I'm going to come out and agree with the Greens. This morning they're making a fuss in the news about the investment by the Government's Superannuation Fund in oil company ExxonMobil, claiming the oil company is active in funding what the Greens call "the climate change denial industry" and saying "that's inappropriate given New Zealand's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol." In this of course they're just echoing the latest campaign of the vast green world conspiracy to strangle funding for anyone other than prophets of doom.
The Government Superannuation Fund naturally enough pointed out that Mobil Exxon are as good as any other company; and Peter Thornbury, the public affairs manager for Mobil Oil New Zealand, pointed out that his company supported a range of organisations. "They don't speak on our behalf and nor do we control their views and messages." And that's true.
You might also remember not so long ago that I called attention to the fact that climate change science is not settled, and drew attention to those like George Reisman and Patrick Moore who point out that trying to squelch climate change debate by having opponents denounced as "deniers" is both wrong and bad science. And you might also recall the analysts who have pointed out (with only some small surprise) that the returns on the Super Fund for the last two years have been good, so on that basis the credentials so far on which it's important for the Super Fund's managers to be judged -- ie., that they're making money rather than losing it -- are good. (But it is still early days.)
So why then do I agree with the Greens? I agree with them because the Government Superannuation Fund gets it money to invest from the pockets of you and me -- without any say in that by either you or me -- and if either you or I have a problem with where that money goes, there is nothing we can do about that short of making a fuss in the news.
I say it's wrong that your own money is taken from you to fund or invest in that of which you strongly disapprove, and that, to me, is one of the fundamental problems with the Government Superannuation Fund: not just that the entire retirement eggs of all New Zealanders are wrapped up in that one little basket, but that our own money is being taken off us by force to make investment choices with which some of us might disagree.
In this, I might disagree with what the Greens disapprove of (and I do), but I do defend their right to object to having their own money invested in such places. On that, I agree with them entirely.
LINKS: Greens question investment in oil - Newswire
Greens want super fund to stop investing in ExxonMobil - Stuff
The science *isn't* settled, Mr Parker - Not PC (Aug 31)
Schwarzenegger bets the state- Not PC (Sept 25)
Former Greenpeace leader joins criticism of Royal Society's global warming outburst - Not PC (Sept 30)
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-Greens, Environment, Global Warming