Tag Archives: New Zealand Superannuation Fund

IHRC Media Release: Indonesia Human Rights Committee applauds NZ Superannuation Fund decision to divest from Freeport McMoran on ethical grounds

PRESS RELEASE
Indonesia Human Rights Committee,

 26 September 2012

IHRC is delighted that the NZ Superannuation Fund has decided to pull its investments from the Freeport McMoran mining giant. (NZ Superannuation Fund Media Release 26 September, 2012. )

‘We have been campaigning for the Superannuation Fund and other Crown Financial Institutes to divest from Freeport for six years and we know the news will be welcomed the West Papuan people who have been campaigning about the mine’s impact on their communities for decades.’

‘The Norwegian Pension Fund divested from Freeport several years ago on environmental grounds, but the NZ Superannuation Fund has stated that the breaches of human rights by the security forces were the critical factor in their decision making. So this is an advance.’

‘We intend to call to the Super Fund Offices in Auckland on Friday to make a personal acknowledgement of this important step.’

Freeport has been directly or indirectly responsible for gross human rights abuses in West Papua since it was first granted a highly favourable contract to exploit gold and copper in the days of the Suharto dictatorship.  These abuses include torture, illegal detentions, and killings.   These days the area close to mine is no-go area and an area where the Indonesian security forces rule the roost.   Shooting deaths are regular occurrence on the access road and last October police killed a miner and injured several others who were carrying out a lawful strike.

According to Rev Socrates Yoman a leading human rights advocate Freeport is like an ATM for the security forces – when there is conflict they can be sure of money.

The mine has destroyed a mountain considered sacred by the indigenous Amungme people and displaced thousands, destroying their forest-based subsistence lifestyle in the process.  Local people live below the poverty line- only Jakarta and the mining magnates get the wealth from the enormously profitable mining enterprise.

Freeport uses a system for disposing of the mine waste tailings in the river system -outlawed almost everywhere else in the world.   Over 200, 000 tonnes of waste a day are deposited in the river leading to the creation of vast dead zone where nothing grows.

For further information; Maire Leadbeater; 09-815-9000 or 0274-436-957

WEST PAPUA: NZ Super Fund ends investment in Freeport mine over human rights breaches

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Item: 8112

WELLINGTON (Radio NZ International / Pacific Media Watch): Human rights breaches have prompted the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to end its investment in the huge Freeport McMoRan copper and gold mine in Indonesia’s West Papua region.

Until now, the fund, of just over US$15 billion, has had just over a US$1 million directly invested in the Grasberg mine, and had rejected calls that this was an inappropriate investment of public money.

But the manager for responsible investment, Ann-Maree O’Connor says the fund has become concerned at a recurrence of security issues at the mine and she says human rights breaches are a key factor.

“The context is such that there have been fatalities at the mine, that there have been reports by MSCI and other sources of information that these have breached human rights standards so we believe that the situation is one that could continue well into the future, and those are the standards that we look at when we considering reviewing the behaviour of companies.”

– The New Zealand Superannunation Fund’s manager for responsible investment, Ann-Maree O’Connor.

The NZ Green Party co-leader, Russel Norman said this was a very positive development.

“The people of West Papua will, I think, receive the information very gratefully, the fact that the New Zealand government, the New Zealand Super Fund is taking a stand against the terrible practices at this mine. I think it’s great news.”

Dr Russel Norman said it was “great” that the Super Fund was taking a stronger ethical stance.

PMW editor: The NZ Superannuation Fund’s involvement in the controversial Freeport mine was challenged in a major investigative article in Metro magazine last December.

The article, written by AUT communication studies student and photojournalist Karen Abplanalp, featured a long-running strike at the mine and the shooting of miners in “suspicious circumstances”.

The allegations were widely reported by Pacific Media Watch.

PMW article on the Super Fund issue

 

http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/pacific-media-watch/west-papua-nz-super-fund-ends-investment-freeport-mine-over-human-rights-breache