26 Jul 2013

Rabobank cracks down on fracking - not farmers

10:32 am on 26 July 2013

Global agribusiness financer Rabobank is so alarmed about the threat posed to the planet by fracking it's announced it will not finance businesses involved in the practice.

But Rabobank's Oceania office says it won't be stopping business with farmers who allow fracking on their land.

Fracking is the process where fluid containing sand and chemicals is injected at high pressure to fracture rock in order to access previously inaccessible oil and gas from the earth's crust.

The practice is widespread in Taranaki and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment says New Zealand is on the brink of a rapid expansion of fracking.

Rabobank Group which has its headquarters in the Netherlands says it will not provide finance to anyone involved in extracting unconventional fossil fuels such as oil shales through fracking.

It says it's worried about the impact oil and gas production is having on people, wildlife and the environment and has vital concerns about the release of greenhouse gases and their warming of the planet.

Rabobank says the importance of prime agricultural land in meeting global food demand is simply too important to lose to fracking.

But the bank's Oceania-wing told Radio New Zealand that numerous international media reports that it will stop doing business with farmers who allow fracking on their land are incorrect.

Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes says Rabobank's move shows fracking can have a big impact on agriculture.

He says it's a bold move by the global investment company which shows it is focusing on its core area which is farming.

"It does highlight there is conflict and in fact a risk to the agricultural sector from the expansion of oil and gas."

Mr Hughes says Rabobank is responding to overseas pressure and given that New Zealand is potentially on the cusp of major expansion in the areas of oil, gas and fracking, it's a wake-up call for farmers and Government.