Chair of the Tahuna Business Association Mike Rutledge on Tahunanui Drive where the suburb’s ATM machine used to be. Photo: Andrew Board.

Removal of ATM ‘further isolates Tahunanui’

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Tahunanui has lost its sole public ATM machine after Westpac closed its Tahunanui Dr site this month.

The ATM, next to Harley’s Pharmacy, had been in place since Westpac closed its Tahuna branch several years ago.

Chair of the Tahunanui Business Association, Mike Rutledge, says that backs away from an agreement from Westpac to keep an ATM in Tahuna “permanently”.

“A step like this just further isolates the Tahunanui community and we’d suggest is a step in the wrong direction.

“There are quite a few operators that pop up over summer and who are cash-based businesses, so it will be an issue for them. The issue for other local businesses is that people try to use them almost as their ATM by asking for cash.”

Westpac says there has been a steady decline of transactions at the ATM which no longer made it viable to retain.

Mike says he first saw that the ATM had been removed, last week.

“There are two sides to this, one is in the summer when this area just fills with tourists and the other side is the locals, the community. We do have a large percentage of older folk here and if they’ve run a cash book their whole lives, to jump to ‘oh, you can pay by an app on your phone’ is a big jump.”

Westpac has told the business association that residents can use its facilities at Nelson Airport, Stoke or Nelson.

There is another ATM in Tahunanui but it is inside the Mobil station on Tahunanui Dr, but Mike says it’s better to have one that isn’t in another business.

Mike says the departure of the ATM is another step in Tahunanui becoming a “freight highway”.

“This is just one of those little steps that further isolates Tahuna and it really does come down to constantly putting these heavy freight movements right through the middle of our little seaside village. This is the biggest recreational asset we have, we have to stop treating it as a freight highway, and that really is the long-term solution to making Tahuna and Nelson the most liveable city in the country.”

Mike hopes another bank will fill the gap left by Westpac and install their own ATM.

“Now there’s a great opportunity for another bank, another provider, to jump in here and offer a service to the Tahuna community and, hopefully, get a lot of business for themselves.”