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NZ NGOs call for Superfund divestment from Israeli war crimes

Posted by investmentwatch on December 3, 2009

Joint Media Release: Global Peace and Justice Auckland, Investment Watch Aotearoa/New Zealand, Palestine Human Rights Campaign

3 December 2009

NZ NGOs call for Superfund divestment from Israeli war crimes

New Zealand peace and justice organisations are today restating a call made four weeks ago for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to divest from Israeli investments as part of a global divestment campaign aimed to put pressure on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Despite two weeks ago announcing a temporary freeze on new settlement construction, 3000 new homes for Israeli settlers in the West Bank will be constructed on Palestinian territory, including annexed East Jerusalem.

The NZ Superannuation Fund currently holds investments in corporations deeply complicit in the belligerent Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights and the blockade of the Gaza Strip. These include Israeli banks, petrol stations and telecommunications companies that operate in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) which calls for the withdrawal of the Israeli military and settlement from the Palestinian West Bank.

The Superfund also holds investments in Boeing, Caterpillar and United Technologies, all of which manufacture military equipment such as fighter jets, attack helicopters and armoured bulldozers complicit in the occupation and used to carry out war crimes in the Gaza strip in January 2009. According to the United Nations Israeli forces launched ‘direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome’ including the shelling of a house where soldiers had forced Palestinian civilians to assemble and the targeting of a mosque at prayer time, resulting in the death of 15 people.

“Four weeks ago New Zealand NGOs asked the Guardians of the Superfund to divest from all corporations involved in supporting the Israeli occupation of the West Bank or in providing the military equipment Israel uses to carry out war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Investment Watch spokesperson Omar Hamed.

“This week the stalled peace process in the Middle East has a chance of being brought back to life but only if the international community puts pressure on the Israeli Government to completely halt and roll back the settlement process in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Just as New Zealand banks and insurance companies once divested from apartheid South Africa, the Superannuation Fund should support the Palestinian civil society call for divestment from the corporations that fuel ongoing conflict in the Middle East,” said Omar Hamed.

“The entire world sits on edge as international diplomats and politicians attempt to broker a ceasefire in Palestine, but until financial institutions around the world like the Superfund refuse to be complicit in the financing of war crimes and illegal settlement, the occupation and thus the conflict will continue,” Mr. Hamed

Omar Hamed is available for comment on 029 4555 789 or omar@unite.org.nz

——–

Investment Watch is a national network campaigning for ethical investment by New Zealand Government funds. It is supported by Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace, Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine, Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Peace Foundation, Peace Movement Aotearoa and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Aotearoa)

Global Peace and Justice Auckland is an umbrella group for organisations and individuals involved in global justice, anti-war and human rights campaigning in the Auckland region.

Palestine Human Rights Campaign campaigns for the defence of Palestinian human rights in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

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New Zealand Superannuation Fund investments in Occupation of Palestinian and Syrian Lands

Posted by investmentwatch on November 10, 2009

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Dear David May, Chair, Guardians of the N.Z. Superannuation Fund,

New Zealand Superannuation Fund investments in Occupation of Palestinian and Syrian Lands

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund currently holds investments in corporations deeply complicit in the belligerent Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights and the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Investments in these corporations materially support the continued Israeli occupation and Israel’s continual violation of United Nations resolutions and international human rights and humanitarian law. Read the rest of this entry »

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Investment Watch – Letter on Nuclear Investments

Posted by investmentwatch on November 10, 2009

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Dear David May, Adrian Orr and the Board of Guardians,

We have been very concerned about the decision of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to limit its divestment of nuclear weapon related companies to those which are involved in producing or testing nuclear weapons.  This means that New Zealand taxpayers are continuing to invest through the Super Fund in companies which are involved in a range of direct nuclear related activities from making the rockets for US Intercontinental Ballistic missiles to maintaining British nuclear weapons bases. Read the rest of this entry »

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Maire Leadbeater: Super Fund has a way to go when it comes to investing ethically

Posted by investmentwatch on January 13, 2009

Demonstrating against Freeport

Demonstrating against Freeport

It was great to hear the New Zealand Super Fund announce this month that it had decided to divest from seven companies involved in cluster munitions and the simulated testing of nuclear explosive devices. Not a moment too soon, considering New Zealand helped to pave the way for the treaty banning cluster munitions, which is now finalised and open for signing.

But there is a long way to go before the fund can really be said to be honouring its ethical investment policy undertaking as a guardian of New Zealand’s “reputation as a responsible member of the world community”.

For a start there is further “nuclear housekeeping” to do, including sweeping out companies that manufacture intercontinental ballistic missiles or supply nuclear weapons facilities. Moreover, in these times, climate change is up there with nuclear weapons as a threat to humanity’s continued existence. So any ethical investing policy must take account of environmental impacts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bouquet and Brickbat for the NZ Superfund

Posted by investmentwatch on January 6, 2009

Superfund

Superfund

Friday, 19 December 2008, 2:35 pm
Press Release: Investment Watch


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,

Auckland. 1125

19 December, 2008

Adrian Orr,

Chief Executive Officer,

and David May, Chairman of the Board of Guardians,

New Zealand Superannuation Fund,                                                                                                           Level 12 Quay Tower, 29 Customs St, West,

Auckland

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.

ends

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Norwegian wealth fund sells stake in Rio Tinto

Posted by omar123 on September 15, 2008

The opencast Grasberg mine in West Papua, Indonesia, has been called one of the worst eyesores in the world
David Robertson, Business Correspondent

One of Rio Tinto’s largest shareholders has sold its £500 million stake in the company over concerns about the Grasberg goldmine, which has been called one of the world’s worst eyesores.

The $375 billion (£213 billion) Norwegian sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday that it had sold its shares after failing to persuade Rio to improve operations at the West Papua mine. Read the rest of this entry »

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Media Release: Divestment from Freeport Urged on CFIs

Posted by omar123 on September 15, 2008

12 September, 2008

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has written to five of the Crown Financial Institutes (CFIs) and to the Minister of Finance calling on each of them to follow the example of the Norway Government Pension Fund and divest from Freeport McMoran Inc and Rio Tinto Corporation. Norway has taken this step after an intense and detailed assessment of the evidence of ‘severe environmental damage’ caused by the operations of the open cast Freeport McMoran gold and copper mine in West Papua. Read the rest of this entry »

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Report from Demo Against Superfund Investments in Freeport

Posted by omar123 on August 18, 2008

crowd.jpg04 Aug 2008

On Friday August 1st, picketers gathered outside the NZ Superfund office in Downtown Auckland to protest against the fund investing taxpayer money in the US mining company Freeport McMoRan. Since 1967 Freeport has been mining copper and gold in, Indonesian Military occupied, West Papua. Every day Freeport’s Grasberg mine dumps 700,000 tonnes of mining waste into Papua’s rivers. The pollution is so bad it can be seen from NASA satellite images from space.

Since it began mining in Papua, Freeport has paid the Indonesian Military to provide security from angry locals. The Indonesian Military is estimated to have killed as many as 100,000 West Papuans since invading in 1963. West Papuans living near the mine have suffered massive human rights abuses. Read the rest of this entry »

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Action against Superfund Investment in Freeport McMoran

Posted by investmentwatch on July 21, 2008

Everyday ordinary West Papuans stare ecocide and genocide in the face with nothing more than their commitment to freedom. Surely we can back them up with a little commitment of our own.

Join the picket of the Superfund office on August 1 and tell the Superfund that our future and the future of the Papuan people is not in Freeport.

West Papua

Where: NZ Superannuation Fund office, outside the AMP building, on the corner of Custom Street West and Albert Street, Auckland CBD.

When: Friday 1 August at 4.30pm -5.30pm

Organised by: Investment Watch Aotearoa New Zealand | investmentwatch.wordpress.com | nowarp@xtra.co.nz

Read the rest of this entry »

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International Women’s Day for Disarmament 2008: Protests, petition and information

Posted by investmentwatch on May 16, 2008

Since 1982, International Women’s Day for Disarmament has been marked on 24 May by women around the world calling for the peaceful resolution of conflict, and an end to the horror and devastation of armed conflict; the destruction of the physical environment by peacetime military training and weapons testing; the diversion of financial, human and other resources into military institutions; and to government support for corporations that profit from death and destruction. This year in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is focusing on the NZ Superannuation Fund (Super Fund) investments in nuclear weapons and cluster munitions producing companies.

There are three sections below: 1) details of the simultaneous protests at the Super Fund offices in Auckland and Wellington on Friday, 23 May; 2) the ‘End government support for military exports’ petition which has just been re-launched for International Women’s Day for Disarmament; and 3) some links to where you can get more information about the Super Fund investments, and about women and disarmament. This message will be available online at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/iwdd08.htm later today.

Read the rest of this entry »

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