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Govt tells industry to front up with cash

Finance minister Michael Cullen says the Government won't fully fund the Office of the Retirement Commissioner.

Friday, April 20th 2001, 6:48AM

by Philip Macalister

Finance minister Michael Cullen has made it clear that the Government won't be fully funding the Office of the Retirement Commissioner.

When asked, at an ASFONZ breakfast yesterday, whether the Government would fund the office he said: "I'm not prepared to do that."

He says the issue of the office's funding is "a real problem" between the Government and the industry.

His view is that the funding arrangements for the office should be a partnership between industry and Government.

By combining resources and agreeing on outcomes everybody would get "more bangs for their bucks," he says.

When the office was originally established the former National government heavied the industry into providing a significant amount of the office's budget. At that stage 10 companies each provided $100,000 annually which equated to about 25% of the overall budget.

However, the number of private sector funders has fallen to just four (BNZ, Tower, Royal & SunAlliance and the NZ Stock Exchange) last year, and since July 1 the office has had no private sector funding.

This has limited the amount of the work the office can do and also has provided administrative problems.

Cullen was also critical of some of the work the ORC had done. He felt that it had fallen into the trap of using fear tactics to raise the issue of saving for retirement.

"The ORC itself gas fallen into the trap. It's trying to frighten people into saving. It's not a good message."

When trying to talk to people with modest incomes the message should be that the goals are achievable, he says.

Previous story

Govt pressured to fully fund ORC

Editorial

Time for Govt to front up with cash

How successful do you think the Retirement Commissioner has been? Do you think the Government should fully fund the office or should the private sector put money into it?

Have your say in this important issue in the Online Forum section. Click here to make a contribution.

You can read Philip's blog here: http://www.goodreturns.co.nz/blog/

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