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Green Party looks to open own bank

Tuesday 13 May 2014 11:45a.m.

Green Party looks to open own bank

The Green Party wants to launch its own bank which would invest in green technologies – an industry with an estimated worth of up to $22 billion by 2015.

Party co-leader Russel Norman made the policy announcement this morning and says the Green Investment Bank will "combine the best of the public and private sectors to accelerate New Zealand's transition to a smarter, greener economy".

PricewaterhouseCoopers has estimated the clean technology sector could be worth between $7.5 billion and $22b.

"We want to ensure it's on the higher end of those forecasts," Dr Norman says.

The bank would cost $120 million over the next three years and paid for by increasing oil mining royalty rates to those charged internationally.

An independent working group would be set up next year to decide the final shape of the bank including whether it would be an investment fund or a registered bank. Dr Norman hoped the Bank would be open by 2017 and given an initial line of credit of $100m.

Dr Norman says the party's policy was given to Labour today and is yet to get feedback from them. However, the Bank is one of the Greens' priorities it would take into post-election negotiations.

If the Government is to make a transition to a green economy, it needs to be "deeply embedded" in the private sector, Dr Norman says.

"We have to get the private sector engaged in this transition; it can't be led out of the public sector."

If there wasn't public sector support, "I don't think we're going to make it".

 He says the Bank would mimic other green banks in Europe, Japan and the US.

"The cleantech sector is taking off internationally, but National has chosen to invest in the old economies – like mining and drilling – which are neither jobs-rich nor sustainable."

The party says uncoupling economic prosperity and economic damage is the biggest problem facing the world.

Energy Minister Simon Bridge says the Bank, which would be run at arm's length from the Government shouldn't be "something the Government should be into".

"I think there are already, in New Zealand, a whole array of things happening that are happening that we can probably talk about as a clean, green tech economy," Mr Bridges says.

"We see it in our electricity system when we're increasing renewable more and more. Now that happens on good, market-based economics."

He believes it is "unhelpful" to have a Government invest in "pet projects" and said 75 percent of the electricity market was already renewable.

"Diverting money we need for schools and roads into pet projects isn't the way to go."

3 News

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22-08-2014 12:00