Duncan Garner: Immigrants in New Zealand should not be entitled to full pension at 65 after just 10 years

The AM Show 02/07/2020

OPINION: There's a reason you are paid national superannuation from the age of 65.

It's a guaranteed weekly wage until you die. It's about dignity. It's about respect for what you have done for your country. It's an acknowledgement your working days are probably over - so here's a few hundy a week to cut loose.

It's paid to every Kiwi the day you hit 65, no questions asked.

It costs more than $15 billion a year, and is the single most expensive policy item on any Government's books. We have homeless Kiwis on the pension as well as multi-millionaires.

In fact, 2500 Kiwis earning over $300,000 a year still opted in to receive the payment despite their huge income. It's their birthright - 40 years of hard slog.

But for new New Zealanders or recent immigrants, you only have to spend 10 years here before getting the pension.

That's simply not a level playing field. Nor is it fair.

Our passage to the pension is a daily slog - but as an immigrant, you can come here at the age of 55 and not lift a finger for this country - other than pick the grandkids up from school once a week - and still be entitled to the full pension once you hit 65.

No wonder immigrants have flocked here. These people could come here, go to sleep for ten years - and literally wake up and sign up.

Now as much as I panned Winston for his interference in the cameras on fishing boats saga on Wednesday... today, I welcome his political radar on the pension. I know the word 'pension' in public makes Winston nervous, but relax Winston, you are the hero of this story - not the villain.

Here's the guts: a New Zealand First private members bill passed its crucial first reading on Wednesday night, forcing all immigrants to have lived here for at least 20 years before they can waltz on up and pick up the pension. I reckon it should be 25, but 20 is better than 10.

Most parties voted for it, and in these post COVID times, increasingly we will have to put the needs and demands of Kiwis first - look after our public finances and our future.

We don't need to make it so easy for these immigrants - no way. Good on ya Winston. End the free lunch, dinner and breakfast.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.