Matt Nippert is a business investigations journalist.

Amnesty International files police complaint over KiwiSaver

Amnesty International has laid a complaint with Auckland Police over reports KiwiSaver providers have made potentially illegal investments in banned weapons.
Amnesty International has laid a complaint with Auckland Police over reports KiwiSaver providers have made potentially illegal investments in banned weapons.

Amnesty International has laid a complaint with Auckland Police over reports KiwiSaver providers have made potentially illegal investments in banned weapons.

The move follows legal advice released last week by Commerce Minister Paul Goldsmith that tens of millions of dollar in investments identified by an Herald investigation into KiwiSaver holdings may be in breach of laws banning cluster bombs, landmines and nuclear warheads.

Goldmith said his office had not laid a formal complaint, but it was up to police to decide to investigate the matter.

Grant Bayldon, executive director of Amnesty International said: "We deserve responsibility from KiwiSaver fund managers. There is no acceptable justification for investing our savings in cluster bombs, landmines and nuclear weapons."

"Given that all of the providers have not immediately divested, we have laid a complaint with the Police against the KiwiSaver managers who continue to hold these investments. Millions of New Zealanders are potentially affected by this," said Bayldon.

The Herald investigation found more than a dozen KiwiSaver providers had made direct investments totalling $43m in companies blacklisted by the government-owned New Zealand Superannuation Fund for making the banned weapons. The funds in question are widely popular, with more than 1.8 million New Zalanders making regular contibutions to them.

Further investigation, by both the Herald and RNZ, found the number of exposed providers widened considerably once underlying holdings of index funds were taken into account.

The unfolding scandal has seen most providers announce a review of investment policies and several - notably Grosnover and AMP - announce plans to divest controversial holdings.

Asked how police were treating the complaint, a spokesperson said: "Police are making enquiries with other agencies to gather more information. This will be assessed as appropriate in due course."

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