TOP began a guerilla campaign against New Zealand’s Australian-owned banks last night, stickering over a hundred ATMs in Auckland and Wellington.

The stickers inform users of the cash machines that ASB, Westpac, ANZ and BNZ are “Proud to be one of the banks sending $5 billion a year to Australia.”

The campaign is part of the political party’s call for a Royal Commission into New Zealand’s banking, finance, and insurance industries, similar to the recent Commission in Australia.

“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 pedophile rings, we think it’s time our own industry was investigated,” Party Leader Geoff Simmons says. “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 would also like a Royal Commission to investigate the overall competitiveness of the industry, and 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 says, “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.”

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While the big four banks are sending $14 million a day back to Australia, New Zealand also has one of the least affordable housing markets in the world. Simmons: “We have almost an entire generation now locked out of home ownership. I am regularly told by young people the only way they will own a house is when their parents die, and they inherit. Given this reality is created by bad policy choices, and greed on the part of the banks, this situation is simply unacceptable.”

New Zealand also pays more in fees than other countries, with New Zealand businesses paying twice as much for PayWave services as their Australian counterparts. New Zealand’s insurance commissions are also the highest in the world. “A Royal Commission empowered to take a strong and independent look at the financial sector is the only way forward,” Simmons says. “If the banks have nothing to hide, then they will be happy to participate.” Preempting criticism, Simmons says TOP is a strong supporter and advocate of open markets and the capitalist economy, but that it must be built on a foundation of fairness and plain dealing. “At the moment, these banks are asking ordinary New Zealanders to lie back and think of England. Successive Governments have allowed a situation where we have some of the weakest competition laws in the world. A Royal Commission would also be expected to establish what needs to be done to encourage these banks to reinvest more of their profits here in this country, where they make them.” Simmons says the public should look out for its sticker campaign at ATMs all around the country, and to show its support for the campaign by joining the Party. “TOP is the only political party advocating for fundamental change.”


  1. Not a fan of TOP but that is a winner!

    When profits are our 2nd biggest exports out of NZ now, we are a banana republic and only the property market keeps people from falling into much greater poverty.

    The working tax enquiry that was supposed to look at financial transaction taxes was joke with the members practically all being in a conflict of interest with a financial transaction tax! No wonder their final recommendation seemed squarely aimed at middle NZ (and bizarrely the recommendation on ‘taxable income’ to set the CTG tax bracket, aka it was not on how much you made on capital but how you could manipulate the income to avoid the tax that set the bracket) and not the fat cats, or the financial engineers, or the tax avoiders or the tax havens or the foreign flows of capital or to help one of our biggest problems which is 2nd biggest export is now profits, mostly from the banks!

      • @Jessica, TOP have some good ideas but my fear is that they will split votes for the left and may go with the Natz if they did get in.

        My impression is that TOP thinks that everything can be solved with economic theory and neoliberalism lite, aka if you put a price on everything then the markets will create a good society.

        Sadly in practice that doesn’t work as there are many things that have no price under neoliberalism aka decent society, health and fresh air, no pollution etc and people are incentivised to be greedy and take short term gains and leave all the problems to others.

        Saying that I am underwhelmed by the current parties, so maybe I should be more open minded to what TOP and new parties are saying.

  2. NZ is a safe haven for banks and money laundering! In OZ while they were negotiating a fine of 702 million from CBA (ASB bank in NZ) to OZ regulators, leaked documents reveal that BNZ officials were not at all concerned NZ regulators would do anything!

    “Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) had been shredded in the media for failing to prevent crooks laundering money through its smart ATMs, and was just two months away from agreeing to pay A$702 million to settle the case with Australian regulators.

    But the leaked documents show that BNZ was confident it would not be pinged by New Zealand authorities and rated the risk of fines as “minor”, though it worried about the public finding out, and its reputation being damaged.”

    Note, the banks and government officials are all in the trough for money laundering no wonder they like to turn a blind eye!

    “The most high-profile instances of money laundering have involved not just private individuals but major banking institutions and government officials. No one knows for sure the total amount of laundered money on a yearly basis.”

  3. While the lazy commerce commission is “investigating” and fining stupid and trivial infractions and issues on mostly easy prey, small NZ owned businesses (that are better served from the disputes tribunal), the commerce commission are not bothering to seriously investigate and bring down prices and scams of major big business operating in NZ making massive profits, aka banks, supermarkets, food, insurance, power, construction profits, and petrol, which are industries that contribute to the fixed costs of everyone living in NZ and why the cost of living is so high here!

    They have cosy relationships with big business and their investigations never seem to go anywhere or bring the prices down. Possibly the commerce commission is reluctant to take big business on (too much work and they are not good enough to do it) judging by the banks ‘dobbing themselves in with ‘self reporting” so that the commerce commission appears to be investigating but actually has it all handed to them on a plate to stop further investigation.

    see below an example of cosy ‘self reporting’… when the banks rip off people.

    “Westpac did not correctly discount fees on a number of different banking packages and self-reported the issue to the FMA and Commerce Commission in December 2017. It identified more impacted customers over the following 12 months”

  4. All very good, except that TOP is NOT the only political party advocating for fundamental change. Social Credit held those opinions for decades before TOP was ever dreamed of.

  5. ” the property market keeps only the top 1% of speculators wealthy: all the rest are pushed into poverty by the property market.

  6. Why does the NZ govt. not use the NZ bank called Kiwi Bank. There is also the TSB in Taranaki (I think) It seems to me common sense to use NZ owned/based businesses to the greatest etent possible. Profits generated by NZers should (I think) stay here – not benefit Australia.

    I acknowledge I am not a business woman!

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