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Five dioceses vote to divest

Five dioceses will divest from companies involved in the production of fossil fuels.

Taonga news  |  27 Sep 2013

Five dioceses have voted to remove all of their investments in companies that extract or produce fossil fuels.

This weekend Dunedin and Waikato/Taranaki joined Auckland, Wellington and Waiapu in passing divestment motions at their annual synods. 

Dunedin's decision was almost unanimous, while the Waikato/Taranaki vote was close. 

The Wellington decision came at the annual synod in Palmerston North last weekend.

Its share holdings will be divested within the next two years.

Rev Dr Tim McKenzie proposed the Wellington motion, telling delegates a low-carbon economy cannot be created at once and small significant steps like this decision are needed.

"I don't think we can afford to wait to see if the worst-case scenarios about climate change turn out to be true," he said.

"This is a small step that we can take now towards a low-carbon economy and therefore we should take it now before the climate situation gets really drastic."

Waiapu agrees on three-year term 

Waiapu decided to divest over the next three years 

The divestment applies to shares of around $960,000 or 5 percent of the diocese's $19.5m portfolio.

The decision was made at the annual synod in Tauranga on September 14-15, following a debate that attracted the greatest number of speakers and the greatest intensity of feelings.

During the debate the target was changed from “fossil fuel companies” to “companies whose primary focus is in the extraction and processing of fossil fuels”. 

Synod was told that passing such a motion could impact on returns that the Board of Trustees provides for parish investments. 

However, the motion passed overwhelmingly.