Question of ethics

The council has been left with a lot to mull over when it comes to settling on an ethical investment strategy for the Waipori Fund.

Most of the 300 submissions as part of the annual plan process favoured ethical investment, but a large range of views about what constituted ''ethical'' were shared with councillors.

Submitters said the council should avoid investing in everything from armaments and tobacco - which there was broad agreement on - to brothels and bottled water companies.

Many people urged the council not to invest in companies involved in extracting fossil fuels.

Dr Bruce Hamill said investing in fossil fuels meant playing ''Russian roulette'' with St Kilda and parts of South Dunedin, which were under threat from sea level rises.

Methodist Mission chief executive Laura Black said the fund should be more than about maximising ''shareholder return''. For example, the council should not fund building a new stadium in Christchurch or an international airport in Invercargill.

Peter Dowden said the council should avoid investing in Israel unless Israel withdrew from the West Bank.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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