NZ Breaches International Convention | The Jackal

29 Aug 2011

NZ Breaches International Convention

If the flagrant abuse of New Zealand's Nuclear Free Legislation I blogged about yesterday wasn't bad enough, it was also revealed by the Greens that the New Zealand Superannuation Fund Board of Trustees invested $2.5 million in five companies involved in the production of cluster bombs.

Many countries have banned the manufacture, use and trade of cluster munitions, including New Zealand. 

But did you know that three of these cluster bomb manufacturers that have received Super funds are also involved in the nuclear weapons industry? Gencorp's wholly owned subsidiary Aerojet Ordnance Tennessee Inc. produces uranium weapons, The Kaman Corporation was involved in nuclear weapons testing and Tata Power is involved in R&D that has applications for building fusion reactors and thermonuclear weapons in India.

This information was easily accessed on the internet. Some of the companies like Saab AB and Zodiac Aerospace are on published investment exclusion lists, so there is no excuse that the Superannuation Fund Board of Trustees did not know what these companies get up to.

By investing in three out of five of these companies, the Superannuation Fund Board of Trustees has broken the law on two counts. Once by ignoring the Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 and then again by ignoring the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The CCM is an international treaty that prohibits the use, transfer and stockpile of cluster bombs.

New Zealand signed the convention on the 3rd December 2008, ratified it on the 22nd December 2009 and it was enforceable from the 1st August 2010. Countries that ratify the convention will be obliged never under any circumstances:
(a) Use cluster munitions;
(b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions;
(c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
What's the point in having laws if arrogant people like the Superannuation Fund Board of Trustees just ignores them? As well as the the yellow cake debacle, these breaches undermine New Zealand's nuclear free status. Perhaps that's exactly what they are hoping to achieve. It's enough to make David Lange turn in his grave.