Ranfurly bank protest draws hundreds

About 300 people turned out in Ranfurly today to protest the proposed closure of the town's bank....
About 300 people turned out in Ranfurly today to protest the proposed closure of the town's bank. Photo: Lynda van Kempen

It seemed like every man and his dog took part in the protest this afternoon against the proposed closure of Ranfurly's only bank.

About 300 people from all over the Maniototo blocked the town's main street to air their views about the town's Westpac branch closing. They ranged from senior citizens through to pupils from the area's two schools.

Kiwibank won't replace Westpac branches

Head of the town's business group Amie Pont, Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper, Central Otago District Councillor Stu Duncan, and bank union organiser Ken Young all addressed the crowd.

"The reality is, none of us want to be gathering here in these circumstances," Mrs Pont said.

The reaction of residents to the proposed closure ranged from shock through to outrage and anger, she said.

Mr Lepper said "all of New Zealand" was watching the protest.

The council asked for a meeting with the bank's heirarchy but was turned down, he said.

" . . .I think they're too scared to meet with us."

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