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Peters attacks ORC

NZ First leader Winston Peters says the Office of the Retirement Commissioner has been a total waste of time.

Tuesday, April 10th 2001, 12:07AM

by Paul McBeth

The Retirement Commissioner, Colin Blair, might be a nice guy, but New Zealand First leader Winston Peters for one doesn't rate what his office has achieved in recent years.

Peters, addressing Wellington financial advisers last week during an Armstrong Jones roadshow, was asked whether he thought the Retirement Commissioner had been effective. He didn't mince words.

"A total waste of time and money, and I don't know why your industry keeps contributing to him.

"After six years, savings last year in New Zealand were negative as a nation."

However, Peters did go on to say that the commissioner was a nice enough fellow.

The New Zealand First leader was speaking primarily on superannuation (go to Supertalk for the full text of his speech) and bemoaning the lack of debate on Michael Cullen's super-sized super plan.

"Those who say that they will entrench legislation to defend the pool account clearly do not understand that repealing the entrenched clause needs a bare majority of Parliament," he said.

Peters also attacked the culture of dependency, maintaining that no-one was too poor to save something. "If a 17-year old saved a packet of cigarettes a week, that would give them a reasonable retirement income at 65, " he said.

However, when tackled about that example at question-time, Peters said it was intended as an example that people could save something "and that savers are not welfarists".

"We have a whole lot of people who are the best friend to the poor, but have no idea what poverty smells, tastes or feels like, or they wouldn't advocate that they can't do anything about their condition."

The Office of the Retirement Commissioner says it isn't its job to increase the level of household savings, rather its objective is to provide relevant education and information to the public.

What do you think? Has the office been a success? Has it raised the profile of superannuation and the need to save for retirement? Have Your Say in the Discussion Forum

Editorial:


Time for the Government to front up with cash
Earlier stories
ORC Defends itself
ORC seeks to review its funding arrangements

Paul is a staff writer for Good Returns based in Wellington.

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