NZ Superannuation Fund and Cluster Munitions
Hon Phil Goff
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
EMBARGOED UNTIL 3PM 4 April 2008
Government welcomes decision on New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Cluster Munitions
Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Goff has warmly welcomed the New Zealand Superannuation Fund’s announcement today that it would divest from companies involved in the production of cluster munitions once a Treaty on the weapons comes into force.
The Treaty, which will be concluded by the end of 2008, stems from the Oslo Process which was started by New Zealand and six other countries last year.
“I welcome today’s important announcement made by the Board of Guardians. While the Board by law is independent of, and may not be directed by, Government, the Board adheres to a policy of responsible investment and is aware of New Zealand’s strong support for a ban on cluster munitions which cause unacceptable harm to civilians,” Mr Goff said.
“The Board has already withdrawn investment in companies such as those producing tobacco, whale meat and land mines, on the basis that they do not meet responsible investment standards. It is logical for the board to add cluster munitions to this list because they act like land mines. Many fail to explode on impact and can remain lethal for decades, triggered off when stumbled upon by civilians long after the conflict in which they were used has ended.
“The Dublin Convention next month aims to agree to a treaty which prohibits cluster munitions which cause unacceptable harm to civilians, Mr Goff said.
“In February this year we hosted the Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions. The conference was the largest ever disarmament conference held on New Zealand soil – with more than 100 countries attending.
“At the Wellington Conference New Zealand worked to narrow differences between countries on issues surrounding cluster munitions. We also made progress towards agreements on the destruction of cluster munitions stockpiles, clearance of contaminated areas and assistance for victims. We hope that the negotiation conference in Dublin from 19-30 May will conclude this process and bring a new treaty banning cluster munitions into effect,” Mr Goff said.