Super Fund Should Not Support Unethical Investment
*Indonesia Human Rights Committee
* 15 October, 2008
*Media Release: If the Super Fund invests more locally it should first clean out unethical international investments
*National leader John Key advocates that the Super Fund invests in up to 40% New Zealand companies. A good place to start would be by cleaning out deeply unethical international investments. The Super Fund currently invests in a plethora of companies involved with environmental destruction and the production of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.
“We have long been lobbying for the Fund to divest from US Corporation, Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold and its joint venture partner, Rio Tinto Inc because of the irreparable harm these companies are doing to the environment and the people of Indonesian controlled West Papua,” said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the Indonesian Human Rights Committee.
The four decade operation of the Freeport McMoran open pit copper and gold mine has caused untold suffering to the local people and devastated a vast area of once pristine rainforest, alpine valleys and mangrove estuary. Freeport has already poured over a billion tons of tailings sludge directly into the local rivers and created a massive dead zone in places up to 15 metres deep. Freeport makes direct payments to the Indonesian military for “protection” despite its black record of repressing local opposition by force and fostering inter-communal conflict. *(*Combined Rio Tinto and Freeport investment: over $17 million.)
The Fund also invests a total of more than $39 million in 5 companies that are involved in producing or maintaining nuclear delivery systems or mounting simulations of nuclear explosions: Northrop Grumman, Boeing, United Technologies, Honeywell and BAE Systems.
The giant Norway Pension Fund has divested from all of these controversial companies for ethical reasons. Norway’s most recent divestment was from Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto. The Ethics Council of the Norway Fund concluded that Rio Tinto must share the blame for Freeport’s severe and irreversible environmental damage.
“The Super Fund is investing our taxes – investing more locally would be a good opportunity to shift focus and leave behind these nuke companies and stop supporting the notorious Freeport McMoran mine.”