Record profits posted by ANZ bank today highlight the on-going weakness of having 95 percent of our banking industry owned by Australians, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.
Dr Norman was responding to the strong full-year profits posted by Australian-owned banks over the last week. ANZ New Zealand announced a 55 percent increase in after-tax profits to $904 million today.
"Over the last five years, the big four Australian-owned banks have sent $8.9 billion out of the country in the form of dividend payments to their parent banks," said Dr Norman.
Dr Norman was quoting dividend data provided by the Minister of Finance in a response to parliamentary written questions.
"The big four Australian banks are strip mining our national economy of capital," Dr Norman said.
"This capital out-flow is unsustainable and highlights the urgent need for greater local ownership of our banks.
"Only one bank — Kiwibank — approaches anything like a suitable rival to the big four Australian banks, but it controls just 2.5 percent of New Zealand's total banking assets.
"The Green Party would invest further into Kiwibank to bring it up to the point where it can compete effectively with the big four Australian-owned banks," said Dr Norman.
"Unfortunately, foreign ownership doesn't trouble this Government. Their plans for our energy sector are heading in the same direction as our banking sector.
"Besides electing a new Government, the only thing New Zealanders can do about our dire banking situation is switch to New Zealand-owned banks, building societies, and credit unions."