During the time of Prime Minister John Key, there was no attempt to raise the superannuation age past its current 65 years.
Now, Prime Minister Bill English has indicated he has no plans to maintain the status quo by keeping the age of eligibility for Superannuation at 65. The Prime Minister says that he will be viewing a potential reset of superannuation as part of Government policy coming up to the election in September.
Mr English seems to forget two major political factors in doing so:
- Superannuitants have long benefitted from the age being kept at 65 years and it has been turned into a political issue in past election years
- Grey Power is one of New Zealand First and it leader Winston Peters’ strong holds and it would be foolhardy in the extreme to think Mr Peters and his party have not noticed
Usually the reason for changing the age of superannuation to something higher than 65, is to reduce the cost to the taxpayer and the economy.
The arguments put forward by National and Labour over the years about how to fund superannuation and when it should kick in are all old news. One wants to raise the age of eligibility so that people work longer and might not be able to receive until they are say 67 or 70. The other wishes to raise taxes to fund the Government contribution… and has been known to consider raising the age.
The New Zealand First approach of “growing the pie”, instead of Labour and National bickering over how to “cut the pie”, is not so much a novel one – though it may seem like that if implemented, as it is common sense. It envisages an economy geared towards the needs of New Zealand and New Zealanders first, that encourages high income jobs for skilled workers working in research and development of technology and science. This will keep the younger people whose taxes will help fund state contributions in New Zealand.
In terms of eligibility, New Zealand First has a fair pro rata scheme that apportions the percentage of superannuation that a person gets to the portion of time they have spent working in New Zealand. Thus a person who has worked their entire life here, shall be eligible for 100% of superannuation. A person who has worked say half their life here shall be eligible for 50% of superannuation and use their finances brought over from their country of origin to top it up. And a person who has not worked in New Zealand at all, shall rely on the finances they transfer from their country of origin.
But would New Zealanders be willing to see the alternative for what it is?