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ACC booze investments 'unethical'

ACC booze investments 'unethical'

ACC investments in big brewing companies DB Breweries and Lion Nathan contravene ACC's stated mission to reduce injuries, Green MP Sue Bradford revealed in Parliament today.

"By making large investments in the brewing industry, ACC is blatantly contradicting one of its core purposes - to reduce accidents and injuries," Ms Bradford said.

"This is especially the case given the large number of motor vehicle crashes and other accidents that happen when people are under the influence of alcohol.

"As far as I am aware, ACC has an equity investment of about $24 million in Lion Nathan [refer ACC's 2002 Annual Report], and owns about 8.4 per cent of DB Breweries shares [refer NBR article, 15-11-2002]," Ms Bradford said.

"These investments go against the Accident Compensation Corporation's stated pledge to prevent injury.

"It is also interesting that the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2001, section 272 (2) (i), requires ACC's investment statement to include 'a statement relating to ethical investment for avoiding prejudice to New Zealand's reputation as a responsible member of the world community'," Ms Bradford said.

The brewery investments support the sale of alcohol, which is well-known to contribute to injuries, accidents and - in its most extreme forms - addiction and social misery. Ms Bradford said the investments were a patent anomaly given the Government's move last week to hike the tax on low-alcohol liquor; to reduce the health effects and societal impacts of excessive drinking by young people.

"I am calling on ACC Minister Ruth Dyson and the Government to immediately end these unethical and contradictory investments."

Ms Bradford said she was also concerned about ACC's investments in mining and pesticide companies, as these activities contributed to significant public health problems.

ACC's 2002 Annual Report shows equity investments as at 28 June 2002 with a market value of $13.5 million in mining company BHP Billiton, and $9.8 million in pesticide and herbicide manufacturer Nufarm.

Ms Bradford today asked Question No. 3 on the issue in the House.

ENDS

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