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Horse trading on super already done

The horsetrading over the Government's bill to set up a prefunding vehicle for NZ Super has already been done, FEC chairman Mark Peck says.

Friday, April 6th 2001, 8:50AM

The chair of Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, Mark Peck, reckons there will be very little horsetrading over the Government's bill to set up a prefunding vehicle for New Zealand Superannuation.

He is confident the bill will pass into law comfortably as it has the support from the Alliance and the Greens.

When asked at a recent BIIA Funds Management conference in Auckland how much horse trading there would be over the bill he replied: "Most of it has been done."

"I think the horse trading, by and large, is over."

The main areas where the government has considered changes are in accommodating the Greens wish for the fund to be ethically invested and New Zealand First's desire for the fund to be in individual accounts.

Peck says clauses have been put into the bill which address the ethical investment concerns. Under these clauses investments made by the fund "must uphold the reputation of New Zealand as a responsible member of the world community."

"The government is happy to include this provision because it would be clearly inappropriate to have a Government-linked fund investing in, say, corrupt political regimes or anti-social activities," he said in speech notes prepared for the conference.

Peck says putting the fund into individual accounts "would be a significant shift in policy."

"We recognise that it is an important issue to some and so we have already made provision in the bill for a possible amendment that would consider this."

He says one of the hardest decisions yet to be made is the establishment of board. One of the key difficulties is that the board will be established at a double arm's length basis from the Government.

Instead of nominations going directly to the cabinet for approval they will first go a nominating board. This board will select suitable candidates in consultation with appropriate organisations such as those representing older people, employees, employers and the savings industry.

This board will then send its nominations to the Minister of Finance who will then consult the representatives from other political parties before making recommendations to the Governor General.

Peck says this process is totally new and represents a "change in political culture".

Submissions on the bill closed in February and the first hearings are likely to be held later this month. Peck says there is a possibility the select committee will travel to Auckland for hearings.

Peck says 29 substantive submissions were made on the bill and there were about 200 smaller email submissions, mainly from an Act party website.

« Speech: Cullen details TET plansAMP & Good Returns launch superannuation website »

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