Consultation to deliver deeper story on refinery proposal

Refining NZ has started the next round of public consultation about its proposal to bring bigger cargoes of crude to Marsden Point.

The most visible part of the consultation – The Deeper Story pop-up container – outlining the rationale, and scope of the proposal will be located in and around Whangarei from March 25 with refinery staff on hand to answer questions and take feed-back. Expert Information Days on April 7, 8 will be an opportunity to speak to independent experts about the findings of a series of in-depth studies of the harbour, all of which are available on a dedicated website (www.deeperstory.co.nz). 

This is the second round of public consultation since the refinery began putting the detail to its proposal. High-level discussions with tangata whenua, local residents and key stakeholders, began in 2014 and armed with initial feedback independent experts were commissioned to carry out a series of technical studies including hydrology, ecology, geomorphology, marine mammals and recreation.

Refining NZ CEO Sjoerd Post said that the first round of broader consultation that followed in in March 2015 was an important test of the proposal with different groups in and around Whangarei.

“We received a variety of views, including full support for the proposal, but also comment around the choice of location for dredged material, relief that much of dredging will be outside of the harbour, the importance of Mair Bank, and the continuing role of the refinery as a major employer in the region. The other clear message to the company and the independent experts was that the science behind their studies needed to be solid and that their findings should ‘tell-it-like-it-is’.”

Said Post:  “We took those views on board and since then have continued to update and receive feedback from tangata whenua, local residents and key stakeholders.”

“It’s exciting to have the specialist reports finally complete so we can now talk in more depth about the benefits and the potential impacts of this proposal, especially, how any impacts may be avoided, eliminated or mitigated for.”

“Absolutely the most critical parts of the consultation we’re engaging in are to make sure a broad range of people have access to all the information they need, and can have answers to their questions so that at the end of the process, they have an informed view of what the refinery is proposing.”