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New Zealanders don’t want to profit from war

New Zealanders don’t want to profit from war
Monday 17 October

A theatre performance illustrating how Kiwi’s savings are being turned into weapons of war will accompany the delivery tomorrow of a petition signed by more than 12,800 New Zealanders.

The petition, which will be accepted by Green Party co-leader James Shaw at 3.15pm in front of Parliament tomorrow, calls on the Government to introduce legislation to make it illegal for Kiwisaver fund managers to invest the savings of New Zealanders in companies involved in the manufacture of weapons, bombs, land mines and missiles.

The petition was lead, and will be delivered by, journalist Bryan Bruce who says:

“There is no such thing as a completely free market. It is against the law, for example, to trade in human body parts or buy and sell children. So we do have laws which exert some moral limits to what we can trade in and from which we might profit. However some of our laws are so vague that investment managers can currently trade in items that would be repugnant to the majority of us.

Many New Zealanders, for example, expressed shock and anger at revelations earlier this year that some Kiwisaver providers were investing in companies involved in the manufacture of landmines, nuclear weapons, cluster bombs and tobacco. The incident revealed that our laws on unethical investing are so vague that even Commerce Minister Paul Goldsmith needed to take legal advice on whether investing in companies that manufacture cluster bombs was actually against the law.

My view is that we need a new law - a stand alone ethical investment law - that would put it beyond question that investing in such things as munitions manufacture is illegal. Which is why I agreed to lead an ActionStation petition to Parliament on this issue, because our law needs to reflect what the majority of us believe. Namely, that companies holding the savings of New Zealanders ought not to invest our money in products designed to kill and maim.”

To confirm Bruce’s assertion that most New Zealanders support the goal of this petition, ActionStation members chipped in funds to place questions in the UMR Research nation-wide omnibus survey.* This nationally representative survey confirmed that 86% of New Zealanders do not approve of Kiwisaver funds being invested in weapons, bombs, landmines and missiles.

ActionStation Campaign Director, Laura O’Connell-Rapira explains why ActionStation members want legislative change, despite moves by some Kiwisaver providers to pull out of investments in weapons.

“People feel very strongly about this. They didn’t only sign the petition, they also called and emailed their Kiwisaver providers, pulled their savings out of funds that had invested in bombs and landmines, and talked to their friends and families about doing the same. As a result, many Kiwisaver providers have taken action, divesting $109m from companies that make cluster bombs and other munitions. Some however, lag behind. What ActionStation members want now is legislative change to ensure that all providers are held to the same standard, and that divestment cannot be reversed.”

ENDS

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