18 Sep 2017

'I think that people will see this as a very rare occurrence'

11:06 am on 18 September 2017

Video - Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett answers questions about the jet fuel shortage, and the final week of campaigning, live on Morning Report.

Watch the video below:

Mrs Bennett said the government would do everything it could to help get the fuel line back up and running as soon as possible.

A digger operating on a farm has damaged a jet fuel supply pipeline from the Marsden Point refinery, causing a fuel shortage that has affected dozens of flights in and out of Auckland.

She told Morning Report she was not familiar with Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reports from 2012 and does not know what action the government took when it received them.

The reports warned of the potentially severe effects of any shutdown of the pipeline.

She said because the pipeline was owned by Refining New Zealand, it was not the government's responsibility to ensure its product reached its destination.

"It's private business that owns that line, and you would expect them to have a better contingency plans, so we will go and look at that and get it right."

Mrs Bennett said she was confident the fuel shortage would not affect New Zealand's reputation as a tourist destination.

"I think that people will see this as a very rare occurrence, it hasn't happened for 30 years, we don't expect it to happen again."

Election campaign enters final week

The National Party is travelling the campaign trail on a bus, and would not be affected by flight cancellations, she said.

Mrs Bennett said she has seen real momentum for her party among New Zealanders coming into the last week of election campaigning.

She said voters could see the stark choice between the two parties and that National would give them strong leadership and a strong economy.

"The economy is also going so well and Labour themselves say it's going well.

"Why make big changes to it and put that at risk?"

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs