Monthly Archives: December 2013

Customers queue to demand end to Westpac support of Denniston coal mine

DumpDennistonLogoCoalPress Release from Coal Action Network Aotearoa & 350 Aotearoa

Today Westpac customers queued at the Wellington Cuba Street Westpac branch, forming a continuous line and symbolically withdrawing a dollar to send Westpac a simple message: Westpac customers do not want their money financing climate change.

Participants were quickly forced to leave by Westpac staff despite being Westpac’s own customers.

westpac_image

The action takes place as part of a nationwide week of action initiated by 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa. Thirteen cities and towns around New Zealand are holding actions this week demanding Westpac live up to its own sustainability and climate policies and stop financing Bathurst Resources, the company which plans to open a series of new coal mines on the Denniston Plateau.

“New Zealanders have sent more than 1300 letters to Westpac over the past few weeks.  Westpac’s response so far has been that they won’t stop financing and that their climate change policies mean supporting a transition to a low-carbon future. A transition means seeing out existing mines, not opening 5 new ones as Bathurst plans to do,” said 350 spokesperson Ashlee Gross.

“So we’re here today to tell Westpac that if they stall on taking action on climate change, we’ll stall their business.”

An increasing number of major reports have looked at the planet’s remaining “global carbon budget” and highlighted that fossil fuel companies are planning to dig up five times the amount of coal, oil and gas that we can afford to burn in order to keep global warming to the internationally agreed limit of 2 degrees C.

“Westpac claims that sustainability is at the heart of their culture. Westpac needs to prove that their sustainability and climate change policies are more than greenwash,” said Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokesperson Tim Jones.

“If Westpac continue to ignore their customers the next step for many will be to switch banks.”

For more coverage and photos from the action see http://350.org.nz/wednesday-westpac-dump-coal-action-in-wellington/

Advertisements

Nationwide week of action calls on Westpac to stop financing climate change

DumpDennistonLogoCoalPress Release from Coal Action Network Aotearoa & 350 Aotearoa

Westpac banks right across New Zealand will be the focus of a week of action this week, calling on the bank to stop funding Bathurst Resources’ bid to mine the Denniston Plateau.

The campaign, organised by 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa, began at a leading branch of Westpac in Christchurch on Saturday with around 20 activists staging a “die in” (see YouTube video). Actions will begin rolling out in other centres today, and will continue until next Saturday, with a total of 13 different towns confirmed at this point.

Bathurst Resources plans to dig up to 84 million tonnes of coal from the West Coast’s beautiful Denniston Plateau that would add up to 218 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and have a devastating effect on the area’s unique ecosystem. Westpac is providing financial backing for Bathurst Resources.

‘Westpac has not responded to calls to live up to their own promises and stop funding climate change, so we’re calling on them to do so.  We don’t consider investing in coal mining is at all consistent with Westpac’s claims that it is ‘future proofing’ its business,” said Ashlee Gross of 350 Aotearoa.

Tim Jones of Coal Action Network Aotearoa said the two groups had recently met with bank executives for a discussion about the campaign.

“In our meeting with Westpac, it became very clear to us that their so-called ‘sustainability’ policy is more about PR than it is about real action,” he said.

At least 80% of fossil fuels reserves must remain unburned in order to keep global warming to 2 degrees. The World Bank and European Investment Bank have recently announced their intentions to stop lending to coal projects, based on climate change concerns

The groups have launched a website where the public can send letters to Westpac calling on them to ‘Dump Denniston.’. 1200 letters have already been sent.

There will be activities this week in Warkworth, Auckland (2), Hamilton, Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington, Nelson, Motueka, Takaka, Dunedin, Gore and Invercargill.

Join the event on facebook