Govt Not Stepping Into Diesel Compo Debate
The Government has no view on compensating fishermen land-locked by the bad diesel that is clogging fuel filters and stalling engines, Energy Minister Pete Hodgson said this afternoon.
“I’m a simple country veterinarian, I’m not even a bad lawyer,” Mr Hodgson said when asked what his personal view on compensation was.
Mr Hodgson said he was satisfied that the oil companies have presented information to the public in an accurately and timely way to date, and have acknowledged that the diesel crisis is their problem.
Oil companies have agreed to pay for filters damaged by the diesel, which has been treated with a different winter additive than in previous years, but compensation for lost earnings looks less likely.
Hundreds of fishermen are staying at port rather than risk going to sea with their engines rendered unreliable by the diesel.
Anyone going to sea needs to ensure they have a spare filter or two and the knowledge to install them, Mr Hodgson said.
It has been speculated that the tainted fuel may be responsible for the disappearance of Wellington fishing boat Moeraki Bay, which went missing off the Wairarapa coast with two crew on board.
Mr Hodgson said there may have been some other cause of the disappearance.
Mr Hodgson said that although there have been reports of engine problems in diesel cars and trucks, there is no reason to not keep using them, with the possible exception of journeys to remote areas in difficult conditions.
“The vast majority of diesel powered journeys are being completed without any trouble. It’s a numbers game,” he said.
Mr Hodgson said emergency services and maritime services would get priority when fresh diesel, which is being produced but needs to be tested and cleared, becomes available.