Senior citizens tell SuperFund: divest from Israeli occupation

29 Jan

 

A delegation of Auckland superannuitants and the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network met with the CEO of the NZ SuperFund, Adrian Orr and Head of Responsible Investment, Anne-maree O’Conner yesterday, following up an earlier deputation to demand the Fund withdraws from investing in companies participating in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

The group welcomed the news that the SuperFund had recently divested from General Dynamics and other companies previously, and pressed Orr to continue this disengagement.

They tackled the weak argument the SuperFund gives for a lack of proximity in some of its current investments.  The Fund disinvested in settlement building companies in 2012.  However the Fund still refuses to disinvest in companies which provide other services to settlements, such as finance, service stations and telecommunications.  In the vague terms of its stated policy this seems to be because of a ‘lack of proximity’.  The Fund says it will, and has, pull out of companies which ‘customise’ their services to the settlements.  Their arguments seem to be that if a company sells something on the open market, and it finishes up in the settlements, then it is not the company’s fault.  Taken to its logical extreme, the Fund seems to be saying that a company which builds standard sized doors, for instance, can sell them directly to the settlements without a problem, but as soon as it customizes any doors to specifications given it by a settlement customer it has achieved a proximity sufficient for disinvestment.

The delegation pushed for an alternative proximity test which it views as more logical, which is: that if an Israeli company sells a service directly to Israeli settlements, customized or otherwise, then proximity is clear and the Fund should act on it.  They pointed out that there is no difference between an Israeli company actually building settlements and another Israeli company funding the construction of those settlements. Orr stated that their policies are under continual review and that the Fund’s guardians are committed to responsible investments. He agreed to on-going dialogue with the delegation.

The seniors group will continue to pressure the SuperFund to divest, as part of the Palestinian call for international boycott and divestment from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

The video above shows interviews with some of the earlier delegation to the NZ SuperFund.

FullSizeRender
NZ SuperFund CEO, Adrian Orr, deputation members Roger Fowler, Mike Treen, Phil McNeale, Joan McDonald, and NZ SuperFund Head of Responsible Investment, Anne-maree O’Conner at the Auckland office yesterday.

%d bloggers like this: