So Megan Woods ends the week the way she began it, huffing and puffing about BP and its petrol prices.

She did exactly what we said she would do. Grab a headline, wag a finger, make a threat but ultimately achieve nothing.

Is the price of the gas you put in your car this weekend in any way shape or form different as a result of her emotional outburst? And by last night's dramatic summons to the Beehive for BP? Of course it isn't.

It was never going to be because what BP is doing is perfectly legal and widely practised by businesses all over the country. If BP were the only player in this game, it would be different. If BP were one of two players it would be different. But the petrol market is competitive.


Are there vagaries? Of course there are. But none of that means there is collusion, a cartel, smoke and mirrors, mafia tactics or any of the other hyped-up crap that gets pedalled around issues like this.

This is not a defence of BP's purse. Or indeed big oil. It's a plea for common sense, for rational thought, for decisions, ideas, beliefs and arguments based on fact not hot air and emotive bollocks.

I would've thought Mobil helped the debate - 7 cents the variance in one day in one city this week. If you shop around you can save 7 cents a litre from just one company. Does that sound like a jack-up? A cartel?

I tried this week to use the logic of chips. Go to a supermarket or dairy. They're different prices. Go to a big town, a small town, they're different prices. Go buy them on sale, not on sale, different price. Loss leader, new promotion, different prices - this is all around us. Bluebird isn't being called into the Minister of Food's office.

So why petrol? Why persist down the track that this just has to be a scandal when we have no evidence of such?

The same way we've picked on the banks this week. From the Finance Minister to the FMA, they look at Australia and their royal commission add 2 and 2 and come up with 12.

Prove you're innocent they say. What? When did that particular leg of justice get blown out of the water? It's guilty now is it? Until you prove you're not?

The FMA said the same thing about the insurance industry. We're all crooks now are we?
We're all dodgy as and we need investigations, threats and meetings to prove otherwise. Evidence and fact are secondary to suspicion.


Just how much energy, time and effort do they want good, decent regular operators going about their business to down tools and mount a case of defence based on automatic guilt?

It's a dangerous slippery slope. Where a whiff of doubt, a skerrick of suspicion, a vaguely accusatory wagging finger is all you need to wreak havoc.

We need to be a lot better than that.