New figures reveal the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and ACC have invested millions of dollars of taxpayers' money into several global fast food and soft drink companies.
Releasing details of the large-scale government investments on Wednesday, RNZ News reported that, as of May 31, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and ACC had $110 million invested in The Coca-Cola Company and its global subsidiaries.
They also invested $70m in the The Coca-Cola Company's main rival, Pepsico.
Additionally, $38m was invested into McDonalds in America and Japan, and $17m into Domino's Pizza in Britain and Australia.
In New Zealand, the Super Fund has $5m invested in Restaurant Brands, which owns restaurant chains KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Junior and Starbucks.
Responding to the newly released figures, Labour Party MP Jenny Salesa reiterated the widespread impact obesity is having on the country.
"Oh c'mon why is ACC & the Superfund here investing Millions in soft drinks companies when NZ has the 3rd highest obesity rate in the OECD?," she said on Twitter.
Dental Association spokesperson Rob Beaglehole told RNZ News he was shocked to learn of the "inappropriate" investments.
"New Zealand is the third fattest country and has the third highest consumption of sugar in the OECD, after Mexico and the United States. The number one source of sugar for those aged 30 and under comes from sugary drinks," he said.
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A Super Fund spokesperson told RNZ News that while it recognised nutrition was a public health issue there are no plans to introduce any divestment strategies.
"We have engaged with a number of companies on this matter and will continue to do so. We are not aware of any mainstream funds which are excluding companies on these issues," the spokesperson said.
The Ministry of Health currently injects $60m each year into obesity prevention programmes.
A further $40m funds dental care for children.
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