The Opportunities Party (TOP) has begun a guerrilla campaign against Australian-owned banks in New Zealand, putting stickers on a hundred ATMs in Auckland and Wellington.
The stickers inform ATM users that ASB, ANZ, BNZ, and Westpac are “proud to be one of the banks sending $5 billion a year to Australia.” Meanwhile, the whole campaign is part of TOP’s call for a Royal Commission into New Zealand’s banking, finance, and insurance industries.
“Given what’s happened in Australia over the last couple of days with the resignations for money laundering that was enabling serious drug networks and paedophile rings, we think it’s time our own industry was investigated,” Party Leader Geoff Simmons said.
“We’d like to be reassured their New Zealand operations aren’t involved in anything similar. Given how cavalier the initial response was from Westpac’s now former CEO, we’re not prepared to accept their word for it, either.”
TOP is also calling for an investigation on the overall competitiveness of the industry to find out why New Zealand is one of the most profitable banking markets in the world.
“The big four banks essentially operate as a cartel in this country,” Simmons said. “Apparently with the blessing of successive Governments, which have failed to investigate them or hold them to account. We don’t believe that being a cash factory for the Australian banks is an indicator of economic success. In fact, we believe it’s a clear indicator of economic failure.”
“A Royal Commission empowered to take a strong and independent look at the financial sector is the only way forward,” he added. “If the banks have nothing to hide, then they will be happy to participate.”