On Wednesday the Otago Regional Council voted in favour of divesting from all fossil fuel investments. The move comes after climate campaigners urged the ORC to cut ties to fossil fuel companies.

In a speech to the Otago Regional Council, 350 Aotearoa volunteer Nicola Campbell told Councillors, “If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage. A failure to divest would directly challenge the ORC’s own climate credibility.’

Climate justice organisation 350 Aotearoa is celebrating this decision. 350 Aotearoa’s campaigner Adam Currie says, “It’s great to see the ORC sending fossil fuels to take their place as unethical investments, alongside industries like tobacco and munitions. It shows that regardless of national politics, local governments are recognising the threat of business-as-usual with fossil fuels, and are choosing to take a stand. It’s fantastic to see a public institution like the Otago Regional Council recognising it has a critical role to play in our transition to a low-carbon future by cutting off the investments that enable the fossil fuel industry to keep digging.” 

350 Aotearoa volunteer Nicola Campbell says, “We’re already seeing the impacts of human-induced climate change in Aotearoa, with more severe droughts, wildfires and floods, and we need to act now to limit further damages in the future. We are pleased to see the Otago Regional Council’s decision today to ensure its investments align with plans to build a more climate-resilient region, including divestment from the fossil fuel industry. Thousands of institutions, worth USD $40.5 trillion, have now committed to policies black-listing coal, oil and gas companies. Together we’re drawing a line in the sand and calling for our financial institutions to support a fast and just transition away from fossil fuels, and invest in climate change solutions.”

To date, the Auckland City Council, Dunedin City Council, Christchurch City Council (partially), and the Waikato City Council have divested from fossil fuels.