On Friday 16th July a swarm of climate activists dressed as Grant Robertson will meet at Parliament lawn at 1 pm, and march to the Accident Compensation Corporation Branch on Molesworth, to deliver a message telling the board of ACC to divest from fossil fuels by the 31st July 2021. This demonstration is part of a national week of action across New Zealand coordinated by climate justice organisation 350 Aotearoa, which has been leading a campaign calling for the ACC to divest from fossil fuels for over 12 months. The actions aim to apply pressure on the Board of ACC, one of New Zealand’s largest public investment funds, to stop investing in coal, oil, and gas companies that are contributing to climate breakdown.
As of June 2020, ACC had $210 million dollars invested in coal, oil, and gas companies. Following actions at ACC branches led by 350 Aotearoa in December 2020, the Minister of Finance Hon Grant Robertson wrote to the ACC Board in its annual letter of expectations, and directed ACC to “accelerate its moves to divest from investments in fossil fuels, as part of an overall responsible investment strategy.”
350 Aotearoa Executive Director Erica Finnie said “Thousands of people across Aotearoa, including our government and the Minister of Finance, are calling for ACC to stop investing our public money in the fossil fuel industry. We’re taking action to send ACC’s Board a message that it needs to commit to divest from fossil fuels by the 31st of July.”
So far this month, climate activists have organised actions outside ACC branches in Invercargill on the 7th July and in Auckland on the 7th and 14th July, and engaged with the public and ACC staff and branch managers about its investments in fossil fuels. The actions on July 16th will conclude this series of actions and 350 Aotearoa will anticipate an announcement from ACC to divest from all coal, oil, and gas companies by the end of this month.
“The science is clear that we need urgent action to stop any new fossil fuel expansion and keep the majority of existing fossil fuels in the ground. For this to happen, our major investors including ACC need to divest from fossil fuel companies and redirect investments towards low-carbon solutions. It’s time for ACC to go fossil free,” said Finnie.
Dunedin, Friday 16th July, 7.45-9am
350 Dunedin will meet outside ACC, Otago House, to welcome ACC staff to work and stand “frozen in time” outside the branch to symbolise that the people of Aotearoa are still waiting for ACC to announce a commitment to divest from fossil fuels.
Wellington, Friday 16th July, 1-2pm
350 Wellington will meet at parliament lawn dressed as the Minister of Finance Hon Grant Robertson and march to the ACC Branch on Molesworth street to deliver the public’s letter of expectation to the ACC Board Chair Dame Paula Rebstock, calling for an announcement to divest from fossil fuels by 31st July.