Refining NZ has not to date asked for taxpayer funds to save the refinery from closure as the publicly listed company believes such an approach is unsustainable in the long term.
Instead, chief executive Naomi James said the refinery has had a resolute focus through its strategic review process that started 16 months ago on what was needed to be a competitive and sustainable business in the long run.
Her comments follow growing calls for the Government to stump up funds in order to keep the refinery going which would save hundreds of jobs and ensure continuity of fuel supply.
Shareholders of the country's only oil refinery, based at Marsden Pt, last week voted overwhelmingly for Refining NZ to become an import-only fuel terminal under the name Channel Infrastructure following the strategic review.
Whangārei-based Social Credit Party has launched an online petition on www.change.org, calling on the Government to declare the refinery a nationally strategic asset and to compulsorily buy all the shares from private owners using money created by the Reserve Bank.
The Government, he said, should then turn it back into a State-owned enterprise and allow fuel retailers, rather than a monopoly consisting of major oil companies as is the case at present, to sell fuel in the country.
The National Party is calling on the Government to mothball the refinery operations which could be turned back on in future, such as in the case of a global disruption.
James said the refinery has engaged at every stage with government to obtain its input and views on the future of the company.
"During this time, we have not sought subsidies from taxpayers as we don't believe this is a long-term sustainable plan for the future, and none have been offered."
Energy Minister Megan Woods confirmed to date, the refinery has not requested financial support from the Government to keep its operations going.
"The Government is aware of the risk of New Zealand becoming completely cut off from global fuel supply chains and an assessment of the global fuel supply risks was carried out.
"Such an event is considered to be very unlikely, as all trade routes would have to be cut off at the same time. Also, in such a scenario, supply of some inputs for the refining process could also be cut off," she said.
Social Credit leader Chris Leitch said while we needed to transition away from reliance on fossil fuels, the decision to shut down the refinery has been made by the shareholders purely in the interests of generating larger profits from imported refined product and not in the interests of New Zealand's strategic fuel needs.
In the event of a natural disaster or a geopolitical conflict situation, he said the shipping routes to New Zealand could be cut off and the supply of fuel to major sectors of the New Zealand economy severely compromised.
"The Reserve Bank has already created around $60 billion in the last 18 months and the $260 million needed to purchase the refinery shares would be a drop in the bucket.
"There are times when the Government needs to act to put the interests of New Zealanders ahead of everything else. This is one of them."
Whangārei MP Emily Henderson said she was working with stakeholders to make sure affected workers and their whanau got all the support necessary, and to identify alternative industries such as biofuels.
Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai said National's call for the refinery to be future-proofed probably came a little too late.
"Obviously the reality of that situation has hit home and people are going 'Oh, this really is going to happen', it's going to impact on our economy here in Northland, and it's certainly going to impact on people who are employed and over time. The reality is some people will be out of jobs."
Production of bio-fuel like hydrogen was the way forward for us as a country, she said.
First Union transport, logistics and manufacturing secretary Jared Abbott described as "naive" National's view the refinery should mothballed.
"The cogs in the machines rust when they stop operating. It's not a kitchen appliance that could be put in a cupboard and later turned back on.
"The Government needs to just cover the fee floor and that will probably save them money than if there's fuel supply disruptions once the refinery is closed," he said.
James will speak about the transition to import terminal model at McLeod Bay Hall hosted by the Whangārei Heads Citizens Association tonight.
The decision by Refining NZ shareholders to vote overwhelmingly for the publicly listed company to become an import-only fuel terminal has caused much angst across Northland.
The Northern Advocate took to the streets in Whangārei to canvass public views on what they thought about the refinery closing down and whether the Government should help keep it going.
Close it from a business point of view because the world is getting cleaner with electric cars which means less fuel. But the closure will have a massive impact from a jobs point of view.
We're lacking jobs as it is. What about the families of those that will lose their jobs? I think the Government should come to the party, like it did at Tiwai. After all, they gave money to the Mongrel Mob.
It's very sad but we've known for a while it was coming. It's the loss of jobs that is the biggest worry. A decision has been made by overseas companies that don't think it's economical for fuel to be refined here.
More people will lose their jobs and the effects won't be good, especially in Whangārei. Government can and should intervene as it's the only refinery in New Zealand.
Losing the refinery would be a huge loss to Northland, especially Whangārei, as it's one of the biggest employers and the only refinery in the country. It will mean we'll be reliant on overseas supplies and I think it's a risk and it may push fuel prices up.
It will be a shame if it closes. What happens if there's a crisis on fuel around the world? Would it cost us more to ship fuel into New Zealand? Government's intervention will save a lot of jobs, especially around where the refinery is.