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Greens Say "Yes" To Kiwi Bank

The Green Party will support the funding appropriation for the Kiwi Bank, after receiving assurances from NZ Post yesterday that they would look at building community partnerships to provide banking services.

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald said while the Kiwi Bank proposal was not perfect, it will be New Zealand-owned and will offer lower fees and improved access to banking services for many New Zealanders, and could act as a platform for community-owned banking.

"We were impressed with the NZ Post commitment to providing good, basic banking services to as many New Zealanders as possible.

"NZ Post also assured us they would take seriously the staff training and protection issues we raised, and our concerns about the Kiwi Bank's impact on credit unions and existing New Zealand-owned institutions.

"We've also asked the Government to look into requiring triple bottom line reporting for the Kiwi Bank, and to review regulations which may unfairly constrain credit unions in particular."

Community Economic Development spokesperson Sue Bradford said existing foreign-owned banks penalised New Zealanders with excessively high fees and restricted access to services, but warned that the Kiwi Bank would not solve all the problems.

"There will still be many communities left without any banking services, and there is always the risk that a new Government could sell the Kiwi Bank off," she said.

"If we had the choice, we would have preferred to set up a true community-owned banking network along the lines of Bendigo Bank in Australia. But, we didn't have that choice.

"However, when we sought a commitment from NZ Post to seriously consider going into partnership with communities to provide banking services, their response was that they were very open to meet with the community sector right now to make sure this option is built into their plans," said Ms Bradford.

Mr Donald concluded: "We are not in a position to fully assess the financial viability of the bank. That is the Government's responsibility. However, NZ Post has spent over two years developing a comprehensive business case which has stood up to independent scrutiny."

Rod Donald MP: (04) 470 6660 or 025 507 183 Sue Bradford MP: (04) 470 6720 or 025 243 4239 Gina Dempster, press secretary: (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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