On May 14 2021, the New Zealand Green Party published a press release welcoming some new changes to KiwiSaver brought forth by the government, specifically modifications that leave out fossil fuel and illegal arms investments.
What is KiwiSaver?
KiwiSaver is a savings scheme meant to help New Zealanders save up for their retirement. Individuals have the option to contribute 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of their gross salary through a KiwiSaver provider.
Employers are also required to contribute minimum 3% of their employees’ gross salary and there is an annual governmental contribution as well.
Employees have the option to opt out if they
Why are these changes important according to the NZ Greens?
According to the NZ Greens, this new modifications are crucial to ensuring that New Zealanders are not only investing their money more responsibly, but that their future is also better protected.
In the last term, the NZ Greens gathered their efforts to remove fossil fuels from KiwiSaver investments, demonstrating the impact that Greens can have when present in government.
By removing fossil fuel investments from KiwiSaver, New Zealanders are no longer contributing to the fossil fuel industry which is detrimental to the condition of the environment and high mortality rates: “[…] fossil-fuel-related emissions account for about 65% of the excess mortality rate attributable to air pollution […]” (Lelieveld et al., 2019).
Finance Minister Grant Robertson also commented on the Beehive, the official website of the New Zealand government, on these new exclusions: “We know many Kiwis care about where their money is invested, so we are excluding any investments in fossil fuel production. This reflects the Government’s commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change and transitioning to a low-emissions economy”.
Additionally, the changes that are to take place within KiwiSaver also include the removal of illegal weapons and arms investments. In the press release, MP Chlöe Swarbrick added that this would be important in preventing any further “unethical investments” especially regarding war industries.
Finally, Swarbrick ended the press release by stating: “I have a Member’s Bill in the ballot to end investment of all public funds in the mining and production of fossil fuels, and we will continue to work across the Parliament to achieve tangible climate action. Our future isn’t in betting on climate collapse.”
Cited scholarly articles
Lelieveld, J., K. Klingmüller, A. Pozzer, R. T. Burnett, A. Haines, and V. Ramanathan. “Effects of fossil fuel and total anthropogenic emission removal on public health and climate.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116, no. 15 (2019): 7192-7197.