time you use your tank of gas to get to Kaitaia and go back up again with a full tank you haven't got much to run around on," Mr Neho said.

"If you need to go and see a doctor or whatever you're going to be struggling."

Mr Neho said this morning's fire started after a power outage in the area yesterday.

A Top Energy repairman had fixed the fault but lights in the area became dim again so he returned.

The petrol station owners were alerted to the blaze by the repairman tooting his horn outside their house.

The owners, who had been running the station for about 10 years, were "devastated" by the loss.

Mr Neho said there was also a "major" problem with a lack of fire-fighting services in the area.

"If a house catches fire it's toast before the firefighters get up here," he said.

Firefighters would last night have to have made the 50km trip from Pukenui.

"There is no reason why if there was a fire station put up in this area why the appropriate people can't be trained.

Mr Neho said he had raised this issue with the Far North District Council.


- APNZ

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