27 Aug 2016

Govt not showing 'moral leadership' on KiwiSaver

2:07 pm on 27 August 2016

The Labour Party says the Commerce Minister should step in to ensure KiwiSaver providers are not investing in the manufacture of cluster bombs.

A man de-mines a road behind a warning sign at Sri Lanka,in 2009.

A man de-mines a road behind a warning sign at Sri Lanka, in 2009. Photo: AFP

RNZ revealed last week that the money of hundreds of thousands of KiwiSaver members in government-appointed default schemes was invested in companies making cluster bombs and anti-personnel mines.

Official advice provided to the Minister of Commerce stated that knowingly investing in companies that made cluster bombs was illegal under a law passed in 2009.

The minister, Paul Goldsmith, said it was up to the police to decide whether to investigate those KiwiSaver providers.

Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said Mr Goldsmith was responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers and setting the conditions under which they operate, so he should take action in the matter.

"I would have thought it was at least a basic responsibility for the minister to ensure that something he had oversight for was in accordance with the law," Mr Robertson said.

"He needs to step up and do his job."

Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter also said Mr Goldsmith's response was not good enough.

"I think National's really out of touch, I think they're failing to show responsibility and (the) moral leadership that New Zealanders really expect from their government."

It would not be hard for the government to make KiwiSaver providers invest legally and ethically, she said.

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