A small Bay of Plenty town is out of cash after its only ATM was stolen.
It’s the second time thieves have tried to steal the money machine in Murupara, and the only credit union in town says it may not be replaced. Locals say the actions of a few are hurting the wider community as businesses struggle without access to cash.
After it was ripped out with a stolen log loader, the ATM was dumped 8km away unopened – no gain for the thieves but a big loss for the community.
“It brasses you off, especially for a little town like this,” resident Pauline Teddy told Newshub. “We were really disappointed,” local kaumātua James Goldsmith said. “It’s all about poverty, drugs here.” It’s the second unsuccessful attempt to steal cash from the ATM. Two months ago thieves took to it with a grinder.
The credit union is the only banking service in town, and they’ve gone cashless due to safety concerns. Without cash, some locals are struggling – especially the elderly.
Local shop owners have been helping where they can by providing small sums of cash.
“I feel that it’s had a huge impact right across the board, not just with people and clientele but with businesses,” Caroline Meihana from Budgeting Services said.
“You can see the impact it’s having on our town,” Teddy said. The nearest bank to Murupara is 62km away in Rotorua. It’s a difficult journey for many in the community who don’t have cars.
Just like many small rural towns, banks have deserted Murupara over the years. “There used to be two banks here, BNZ and Trust Power,” local Graham Beckmann said. “It was a really big thing when they left.”
Community leaders and the credit union are meeting in Murupara on Monday evening, and there’ll be a follow-up meeting with the wider community later this week to find a solution.
The credit union told Newshub it’s looking at whether it’s viable to replace the ATM again. It says it may close altogether unless there’s a commitment from the Murupara community to reduce crime.