NZ’s superannuation ‘unusual’ to most countries - Retirement Commissioner

Morning Talk 23/10/2018

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell supports a call to raise the minimum residency to qualify for New Zealand superannuation, particularly given our “unusual” qualification rules.

New Zealand First's Mark Patterson has proposed a bill that would increase how long immigrants must be in New Zealand before becoming eligible for super.

The Member's Bill would raise minimum residency from 10 to 20 years.

We can’t just stumble blindly into the future.

Speaking to RadioLIVE on Tuesday, Ms Maxwell agreed that changes must be made to eligibility over the next 20 years to keep up with affordability.

“We can’t just stumble blindly into the future,” said Ms Maxwell.

Doubling down on costs will help New Zealand prepare for the future, she says, pointing out that existing superannuation rules are usual compared to most in countries in the OECD.

Any eligible New Zealander may receive their super regardless of their income or taxes, while pensions around the world are often tied to a citizen’s lifelong contributions.

“In New Zealand, if you qualify – you qualify,” she said with a laugh.

In 2016, the Retirement Commissioner proposed increasing the threshold to 25 years, as well as raising the retirement age to 67 by 2034.

“One of the things I proposed in 2016 is that we lengthen the time spent in country from 10 years to 25, so at the moment we are the lowest in the OECD,” she told RadioLIVE.

She recommends the proposed changes only be applied to new immigrants in order to protect those who have already been living in New Zealand.

Mr Patterson argues that the Member’s Bill will “fairness to Kiwis who have paid taxes here”, while making superannuation more affordable. NZ First says on average, superannuation currently costs $480,000 per person.

Mr Patterson’s new Member’s Bill was drawn from the ballot last Thursday.

Listen to the full interview with Diane Maxwell above.

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