Written questions made to parliament by the Greens, revealed that the Super Fund still holds investments in five companies that make cluster bombs.
They could be in breach of the Government’s commitments under the international convention on cluster munitions signed in 2009, the party said in a media release today.
The Super Fund still holds investments in GenCorp, Kaman, Saab AB, Tata Power and Zodiac Aerospace even though they stated in December 2008 that they would divest from such companies.
Cluster bombs kill indiscriminately and are responsible for more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 1999 than any other weapon system.
“I think the average New Zealander would be shocked to know their retirement savings are being invested in cluster bombs,” said Russel Norman, co-leader of the Green Party.
“Profiting from the production of cluster munitions is immoral and an embarrassment to the reputation of the Government’s Superannuation Fund,” he said.
The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation denies that New Zealand’s obligations under the Cluster Munitions Convention are being breached.
However, in response to the Green’s questions, the Super Fund said it would continue to verify whether the companies in which it had invested were manufacturing cluster bombs.
Screening of the Super portfolio would continue to ensure that the list of excluded companies was current.
Investments in companies are “held passively” moving in and out of the Fund according to its market capitalisation rather than through active ‘stock picking’.
“We note that the combined value of the holdings is a small fraction of one percent of the fund,” said the guardians.
“As is often the case, there is doubt and disagreement about key facts, among investors like us who research these issues,” they said.
The Superannuation fund has also been caught investing in the whaling and tobacco industries in the past, said Dr Norman.
“We are growing increasingly concerned that the Superannuation Fund is repeatedly breaching its own guidelines on ethical investment. Their repeated oversights risk serious damage to our reputation as a responsible member of the world community,” he said.
The Super Fund’s investments included $9.3 million in companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons, $29.7 million in firms responsible for environment destruction, $17.5 in companies responsible for human rights violations and $2.7 million was invested in a company providing weapons to the Burmese Government, said Dr Norman.