8 Jun 2009

Kaikohe to be without fuel outlet for two months

7:06 pm on 8 June 2009

Residents of Kaikohe could be without a fuel outlet for more than two months.

Far North Mayor Wayne Brown blames Shell and Caltex, which, he says, have failed to co-ordinate their dates for planned renovations.

The Shell outlet is already closed for a refit and will not reopen till late August or early September.

The Caltex site will close later this month for eight weeks for urgent repairs.

Mr Brown says it is extraordinary that the two companies have not discussed a situation which will leave a sizeable community without petrol for up to three months. He has urged Caltex to rethink its options.

But Chevron New Zealand, the company that markets Caltex fuel in New Zealand, has defended plans to temporarily close its Far North service station, saying it has little choice.

Spokesperson Sharon Buckland says early-detection systems have shown the fuel tanks could leak if not repaired.

Shell says the upgrade of its Kaikohe station has been in the pipeline for some time, but it was not something it would discuss with a competitior.

Spokesperson Jackie Maitland says fuel companies are operating in a competitive environment.

Mr Brown says the nearest petrol retailers would be at least half an hour away if both Kaikohe outlets close. The closest would be at Kerikeri, Moerewa, Rawene and Okaihau.