Australian-Owned Banks Supporting the Fossil Fuel Industry in New Zealand: Report

Climate justice organisation 350 Aotearoa is releasing new research that exposes the relationship between banks in New Zealand and the fossil fuel industry.

The report ranks all 11 banks in New Zealand with assets over NZ$3 billion. Kiwibank, the Cooperative Bank and SBS* are celebrated as fossil free banks. While all four Australian-owned banks (Westpac, BNZ, ASB & ANZ) continue to ‘bankroll’ fossil fuel companies.

350 Aotearoa campaigner Adam Currie says “In 2024, it is unacceptable that the big four Aussie-owned banks are profiting from climate-killing projects. This is a slap in the face to New Zealanders suffering from climate impacts – especially those from the East Coast or Tāmaki Makaurau who are still suffering from the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle.”

“Since 2016, the four Australian-owned banks have loaned over NZ$56 billion to the fossil fuel industry. This has enabled over 20 billion tonnes of emissions – more than 250 times the annual emissions of New Zealand.”

“Financing fossil fuels is irresponsible, risky, and immoral, and it’s time that we demand that our banks stop fueling the climate crisis. Banks are a direct link between everyday people and the fossil fuel industry. Decisions by the big four banks can make or break new fossil fuel projects. Right now, the coalition government’s war-on-nature fast-track consenting bill is threatening fossil fuel extraction in Aotearoa. The thing is – climate criminals can’t dig for fossil fuels without the finance to do so. This is why it is so crucial that we push our banks to go fossil-free,” said Currie.

350 Aotearoa’s new research finds that while some banks (Westpac, TSB, Kiwibank, SBS & Co-operative) have ruled out investing directly in fossil fuel companies, only a couple (Kiwibank, SBS & Co-operative) have ruled out lending money to such corporations, which enables them to drill, mine and frack fossil fuels.

“We’ve published this research because we want to allow New Zealand customers and businesses to make an informed choice to shift their money away from banks that are bankrolling fossil fuel extraction.”

“Banks have a responsibility to listen to their customers, so we want to give New Zealanders the information and tools to call on their banks to divest and shift away from the biggest funders of climate change,” says Currie.