Govt default KiwiSaver funds must be responsibly invested

The Government should follow the actions of Grosevnor and take swift steps to ensure its default KiwiSaver funds meet minimum ethical standards, the Green Party said today.

Grosvenor announced yesterday that it was shifting its default KiwiSaver fund into a highly ethical international share index, which screens out companies producing items such as alcohol, tobacco, military weapons, firearms, nuclear power and fossil fuels. The move comes after reports last week showed at least five default KiwiSaver schemes were invested in companies making cluster bombs, mines and nuclear weapons.

“The Government can and should ensure that all default KiwiSaver funds abide by high standards for responsible investment,” Green Party finance spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“KiwiBank, and now Grosvenor, have set a high bar for responsible investment for their default KiwiSaver funds, and Grosvenor has shown that fund managers can move very quickly to screen out unethical investments.

“Default KiwiSaver funds are chosen by the Government, so they should all meet ethical bottom lines consistent with our values and our law.

“By doing nothing, the Government is implicitly saying that it’s okay to invest in companies that produce illegal weapons that maim and kill innocent men, women and children.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says that, ‘New Zealand regards the very existence of anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions as inherently unacceptable’.

“If that’s still the case, the Government should walk its talk and set some basic standards for KiwiSaver investment.

“At a minimum, the Government should set a date by which all KiwiSaver funds must no longer invest in companies that manufacture cluster bombs, landmines, and nuclear weapons,” said Ms Genter.

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