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Media Release Fuel Study Hero 4

MEDIA RELEASE 14 APRIL 2020

MTA has grave concerns for struggling independent service stations

New Zealand’s independent service stations are struggling and need support says the Motor Trade Association.

“As an Association, we back the Government’s response to Covid-19, but there is no doubt the lockdown is really hurting our independent service station members, who are essential service providers,” MTA Chief Executive Craig Pomare said today.

“If New Zealand remains at alert level 4 much beyond 23 April and no additional assistance is made available, we have grave concerns for the future of those stations.

“These independent stations are typically family-owned, community- focused local businesses, who just purchase fuel from one of the major oil companies.

“Many chose to stay open to support their local community and other essential services, such as truckies and couriers.”

Mr Pomare said service stations had significant capital tied up in assets such as underground tanks and pumps, that were paid for over a very long time and relied on fuel sales to pay for those assets.

“With pump sales down to less than five per cent of normal trading, they are finding it incredibly tough,” he said.

Mr Pomare said the MTA had been closely monitoring events in the UK, where rural service stations had also been hit hard.

“We’ve seen a number of reports out of the UK suggesting hundreds of rural petrol stations could face closure as fuel demand dries up during their lockdown.

“We risk going the same way here, unless something is done soon.”

Mr Pomare said the MTA welcomed the news the Government would be unveiling further assistance to help businesses on Wednesday.

“We hope to see something specifically targeted to essential services like fuel suppliers, that could make all the difference right now.

Mr Pomare said the MTA was also pleased the Government would be providing more detail on what alert levels 3 and 2 looked like.

“We want to see clarity on what travel is possible at those levels,” he said.

“Service stations rely on people going to work and trade happening. Ideally, we want to see plans to facilitate getting back to something close to normal trading as soon as possible, albeit with a strict social distancing regime.”