Friday, December 07, 2012

Unethical investing again

Back in 2007, then-Listener journalist Matt Nippert did a major expose on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund's unethical investment practices. Contrary to government policy, a major government fund was investing hundreds of millions of dollars in tobacco companies, casinos, arms dealers, uranium mines, and oil. Some of the companies we had invested in had been blacklisted for propping up Sudan's genocidal government. Others made nuclear weapons. Some of these investments were almost certainly illegal, and as a result the fund changed its investment practices and divested itself of these stocks. But five years on, they're at it again, using trusts and investment vehicles to launder the holdings. And they're investing in cluster-bomb manufacturers - something which is clearly illegal and exposes the fund and its directors to substantial criminal penalties.

(And according to the Greens' supporting material, the National Provident Fund is even more unethical, investing directly in these companies. The Auditor-General is very clear that the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009 makes this criminal, so someone ought to be going to jail for it).

This isn't good enough. We expect our government to invest our money responsibly and lawfully, in companies which make the world a better place rather than a worse one. Instead, they're propping up the purveyors of cancer and murder, securing our future with blood money.