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New Zealand giant lists cluster bomb bans after $37m sell-off

Blacklist comes after recent signing of international treaty in Norway.

The $12bn New Zealand Superannuation Fund has sold $37m worth of shares in companies associated with the manufacture of cluster munitions and the manufacture or testing of nuclear explosive devices. The ban comes after the New Zealand government ratified the recent signing in Norway of an international agreement banning the production of cluster bombs.
Other state pension funds including Sweden’s AP buffer funds, the €250bn Norwegian Government Pension Fund and the €21.3bn ($32.7bn) Irish National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) have already divested or are preparing to pull their money from related companies. The New Zealand fund said it had sold holdings in six companies involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions: Goodrich Corporation, L-3 Communications, Northrup Grumman, Poonsang Corporation, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. The latter along with Honeywell International have been additionally blacklisted for their involvement in the simulated testing of nuclear explosive devices. Hanwha also features on the cluster bombs blacklist although the fund does not own shares in the company. The total divestment was worth or 0.3% of the fund’s portfolio.In 2006, the fund blacklisted four companies: Textron Systems, Singapore Technologies, Alliant Techsystems and General Dynamics for their involvement in the production of anti-personnel landmines. Other past exclusions have included companies involved in whaling and tobacco. Adrian Orr, Guardians chief executive officer, said: “Today’s announcement follows the New Zealand Government joining with 93 other nations in signing an international treaty banning the production or use of cluster munitions, and a comprehensive review of the nuclear weapons issue. We will continue to review our portfolio through our specialist screening agencies to ensure our list of excluded companies remains up-to-date.” The Guardians of the New Zealand fund are required to invest the fund to avoid prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community. French insurance company AXA has also announced that it has finalised the divestment of holdings in companies that produce or sell cluster bombs, following a policy announcement in July 2007. In 2006, the group also pulled out of companies producing or selling anti-personnel landmines in line with the 1997 Ottawa Convention.