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.