E tū strongly advocates for a Just Transition in the face of a shareholder vote in favour of closing the oil refinery to create an import-only terminal at Marsden Point.
Around 300 workers who are directly employed and several hundred contractors will likely lose their jobs or be affected when their workforce is downsized to just 60 workers, when the refinery becomes a storage facility for imported refined oil.
E tū organiser Annie Tothill says the situation at Marsden Point is similar to Taranaki and Tiwai and a Just Transition proposition is needed in this region.
“The vote by shareholders to close the refinery comes as a blow for a region where unemployment is already high. There’s also the flow-on effect to other local businesses and contractors, which will be significant.
“Marsden Point is facing the same issue as other towns built around manufacturing hubs, and there needs to be a plan to deal with any kind of transition,” she says.
Annie says the carbon footprint of importing refined oil, as well as the impact that closure will have on the country’s fuel security, are also important aspects to consider.
“If we are serious about securing a future for workers and our transition to a carbon-neutral society, then we absolutely need a Just Transition plan for Northland.
“It would require a commitment from shareholders, local and central Government to that transition plan, to manufacture alternative energies with a lower carbon footprint.”
Annie says local Government will also need to review the current resource consent as part of any future Just Transition proposal.
“The resource consent granted to Refining NZ in 2020 for a further 35 years does not seem to be in keeping with the goal of a carbon-neutral society.”
A final decision about the closure will be made by the board in September.