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
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
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
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
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
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
Council staff are to draft a policy for councillors to sign