New Zealand fund drops 3 firms over Israeli settlement construction
By Kevin Olsen | December 13, 2012 12:17 pm
New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Auckland, excluded from its investment portfolio three companies involved in the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, confirmed Catherine Etheredge, spokeswoman for the NZ$20 billion (US$16.9 billion) fund.
The companies are Africa-Israel Investments and its subsidiary Danya Cebus, Elbit Systems and Shikun & Binui.
The findings by the United Nations that the separation barrier and settlement activities were illegal under international law were central to the fund's decision to exclude the companies, Anne-Maree O'Connor, manager, responsible investment, said in a news release.
Officials at the superannuation fund also viewed the activities by the companies to be inconsistent with the U.N. Global Compact, which is a key benchmark it uses to measure corporate behavior.
All three stocks were held in the fund's passive global equity portfolio. Elbit shares, valued around NZ$37,000, were sold after the company was deleted from MSCI indexes in June. The fund had about NZ$30,000 invested in the other two companies as of Oct. 31. Shares in all of the companies have now been sold, Ms. Etheredge said in an e-mail.