UK Lawyers For Israel have published an article that outlines a number of reasons why the New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF) decision to divest from Israeli banks is an apparent breach of legal requirements.

International financial markets lawyer, Dan Harris, is cited as considering that the published reasons for the decision failed to properly consider all available information and was biased – which is inconsistent with “best-practice portfolio management” that the NZSF is required to work to. He also points out that the decision seems to be more political than in line with a responsible investment policy, that there was a fundamental error of law in treating the Israeli Banks as responsible for acts of the State of Israel, and that New Zealand’s reputation is likely to be damaged by the decision.

Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI commented: “As well as being an improper purpose, the Guardians’ political aims discriminate against Israel. At the same time as divesting from Israeli banks, they are investing in companies operating in Western Sahara and probably in other disputed territories”.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, has started some damage control. In response to a question by Gerry Brownlee, Hon Minister Mahuta said she had spoken with Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lt Gen (Ret) Gabi Ashkenazi about how New Zealand could increase trade and economic links with Israel and tried to distance the government from the NZSF decision.

The Israel Institute of New Zealand has written to the Guardians of the NZSF and we are yet to receive a response. We are considering further action and would appreciate your support. If you’d like to write to NZSF, click here; if you’d like to write to the Minister responsible, Grant Robertson, click here; if you’d like to write to Minister Mahuta, click here; and if you’d like to help us continue our work, consider a donation here.