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KiwiSaver could help prevent floods: Aviva

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/04/2017

Rescue workers assist stranded people from floodwaters © STRINGER/REUTERS/Reuters Rescue workers assist stranded people from floodwaters The Kiwi boss of one of the world's insurance giants, Aviva, says national superannuation scheme KiwiSaver should be used to build earthquake and flood prevention infrastructure.

Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson said he found it bizarre there were still doubters on climate change because it was already contributing to natural disasters.

He said flooding in New Zealand in three of the last five years had been among the worst recorded in the country with insurance companies now pricing climate change into their premiums.

However, he said it was not just a case of paying out claims but preventing damage caused by climate change.

He said New Zealand needed to improve efforts to mitigate damage from natural disasters with KiwiSaver offering a chance to fund better infrastructure, planning and education.

"I think you've got $NZ40 billion in KiwiSaver now. Let's force investors to keep some of that onshore and have public-private partnerships," he told TVNZ's Q&A programme on Sunday.

"KiwiSaver is this massive pool of money that we should be using for the good of New Zealand, and it can also get excellent returns while you're doing that."

Mr Wilson said too many politicians, businesses and members of the media thought short-term.

For a company like Aviva, with about $NZ800b in assets, it was critical to think long term, he said.

"Call it enlightened self-interest, if you like, but we have to think long term," he said.

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