Personally, I believe that the age that you get the pension needs to be raised and it needs to be raised slowly so we need to start now. We have been told by experts that the pension scheme in its current form is not affordable long term. What I would hate to see is sudden changes to the pension scheme. I like the idea of it being raised to 67 by 2034 as set out by the retirement commission http://i.stuff.co.nz/business/money/87548876/lift-nz-super-age-to-67-by-2034-retirement-commissioner-tells-politicians. This system seems to me to be the fairest. What would be truly cruel would be for it to suddenly jump to 67 when many people had been so close to getting the pension then have a further 2 years to wait. Whilst it would be annoying if you were a month off getting the pension and they raised it 2 months it is spreading the pain across several age groups rather than one group taking a hit. And it has to change as it is unaffordable in its current form. I also agree that it should only be available to those who have been in the country for 25 years, not 10 as it is currently. People need to have paid into the pension in this country to have received it – of course there will be some who end up still getting it without paying into the pot, but still better than our current situation where 55 year parents come over on the family reunification visa, get the pension 10 years on, yet for the past 10 years they have not been contributing to the country but supporting their children. 55 is a common age to be a grandparent so they are coming over, bringing their life savings and putting it into a property with their kids – putting up our housing prices, babysitting their grandkids and doing the housework for them so they can focus on their careers climbing the corporate ladder whilst the rest of us are busy juggling our work/childcare/elderly parent commitments and then they get the pension having only helped their own family, not the country. Making them wait 25 years before they can get the pension makes more sense as they likely haven’t got grandkids at age 42 so if they come at that stage in their life they will be more likely to work here, learn the language and be active in the community, or if they do come out later in their life at least we won’t be responsible for paying for them for so long. That burden will fall on the family they are supporting – which seems fair.
I don’t agree it should be means tested. Means testing puts people off saving for their retirement and it is best that they travel when they are retired so they can do a decent trip rather than the 4 weeks they are currently entitled to – and many employers don’t want to lose someone for 4 weeks straight anyway, it works for all of they save for their retirement. They paid into the system, they deserve to take it out. You have to apply for the pension so if people don’t want it then they don’t need to apply – but it should be their choice. Things like rest homes and healthcare cost a lot of money, someone’s life savings can be diminished very quickly.
http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/90070673/peters-puts-his-foot-in-the-open-door-after-english-confirms-option-of-super-reset. This article discussed the proposed changes to the retirement process and what the political parties think. John Key famously said he would not raise it whilst he was in power. He resigned as Prime Minister so now National is free to change their stance on this and Bill English has signaled that he is currently reviewing the situation. He has said there will be changes to NZ Super/pension and told us that he is working on plans now but he has assured us that the changes won’t be drastic. Sounds perfectly fair – after all as stated above I too feel change is necessary but don’t want it to be drastic and don’t want one group of retirees to be hardest hit but the pain to be less spread across time.
But of course this isn’t good enough for Andrew Little who is jumping up and down that his failure to reveal his policy is causing New Zealanders stress. He is an absolute clown. Most people with commonsense know you don’t release your policy until you have finalized things. He has stated he is still working out long term affordability with Treasury. This is an entirely sensible thing to do. Whilst if you were approaching retirement you’d be following this policy closely, anyone with half a brain must be able to accept getting the policy right is more important than racing to the media with a half baked plan that hasn’t been priced out or properly thought though – ironically exactly my problem with so many of his policies. It will be released before the election so people know what they are voting for. Andrew should take a leaf out of National’s book and actually think through his policies.
I look forward to hearing what National’s next step with regards to NZ Super will be. Little and Winston’s head in the sand attitude to the aging population is foolish. The rest of the world seem to be looking ahead and raising their age. Advances in health mean people can work for longer these days and live longer. As for those in poor health who have to leave work prior to reaching the age they will receive a pension, they will be able to get a sickness benefit – assuming their doctor agrees with their personal assessment. I don’t think we need to fear National releasing their plans. I think we need to fear the other parties who are ignoring the problem that we will have in the future and leaving it to the next generation who will be left with no choice but to make sudden changes due to spiraling costs and that is my fear if we don’t act to make changes now.