A petition of 3000 signatures has been handed over to Ruatorea Westpac bank manager Dave Seymour as locals fight to stop the possible closure of the only bank in town.
Many of the people who signed the online petition, started by Morgan Godfery, say they have limited, and in some cases, no access to internet or phone banking and the removal of the branch would have a huge impact on members of the community, particularly the elderly.
A comment left by one of the petition’s supporters who lives in Ruatorea says, “The bank makes life a lot easier for families on the coast, being able to bank and do their business. Coasties already have to travel a fair bit to get food and petrol we also have a lot of visitors to our township and neighboring townships that need this bank as well. Taking the bank will really isolate us, not to mention the hard working and nice bank staff who may lose their jobs, the bank should stay.”
If the branch is removed, locals will be forced to travel either to Gisborne, 129km away or Ōpōtiki, over 200km away, to make physical transactions.
Aroha Treacher has more on this reporter later today at 5:30pm with live subtitles.