Virtue signalling with other people’s money

03/03/2020

The government is virtue signalling again:

The government is being accused of ‘virtue-signalling’ after banning KiwiSaver default funds from investing in fossil fuel companies.

A number of changes will be made to how the default funds are run, including the new ban.

KiwiSaver members are allocated a default provider if they don’t actively choose a KiwiSaver fund – and nearly 700,000 people are currently in that situation. . . 

People who do this are likely to be inexperienced investors.

Sam Stubbs from the KiwiSaver provider Simplicity said fossil fuel companies were not delivering great returns, so were not a hot pick for investing at the moment anyway.

Excluding fossil fuel investment in itself was not that controversial, he said, but it was notable the government was targeting individuals’ funds.

“There’s always the risk of moral hazard … where the government is playing God about where your money should be invested.” . . 

Whose money is it? It’s the investors’ and the government shouldn’t be coming between them and their providers.

Chief Executive of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association, John Carnegie, said while the industry was on board with the transition to renewable energy, he did not believe the government should be dictating which investments are acceptable.

The choice should be made by the saver, he said, in part because deciding what is “responsible or not is highly subjective”.

Stubbs agreed, saying people might not like plastics for example.

“And you might say let’s get rid of plastics … that means you get rid of all shoes, ear implants, heart valves, plastics are in everything – there are very obviously some bad things but some great things as well, all of these things are judgements.”

With investors already worried about their KiwiSaver balances due to uncertainty created by the Covid-19 virus, National’s Paul Goldsmith said the government has chosen now to “meddle” with their investments.

“The coronavirus will have a huge effect on our economy, an economy that is weaker than it should be because of this government’s poor economic management.

“Instead of focussing on ways to improve this, the government is tinkering around the edges and indulging in virtue signalling”, he said. . . 

If KiwiSaver providers sell shares in fuel companies they will be bought by someone else and that will have absolutely no impact on the companies nor will it have any impact on the environment.

It is virtue signalling with other people’s money.

While this particular intervention will probably have little impact on returns for the funds, it establishes a very dangerous precedent. If it’s fuel companies this time, it could easily be something else that would negatively impact on people’s retirement funds next time.

It’s not the government’s money. It belongs  to individual investors and they government should not be telling them, or their KiwiSaver provider, what to do with it.

 


Rural round-up

17/06/2013

40% productivity rise realistic – Sally Rae:

On-farm productivity gains in the New Zealand sheep industry over the past 25 years have been an ”extraordinary story”, AbacusBio consultant Dr Peter Fennessy says.

Productivity, which drove profitability, had been increasing at about 2.5% a year, which he attributed to a combination of genetics and management.

There had been genetic improvement through consolidation of the ram-breeding sector and larger ram-breeding flocks, and uptake of new technology (rams and pasture) and better pasture management. . .

Working within cap on nitrogen – Sally Rae:

“As a nation, we cannot continue to have conversations about protecting water quality without having a parallel set of conversations that redefine the New Zealand farming business model.”

So says Taupo farmer and entrepreneur Mike Barton, who, when faced with what was effectively a cap on stock numbers, sought to increase the value of the product he produced.

A nitrogen cap was imposed on farmers around Lake Taupo to protect its water quality, with 35,000ha of land now covenanted for 999 years to remove 20% of manageable nitrogen. . .

Fonterra invests further $30m into Whareroa:

Fonterra has announced a further $30 million investment to expand its Dry Distribution Centre at its Whareroa site in Taranaki.

This follows a $23 million upgrade of the Whareroa coolstores last year, bringing the total capital investment in the logistics infrastructure on site to more than $50 million since 2011.

Fonterra Director of Logistics, Mark Leslie, says the project is part of Fonterra’s overall drive to simplify their supply chain and reduce the associated costs.

“These investments are part of a strategy to deliver more products, more directly to ports for export. . . “

Fieldays; washer cleans up– Jackie Harrigan:

Taranaki dairy farmer Simon Washer made a clean sweep of the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year Competition for 2013.

After a busy week of an Amazing Race through the North Island followed by a series of eight challenges at Mystery Creek, 25-year-old Simon won the People’s Choice Award – having built his Facebook following to more than 700 likes – before being presented with the Golden Gumboot Award for overall Rural Bachelor of the Year.

Simon is sharemilking in coastal Taranaki and a motor-cross and trail riding fan who is also involved in Young Farmers and chairman of his local club. . .

Green’s Taranaki claims poppycock – Harvey Leach:

What we saw on TV3’s Campbell Live about landfarming in Taranaki and then got from a Green Party media release was straight out of the conspiracy theorists’ playbook.

The Green Party called on Fonterra to stop taking milk from land in Taranaki that it said had been spread with oil and fracking waste, which included toxic chemicals.

This divides things into “everyone even remotely involved-qualified versus me”. In our case, those remotely involved-qualified were landowners, Fonterra, Taranaki Regional Council, petroleum companies and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association. The “me” in this story was the Green Party of Dr Russel Norman. . .

 


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