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NZ Government Invests in Environmental Destruction

Media Release - For Immediate Release

14 November 2006

NZ Government Invests in Environmental Destruction and Human Rights

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is investing in US mining giant
Freeport McMoRan despite questions over the company's human rights and
environmental record in West Papua.

The Wellington West Papua Rights Group questions how the NZ public can
take the Government's stated commitments to human rights and
environmental sustainability seriously, when this investment clearly
runs against their policy on ethical investment.

"The New Zealand public has a right to know where its funds are going
and what they are supporting. Are environmental destruction and the
suppression of the human rights now government policy?" said Wellington
West Papua Rights Group member George Darroch.

Freeport McRoRan continues to be a significant supporter of the
Indonesian government's occupation of West Papua, despite well
documented and ongoing human rights abuses. The subsidiary mining
company PT Freeport Indonesia has been implicated in supporting directly
the Indonesian military (TNI) with significant financial assistance, and
use of equipment, even as the military suppresses indigenous populations
with violence. The company has not been held to account for its role
in human rights abuses.

WAHLI, Indonesia's leading environmental organisation, has documented
the environmental destruction caused by the operations of the mining
company. The most serious is the daily discharge of over 200,000 tonnes
of toxic tailings into the Ajkwa River, which have very severe impacts
on the river, wildlife, and Arafura Sea. The company has been sued in
the past, and is being threatened with legal action by the Indonesian
Government for its illegal environmental destruction.

The Wellington West Papua Rights Group says the New Zealand Government
should take their stated commitments to human rights and environmental
sustainability seriously, and maintain a policy of ethical investment.
"This has been done by some of the world's largest pension funds,
including those of the Governments of South Africa and Norway, and there
is nothing stopping it happening here" said George Darroch.


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