Today the Otago Regional Council’s Audit & Risk committee voted in favour of recommending the Otago Regional Council divests 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’s Audit & Risk committee – the first ever public submission in the history of the committee – 350 Aotearoa campaigner Adam Currie 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 announcement. 350 Aotearoa’s campaigner Adam Currie says ‘“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. 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 Audit & Risk committee’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. We trust and expect that the Otago Regional Council will make the right decision, and accept the Audit & Risk Committee’s decision to divest from fossil fuels,” said Currie.

“Next week, the Dunedin City Council will vote on their Zero Carbon 2030 Plan. Climate action is clearly ramping up in the region – and we urge the DCC to keep up the momentum, and vote in favour of the Zero Carbon 2030 Plan. Every dollar invested in climate action creates $5 of economic benefit for Ōtepoti Dunedin.”

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