This Pro Talks live interview is made with the support of Spark and NZGIF

The publicly owned NZ Green Investment Finance is to take a new step into renewable power, financed by public and private money

Overseas capital will top up public funds to create a “novel” new electricity generation product, the government-owned green investment bank reveals.

NZ Green Investment Finance chief executive Craig Weise, who has experience in finance working in Washington DC and New Zealand, has $400 million of government capital to invest – and he is aggressively pursuing private capital. Last year for every $1 of public capital, the organisation attracted about $1.30 from private finance as co-investment.

Talking to Newsroom Pro managing editor Jonathan Milne on an episode of Newsroom Pro Talks, Weise says the company’s mission is to accelerate investment – critically, persuading overseas investors to seek their financial and environmental returns in New Zealand. 

“Because the numbers needed to achieve the transition are so big, we’ll need to start to pull in global capital,” he adds. “We’ve got to have things that global investors can actually access and invest in. Designing those products is a big deal for New Zealand, full stop.”

The publicly owned company has already committed $173m to finance the transition of corporate fleets to EVs, develop lower emissions nitrogen-based fertilisers, and to bring in UK electric bus company Zenobē to refresh the country’s public transport fleet.

Now, it’s preparing to launch a new energy generation product on to the market – though the details remain commercially sensitive until it’s launched. “I can tell you that it’s quite novel,” Weise says. “We see it as providing a blueprint for future activity around both giving access to investors to these opportunities, as well as getting in that capital that we need to address the challenge.”

He acknowledged that, by international standards, New Zealand already has a very high proportion of its electricity generated renewably – that comes from wind, solar and, most of all, from hydro dams. But as New Zealand moves away from fossil fuels, it will need even more renewables. 

“You have to keep in mind that demand keeps increasing and it will increase at a faster rate due to electrification. We really have to create a lot more generation capacity to be able to meet up with that, to achieve our low-carbon goals,” he says.

“So we will be supporting the product with part of our balance sheet as well. But we will be bringing in significant private capital into that.”

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Newsroom Pro Talks is made with the support of Spark.

Pro Talks is a live webinar series that looks at the crunchy part of big picture issues with the people whose decisions have a wider impact than just their own companies or enterprises. Hosted via Zoom, subscribers can watch our journalists interview industry leaders live and add their questions to the discussion. 

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Newsroom Pro managing editor Jonathan Milne covers business, politics and the economy.

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