Kia Ora Koutou

Westpacswitch web 1It’s 2014 and we’re launching a new phase to the Westpac Dump Coal campaign with where all of you Westpac customers get to switch to a bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels, and tell Westpac you’re doing this.

Join other Westpac customers to make the switch April 7-12 2014

We’re giving you all some time to make this switch, and we hope that by early April many of you will have done so and will be able to join a “mass switch” in public, at Westpac banks across the country.  It’s easy:

  1. go to our page and sign up to make the switch
  1. check out our step-by-step guide as to how to change bank accounts. We’ve made it as easy as we can for you, hopefully answering all questions, including a table looking at what your alternatives might be.

There’s other information on the page including template letters to send to both Westpac and your new bank, to make it very clear why you’re taking this action. Not a Westpac customer?  Many of us aren’t customers of Westpac, so you can still send a letter and make sure all your friends and family have done so. You can also help spread the word on facebook and help us find more Westpac customers who might want to sign up to switch.

Already switched away from Westpac to another bank?   That’s great, just make sure you keep your card to cut up in a very public place during that week of action.   Everyone taking part together will make a much bigger impact.

Meanwhile you might be interested in the article by the NZ Herald’s Peter Huck about divestment campaigns, including a focus on our divestment campaign against Westpac.

Bathurst’s mines updates: Denniston and



The latest on the Denniston mine is that Bathurst still hasn’t had all of its plans signed off by the council. It says it’s going to start removing the “overburden” (a euphemism for the beautiful features and biodiversity of the Plateau) this month.

But the company’s facing a few problems right now. For one, the price of coking coal has absolutely tanked – to US$127 a tonne.  Given that this is more than 20% below the $165 the company told the Environment Court it would need to break even, then it’s hardly surprising the company is hinting at not ramping up production to one million tonnes/year very fast.

The whole tale of financial woes is laid out in a recent blog on our website.


That sticky Southland mud is still hampering Bathurst’s high cost recovery of filthy low grade coal at Takitimu in Nightcaps, described in Bathurst’s December Quarterly Activities report as “a very plastic clay overburden”.

The easiest and best coal is long gone, and the seams are variable, which is why Bathurst has to move further into forest and farmland.

The mud’s not the only problem:  the area has had another “very wet spring season” and, what with the terrain’s propensity to slip (last year an entire hillside fell into the pit, sending 4 million tonnes of overburden onto the coal), Bathurst say they are focusing on the eastern wall “to reduce geotechnical risk to future coal production.”

We need a graphic designer to help us!

Meanwhile we’re putting together what we hope will be a very interesting report around coal mining in New Zealand.  We’ve spent months on it.  What we’re missing is a designer who can lay it out in a very nice format. We’re not intending to print it, so it’d be a web-based version.

We have a limited budget, but if you can help us, please let us know – contact Cindy Baxter: cindybax [at] – or send this message on to any designers you may now.