Winston Peters wants petrol companies to pay for the Defence Force's help in transporting fuel to Auckland Airport during the pipeline crisis.

The NZ First leader is asking why taxpayers should foot the bill for that while big companies such as Z Energy, BP and Mobil own and operate the pipeline.

It was ruptured by a digger and while it was out of action a Navy ship and Army tankers helped ferry fuel to the airport.

Mr Peters says the companies aren't short of money - BP's profit last year was $147 million, Z Energy's $243 million and ExxonMobil's $91 million.


"They should be grateful the NZ Defence Force provided fuel tanker drivers, other specialist staff, the loan of a filter to Wynyard Wharf and deployed HMNZS Endeavour to Marsden Point," Mr Peters said on Tuesday.

"All that costs money - taxpayers' money - and they can acknowledge their gratitude by paying up."