A Northlander is accusing Parliament's Petitions Committee of corrupting the democratic process by dragging its heels over his petition calling for the Marsden Point oil refinery to remain operational.
Chris Leitch, leader of the Whangārei-based Social Credit Party, started an online petition in September last year that garnered 18,000 signatures in support of his call for the Government to declare the refinery a nationally strategic asset.
The petition also pushes for the Government to compulsorily buy all the shares from private owners using money created by the Reserve Bank.
The petition is now with Parliament's Petitions Committee, which Leitch said was yet to call for public submissions.
Committee officials said as per the Standing Orders neither they nor Petitions Committee chair Jacqui Dean could comment until the committee met next week.
Leitch said no other groups with an interest in keeping the refinery operational, such as Air New Zealand, the Biofuels Association, the Sustainability Council, First Union that represented refinery workers, the Maritime Union and others, have been offered the opportunity to make submissions.
He said the only submitters invited have been his party and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, both of whom made verbal submissions this week.
"The petition was originally presented to Parliament on December 8 last year yet the committee only heard those verbal submissions this week, fully six months later."
In the meantime, he said the refinery has stopped production and was being dismantled.
"This means the final report of the committee is unlikely to be tabled in Parliament before the middle of July at the very earliest and likely much later than that.
"The majority members of the committee, Labour and the Greens, have ensured that the petition of approximately 18,300 New Zealanders to get their voice heard on this vitally important energy security matter will have been a wasted effort."
Leitch said given the spike in fuel prices as a result of the Russia/Ukraine conflict and the very real likelihood of worldwide crude oil and refined product shortages, it seemed incomprehensible that the Petitions Committee has not treated this matter with a great deal more urgency.
He said the consequences of international fuel supply disruptions meant supermarket shelves would be empty within a few days, the tap on our annual $20 billion in overseas income from dairy products turned off, 5.8 million litres of milk flooding farmland and rivers every day and thousands of tons of food going to waste.
In March, the Petitions Committee sought further information on the petition that prompted Leitch to write to Dean and ask her members to seek a substantially shorter timeframe to receive the information sought, given the refinery would convert into an import-only fuel terminal from April 1.
Refining NZ has been renamed Channel Infrastructure and is trading as a fuel import terminal.