Monday, December 17, 2012

New Zealand Super Fund "Divests" from Israel

The New Zealand Super Fund (the government fund, also known as the "Cullen" fund) have announced that they have 'divested' from 3 companies linked with the Settlement Activity in the West Bank.

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund today announced that it had excluded three companies from its $20 billion investment portfolio on responsible investment grounds.
Findings by the United Nations that the Separation Barrier and settlement activities were illegal under international law were central to the Fund’s decision to exclude the companies, said Manager, Responsible Investment Anne-Maree O’Connor.
The Fund also factored in votes by New Zealand for UN Security Council resolutions demanding the cessation and dismantling of the Separation Barrier, and the cessation of Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Fund also viewed the companies’ activities to be inconsistent with the UN Global Compact, the key benchmark against which the Fund measures corporate behaviour.

The companies in question are Elbit Systems Ltd, Shikun & Binui and Africa Israel Investments and subsidiary Danya Cebus.

They have quoted a few things from the UN, but there is no mention exactly as to what these companies are doing, or how they were contacted for response.

This is quite concerning, as they seem to have done this purely to get rid of some nuisance noises being made.  This smells of Lois Griffiths' crew - who are continual agitators in New Zealand.  This was announced in September - does it sound similar?

Petition 2008/143 of Lois Griffiths
and 382 others
Report of the Commerce Committee
The Commerce Committee has considered Petition 2008/143 of Lois Griffiths and 382
others, requesting “that the New Zealand Parliament ask the Guardians of the NZ
Superfund to disinvest the Fund from Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S and three major
Israeli banks: Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi and Israel Discount Bank”, and has no matters
to bring to the attention of the House.

Jonathan Young

So you see, they were actually trying for a period of 18 months to get the Cullen fund to divest from all Israeli companies.

This got very little attention in New Zealand.  The amounts were very small (and it Elbit's case, no money at all).  But I think it sets a bad precedent.

The only recognition I saw was from the Green Party, and from Russell Norman, not the usual spokesperson - Kennedy Graham. While they "welcomed" it, it appears they were not involved in the action.

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