Will Kiwisaver offer a sustainable choice?

Green Party Media Release

Tuesday, February 27th 2007, 9:21AM
The Green Party is calling on Finance Minister Michael Cullen, and the six Kiwisaver default providers, to ensure that New Zealand workers who sign up to Kiwisaver are offered the choice of a socially and environmentally sustainable investment option.

"Many New Zealanders signing up to the Kiwisaver scheme starting in July would like the opportunity to sign up to a superannuation scheme that invests in a socially responsible manner," says Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader and Economics' Spokesperson.

"It would be great if we had a Kiwisaver option that was creating a better world for our children, rather than investing in nuclear weapons, coal mines, child labour, toxic waste and the rest.

"But at this stage it is very unclear whether the six default providers chosen by the Government will give workers the option of investing their money sustainably.

"I have written to the default providers - AMP, ASB, ING, Mercer, AXA, and Tower - and asked them what socially responsible investment options they will be offering New Zealand workers. It is imperative that at least one of the default providers gives workers the option of investing their money in companies that are not destroying our future.

"I have heard that there is at least one socially responsible investment fund that is planning to apply to become a Kiwisaver provider (i.e. in addition to the default providers). But the regulatory obstacles placed in the way of small socially responsible investment funds are very high.

"I would encourage Dr Cullen to do everything in his power to make it easy for socially responsible investment funds to become registered as Kiwisaver providers.

"If Dr Cullen really wants to encourage workers to save more, he should ensure that we are offered a socially and environmentally sustainable Kiwisaver option.

"The choices we make about where to invest our superannuation savings will influence whether the world we find when we retire is the kind of world we'd like to leave to our children. We need a socially responsible option," Dr Norman says.

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