Foreign owned banks cooperating 'to effectively regulate the actions of NZ farmers,' Feds allege (2024)

NZ's rural lenders acting as 'pseudo-regulators' through their membership of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, Federated Farmers argues. ANZ hits back

Photo by Megumi Nachev on Unsplash.

New Zealand's foreign owned rural lenders are "acting as pseudo-regulators" of New Zealand farmers through their "pre-competitive" commitment to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance,Federated Farmers says.

The farmer lobby group argues this in a submission to Parliament's Primary Production Committee calling for a full select committee inquiry into rural bank lending. The Committee initiated a briefing to investigate practices in rural bank lending in late March.

The Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) is an industry-led, United Nations convened group. Its members aim to transitiontheir lending and investment portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050. BNZ is a member, while the parent banks of NZ's other key rural lenders, ANZ, ASB, Rabobank and Westpac, are all members. Given the rural sector is NZ's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, the banks have, or are expected to have, targets aimed at reducing dairy, sheep and beef emissions intensity as they move to reduce their financed emissions.

Federated Farmers complains, however, that via the NZBA"banks have collaborated and agreed a strategy together," making the commitment "pre-competitive."

"When such an approach is applied in any other area of competition between banks it is called collusion and is expressly disallowed," Federated Farmers says.

"The banks involved are all also foreign owned and effectively cooperating to take actions to effectively regulate the actions of New Zealand farmers. From a farmer’s perspective, rather than have access to a variety of bank strategies, they are faced with a situation where all banks will adopt the same mitigation strategy. This means they are forced to reduce emissions along the lines demanded by the bank, regardless of customer opinion or government policy."

"From a national perspective, we have assumed that our greenhouse gas mitigation policies would be developed by Parliament, with a democratic mandate. The Net-Zero Banking Alliance risks a situation where policies are developed by overseas banks acting as pseudo-regulators," Federated Farmers says.

"Finally, while our focus is on the Net Zero Banking Alliance, the impact of the Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance and Net Zero Asset Managers Alliance may also be considered. These alliances include the funds that loan money to banks (and businesses), so can also have a pseudo regulatory impact if they agree to impose policy requirements."

'Federated Farmers completely incorrect'

A spokeswoman for ANZ NZ, the country's biggest rural lender with loans of just under $15 billion at March 31, says Federated Farmers is wrong.

"Federated Farmers is completely incorrect in its unsubstantiated submission thatthe banks collaborated and agreed on a strategy together to join the Alliance. ANZ Group made a unilateral and independent decision to join the Alliance in 2021," she says.

"ANZ NZ determines its own strategy, risk settings and approach to customer engagement on climate issues. We, like all the other NZ banks, are currently working on our mandatory climate related disclosures," the ANZ NZ spokeswoman adds.

Federated Farmers is asking the Primary Production Select Committee to consider whether the actions and NZBA membership of the five key rural lenders is compliant with NZ competition law.

Interest.co.nz last year spoke with BNZ's Chief Sustainability OfficerRebekah Cain about BNZ's NZBA membership in an episode of our Of Interest Podcast. We also wrote about the five banks' stances on NZBA's aims here.

*This article was first published in our email for paying subscribers early on Friday morning.See here for more details and how to subscribe.

bysimplton|8th Jun 24, 9:31am1717795890

Farmers in tears again. Who would have thought.

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byTe Kooti|8th Jun 24, 1:21pm1717809690

I tend to agree. Stop moaning and sell up if you don’t like the terms the banks set. No one forced you to borrow/ I’m sure we can import dairy cheaper from Australia if we need to.

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byFlying high|8th Jun 24, 2:49pm1717814978

Even though we are the most climate friendly producers Oz can send us milk powder and their home-grown crims. We will send them our educated hard-working kids who dont want to live in clean green safety conscious nz with its cycle ways and kind politicians. The same kind caring politicians that go around getting aggro

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byTe Kooti|8th Jun 24, 3:23pm1717816997

Agreed, but don't tell me you're another apologist for Kiwi's committing crime abroad? What passport do the thugs being 501'd back here have? That's right, NZ. That they feel they have no genuine connection to NZ, or have been in Australia since the age of 2, is absolutely irrelevant. They are not Australian citizens, they do not have Australian passports - they are Kiwi's. We'd happily take them if they were good at League or Rugby so we have to take them if they're good at crime as well.

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byFlying high|8th Jun 24, 5:56pm1717826216

We dont need aussie riff-raff who cause mayhem, but their nutless pollies want to look tough

What do you say about the aussie couple over here briefly when she dropped her bundle. Somehow 50 years later he was deported to us. Thats not reasonable

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byTe Kooti|8th Jun 24, 6:06pm1717826801

We dont need aussie riff-raff

Are you slow? They aren't Australian, you are only Australian if you are a citizen of Australia. To become a citizen you are required to have an Australian citizen as a parent and/or gone through an application and attended the ceremony (although possibly by being born in Australia as well). Do you know why many of the Kiwi 501's deported here didn't apply for citizenship, because they were either too dumb or would have failed due to existing convictions so didn't bother.

Did you know there is also a way they could have avoided deportation? By not commiting a serious crime.

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byFlying high|9th Jun 24, 1:08pm1717895294

Are you slow?

Probably, but my ears work at normal speed. Dont take this personally but you are a pompous git who can't calculate returns that have doubled more than once

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byACB|9th Jun 24, 1:59pm1717898363

"Form over substance" - you are arguing the only thing that matters is what passport they carry.

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byTe Kooti|9th Jun 24, 3:19pm1717903158

If that’s directed at me, I’m saying no matter what passport you have, if you commit serious crime in Australia, you are deported at the end of your sentence if you aren’t an Australian citizen.

This isn’t directed at Kiwi’s, it’s just we only have to enter the country and we receive SCV to work automatically. The moment you leave Australia it’s cancelled and re issued when you re enter.

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byHans Brink|8th Jun 24, 8:04pm1717833870

As a farmer I would have to agree with you Te Kooti, I have often said in meetings of other farmers when they are whinging about some other farmers going broke. "It is not the fault off the banks it is the borrower who is at fault because they convinced the bank they were good for the loan"

Now why should farmers be treated differently than other business people. Strangely many believe that the banks enabled farmers to borrow too much! I laugh at that.

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byTe Kooti|9th Jun 24, 10:37am1717886223

Banks are not your friend. You are a profit centre and their goal is to cross sell and extract value add, share of wallet. Witness the UK where people are debanked for not signing up to the agenda.

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bysheepdog|10th Jun 24, 7:12pm1718003558

Well said Hans. Unfortunately it seems these days it is socially unacceptable for businesses to fail.

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byFlying high|8th Jun 24, 9:42am1717796545

The screws are tightening to the point NZs biggest export earnings will fall. Unless we can replace the lost income then budget screws will tighten even more

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bysimplton|8th Jun 24, 11:30am1717803050

I am in the farming industry, and I fact a farmer. I am also sick of co*cky’s incessant whining and propensity to blame everyone but themselves for their own shortcomings. The majority of the fed farmers activists, not all, are backwards looking, lazy, entitled silverspooners who squeal when ever things get a bit tough. Get on an adapt like all the working folk out there, or get left behind.

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byHans Brink|8th Jun 24, 8:16pm1717834590

Yeah that's right Flying high, what My personal opinion is on that is we need more innovation and encouraging our young to get into subjects like engineering, physics and other hard things that I don't know anything about.

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byslowlearner|8th Jun 24, 9:45am1717796705

There are many faults with the banking industry, but for FF to make this the point of submissions really does indicate the vacuum of intellect in leadership. Is this organisation really reduced to such a populist position? Remind me again, what is this organisation saying / lobbying for about pine forests planting everywhere? If FF have really identified a problem, perhaps they should lobby their previous leader now in Cabinet to put more money into Kiwibank? Get some NZ owned competition. Yeah, right.

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byredcows|8th Jun 24, 10:25am1717799108

Exactly. Fed Farmers have always been staunch supporters of foreign "investment" and the supposed free market. Well boys( very much dominated by the network) , this is one end result of that foreign money.

Also if you want a mortgage you sign up to the fact that the bank now "owns" your property and you'll do exactly as your told.

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bysimplton|8th Jun 24, 12:40pm1717807222

Well put. You sell your soul to the bank, you play by their rules. They are a business too.

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byLarry76|8th Jun 24, 11:06am1717801560

Priceless quote -“We assumed that greenhouse gas emissions policy would be made in parliament…(where we could take Shane Jones out to dinner and bribe him to stall progress)”.

Looks like the clowns at FF don’t understand that there’s a commercial aspect to sustainability as well, just like how insurers were the first to accept climate change might actually be a thing. I hate to say it, but go the Aussie banks!

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byFlying high|8th Jun 24, 11:28am1717802885

The young and the deluded upper classes want emissionsmeasured using GWH100 which is highly criticised as being miles wrong but compliance is demanded... those idiots then holiday offshore and move to countries that dont comply because 1. The weather is "better" 2. They are paid more and 3. They can still vote green from outside the country

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byHans Brink|8th Jun 24, 9:15pm1717838150

Flying high, I agreed with a previous comment of yours, but on "the deluded young and upper classes" comment I think you are the deluded one. They are a minority. The people in the same age group off little means still vote for someone who might make a difference in making their lives better. Or to the rest of us, the World better.

Now I know that is a big ask! With what is going on and what has always gone on, I have little confidence that the World will get better. Justo add, I am in no way suggesting the World is at an end. My preoccupation is humanity.

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byFlying high|9th Jun 24, 12:55pm1717894533

Hows your flock, I recall you converted to self shedders

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byHans Brink|9th Jun 24, 5:05pm1717909552

Yep, we are right into the Wiltshire sheep. It is working out real well, I have this idea now to do as little as possible and earn as much as I can regarding sheep. Must admit we are looking at more cattle but due to the terrain on a lot of our land I think sheep are a better option.

I will say that we have little debt and just enjoy farming. I would certainly not recommend our business to any youngster who wants to get ahead, it is more about lifestyle. Thing is started life in the city and at 16 went on to a sheep farm as a worker and never looked back. However there was very little money as a farm worker so into the bush it was, trapping possums and later many years as a shearer.

Things are different today.

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byFlying high|9th Jun 24, 9:59pm1717927173

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byBradJ|8th Jun 24, 11:58am1717804687

Actually lets look at the nub of the complaint "The Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) is an industry-led, United Nations convened group. Its members aim to transitiontheir lending and investment portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050. ”. And this is not the only United Nations convened group/treaty of course. I am not comfortable with the constraints and philosophies that a righteous United Nations is imposing on countries such as NZ that happily and unthinkingly sign up to a raft of treaties and then change our local law to match. Furthermore, in the case of this banking alliance, no doubt the banks can use NZ as its easy reduction source for their own targets whilst continuing to fund other less green activities elsewhere. Shadesf (in reverse) of our own “lets not mine coal here, just buy it from the Indonesians where we can turn a blind eye to poor labour and environment outcomes etc.”

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byCitizen Smith|8th Jun 24, 1:32pm1717810357

What's all the fuss for, I thought federated farmers had reassured us that New Zealand dairy was the greenest dairy in the world. Climate change and its causes are a well-established science. You can debate, protest and make a fuss, but at the end of the day we are warming our atmosphere. What do you plan to do about that?

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byFlying high|8th Jun 24, 6:10pm1717827002

Has science ever held any opinions that were later debunked

https://beeflambnz.com/news/appropriate-metric-needed-methane-measureme…

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byCitizen Smith|9th Jun 24, 9:17am1717881443

Your industry was excluded from the ETS so it could present a workable solution. It's was even given money from the ETS to develop solutions. What happened dairy throws beef and sheep under the climate bus. Happy to let hill farms become carbon sinks. I wouldn't worry about dairy. Investment is being filtered to precision fermentation as countries realise they don't need to import milk powder. They can just brew it in vats.

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byFlying high|9th Jun 24, 12:53pm1717894439

Why are you saying its my industry

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byCasual Observer|9th Jun 24, 6:22pm1717914165

While products made with precision fermentation requires a GMOingredient to be used in the process, the product itself is considered not to contain GMO. Isn't this akin to 'gmowashing'?
https://www.fooddive.com/news/non-gmo-project-synbio-dairy-precision-fe…
https://www.rethinkx.com/faq-and-mythbusting/myth-foods-made-with-preci…

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byCitizen Smith|10th Jun 24, 12:24pm1717979048

If your a buyer of milk powder your concern is your bottom line and content, not having to import bulk powder is a significant saving. How you came by theproteins caseins, fat, lactose, and minerals in your product will not matter given current standards.

Does NZ Milk powder command a premium because its grass feed?

As for GMO washing we are talking vats and microbes, the human insulin industry is doing well despite being a GMO.

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byLarry76|8th Jun 24, 4:13pm1717820030

Take your pick of the arguments that apply -

Climate change doesn't exist.

If it DOES exist, it isn't caused by human activity.

If it IS caused by human activity, it isn't happening now.

And if it IS happening now, it's nothing we have control over or could stop.

If we COULD stop it, it wouldn't matter because THEY wouldn't.

Even it DID matter, we shouldn't because it would hurt the economy.

And anyway, it's too late to do anything about it anyway.

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byFlying high|8th Jun 24, 10:33pm1717842795

No one knows the future effects, there is no point catastrophising

But everything unexpected that occurs is always put down to climate change by those with agendas

"Edited"

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byBaywatch|8th Jun 24, 6:18pm1717827539

No one knows if there will be any effect?

Up there with Yvils comment of "What Storm"

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byFlying high|8th Jun 24, 10:37pm1717843056

Theres an article titled "NZ f**ked itself by thinking it could save the world"

I see that Thames is preparing/adapting, it may not be necessary who knows but it makes more sense to me. What about you BW

Btw if you want to discuss Yvils comment please dont be childish

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bysolardb|9th Jun 24, 8:41am1717879301

Thames has been preparing for years. It's very vulnerable. Just the last mayor set things back a bit, she wasn't the brightest mayor they've had.

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byFlying high|9th Jun 24, 12:52pm1717894358

I prefer the adaptation response, its based on lived experience more than hocus pocus hyperbole. Sandra Gourdie was by and large a decent Mayor for TCDC for a long time until she managed to stuff it up

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bysolardb|9th Jun 24, 3:34pm1717904083

Of course its all adaption, you can't stop it . Been at sea level at the bottom of mountains is not an ideal place to be .

She was terrible as a MP , and slighlty better as a mayor. Pro developors might have though she was ok , as long as you don't mind your development been underwater occassionally.

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byCitizen Smith|10th Jun 24, 12:30pm1717979443

Are you sure you cant work out what a warmer planet will mean?

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byJack Lumber|8th Jun 24, 1:08pm1717808925

How much risk do you want your parents and grandparents term deposits to be exposed to?

I saw they were upset banks are now lending based upon cashflow, ability to service and repay, versus straight equity. If you don’t get that well good luck. What is your equity (land mainly) really worth?

If they are such a great investment and the returns are astronomical we should be seeing more lenders piling in. The reality is banks are leaving and withdrawing. I see JP Morgan are opening over 500 retail branches in US over next 3 years - why aren’t they here in a very high return market?

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byHans Brink|8th Jun 24, 9:34pm1717839240

The lenders are backing off for the simple reason that we have very little arable land.

And to add, our grazing land is very erodible. The positives are we have a good temperate climate.

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byCitizen Smith|9th Jun 24, 9:18am1717881510

Had a good temperate climate.

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bysolardb|9th Jun 24, 6:47pm1717915621

What's the story with the flat lands around Marton, Hans ???Used to be around 1/2 of it In crops , in rotation with pasture. Haven't seen much lately, not that I'm town there that often.

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byHans Brink|10th Jun 24, 8:29am1717964947

From what I am seeing there isn't so much cereal, mostly feed crops for lambs etc. Quite a lot of maize went in this year.

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byDriftwood|9th Jun 24, 10:42am1717886543

I think federated Farmers has a fair point. via the United Nations, multinational corporations are in effect enforcing UN policies. they need to collude by joining such alliances. a bank will only forgo a good lending opportunity if they know their competitors cannot take it.

While some people may agree and sympathize with the UN sustainability goals, this is what we have democracy and governments for. it is a dangerous precedent to be letting unelected organizations take over.

The net effect of this in New Zealand will be to limit dairy sheep and beef farming and increase carbon farming.

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byJack Lumber|8th Jun 24, 11:14pm1717845288

No one has to join any alliance. It’s the businesses choice, driven often by its owners, shareholders.

There must be plenty of funders around the world not in this alliance - ask them for funding as it’s so profitable here.

Just look at many of the markets talking about this for market access etc etc. should we tell these customers no way? What will they do then?

Right or wrong it’s happening driven by markets not politicians and even saying these sorts of comments shows a complete lack of understanding and/or a sense of entitlement.

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byDriftwood|9th Jun 24, 10:34am1717886084

Most businesses would join a cartel/alliance if they can get away with it. look at opic. it's about eliminating competition, but in most cases it is illegal. so yes it is a business choice but it is not good for us.

No, there are not many or any funders around the world that are allowed to operate in New Zealand and not part of this cartel that farmers could go to. if they could they would.

The reasons markets are talking about this is because they have their own carbon tax regimes, some quite extreme, for example the EU and don't want their own producers undercut. to make this work, the whole world has to fall into line. this might work for them with their large industrial bases and service-based economies but what this means for New Zealand is that a large chunk of New Zealand's agricultural will be moved towards pine forests that will never be harvested paid for by taxes. taxing our people to take out our largest export earner - would you vote for that?

Your last paragraph is a little bizarre. if something is wrong you should oppose it. nothing to do with entitlement.

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byJack Lumber|9th Jun 24, 2:57pm1717901822

Buy shares in the bank and go to the shareholders meeting and ask them to change. I’ve never found banks to give money out from the goodness of their heart. They are hard nosed, work for their shareholders (who voted for this stuff, plus Government rules)and understand risk. I’m grateful we have strong banks.

Alliance or none the fact is farming is higher risk than owning a house in NZ.

Just look at B and L forecasts - would you finance this at low rates with your money?

I know for a fact many of the banks would happily get rid of a large part of their rural book. They know most hill country farming is a large lifestyle block. The day of reckoning is coming with the average age of hill country farmers over 60 and virtually zero true business profit on over 70%. The commercial parts of the bank find much of the agri stuff bizzare.

B and L profit is before drawings, tax, debt repayment and farm reinvestment. I’m sorry but that’s voodoo stuff and ridiculous to quote. I’m convinced Lincoln and Massey have some economics and financial theory that no one else knows about - even many of my very successful farming friends shake their heads at it.

Reality and the laws of maths will prevail

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byFlying high|9th Jun 24, 3:24pm1717903489

Well said Drifty

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byToroNZ|10th Jun 24, 12:06pm1717978014

large chunk of New Zealand's agricultural will be moved towards pine forests that will never be harvested paid for by taxes. taxing our people to take out our largest export earner

Farmers love the game, but hate the players.

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byTe Kooti|9th Jun 24, 1:49pm1717897764

That’s the whole point. We are a green nation, and this is what we want. Farmers should either sell more convert to pine. I have historically pushed back against this but no longer. It’s not my standard of living in the cross hairs.

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byHans Brink|9th Jun 24, 5:16pm1717910216

Well that's it Te Kooti, but it is not a straight cut as in forest or farm. Integrated land use is where it is at. If one looks around the world it is common for land users to have different strategies on the landscape.

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byOsty123|9th Jun 24, 5:45pm1717911935

Be great if they could at least answer the questions....

facebook.com/methanescienceaccord

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bynigelh|9th Jun 24, 9:10pm1717924248

FF do not have to substantiate any of their claims. Its a case of joining some dots and saying this could happen. Usually called flying a kite to invoke a reaction. Even If the banks aren't loaning out yet because of some UN climate change policy, the banks merely joining the alliance has the potential to use the UN as an excuse not to loan.

The way I see it is that FF are alerting the politicians, at least the coalition, as to potential problems it could cause and if necessary put some regulations in place. Forget Labour and the Greens. They will generally screw the farmers into the ground.

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bylt84|9th Jun 24, 9:53pm1717926781

The combined inexperience & ineptitude of the govt, reserved bank & ComCom over the past 15 years have resulted in the biggest swindle in NZ’s history with the banks laughing all the way

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Foreign owned banks cooperating 'to effectively regulate the actions of NZ farmers,' Feds allege (2024)

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