Amnesty International files police complaint over Kiwisaver investments

Today Amnesty International has filed a complaint with the New Zealand Police, calling for an investigation into Kiwisaver fund managers investing client funds in the production of cluster bombs, nuclear weapons and landmines.

The Minister of Commerce, Paul Goldsmith, has noted that the Police is the appropriate agency to investigate possible violations of the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act (2009), the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and the Arms Control Act (1987) and the Anti-Personnel Mines Prohibition Act (1998).

“We deserve responsibility from Kiwisaver fund managers. There is no acceptable justification for investing our savings in cluster bombs, landmines and nuclear weapons.

Grant Bayldon, Executive Director of Amnesty International New Zealand.

If people do not pick a scheme when they enrol in Kiwisaver, they are automatically allocated to one of nine default providers. Of these, the following were reported as investing in at least one of the blacklisted assets of cluster bombs, landmines or nuclear weapons: ANZ, ASB, Westpac, AMP, Mercer and Fisher Funds. More than 500,000 people are enrolled in default schemes.

On Friday 26 August, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a briefing on the applicability of legislation to Kiwisaver funds investing in weapons manufacturers.

“Amnesty International has worked hard for years to get these weapons banned because of the appalling injuries they cause to women, children and men caught up in conflict,” said Bayldon. “As a country, we wouldn’t accept having these weapons here. We should have no part of the deep hypocrisy of inflicting the misery they bring on other people around the world.”

These offences are serious under New Zealand legislation. For example, a violation of the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act is punishable by seven years’ imprisonment.

“Given that all of the providers have not immediately divested, we have laid a complaint with the Police against the Kiwisaver managers who continue to hold these investments. Millions of New Zealanders are potentially affected by this,” said Bayldon.

“When it comes to Kiwisaver, we don’t want our ethics locked up out of sight.”