The New Zealand Superannuation Fund would be worth $3.2 billion more today if it had performed in line with its ethically invested counterpart in Norway, Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.
The NZ Superfund released performance figures this week showing that the Fund has returned 3.4% per annum on average for the last five years. This compares poorly to similar funds overseas:
Fund performance comparison over last five years:
NZ Super Fund 3.4%
Canadian Pension Fund 4.0%
Australian AusSuper Funds 4.5%
Norwegian Pension Fund 6.6%
"If the New Zealand Superannuation Fund had made similar returns to the Norwegian Pension Fund, it would be worth around $3.2 billion more than it is currently," said Dr Norman.
"Our Fund's relatively poor medium-term performance raises questions over the wisdom of recent investments by the Fund like purchasing Fly Buys and Shell's 229 petrol stations.
"How can the Government add value to retail businesses like petrol stations and Fly Buys? The Superfund should be investing in core infrastructure assets like broadband infrastructure, renewable energy generation and transmission, or the expansion of light rail. These are assets with good prospects for solid returns over the medium-to-long term," said Dr Norman.
The Norwegian Fund is widely regarded has having the best international practice when it comes to their ethical investment record. Unlike the NZ Superfund, they are proactive about divesting from unethical industries.
"Norway's strong investment performance demonstrates that you can provide secure stable returns without risking our international reputation by investing in dodgy industries," said Dr Norman.
"The NZ Superfund invests millions of taxpayer dollars in black-listed companies. For example: Rio Tinto, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, and Barrick Gold have all been cited as causing serious environmental damage from their mining activities. Wal Mart has a terrible labour relations record. BAE, Boeing, and United Technologies manufacture nuclear weapon delivery systems. And companies like Halliburton have profited unjustly from the Iraq war."
"The Norwegians prove that we can make good returns and invest ethically at the same time," said Dr Norman.
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