30 Aug 2007

New Zealand SuperFund and NGOs meet over controversial investments

7:18 pm on 30 August 2007

The New Zealand SuperFund is yet to say whether it will rid itself of controversial investments, but a group of New Zealand NGOs believe they are making progress in having the government agency reconsider some deals.

Eight NGOs have raised concerns about investments they consider harmful to the wellbeing of the planet and New Zealand's regional neighbours.

One is with the huge American gold and copper miner, Freeport McMorRan, which has been implicated in human rights abuses and widespread environmental destruction in Indonesia's Papua region.

The SuperFund team says it needs to know what ordinary New Zealanders think about Freeport, and this can be difficult, but Maire Leadbetter of the Indonesian Human Rights Committee disputes this.

"Because whenever I am in a situation of talking to people about the Freeport McMoRan mine and perhaps show them a graphic picture of the kind of environmental damage that it does and explain to them the social problems attendant on the mine, most people are very shocked that the New Zealand government should have an investment in this."

Superfund would not make any statement on the outcome of the meeting.