Auckland fuel crisis: More flights cancelled, tankers brought in

Nearly 30 flights have been cancelled today because of an ongoing fuel crisis, Auckland Airport says, but the city is being promised it won't run out of petrol.

A pipeline that supplies fuel to the airport was closed over the weekend after a leak was discovered on Thursday. It has caused dozens of flights in and out of the city to be delayed or cancelled.

Up to 80,000 litres of jet fuel - or about two tanker loads - spilled from the pipeline at Ruakaka, about 130km north of Auckland.

It was damaged by a digger operating on a farm.

Auckland Airport said 28 flights have been cancelled today, up from 14 yesterday.

Of them, 22 were domestic flights and six were international, and this compared with the 465 services a day that ran from the airport, it said.

The pipeline from Marsden Point in Whangarei also carries petrol and diesel into New Zealand's largest city, but the petrol industry is reassuring Aucklanders the city will not run out of fuel.

The city's petrol pumps are being topped up by petrol tankers from Marsden Point and Port of Tauranga at Mount Maunganui.

The government said the navy was also pitching in, with HMNZS Endeavour helping to shift diesel from Marsden Point to other parts of the country.

And 20 Defence Force drivers were being drafted in to help local operators manage the workload.

Fuel industry spokesperson Andrew McNaught said a ship was carrying 36 million litres of petrol and diesel from Marsden Point to Port of Tauranga.

Mr McNaught said from there, trucks would be working around the clock to take the fuel to Auckland.

"We're confident that there is sufficient fuel in the Auckland market from both a petrol and diesel perspective," Mr McNaught said.

But he said the supply of jet fuel for Auckland Airport was a bigger problem.

A separate ship would take jet fuel from Marsden Point to Lyttelton and Dunedin so planes could refuel outside of Auckland.