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ACC's ethical investment process attacked

The Green Party wants to know whether investing in brewing companies is unethical.

Wednesday, May 14th 2003, 7:00AM

by Philip Macalister

The Green Party has attacked the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) over some of its shareholdings, saying they are contradictory to the organisation’s purpose.

In particular Green MP Sue Bradford singled out investments in DB Breweries and Lion Nathan.

“By making large investments in the brewing industry, ACC is blatantly contradicting one of its core purposes - to reduce accidents and injuries,” Bradford says.

“This is especially the case given the large number of motor vehicle crashes and other accidents that happen when people are under the influence of alcohol.”

However, ACC minister Ruth Dyson says that the corporation’s equity investments are not required to contribute directly to its injury prevention programme. “Those investments help fund accident compensation claimants’ entitlements.”

While Dyson deflected the direct criticism of ACC’s investment policies she did reveal in Parliament that the corporation had not met its mandated “ethical investment” guidelines.

“I am advised that this requirement has not been met by the Accident Compensation Corporation, but having had it drawn both to the corporation’s attention and to my attention, it is highly unlikely that this oversight will be repeated,” Dyson says.

Bradford says she is also concerned about ACC’s investments in mining and pesticide companies, as these activities contributed to significant public health problems.

ACC’s 2002 Annual Report shows equity investments as at 28 June 2002 with a market value of $13.5 million in mining company BHP Billiton, and $9.8 million in pesticide and herbicide manufacturer Nufarm.

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