Opposition meltdown over KiwiSaver divestment | The Jackal

2 Mar 2020

Opposition meltdown over KiwiSaver divestment

It was amusing to see National and Act react so badly last week to the Coalition Government’s decision to increase core benefits slightly. But it was absolutely hilarious to see them and their propagandists go into full meltdown about the announcement that KiwiSaver funds will be divested away from fossil fuel and illegal weapons companies.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Fossil fuels and illegal weapons to be excluded from future Kiwisaver default funds 
Fossil fuels and illegal weapons will be excluded from all future Kiwisaver default funds. 
The changes announced on Saturday mean investments in fossil fuel production and illegal weapons will be excluded from future KiwiSaver funds that are default providers. 
There are currently nine default fund providers, and their terms expire in mid-2021. 
The new rules will apply to the default funds that are in place from mid-2021 and the process to appoint new default providers starts later this year.

Well I guess silly opposition MPs had to say something about the divestment, but none of them could actually point to any evidence to support their unfounded claims that it was somehow a bad thing.

Instead, they simply based their feckless rhetoric on speculation that fossil fuel and weapons investments provide better returns and by doing so showed that they’re firmly in the pockets of those immoral industries.

Yesterday, Newshub also reported:

National, ACT and oil industry slam KiwiSaver's move away from fossil fuels 
National finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith called it "nanny state" and "virtue signalling", saying Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should be focused on shoring up the economy against the coronavirus threat. 
"Is Ardern also going to ban New Zealanders from investing in products which contain sugar, or fast food, alcohol and dairy? With this government it wouldn’t surprise me if while they ban investing in these things, they make investing in marijuana compulsory."

Goldsmith can't be serious? Saying fast foods are just like illegal cluster bombs or products containing sugar are similar to anthropomorphic climate change is stark raving mad! What a complete crackpot!

ACT's David Seymour called it "gesture politics". 
"It is a feel-good decision that will be counterproductive, hurting the economy for no environmental benefit. Labour and the Greens are so badly out of touch with how the real world works and New Zealanders will pay the price." 
Neither party mentioned anything about the land mine and cluster bombs ban in their statements. 

So National and Act said nothing about the illegal weapons divestment. That's likely because they would look even more foolish if they came out and openly supported things like cluster bombs or land mines, even though they do actually back these kinds of investments and have done so for many years.

It’s great to see that people power has won again. The Divest from fossil fuels campaign, championed by the good people at 350.org, was a well thought out and executed campaign that has had a number of victories around the world.

Here's 350.org’s post about the latest decision to divest:

We did it! Together we pushed the government to put climate change at the core of its decision to reform default Kiwisaver standards. Today the government announced that all default Kiwisaver funds will have mandatory responsible investment policies that exclude fossil fuel investments. This means that when anyone signs up to join Kiwisaver, they are now guaranteed that the default option for their savings will not be fueling the climate crisis.

Fantastic! It's victories like these that make me think we might just win the war against the creeping behemoth that is climate change. But to do so we must ensure oil and gas companies are impeded at every turn...and we must strongly convey our message to administrations around the world to convince them that their governance depends on finding solutions and implementing readily available alternatives to the destructive fossil fuel industry.