New Zealand Super to Divest from Seven Gun Companies

Christchurch shootings, tighter firearm laws make for a quick decision from fund’s guardians.

Following its proxy coalition against tech companies following the Christchurch massacre, the New Zealand Superannuation fund has announced divestment from seven gun manufacturers.

The decision, from the body that manages the retirement fund, called the guardians, is in line with a new law passed on April 10. The measure, which tightens gun laws, won by an overwhelming vote in favor in Parliament.

The NZ$41 billion super fund ($27.7 billion) will divest from companies “involved in the manufacture of civilian automatic and semi-automatic firearms, magazines or parts prohibited under New Zealand law,” according to the organization. It will remove about $12 million worth of stocks from American Outdoor Brands, Daicel, NOF, OLIN, Richemont, Sturm, Ruger, and Vista Outdoor.

The guardians, which Chief Executive Officer Matt Whineray said “moved swiftly” on the action, indicated that more firearm makers could be barred from super investments in the future.

“Continued investment in companies producing these weapons is now inconsistent with New Zealand Government policy,” Whineray told CIO. “We take this, the will of the New Zealand people as expressed through our Parliament, into consideration in determining how we will meet one of our mandated responsibilities as New Zealand’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, to ‘avoid prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community.’”

Guns are not the only thing the fund bans. It also restricts companies involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions, nuclear explosive device testing, anti-personnel mines, tobacco, whale meat processing, and recreational cannabis. Businesses that violate investment standards, such as the UN Global Compact, and have been unwilling to engage with the fund, are also excluded.

“We do not categorically exclude the entire armaments sector from our portfolio,” said Whineray. “We are led by international agreements and New Zealand legislation which has to date focused more on controversial weapons and nuclear weapons. “

The fund’s most recent exclusion list is available for download here.

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