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Govt must set the ethical standard on KiwiSaver investments

The Government needs to set higher ethical investment standards for its default KiwiSaver providers, the Green Party said today.

Radio New Zealand revealed today that a majority of the nine default KiwiSaver funds currently invest in companies involved in the manufacture of cluster bombs, landmines, and nuclear weapons. Only one default KiwiSaver provider, KiwiBank, has said that it excludes these companies from its investments.

“Profiting from the production of cluster munitions, landmines, and nuclear weapons is immoral, and most Kiwis wouldn’t want their Government directed savings invested anywhere near these companies,” Green Party finance spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“The Government should be showing strong leadership by clarifying the legality of investing in cluster munitions and landmines, and put a timeframe around when all default KiwiSaver funds will be clean from them.

“Default KiwiSaver Funds need to be legally invested, at a minimum, and preferably ethically invested, so that New Zealanders have the best choices over where their money goes.

“We believe, particularly in the case of cluster munitions, that such investments are likely to be illegal under the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009.

“The Auditor General found in 2012 that it was illegal for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to invest in cluster bomb manufacturers, either directly or indirectly.

“This is not simply some nice-to-have optional component to KiwiSaver. Cluster bombs and landmines are blowing the legs off tens-of-thousands of children in forgotten war zones long after fighting has ceased.

“New Zealand was one of six states that initiated discussions which led to the Convention on Cluster Munitions coming into existence in 2010, saying that the ‘very existence of anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions as inherently unacceptable’.

“The Green Party in Government would establish a public, ethical default KiwiSaver fund,” said Ms Genter.