Bouquet and Brickbat for the NZ Superfund
19 December, 08: Media Release:
Bouquet and Brickbat for the NZ Superfund over nuclear divestment moves: further divestment demanded to preserve New Zealand’s nuclear free reputation.
Investment Watch Aotearoa (IWANZ) has written to the New Zealand Super Fund Board and Chief Executive to congratulate the Fund on its recent move to divest from companies involved with the production of cluster munitions and with simulated nuclear weapons testing. IWANZ has also delivered a brickbat to the Fund for failing to divest from companies involved with nuclear weapon delivery systems and managing nuclear bases.
It is great that New Zealand taxpayer funds will no longer go to such notorious companies as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and L-3 Communications all of which are in the top echelons of US weapons manufacturers. The Super Fund singled out Lockheed’s role in producing components for cluster munitions and in simulated nuclear testing, but Lockheed is also mired in nuclear missiles, fighter planes and spy satellites.
But it is a nonsense to try to separate out nuclear weapons from their delivery systems. Boeing, EADs, Safran, Finmeccanica, United Technologies and BAE have all been identified as being involved in the production of nuclear missiles or components for nuclear missiles. The Super Fund should also follow the lead of the ACC and divest from McDermott International which provides key support and nuclear components to the US nuclear weapons complex.
New Zealand’s role as a disarmament must not be compromised by these investments in death and destruction. The Super Fund must continue its divestment ‘housekeeping’ to exclude all nuclear investments.
PO Box 68-419,
19 December, 2008
Chief Executive Officer,
and David May, Chairman of the Board of Guardians,
New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Level 12 Quay Tower, 29 Customs St, West,
Dear David May and Adrian Orr,
Investment Watch would like to congratulate the Super Fund for the decision to exclude from the Fund’s investment portfolio companies associated with the manufacture of cluster munitions and the manufacture or testing of nuclear explosive devices.
We are very pleased to learn that New Zealand’s support for the Cluster Munitions Convention will no longer be compromised by investments in the companies that manufacture these despicable weapons.
We are also pleased to learn that the Super Fund will now divest from companies involved in the simulated testing of nuclear explosive devices. We agree with your assessment that the simulated testing of nuclear explosive devices is critical to the development of nuclear weapons. We believe that New Zealand should honour the intentions of the 1987 Nuclear Free Act by refusing to have any financial dealings with such companies.
However, we do not agree with the Super Fund’s decision to retain investments in companies which are involved with the delivery systems for nuclear weapons or with providing bases for nuclear weapons.
It is clear that the delivery systems for nuclear weapons are an intrinsic part of the nuclear infrastructure. The military utility of nuclear weapons is dependent on the efficiency, reliability and accuracy of their delivery systems. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has set the hands of its ‘doomsday clock’ at 5 minutes to midnight. This authoritative body states that the risk of nuclear catastrophe is not only because there are some 27,000 nuclear weapons in the world, but also because some 2000 nuclear weapons are set to be launched and delivered to a distant target within minutes.
The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone and Arms Control Act (1987) says it is unlawful for any New Zealander to ‘aid, abet, or procure any person to manufacture, acquire or possess or have control over any nuclear explosive device.’ Given that delivery systems are an integral part of nuclear weapons this prohibition is pertinent and any investment in these systems ought to be considered as a breach of the Act.
It may be true that the companies concerned are also involved in other ‘acceptable’ activities but this does not cancel out their role in contributing to the threat of nuclear annihilation.
We strongly urge the Super Fund to divest from McDermott International Inc. As you will be aware, this one of the companies that the Accident Compensation Corporation has excluded on account of ‘involvement with the design, testing, assembly and or refurbishment of nuclear explosive devices.’ McDermott International supplies nuclear components and fuels to the US Government, as well providing operating services to the nuclear weapons complex of the US Department of Energy. (Super Fund investment: $7.9 million)
We also urge the Super Fund to divest from the following 6 companies which have been identified by the Ethics Council of the Norway Pension Fund as being involved in the production of nuclear missiles.
Boeing which is involved in maintaining ICBMs on
behalf of the US airforce ($5.2 million)
BAE – which produces nuclear missiles for the French air force through the company MBDA ($6.2 million Super Fund investment)
EADs which produces components of nuclear missiles ($0.35 million Super Fund investment)
Finmeccanica which produces nuclear missiles for the French air force through the company MBDA $4.8 million Super Fund investment)
United Technologies which produces engines for ICBMs in the US airforce ($3.4 million Super Fund investment)
Safran SA which produces nuclear missiles for the French navy ($3.8 million Super Fund investment)
This list is not intended to be exclusive and we would also expect the Fund to divest from any other companies similarly involved in nuclear weapons delivery systems or managing nuclear bases.
We appeal to the Super Fund to divest from these companies as an urgent priority. The Super Fund has taken a step in the right direction with the latest divestments and should now take action to divest from all other companies which are involved with nuclear infrastructure.
New Zealand’s role as a leading advocate for nuclear disarmament and the peaceful resolution of disputes depends on maintaining its reputation for integrity and consistency in all its international dealings. This includes the investments made in the Government’s name using the funds contributed by New Zealand taxpayers.