Auckland Council to make decision on funding coal, gas, oil companies

Oil drilling rig arriving at New Plymouth in 2008.

Environmental activists and the general public are expected to make an appearance at the Auckland Town Hall this morning as the Auckland Council will vote whether or not they will pull their investments from coal, oil and gas companies. 

The Council's plan to invest $15 million in fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil and Anadarko has received backlash from the public, environmental groups, and councillors. 

Climate change group 350 Aotearoa spokesperson Sam Vincent says, “As a major city in the South Pacific, it is essential that Auckland Council show leadership on the issue of climate change. 

This region of the world is already seeing the consequences of fossil fuel burning. Auckland is not a sustainable city until it stops funding climate-polluting coal, oil and gas.”

In 2015, the Dunedin Council divested from oil, coal and gas as have many other cities around the world including Sydney, Melbourne, Copenhagen, Berlin, San Francisco and Ireland. 

Auckland Council has joined the C40 Initiative of cities around the world pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and has its own Low Carbon Auckland Action Plan.

Vincent questioned how the council could make such strong commitments to climate health if they keep investing in the source of climate change.

“If the council is to be consistent with Auckland’s values, they will make the right decision and stop funding climate chaos,” Vincent said.

This issue is already being taken seriously. Councillors like Penny Hulse and Chris Darby have made public statements in favour of divestment. Now we need the rest of the council to act.”

The Finance and Performance Committee will meet at 9:30am on Tuesday 11 April, to decide whether they will update their responsible investment policy to exclude companies that produce and extract fossil fuels.

A Facebook page condoning the divestment has been set up.