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TODD CALLS FOR NEW ACCORD

Periodic Review Group chairman Jeff Todd outlines his views on the way forward after the compulsory superannuation referendum

Tuesday, October 14th 1997, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

The Government will be provided with some "innovative ideas" on how to handle superannuation when the Periodic Review Group produces its final report in November, group chairman Jeff Todd says.

Todd told a conference on superannuation in a post-referendum environment in Wellington on Monday, that the final report of the group will be fairly brief.

The report will outline a different role for the Office of the Retirement Commissioner (ORC), and it will be promoting the need for a political accord on superannuation.

Also it will be stressing that the current system is based on a mix of public and private provisioning.

Todd says the referendum has clouded people’s understanding of the existing framework.

"With the emphasis on the sustainability of public provision in the referendum, we very much regret that this message about the importance of the mix of public and private provision got lost in the cacophony."

The PRG’s final report will be urging the Government and the Accord parties to start working to identify the levers on public provision affordability which should be used on a mix and match basis

Those three levers, identified in the group’s interim report, include: gradually raising the age of eligibility, changing the mixture of price and wage movements as they apply to increases in New Zealand Superannuating rates, and reintroducing some form of surcharge.

Todd told the conference that if some sort of accord is reached between the political parties then the ORC should play a greater advocacy role in on superannuation issues.

A political accord is only likely to last as long as there is strong public support for it.

He says the ORC should be the public advocate "providing a much more public profile on retirement issues in the broad (sense), rather than encouraging private provision alone."

Todd says the referendum was an "unhelpful distraction cutting across the good work being done under the Accord, by the Retirement Commissioner and by the Periodic Review Group."

It’s now time to accept that superannuation will be based on a mix of public and private provision.

"The strengths of the current framework are its simplicity, flexibility and fairness," Todd says.

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