During 2018, a crease was discovered in the Maui gas transmission pipeline beneath farmland in Pariroa, North Taranaki. The defect threatened the reliability and security of gas supply to the upper North Island.
First Gas had the authority to simply interrupt supply and undertake the necessary repair work. But it wanted to also build deeper understanding and enhance stakeholder relationships throughout this challenging period, and it engaged SenateSHJ to deliver the communication and engagement strategy it needed to do this.
Trust was central to the strategy which took a holistic approach and to work closely with both users and regulators. With SenateSHJ’s advice and support, First Gas undertook a high touch no surprises approach with all parties. This involved a regular coordinated suite of stakeholder communication and engagement coupled with an open and transparent approach to media.
The approach involved working collaboratively with stakeholders on a remediation option that would cause as little disruption as possible, while maintaining continuity of supply and developing a programme to repairing the pipeline. The approach was highly successful and widely heralded by customers and regulators. Not only was the pipeline bypass project completed and gas supply secured, the supporting communication has become an exemplar of stakeholder and industry engagement.