Clearing bombs, clearing Kiwisaver

A couple of things came up yesterday related to bombs – the Police have indicated there is no evidence indicating that Kiwisaver funds illegally invested in arms manufacturers.

At about the same time John Key announced giving $11.5 million to Laos to help them claim old bombs.

Stuff: Prime Minister John Key pledges $11.5m to help clear unexploded munitions in Laos

New Zealand has contributed $11.5 million to help support clearing unexploded munitions in Laos.

Prime Minister John Key made the announcement in Vientiane where he is attending the East Asian Summit and met with Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

“Laos is the most heavily bombed country on earth by head of population and is still clearing around 80 million pieces of unexploded munitions left over from the war in Indochina during the 1960s and 1970s,” Key said.

For 20 years New Zealand has been helping with the clean-up.

“We still have about 40 or 50 people a year being either killed or losing limbs by these bombs going off,” he said.

US President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday a further $90m over a three-year period to speed up the process of clearing Laos. 

Large areas, often including schools, currently have to be cleared in order to diffuse a bomb, which can cause a large amount of damage.

However, New Zealand technology will be trialled and used over the next couple of years to melt casings “without having to dig up or explode each piece,” Key said.

It’s good that New Zealand is helping Laos clean up, but it’s a huge long term job.

In the meantime:

Kiwisaver / Cluster Munitions Act assessment complete
Thursday, 8 September 2016, 12:34 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Police
Police and FMA complete assessment – Kiwisaver / Cluster Munitions Act
The Police, in consultation with the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), have completed an assessment into whether the Cluster Munitions Act (“Act”) is likely to have been breached by New Zealand KiwiSaver fund managers.

A feature of fund management is the fact that fund managers generally buy their securities on traded markets, so these are shares traded between shareholders as opposed to providing funds to the companies that produce these weapons.

Additionally, New Zealand fund managers also place money with offshore fund managers, who may undertake share trading on overseas markets, rather than the New Zealand fund managers investing directly.

There are significant threshold issues with regard to establishing breaches of the Act, and at this stage there is no evidence to indicate offending.

Should there be any new evidence that comes to light this will be assessed and acted on as required. 

With investment funds investing in investment funds, and with often convoluted  company ownership, it can be difficult ensuring that investments are ‘ethical’.

I certainly don’t want to be investing in cluster bomb manufacturing, or any bomb manufacturing. But it’s more of a ‘feel good’ stance than effective, if no New Zealander invested in any arms manufacturer, directly or indirectly, it would do nothing to stop man made carnage.

It also gets complicated when a company may have an association with the manufacture of arms but also manufactures things that are useful and ‘ethical’.

And it gets very complicated when you consider the reality that arms are needed to defend as well as to attack, and when bad people attack someone has to defend with something.

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1 Comment

  1. “in order to diffuse a bomb”

    One of Stuff’s trained monkeys using a spell checker as a proofreader.


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