Revealed: Which Australian-owned banks operating in NZ fund the fossil fuel industry

A new report released this week by climate change group 350 Aotearoa has exposed the connection between Australian-owned banks operating in New Zealand and the fossil fuel industry.

Erica Finnie, executive director of 350 Aotearoa, says this only further proves the urgency to act on climate change.

"Banks are a direct link between everyday people and the fossil fuel industry," she said in a statement.

"Since 2015, our Australian-owned banks in Aotearoa have loaned over $21 billion to the fossil fuel industry. Financing fossil fuels is irresponsible, risky and immoral, and it's time that we demand our banks to stop fuelling the climate crisis."

Included in the report were seven banks - ANZ, Westpac, National Australia Bank (which operates BNZ), Commonwealth Bank (which operates ASB), Kiwibank, TSB and the Co-Operative Bank - giving them all ratings based on their investment policies.

Revealed: Which Australian-owned banks operating in NZ fund the fossil fuel industry
Photo credit: 350 Aotearoa

The banks directly supporting the fossil fuel received the worst rank, an E grade. The report gave that grade to ANZ, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank.

ANZ has donated the most since 2015 - a massive $7 billion, according to the report. 

Kiwibank and the Co-operative Bank both received a C grade as they had no investment in coal, oil or gas, but also didn't have a policy preventing this type of investment. 

Only one of the banks, TSB, received a top rating. This was because it not only doesn't invest in the fossil fuel industry, but has a policy forbidding investments in fossil fuel, according to the report.

Conversation group Forest and Bird was among the first agencies to react to the report, taking to social media to say it had been cutting ties with ANZ since earlier in the year.

"Saving nature - and ourselves - from climate disaster means we must make rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, and that means no more fossil fuel extraction," it said.

"The change was disruptive but worth it, and we want all other groups and individuals to do the same."

The full report is available on 350 Aotearoa's website.