Christchurch National Party leader apologises for praising the 'sweet explosive justice' of KiwiSaver weapons investment
A National Party leader has apologised for defending controversial KiwiSaver fund investments in weapons.
Christchurch East party chair Peter Maguire had praised the "sweet explosive justice" of killing terrorists in comments during a Facebook discussion on Friday, attracting the ire of other users.
On Tuesday he backed down, saying "I made those comments in a personal capacity and they were made in the heat of the moment during a Facebook discussion. They were misguided and I apologise."
Prime Minister John Key dismissed Maguire's comments, saying they were made in a personal capacity.
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The party had not asked Maguire to offer the apology, he said.
"The reality is we have ethical investment rules in New Zealand and they should be followed," he said.
"The challenge for ACC and the likes has been around investment through collective investment vehicles, where they haven't been aware of what's in there.
"My understanding is the way their policy works is that if they're made aware of that, then they negotiate with the provider to get rid of those investments."
The Facebook discussion was about several KiwiSaver providers having been revealed as investing in companies that produce weapons including cluster bombs and land mines.
"To be honest I don't mind [the weapons investment]," Maguire wrote.
"The world needs weapons. If I profit from that then that's fantastic. Every time a bomb drops on ISIS I can sleep happily knowing I made a profit from that sweet explosive justice [sic]."
When challenged by other commenters, he continued:
"More people die in the world from tobacco and piss everyday than by military grade weapons and war [sic].
"War is a unfortunately necessary in this world [sic]. If I can profit from the defence of my country and others I'm all for it."
Comments in response to Maguire included: "Wow. Just wow."
"I am now done with this thread. And done with you."
The Government has said it will not review the KiwiSaver providers' practice. Prime Minister John Key said it was up to savers to be aware of where their money was invested. Such companies are on the New Zealand Super Fund's "exclusion list", barring investment for ethical and legal reasons.
Labour Christchurch East MP Poto Williams said Maguire's justification that weapons killed bad people was misguided.
"Most of us would think that weapons of any sort are fairly indiscriminate in who they target and it's often very innocent people who are targeted and I think that's the distress that's been caused by this investment issue.
"None of us would want to think that our investments are funding the miseries of families or communities anywhere in the world. The notion of terrorism and ISIS is abhorrent but we've got to be mindful that that's not necessarily the target of these weapons."