13 May 2014

Otago takes ethical stance on climate

6:39 pm on 13 May 2014

The Dunedin City Council has decided to dump about $2 million worth of investments in the oil industry because of concerns over the potential effects on climate change.

The McKee oil rig.

The McKee oil rig. Photo: PHOTO NZ (file)

The council received 296 submissions, most calling for a socially responsible investing policy excluding industries like tobacco and arms.

Some also called on Dunedin council to pull its money out of petroleum industries.

Radio New Zealand revealed earlier this year the council's $75 million Waipori Fund had invested $1.7 million in petroleum firms at a time of expanding exploration off Dunedin's coast.

The council debated this on Tuesday and decided to formally block the fund from investing in fossil fuel extraction companies, as well as tobacco, arms, gambling and pornography.

But councillors decided to keep allowing alcohol investments.

The Dunedin city councillor who led the campaign says the council's decision may be a national first.

Councillor Jinty MacTavish said she was pleased, though she did not know if the council had invested in gambling or pornography.