Digger driver behind Auckland's fuel crisis, photos show

The case is growing that it was a digger driver who was trying to pull something out of a swamp that ruptured a pipeline and caused Auckland airport's fuel shortage.

Refining New Zealand says that is obvious from pictures they've released to Newshub.

Torn white insulation tape exposes the damage underneath - and a deep indent reveals the inside of the fuel pipeline on Ruakaka farmland. In another picture, an indent from a bucket tooth and a gouge where it's scraped not once, but many times, is clearly visible.

Digger driver behind Auckland's fuel crisis, photos show
Photo credit: Refining NZ
Digger driver behind Auckland's fuel crisis, photos show
Photo credit: Refining NZ

"You cannot help but draw the conclusion that while the person using that digger thought that he was pulling something out of the swamp," Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) chief executive Carolyn Tremain says.

Just days ago Energy Minister Judith Collins said no swamp kauri has been dug on the site since 2011 - while locals say big trees were being pulled up a couple of years ago.

One thing's for certain: the digger struck a raw nerve in the safety of the country's fuel supply.

MBIE revealed on Friday that a report into that very issue has been drafted this year - but it hasn't been fast-tracked in light of the recent fuel crisis, or passed on to ministers.

In the meantime, a chemical tank at Wynyard Wharf is being converted to hold jet fuel arriving by ship from Marsden Point tomorrow night, and the two trucks running roadway supplies will be boosted up to eight over the weekend.

"On the basis of the pipe fix completing on time - airlines do expect to be able to meet their school holiday schedules with minimal disruption," Board of Airline Representatives' executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers says.

That fix is now expected by Tuesday morning at the latest.


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