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Politicians raspberry Retirement Commissioner's idea

The Retirement Commissioner's suggestion of lifting the age New Zealand Superannuation kicks in has been greeted with a resounding raspberry by both main political parties.

Tuesday, December 18th 2007, 11:14PM
"No way," was how Finance Minister Michael Cullen responded to a question about it from Good Returns at a briefing on the government's Half Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update.

Cullen said there had been "enormous political disturbance over the course of 30 years" because of different parties changing the rules around superannuation and he had no intention of revisiting the issue.

It was one of the reasons there had been such a strong vote by older New Zealanders for MMP in 1993, he said, "and arguably the economy has paid a reasonably heavy price for that piece of fiddling around. We are not going to go there again."

National's finance spokesman Bill English is similarly negative.

"We've got no interest in changing superannuation," he says. Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan's three-yearly review of retirement policy said that, with people living longer, the pension age of 65 could be raised to 67.

"People are living longer and there are more of them," Crossan argues. "So the question has to be, how do we finance that?"

The report was also critical of some aspects of KiwiSaver, saying it favours those on higher incomes.

The incentives to join KiwiSaver are "generous", the report argues, and calculates that in 10 years time, will be costing the government $2 billion a year, partly in the form of the $20 a week top up and partly through employer tax credits.

English says National is looking at changes to KiwiSaver, but would not elaborate further.

« KiwiSaver numbers surge past 300,000KiwiSaver numbers pass 380,000 in first six months »

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