” Auckland Airport is out of jet fuel and planes are advised to find fuel elsewhere” presenter, Peter Williams of TVNZ One News, calmly reported last night. Mr. Bill and I looked at each other in stunned disbelief. Did he really just announce that Auckland Airport, New Zealand’s major airport, was out of fuel and airlines had to fill up elsewhere? Um, we were perplexed. How would they do that exactly? It’s not like you can taxi into the nearest Z petrol station and top up with aviation fuel. Our television set here, cannot be paused or re-wound, so please accept my paraphrasing of the news announcement. I wish I could say, that Mr. Bill and I had misheard but sadly it’s true. Auckland Airport has indeed run out of jet fuel and it could take well up to a fortnight, to fix the problem. I can, however, accurately quote journalist, Mike Hosking, when he interviewed Bill English, the Prime Minister, on NZ Radio’s News-Talk ZB program. Hosking asked the Prime Minister,” Why yet again, with this pipeline, do we find ourselves as a Huckleberry little backwater, that is seeing our biggest airport crippled by a singular pipe and a dickhead with a digger?” Ouch!
Apparently, this major disruption to air travel in, out and around the country, was caused a few months ago, by a swamp kauri log hunter and his digger. He scraped the underground pipeline of Refining New Zealand, while searching on a nearby farm, for buried treasure, in this case, the highly valued kauri logs. He either ignored or did not notice the posted hazard warning signs. Lying beneath rural and urban areas, the buried pipeline, owned by Refining New Zealand, connects the refinery on Marsden Point to Auckland Airport, 163 kilometers away. It’s reported that Refining New Zealand, was aware of the situation but it didn’t become critical until the pipeline was shut off, this past Thursday. That is when the compromised pipeline finally ruptured and fuel began leaking into the ground. Now there’s a spill to be contained and cleaned up, before the welders can safely replace the broken section of pipe. It became a catastrophe for travelers on Sunday, when the storage tanks at the airport ran low and flights were cancelled or rerouted. They are now looking for that “dickhead with a digger”, whom I am quite certain, is long gone. The CEO of Refining New Zealand, Sjoerd Post, did appear on the morning news programs today and said, “sorry”.
Surely, this is a job for the Little Yellow Digger. The “Little Yellow Digger”, is a delightful children’s book written by Kiwi authors Betty and Alan Gilderdale. The Little Yellow Digger is small but mighty and he always saves the day. In addition to the original story, The Little Yellow Digger, there is The Little Yellow Digger Saves The Whale, The Little Digger at the Zoo and The Little Yellow Digger Goes to School. I can see in my mind, the tittle, The Little Yellow Digger Fixes the Pipeline and Saves Auckland Airport.
Pigs might have to fly first though.