Super Fund Invests in Nuclear Weapons | The Jackal

28 Aug 2011

Super Fund Invests in Nuclear Weapons

Last Wednesday it was revealed that the New Zealand superannuation fund holds 44,595 shares worth $2,082,736 in a Mumbai-based multinational company called Larsen and Toubro, which in partnership with the Indian Navy, is involved in designing and manufacture a fleet of nuclear-armed submarines for India. But that's not all Larsen & Toubro (L&T) India's largest engineering group gets up to...
L&T is an international supplier of heavy engineering components for the nuclear industry. It is one of only ten major nuclear-qualified ASME accreditation heavy engineering enterprises worldwide. L&T is also involved in India's nuclear weapons program, which makes the super fund investment into L&T highly questionable.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said:
"It was grossly irresponsible for the Fund to be making money out of nuclear proliferation in a region of the world which was highly unstable. To profit from the proliferation of their nuclear weapons capability undermines our status as a nuclear-free nation and stands completely against the intent of the treaty," Dr Norman said. 
It's far worse than just being "grossly irresponsible," though. It has been illegal for New Zealander's to invest in Nuclear weapons development since 1987, when New Zealand's Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act was implemented. The Act states:
5 Prohibition on acquisition of nuclear explosive devices

(2) No person, who is a New Zealand citizen or a person ordinarily resident in New Zealand, and who is a servant or agent of the Crown, shall, beyond the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, -
(a) manufacture, acquire, or possess, or have control over, any nuclear explosive device; or
(b) aid, abet, or procure any person to manufacture, acquire, possess, or have control over any nuclear explosive device.
Being that Larsen and Toubro is building the nuclear powered submarines that will be able to deploy nuclear weapons, they develop numerous nuclear power plants worldwide and they also help to develop nuclear missiles, this is a breach of the Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act. The Act goes on to state:
4 Offences and penalties

(1) Every person commits an offence against this Act who contravenes orfails to comply with any provision of sections 5 to 8.
(2) Every person who commits an offence against this Act is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.
Clearly there has been a breach of the Act by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund's Board of Trustees. It would be interesting to know if they understood they were breaking the law by signing off on an investment into a nuclear weapons company. I surmise that the Board of trustees would have had legal advice, and are therefore culpable for the crime committed.