Agreement on ethical investment

DCC building in the Octagon. Photo by ODT.
DCC building in the Octagon. Photo by ODT.
The Dunedin City Council has voted to not invest in the munitions, tobacco, fossil fuel extraction, gambling or pornography industries.

It will also divest itself of any investments in those industries within two years, where those investments are more than a certain level of materiality (to be specified).

Councillors yesterday voted to support proposals made by Cr Jinty MacTavish for a new ethical investment policy to be developed for the Waipori Fund.

About 300 submissions were received on the topic as part of the council's annual plan process, most in favour of the council formalising its informal policy not to invest in the munitions and tobacco industries and calling for it to avoid investing in a range of other areas, including many in favour of it not investing in companies involved in extracting fossil fuels.

Those submitters had a win yesterday, although a proposal to stop investment in the alcohol industry failed after Cr Chris Staynes pointed out alcohol was used in many areas, including medicine and as a possible future fuel source.

Several councillors said they had difficulties in relation to various excluded industries, because, for example, they drank or sold alcohol or drove cars.

Crs Kate Wilson and Mike Lord, who co-chaired

the council's infrastructure services committee, said they in particular would feel like hypocrites, as they were in charge of managing highly fossil-fuel reliant city infrastructure.

Cr Wilson, of Middlemarch. noted she was probably the worst offender on the council for fossil fuel consumption.

Cr MacTavish said it was not their fault they were in charge of such a system and noted they were also in charge of the council's integrated transport strategy which guided the city away from such dependence.

Cr Lee Vandervis abstained from voting at all on Cr MacTavish's 14 suggested resolutions, which were taken one by one, because he said the piecemeal way of taking it made it invalid.

He also said he believed a large section of the community did not care what the council invested in, although Mayor Dave Cull pointed out they clearly did, given the number of submissions.

Others, including Crs Andrew Whiley and Hilary Calvert, voted against the exclusion of fossil fuel extraction industries or any of the suggested guiding principles for the fund manager.

The majority of councillors agreed to a phased approach to divestment over no more than two years.

They did not agree the fund manager should exclude reinvestment on the basis that it had an overall negative impact on social and community outcomes, as that would be too broad.

However, he should not invest in things that were illegal in New Zealand, inconsistent with the United Nation's policies on health and safety and child or human rights or expected to result in long-term, permanent or detrimental change to the environment.

Council staff are to draft a policy for councillors to sign off.

Brighter future already


I'm stoked both that a lot of people in Dunedin and Councillors understand the urgency of mitigating climate change.

There is as much scientific consensus that climate change is driven (pun intented) by human activities, as there is that smoking causes lung cancer. 

This is why we don't need to debate whether or not we should do something about climate change- only how and what we can do.




Wow. You can lead a horse to water but you cant make it hold its breath. I thought denial was a river but this shows me that not all the fossils in Dunedin are in the ground.

Cart before the horse?

Since we are neither about to be drowned nor will we ever be...

Raymondo - do please try to keep up.

Apology due, no longer cute

Cr Jinty MacTavish owes Dunedin ratepayers and renters large apology for making the city look bug-eye stupid in the national headlights - in the matter of banning council investment in fossil fuel extraction industries.

The National-led government - and New Zealand people involved in this lucrative industry - has it that prospecting for oil and gas is part of our export future. So it should be.

The council's actions are unlikely to assist central government investment in our region. Clearly, DCC is no longer led by conservative mainstream interests that support work and investment in the existing regional economy or its prospective development.

Note the names of those councillors who thankfully cannot support MacTavish and her entourage.

This is my vote of No Confidence in Cr Jinty MacTavish.

Council managed to get it wrong again.

Council managed to get the cart before the horse again. If we were about to be engulfed by water, or it could be shown we would be sometime fairly soon, I could see the need to reduce the use of carbon based technology as much as was possible if the sea level rise was due to humanly induced global warming.

Since we are neither about to be drowned nor will we ever be and we can not do without oil/petrol/diesel technology, which is the basis of the computer I am typing this on and the source of my walking shoes, I object.

I believe with most people that the city needs the oil industry and its technology and it is hypocritical not to invest in it today, tomorrow and as long as we can, because every other form of fuel and resource is going to cost a whole lot more in the future.

Long live oil and its technology, cars!

Political interference

This sort of political interference will probably happen with the Green Parties "Green Bank" too. Politicians shouldn't do the job of funds managers, especially if there is no public consensus (a large part of Dunedin vocally support the oil and gas industry). 

Double standards

This is double standards of the highest order when they also want the petroleum industry using their port and investing in their economy

Cut nose off to spite face

So Jinty has managed to cut Dunedin's nose off to spite her face. This won't stop offshore exploration because the council has no say in that matter, but it does stop the council profiting from it.

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