Judith Collins has told a media conference that the group of political and industry representatives met in Auckland this morning.

The Energy and Resources Minister said truck drivers will be able to get overweight permits easier and routes will be laid out to allow tankers to transport fuel as quickly as possible.

Collins said the significance of the event wasn't understood until late Saturday and the response to the crisis by the airlines and fuel industry has been "tremendous".

She said she was in constant contact with the chief executive of Refining NZ and the timeframe of midday Sunday-Tuesday for a fix looks firm.


No representative was at the conference from Refining NZ, but Collins said the CEO was committed to being available to the media and public on the issue.

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Judith Collins speaks on fuel supply

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Peter Mersi, the CEO of Ministry of Transport, said there are a range of parties that need to come together to coordinate the two options of trucks transporting fuel from Marsden Pt to the airport and shipping fuel from Marsden Pt.

Mersi said there are no concerns for the supply of ground fuel, the fuel sold in service stations, in Auckland.

New Zealand Defence force drivers are being trained in the loading and unloading of fuel tankers so the trucks can run 24/7, Mersi said.

Refining NZ has stopped one end of the pipe; when the other end of the pipe is stopped they can cut the damaged section of pipe and replace it, Mersi said.

Refining NZ is running to schedule and the window for the repair remains Tuesday.

Mersi said a contingency plan is being set up for the instance where the pipe is not repaired within the timeframe.

Judith Collins discussed the crisis today. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Judith Collins discussed the crisis today. File photo / Mark Mitchell

The joint industry-government group included representatives from ExxonMobil, Z Energy, BP, Air New Zealand, KiwiRail, Auckland Council, Auckland Airport, Auckland Transport, New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, and the Ministry of Transport.


Collins said earlier it would work fulltime to co-ordinate the response to the supply issues that have arisen from this week's ongoing Marsden Pt fuel pipeline outage.

Its aim would be to streamline information flows and ensure logistics are effectively managed.

"It is part of the Government's wider response to support industry efforts to address the disruption," Collins said.

The Government was doing everything possible to improve supply, including making it easier for carriers to get overweight permits so tankers could safely carry more fuel, she said.

The Navy ship HMNZS Endeavour will sail for Marsden Pt at 11am tomorrow.

The New Zealand Defence Force is finalising the logistics of supplying its trucks and fuel for use in the fuel's transportation.


Meanwhile, E tu Aviation, the union for airport staffers, says the workforce is bearing the brunt of annoyed passengers as the disruptions continue.

Spokesman Kelvin Ellis appealed to the public to be patient with airlines and their staff "as they work to manage a crisis not of their making".

However, he praised the airlines for their handling of the situation.

"Airlines have plans for this sort of event and they're doing well looking after their workers."

However, he was shocked how easily the country could be exposed.

"It's incredible neither the Government nor Refining New Zealand have a back-up plan. This is vital infrastructure in a country which depends on tourism, and where people travel constantly."


Meanwhile, fuel rationing at Auckland Airport is likely to continue for airlines until next Thursday, a spokesman for the oil industry says.

Since the pipeline carrying jet fuel from Marsden Pt ruptured last week, planes departing Auckland Airport were asked to operate with only 30 per cent of normal fuel levels.

Mobil manager and spokesman for customers of Refining NZ, Andrew McNaught, said that rationing - although being reviewed daily - is now likely to last until September 28.

The fuel industry has been scrambling for new ways of getting aviation fuel to Auckland while Refining NZ has been defending the time it was taking to repair the damaged pipeline.

The refinery company said yesterday that a jet fuel loading station at Marsden Pt was now ready to fill tankers as soon as they arrived but a representative for fuel companies said they still did not know whether they could use road tankers or a tank on Wynyard Wharf in central Auckland for aviation gas.

The pipeline carried all Auckland's aviation fuel to a depot near the airport until it ruptured last week leading to fuel rationing for airlines, which have been forced to cancel and re-route flights.


McNaught said alternative transport arrangements were still a "work in progress" and the priority remained cutting demand to 30 per cent of usual from airlines at the airport through reduced flying or aircraft taking on fuel at other New Zealand airports or those in Australia or the Pacific.

The board of Airline Representatives has 28 members affected by the fuel crisis and would meet fuel companies today about allocations of remaining fuel.

Industry figures show there are 8.9 million litres of jet fuel in tanks near Auckland Airport and 9.5 million litres at the Wiri terminal.

Yesterday airlines used about 1 million litres.