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April 3, 2017 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Kiwisaver makes bad investments

At least four of the largest Kiwisaver providers — ANZ, Kiwibank, Mercer, and Westpac — remain part of a passive fund currently financing armaments such as cluster bombs and nuclear weapons.

An investigation undertaken by New Zealand Herald in 2016 found that more than two million people were “unwitting investors in big tobacco companies and makers of banned weapons.”

Sue Brown, former head of regulation at the Financial Markets Authority, said it was unlikely the investment providers themselves were acting “unlawfully,” as the complex nature of the investments meant providers lacked the requisite knowledge.

However the Green Party has pointed to the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009, stating “Parliament’s intention was clear when it passed [the] law.”

The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Jacqui Dean, stressed her expectation that providers remove themselves, but has not set a divestment deadline, declaring it the obligation of each provider to respond to their customers.

Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw has criticised the government’s inaction on the issue, stating, “[they] must set a clear deadline for when all KiwiSaver funds should dump their investments in companies involved in the manufacture of these horrific weapons.”

ANZ told Salient that they were “working on an alternative fund,” while other providers remain in review.

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