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Groups call on public to dump Westpac for funding coal mine

20 February 2014

Groups call on public to dump Westpac for funding Denniston coal mine

The campaign against Westpac bank’s financial interest in mining on the Denniston Plateau stepped up a notch today when Coal Action Network Aotearoa and 350 Aotearoa launched their “Make The Switch” campaign encouraging people to dump their Westpac bank accounts.

The two groups have today called on customers who oppose Westpac’s financing of Bathurst Resources, who plan to mine the beautiful Denniston Plateau, to dump their Westpac accounts. Public “bank switch” actions will be held across the country in early April.

“It’s a simple statement, either Westpac can keep their loan to Bathurst Resources, or they can keep the rest of us as customers. As a Westpac customer personally, I’ll be closing my account,” said Ashlee Gross, of 350 Aotearoa.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve had from Westpac customers who are shocked to learn their money is being reinvested in one of the largest new contributors to climate change planned for New Zealand. After 4 months, Westpac hasn’t listened to their customers’ concerns so they are now responding with their wallets and changing banks.”

The campaign against the bank has so far drawn over 1400 letters to the bank calling on it to withdraw its $5m loan to Bathurst Resources. It follows other fossil fuel divestment campaigns being run around the world, including Australia, where people have also been switching from banks that invest in fossil fuels.

Bathurst Resources says it will begin removing the “overburden” of the beautiful rocky outcrops and habitat to a range of biodiversity sometime this month, although it still hasn’t received full sign-off on its plans.

‘Westpac markets itself as a bank which does business sustainably. It needs to prove that this is more than marketing greenwash and stop financing climate chaos,” said Coal Action Aotearoa spokesperson Cindy Baxter.

“Investing in coal is becoming increasingly unpopular worldwide, and Westpac needs to get off the fence and embrace the clean tech future rather than new coal mines.”

Useful links:
1. The “switch” campaign page
2. The full list of reasons as to why we’re targeting Wespac
3. Bathurst’s “perfect storm”? CANA blog on the financial state of the company.

ENDS

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