Most New Zealanders don’t realise our hard-earned savings are being invested in the world’s biggest polluters. To be exact, over $500 million is cut from our paychecks for the top 20 fossil fuel companies who are responsible for 30% of the world’s emissions. The Government’s KiwiSaver scheme is supposed to help us to save for our futures. But currently, our investments are compromising our chances for a safe climate. But we can change that.
It’s vital we take this opportunity now. The review of default KiwiSaver settings only happens every 7 years. As brutal fires rage across Australia and Malaysia, it’s clear what is at stake if we don’t shift our energy system immediately – cutting finance to coal, oil, and gas projects is a crucial part of that. We simply cannot afford another 7-year cycle of risky fossil fuel investments.
What are the benefits of a mandatory exclusion of fossil fuels?
- It would prioritise investments in clean energy and indicate the government’s commitment to a fast and just transition to a zero-carbon economy.
- It would send a clear message that the age of the fossil fuel industry is over and that any future investments in coal, oil, and gas are risky and irresponsible.
- It would hold investment fund providers to account, ensuring our money cannot be used to prop up harmful industries, setting a new precedent in the finance sector.
- And, it would push the demand for fossil-free portfolios from big global investment fund providers, like Vanguard, which currently supply many of our funds.
Last month, Hon. Grant Robertson announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. The upcoming decision on default KiwiSaver settings will be the first opportunity the government has to deliver on his promise “to take on the challenges of reforming fiscal policy and the financial system to address the impacts of climate change”. The decision on default KiwiSaver settings lies with Hon Kris Faafoi and Hon Grant Robertson and will be put past Cabinet before the end of the year.
Two weeks ago we asked our supporters for your thoughts on default KiwiSavers being invested in fossil fuels. The response was incredible. Thank you to the hundreds of you who took the time to give us feedback. While being extremely concerned about climate change, most of you do not have the time, nor the access to information to know whether your KiwiSaver is invested in fossil fuels. But now knowing that you most likely do, it’s a big concern for you. You see it as the responsibility of the government to ensure no one is inadvertently financing coal, oil, and gas projects.
It’s important we have a say in where our savings for our futures go. Today we can make the call to transform our economy so that our savings go towards building community resilience, renewable energy, and providing meaningful jobs for everyone. The shift will be bold and well planned, but at the end of the day, that’s what taking climate change seriously looks like.