Monday, March 02, 2020

No investments for criminal industries

Over the weekend, the government banned default Kiwisaver funds from investing in fossil fuels and weapons banned under domestic and international law. And predictably, both the fossil fuel industry and the climate change deniers in the National Party are losing their shit over it.

Apparently, the government shouldn't be telling people what they can and can't invest in. Except it does, all the time: you can't invest in child pornography, for example, or in heroin production, because those things are crimes (as is investing in cluster bombs, BTW). And in this particular case, these are government-established schemes, which are already subject to all sorts of regulation about risk and reporting and so forth. The government already forbids providers to gamble with default customers' savings; its no great extension to say that they also shouldn't expose them to the risks of the carbon bubble or of having their funds seized for investing in illegal weapons. And on the flip side, I hardly think its onerous that if you want to invest in the destruction of the planet and killing your fellow human beings, you actively choose to do so, so people know you're an arsehole.

The fossil fuel industry should be grateful that the government is allowing continued investment in their toxic, destructive industry at all, rather than sticking them all in jail for ecocide. Simply being told that the government won't provide suckers to hold the bag when everyone recognises that it has no future and is valueless seems fairly moderate compared to what this criminal industry deserves.