Central Hawke's Bay's local MPs, Kieran McAnulty and Anna Lorck, are calling on Kiwibank to keep its Waipukurau branch open, following the bank's announcement yesterday that it will not be closing any more regional branches for the rest of 2021.
"Two weeks ago, Kiwibank announced the closure of the Waipukurau branch, then yesterday put a moratorium on any more closures before the end of the year, while its trial of regional hubs is completed," said Kieran McAnulty, MP for Wairarapa.
"We are asking Kiwibank to rescind its Waipukurau decision and include that branch in the moratorium. That way Waipukurau locals would still be able to go to their local branch until at least the end of the year.
"Rural communities like Waipukurau rely on these banks to be able to go about their everyday lives. Closing this branch without providing customers with an alternative will have a significant impact on this community," McAnulty said.
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The MPs, who both made submissions when Kiwibank was publicly consulting on its planned closure last month, said halting the closure of Waipukurau until the end of 2021 would be a positive way to ensure an alternative solution was in place before the doors shut for good.
"We're encouraging Kiwibank to stay open for another eight and a half months and be part of a solution for this rural community," said Anna Lorck, MP for Tukituki.
Their call comes as Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, which Ms Lorck is a member of, agreed to hold a briefing with the New Zealand Bankers' Association into the accessibility of banking and to examine the options for the expansion of banking hubs beyond the current trial sites.
"I look forward to hearing from the association on the next steps of the Regional Banking Hubs trial, and how it plans on ensuring their customers in rural New Zealand are able to access vital banking services," Lorck said.