‘No fuel’ sign spurs speculation

The station sign displays "no fuel".
The station sign displays "no fuel".
Drivers travelling south from Dunedin can expect a dry reception from one of their regular fuel stops for the foreseeable future, although the owners are remaining tight-lipped as to the cause.

The Waihola NPD petrol station has had a "no fuel" sign up for more than a month, leading to speculation and concern among residents and regular users of the State Highway 1 stop-and-shop.

Waihola Looking Forward chairman Grant McDonnell said rumours abounded as to the reasons for the fuel shutdown, although he did not wish to comment on their substance.

However, his group — which works to promote the lakeside township — and residents were concerned about the situation, Mr McDonnell said.

"It’s been a few weeks now, and it’s a bit of a loss for Waihola as it’s another reason for people to stop off here and enjoy our many other amenities.

"Certainly people are worried about it, and the sooner it’s rectified the better."

A local businessman, who did not wish to be named, said he had heard the owners were in a dispute with NPD about potential changes relating to self-service.

The Waihola NPD petrol station earlier this week. PHOTO: STEPHEN HEPBURN
The Waihola NPD petrol station earlier this week. PHOTO: STEPHEN HEPBURN
"I’ve heard either NPD wants to change it into a self-service station, which will mean the loss of the shop and staff, or it’s in relation to bulk fuel prices being more favourable for self-service stations. But you’d have to ask the owners — local people just want to see fuel back as soon as possible."

In response to questions from the Otago Daily Times, NPD — headquartered in Richmond — issued a statement.

It said: "NPD Waihola is an independently run dealer site that NPD Ltd supply fuel to under a retail fuel supply contract. There are currently certain issues pertaining to this contract that mean we are currently unable to supply fuel. We refer any specific queries regarding the matter to the independent dealer to comment on."

However, yesterday, a woman identifying herself only as the Waihola NPD "manager" contradicted this statement.

She said rumours regarding the reasons for the shutdown were unfounded and inaccurate.

"It’s up to NPD, not me. We had hoped [fuel] would be restored three weeks ago, but that hasn’t happened.

"I can only say that we’re trying to resolve the situation, and negotiations are ongoing."

The station’s retail store remained open for business, she said.