New Zealand's National Party government has set up a commission to oversee the response to the country's current fuel shortage crisis that has impacted air travel. The move came ahead of a national election.
New Zealand on Wednesday saw the government set up a joint commission with industry leaders, including representatives from Auckland Council agencies as well as Air New Zealand and private oil firms.
The body is to focus on resolving the country's fuel shortage crisis as quickly as possible, a crisis triggered by a burst pipeline to Auckland. A total of 110 flights had been canceled since last Sunday, an Auckland Airport spokesman said. Air New Zealand added about 9,000 passengers would be affected on Wednesday alone, with a third having their flights canceled.
Fuel rationing is expected to last for another week, and the opposition Labour Party has pounced on the disruption to criticize the National Party over infrastructure shortfalls ahead of Saturday's national election.
No game changer
"For a lot of undecided voters, swing voters who don't follow politics closely but are voting on last-minute information, it will nudge some of them away from voting for the government," said Critical Politics expert Bryce Edwards.
However, a poll released on Wednesday suggested that the current crisis would have little impact on voter behavior, with the National Party seeing support for it even growing despite the current problems.
New Zealand lawmakers and public employees were told to cancel all nonessential flights to and from Auckland.
Airlines have been restricted to using 30 percent of their normal jet fuel allowance at Auckland Airport.
The carriers have managed to continue a majority of their scheduled flights, in some cases by refueling elsewhere.
hg/jd (AP, Reuters)