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Concern For BP Independents

Concern For BP Independents

New Zealand’s fuel supply is again under threat with the announcement that BP is to sign a commercial agreement with Gasoline Alley Services (g.a.s.). The key components of the agreement are that BP will wholesale fuel to g.a.s. retail sites and that independent BP retailers are given the “option” to transfer from BP to g.a.s.

The Motor Trade Association (MTA), which represents a large number of independent fuel retailers, is dismayed at the lack of consultation with those affected by this agreement.

Contrary to statements made by both BP and g.a.s., the agreement does not necessarily provide a win-win situation for all – independent retailers are being forced into a position which may not be beneficial to them or their customers.

MTA understands that those who have been offered the “opportunity” to transfer have been given two options at the end of their supply agreements - either sign up with g.a.s. or become an unbranded “white” site, both of which could require significant investment by retailers who are already struggling to make ends meet.

The only other alternative is to find another supplier (again often at significant expense) or close down. BP say they are honouring the commitment these operators have shown in the past, yet retailers are not being given the option to remain BP branded sites once their supply agreements end.

The independent fuel retailers who will be hardest hit by this are those in rural areas. These communities who have already lost post offices, banks and hospitals may now also lose services like workshop facilities, warrant of fitness services, convenience stores and fuel supply for emergency services.

It is the Government’s energy policy objective that the relevant services are delivered to all classes of consumer in an efficient, fair, reliable and sustainable manner. It is difficult to see how BP’s agreement with g.a.s. is helping to achieve this objective.

Now more than ever it is critical that industry abide by a Code of Practice, which has been developed by MTA to bring about a fair deal that benefits consumers, retailers and oil companies alike and ensures a sustainable industry.

The BP/g.a.s. agreement is yet another example of the future of small Kiwi-owned businesses being decided by large multi national companies.

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