In late April, an internal email from the petrol company BP was leaked, exposing the company of a plan they had to make up for decreased sales in Ōtaki. The price of fuel in Ōtaki was 20 cents higher than the price of fuel in Levin. Instead of changing the prices of petrol in Ōtaki, the email disclosed that the company were proposing to increase the price of fuel across the entire Kapiti region. It was expected that competitor petrol stations would also increase their prices to match.
A section of the email reads;
“We have already increased all three sites mentioned by 5cpl [cents per litre] and have found that the Z [Energy station] in Paraparaumu has already matched our pricing”
“Over the next couple of weeks, we will continue to try a number of tactics in the hope of reducing the pricing gap between Ōtaki and its surrounding regions.”
Costs of fuel can seriously impact local businesses and are a general pain for residents in Kapiti, but residents feel as if there is nothing they can do to help the situation, with locals commenting they knew they just had to purchase fuel elsewhere if they wanted it at a cheaper price.
A BP spokeswoman has stated that the move was just responding to local competition, “petrol prices in New Zealand are highly competitive and we adjust our prices in response to local competition, particularly in instances where discounting has become unsustainable, which is what occurred in the lower North Island last year.”
Last year, a report on fuel prices was released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It was stated that it had “reasons to believe” the market was not fully competitive and that fuel prices were unreasonable.
A report in 2017 found that prices in the South Island and Wellington have increased quicker than the rest of the North Island, as there is less competition.
On Sunday, a meeting was requested by Energy and Resource Minister Megan Woods, who contacted the company’s New Zealand office.