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The Standard

Ageing population

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, March 2nd, 2013 - 80 comments
Categories: benefits, john key, leadership, quality of life - Tags: , ,

This is what it looks like when a “country” (in this case Britain) takes a serious look at the impact of it’s ageing population structure:

Ageing population will have huge impact on social services, Lords told

Startling details about Britain’s rapidly ageing population and its potential impact on social services have emerged in evidence to a parliamentary inquiry, prompting warnings that no proper plan is in place to cope with the dramatic increase in those aged over 65. …

The committee has been told:

• Half of those born after 2007 can expect to live to over 100.

• Between 2010 and 2030 the number of people aged over 65 will increase by 51%.

• The number of people aged over 85 will double during the same period.

Filkin, 68, said the prospect of living longer was a “gift”, and added that studies suggest people’s happiness peaks after retirement. But six months of evidence gathering revealed the huge impact such changes would have on almost every aspect of public life. …

The most dramatic warnings to the Lords committee, which focused on 2020-2030, were for the NHS. Filkin criticises health bosses for not making detailed forecasts, and evidence from experts showed the scale of the crisis facing hospitals, specialist services and care homes. …

Filkin, a Labour peer, said there needed to be at least a strategy along the lines of those developed for future defence needs, climate change and energy security.

“Given the sort of data given to us in evidence, it’s pretty clear we have major social change coming and we’d expect them [ministers] to have some sort of idea.”

Because Key has painted himself into a corner on Superannuation (and because they really aren’t good at long-term thinking anyway) the Nats are doing nothing to confront these issues. The stats are all there, lurking on various government department web sites. Like England, it’s “pretty clear we have major social change coming”, and like England we should expect our government to “have some sort of idea”. Well – not on Key’s watch.

80 comments on “Ageing population”

  1. vto 1

    ” they really aren’t good at long-term thinking”

    That is so very true, except in just one area, that of making money. Then they think long term and about the demographic trends and do things to improve their long term wealth like buy and own power companies.

    They
    are
    truly
    hollow
    shallow
    people

  2. Ad 2

    It’s a strange thing to watch, but two quite related trends:

    1. Other than Auckland-Hamilton, and Christchurch, the entire regional population of New Zealand is either pretty much static or shrinking, and this trend is accelerating. The growth of Auckland is greater than the growth of the whole of the rest of the country put together.

    2. Most of New Zealand’s young people live in Auckland, in fact live in south Auckland. Which is why the Council is proposing a Unitary Plan that fits a new city the size of Tauranga between Manukau and the Bombay Hills within 20 years.

    I am eagerly awaiting the results of the census from this coming week. But what I think we will find is this:
    – Apart from Christchurch, and Dunedin when the students are there, the South Island is ageing really fast. The island is gradually reverting to a sparse, lonely, farm and national park for the old. It is otherwise the preserve of tourists in small enclaves, and vast agrarian machines.
    – Emigration is sucking the sap out of us, everywhere except Auckland, and there’s no end to it and very little to reverse or challenge it.
    – The great majority of unemployment is in youth, and a great majority of youth are in Auckland. It is a massive intergenerational chronic waste.
    – There are nowhere near enough replacement babies.
    – The older cohort are going to suck health and superannuation and transport subsidy until the shrinking number of workers just can’t do it anymore. (But politically the older folk will be so large, they will have too much political force to vote entitlements down).
    – Immigration comes largely to Auckland, because that’s where the jobs are, and that sucking sound is getting louder.

    Conclusion:

    This country is dying, and that slide towards death is accelerating.

    • Foreign Waka 2.1

      1/ Having children is a very expensive undertaking and no one wants to live in poverty which is already a growth figure for families. 0 points for children then.
      2/ Older people are being shunted from one corner to another and used as a political football. Also the second larger group in poverty and mistreated. 0 points for he elderly then.

      A country that forgets and forgoes its vulnerable groups within the population is doomed to die as the cornerstone of society is family. If you look after these ends the rest will follow.
      This is a proofen concept since mankind has evolved from a cave men. Now the trend is being reversed.

    • Rogue Trooper 2.2

      plenty of space for golf courses with four-lane mobility scooter-ways.(oh look through those wilding pines, a cow-pat in one, and never the Twain shall meet)

  3. vto 3

    r0b, here is another example, very very real this morning right now, of this governments lack of proper thought.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebuilding-christchurch/8372152/Call-for-action-on-Christchurch-CBD

    The Chch CBD is failing to spark back into life. One of the major reasons for this, outlined by moi many times, is this governments flawed thinking. It claims to be in favour of free market and hands-off government hoever its lack of actual belief in that was exposed when it centrally planned the CBD rebuild rather than leave it to the market.

    The CBD rebuildl was the greatest opportunity ever for the testing of free market principles. Let the private entrepreneurs and developers to it – they will know what the people want and be happy to pay for, let them do it.

    But did Brownlee et al do that? No. They piled in and have put their dirty hand-marks all over it. To such an extent that the private people have fled and said “leave you to it – let us know when you’ve finished and we’ll come take a look”.

    The National Party people do not think clearly or properly taking into account all the breadth and width of modern society. This very flaw has led to what is outlined in this article. And it is the truth. The CBD will not spark. We will end up with vibrant hubs all around the CBD and not much inside, except a whopping great stupid convention centre. Eventually once the CBD failure has settled in, we will move back in and fill the gaps as we want… this I see.

    National Party – flawed

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Spokesperson for Christchurch – demoted to backbenches Siberia

      • Ad 3.1.1

        Odd prioritisation since it’s going to suck every taxpayer dollar outside of NZSuper and Health and Social Welfare for the next decade. Needs real political scrutiny.

        It’s like 200 Convention Centres being built, but in an agricultural service enclave. Brownlee and Mark Ford get to run around writing politicised contra deals like Sky City to Canterbury’s gentry landowner/developers, and Labour has no focus on it.

        Save me.

      • Puddleglum 3.1.2

        Yes. It’s very hard to understand (unless the ‘vengeance’ clause is invoked).

        Dalziel knows the issues like the back of her hand. The Labour MPs down here have been doing their job (including Cosgrove – just to show I’m not biased).

        Then this.

        What’s going on?

    • Rogue Trooper 3.2

      “bogged down” it “adds up”

  4. Jenny 4

    What this study ignores is the massive increase in worker productivity.

    Fewer workers, working harder, for longer, and more intensively due to the massive increase in automation, computerisation and the mechanisation of most manual jobs.

    The fact is that the modern workforce can easily support a much bigger population of superannuitants.

    But of course that would require the taxing of the 1 percenters that have been the main benefactors o this huge increase in productivity.

    The lickspittle politicians that pass themselves for leaders these days, will do anything rather than tax the rich.

    This post is just an apologist piece for Labour’s version of austerity.

    • Enough is Enough 4.1

      I complety agree Jenny. The answer to the ageing population issue is NOT to cut entitlements. That is a Tory type way to deal with a problem and a complete cop out from Labour.

      This is a wealthy country that can afford to look after its vulnrable, including those who deserve to retire after 40 years slogging their guts out.

      The top 5% of earners should be taxed appropriatley. If that was done this would not even be an issue. For some silly reason we keep letting that 5% dictate how we must live and retire.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Happy to agree that those with the most should be taxed the highest. And I’m happy to be taxed more, within reason.

        But the wealth concentration is tighter, there are fewer of them, and a lot more of them are overseas than they used to be. With much emigration go those with the wealth to emigrate. That also goes for foreign company ownership. Both by company capital, and by those persons who own capital, we are being hollowed out and this is accelerating.

        New Zealand has not made the transition to a high productivity high export-value country. We remain dependent on the same commodity cycles. We are not recovering. We are poorer.

        The Cullen Fund has not been sustained by the government to soften the Boomer Bulge into Superannuation.

        I would put it to you: universal and untested Superannuation can’t last.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          I would put it to you: universal and untested Superannuation can’t last.

          The generation now over 50 got the easiest ride, and while their privileges are preserved, we are going to make the youth pay more and more and more.

          • Jenny 4.1.1.1.1

            Suggesting that we need to raise the age of Superannuation.

            Surely CV you will admit that this is an unpopular move that will cost Labour votes.

            Yet you are always telling us that a Labour led government will never be able to do anything about climate change, because governments “never” impose unpopular policies that impact on the lifestyle of voters.

            That’s obviously a lie. Governments do it all the time. In fact the current government is doing it now over partial asset sales. A policy which all polls show is widely unpopular by a big margin.

            Unfortunately, I expect that Anthony’s relaunch of Labour’s austerity plan, will be followed with supportive comments from Green Party pundits. Who as well as supporting Labour’s austerity plan, will all sagely nod in agreement to go behind the scenes, and quietly strangle any initiatives to rein in climate change.

            Austerity, climate degradation, financial collapse and uncertainty, coupled with rising youth unemployment that goes hand in hand with forcing elder workers to stay on.

            The future looks grim.

          • Foreign Waka 4.1.1.1.2

            Good trick eye, to have the young against the old the poor against the middle class one race against the other etc….. now my question is: who is winning and where does the money go?

          • Rogue Trooper 4.1.1.1.3

            that’s ok, plenty of papers to be delivered three days a week with complimentary infant formula at the gate

          • Puddleglum 4.1.1.1.4

            Hi Colonial Viper,

            It’s probably best not to generalise.

            You obviously don’t live in my street. I see men over 50 in dishevelled clothes riding to work at 7:00am in the morning on bicycles that are far from the latest models. I see women well over 50 hobbling along laden with Pak ‘n Save bags back home at 7:00am at night, presumably after a day’s work.

            They don’t look to me like they’ve had an easy ride and I’d be hard-pressed to say “their privileges are preserved“.

    • AmaKiwi 4.2

      How do you increase the productivity of the people who mop floors, empty bedpans, and otherwise care for us when we are in rest homes?

      • Ad 4.2.1

        I like the idea of robots, with nice warm soft hands. ;-)

        Complete mechanisation, to send this appalling Minimum Wage resthome operator labour pool overseas.

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1

          I like the idea of robots, with nice warm soft hands. ;-)

          Programmable with a voice of your choice. Presets include emulations of:
          – Xena (warrior princess)
          – Angela D’Audney
          – Pauline Hanson

          (Hey whatever works for you…)

        • Rogue Trooper 4.2.1.2

          The Dread : JJ

      • Jenny 4.2.2

        How do you increase the productivity of the people who mop floors, empty bedpans, and otherwise care for us when we are in rest homes?

        AmaKiwi

        I think we are talking at cross purposes. You misunderstand what I am saying here Ama.

        I am not talking about increasing the rate of exploitation of those who work in aged care.

        (Which is what the Tories have suggested, alongside cuts)

        What I am talking about is the massive historical increase in productivity that we have witnessed in our lifetimes. Which has seen a phenomenal increase in the wealth created by each worker.

        This created wealth can sustain many more people per worker than ever before in human history, (if shared more equitably), It is this factor that is being ignored here.

        The first thing we must do is to legislate to increase the wages of the aged carers. The next thing we must do is inject many more $billions into the health system. The report from the British Lords enquiry that Anthony linked to, pointed out, that the demographic bulge in the elderly will put increased costs on the heath system.
        We must ensure that the future health system is able to cope.
        Which it won’t if all we concentrate on is increasing the productivity of the health workers, or cutting funding, or alternatively, raising the age of the pension to fix this funding shortfall.

        It is undoubted that the massive amount of funds required for the necessary expansion of the health system is there. It is just in private hands.

        To tap into it. A huge increase in progressive taxes is necessary. There is no escaping this.

        Of course the Lord’s answer to this reality is the opposite to what left politicos like us should be promoting.

        Being tories the Lords call for increased productivity (read exploitation) of the health workers or massive cuts in social health spending, or taking it from the elderly in the form of pension cuts.

        Nowhere do we see the need to increase progressive tax increases on the rich to maintain the sort of humane social health provision that our much wealthier modern society could so easily do. The whole report is all about preserving and extending the inequality of our already grossly unequal society. The elderly poor will live and die in poverty, and the wealthy will be able to buy all the private health provision and elderly care they need.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2.1

          +1

          The present system is designed to enrich the few at everyone else’s expense. The politicians of all parties are trying to protect and enhance that system by making those who aren’t rich work even longer. Unfortunately, we have a few people who should know better cheering on the theft.

    • AmaKiwi 4.3

      @ Jenny

      “What this study ignores is the massive increase in worker productivity.”

      How do you increase the productivity of people who mop floors, empty bedpans, and otherwise care for us when we are in rest homes?

      • Jenny 4.3.1

        …..the NHS would have a £28bn-£34bn shortfall – a significant proportion of its £110bn annual budget.

        Brithish House of Lords Lords Committee into the investigation of the retirement age

        This shortfall, if not addressed will lead to a huge increase in human misery, as the already underfunded and over worked public health providers fail to cope. This failure endangering the provision of any sort of decent and safe public health care in this country.

        In the face of this impending crisis, the obvious answer, you would think, would be a massive increase in taxes on those best able to afford it and who benefited hugely form the modern increase in wealth creation unequalled in human history.

        Like every other sector of society the health system has already seen massive increases in productivity. That is not where the focus is required, Ama, and you know it.

        There is no need to repeat your inane misdirection.

        In lining up with the Tories you are ensuring that the Labour opposition will lose votes.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.4

      +1

      Exactly. Stop giving all the communities wealth to the few and there’s a hell of a lot that we can afford which both major parties are presently telling us that we can’t. The reality is that the one thing that we can’t afford happens to be the rich. Get rid of the rich and we can afford pretty much everything else.

    • +1 Jenny,

      You expressed exactly what was going through my mind.

      It appears that the way to address this issue is perfectly clear (as you succinctly expressed).

      For this reason I feel increasingly uneasy with the framing that is being tied to this issue: “we can’t afford the oldies”. It is simply untrue and the population should be being informed of the real issue:

      We can’t afford the oldies while we continue to leave the unreasonable and unjust distribution of wealth distribution issue unaddressed.

      • karol 4.5.1

        I’m also with Jenny on this one, and bl.

        • oftenpuzzled 4.5.1.1

          +1 Jenny you have added some useful points to this discussion. If we throw out the ‘oldies’ with the bathwater the country will surely die

  5. JK 5

    Like England, it’s “pretty clear we have major social change coming”, and like England we should expect our government to “have some sort of idea”. Well – not on Key’s watch.”

    However, Labour under Helen Clark and Michael Cullen DID do something about this. They brought in KiwiSaver and the NZ Super Fund, and New Zealand really needs to get back to the latter ie start putting sufficient into the NZ Super Fund again so the country is able to withstand this bump WITHOUT having to raise the age of superannuation.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Japan has the worst aging demographics of any advanced nation. Approx. 20% of their population is now over 60 years of age.

    More adult diapers are sold in Japan than baby diapers. That country is going over the demographic cliff right now.

    http://blogs.cfainstitute.org/investor/2012/04/19/the-japanese-debt-crisis-has-japan-passed-the-point-of-no-return/

    http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2013/01/the-setting-sun-japans-forgotten-debt-problems/

    • Jenny 6.1

      But isn’t this a good thing.

      The current bulge in the aging population that developed countries like Japan are going through, is a consequence of getting control of previously out of control population growth.

      Once we have passed this bulge. The new lower rate of human reproduction will more closely match the carrying capacity of the planet.

      In less progressive societies there is no provision for elderly care. As a result the care of the elderly falls on families. This encourages couples to have as many children as possible so as to have someone to care for them in their old age.

      If short sighted and regressive governments start penalising the elderly, it will reverse this vector.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        The cull is coming over the next 50 years. Unlike you, I’m not going to be celebrating it.

        • Jenny 6.1.1.1

          The cull is coming over the next 50 years. Unlike you, I’m not going to be celebrating it.

          Colonial Viper

          CV, that is actually a slur. If I recall correctly. It is you, who have a number of times been an apologist for the huge human death toll that will come as a result of unrestrained climate change.

          The proper care and provision for the elderly by society as a whole, is a sensible and humane and progressive method of encouraging people to have less children.

          Instead of being cut back it needs to be expanded and enhanced.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1

            It’s a slur? Diddums.

          • Foreign Waka 6.1.1.1.2

            “The proper care and provision for the elderly by society as a whole, is a sensible and humane and progressive method of encouraging people to have less children.”

            Well said, but I wouldn’t count on it. Nature has a funny way of righting itself. I would rather belief in a plaque coming our way and decimating the human race than any of the governments or institutions being able to act in a human way. (not so absurd if one looks at the poison being pumped into the soil,air and sea)
            When I am old(er) I would rather rot away at home (or under a bridge?) before I go into one of those homes for elderly where one gets slapped around, mistreated, starved etc. One of the most inhuman places invented by those who want to see the elderly dying a bit quicker without rousing any suspicion.
            On the other side of the generational divide are the babies that are borne as a way to collect benefit (know a couple of those) with very little regard to the well being of the child. The gruesome stories in the news is enough to wonder whether there is a collective brain damage issue. Oh, perhaps… all booze being sold on every corner to easy “the pain”.

            • Rogue Trooper 6.1.1.1.2.1

              on your Waka (like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters I’m on your side; I will lay me down When darkness comes and pain is all around, I will lay me down…Sail On, Silver Pearl)

              • Foreign Waka

                1970 Simon and Garfunkel, lovely lyrics …..When you down and out, when you are on the street,when evening falls so hard, I will comfort you. I will take your part when darkness comes and pain is all around….like a bridge over troubled water…. Sail on Silver Girl, sail on by, your time has come to shine… see how they shine, if you need a friend I am right behind…..
                Hopefully such comfort will be given to the elder generation rather then an inpatient slap.

        • Rogue Trooper 6.1.1.2

          :)

  7. tc 7

    Add to this the level of elderly looking to retire here as the climate and their kids live here, places stress on our health system etc.

  8. Molly 8

    Fairly small changes may have some impact on the cost of elderly now and in the future.

    Giving tax rebates to those who choose to care for their parents at home, both reduces the cost to the state of housing them, and improves the quality of life for those involved (up to a point where is becomes too hard for either party). But for those years, an opportunity exists to retain where possible the family unit without it requiring a such a large financial sacrifice by those who choose to do it.

    A lot cheaper than current available subsidies for the elderly.

    Innovation and efficiency in common healthcare procedures – ie. cataracts, hip replacements etc. would reduce costs as well, if the medical profession allowed such innovations to take place.

    • Ad 8.1

      How about the top 20% of income and asset owners don’t get any superannuation at all, with the quid pro quo that they keep the percentage of their tax that would have been paid to superannuation.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        25% estate tax. That way you don’t change the universality of super. But it all comes out in the wash up at the end.

        Also – the UBI is still the way to go IMO. Massively simplify the system.

        • Ad 8.1.1.1

          yes I was just being annoying. no idea what the answer is.

          To me ageing population is a bit like climate change: pretty much too big for policy itself. soften around the edges, great. not much else: it’s just happening.

          • Jenny 8.1.1.1.1

            <blockquote.To me ageing population is a bit like climate change: pretty much too big for policy itself. soften around the edges, great. not much else: it’s just happening.

            Ad

            These problems are all just too big. What can we do?

            Best just to go with the flow.

            This is exactly what the supporters of appeasement said in the face of the nazi menace.

            To face such huge existential threats means being prepared to look into the maw and deciding on what the best option is, and courageously fighting for it. Even if your chance of success is slim, even if all hope is gone, even if your defeat is certain.

            Because it is better to die fighting than to die surrendering.

            WSC

            • Ad 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Well on one level most people feel entitled to “look into the maw” and have a cup of tea and a lie down. (Cue the theme music to “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome)

              Others of course should feel free to rail, Sisyphean, against the weight of the world. Be my guest.

              We are not in a world where radical change of much is possible anymore. Instead we have minor radical burps like Occupy. Or as in the US government in “Sequestration”, a government of manufactured crisis that was supposed to force agreement, and everyone kept crying wolf, and generally Congress now agrees there really are wolves but prefer to lie still while their toes are chewed off by them. Or disaggregate into Greens and other purer forms. There is no longer a single empire to organise against; if only Hardt and Negri were right. They weren’t.

              The World Trade Organisation doesn’t function. The Carbon Trading Market is stuffed. The UN has long lost its global moral force. Before that Copenhagen failed. There is in reality on Kyoto 2. The idea of the EU hangs in the balance. Barring a few very lucky states like Australia, very hegemony or ideology or ruling order is well on the way to fractalling. Liberative uprisings like the Arab Spring turn into mere patriarchy renewal programs.

              Redemption is dead.

              The alternative world is one in which Gore won, there was no Iraq or Afghanistan War, the UN was fully funded, the WTO worked and rural farmers globally got a fair shake, and every BRIC repudiated oil and petroleum entirely. A world where coherence, cooperation, peacemaking and generosity make globalised policy possible.

              None of that happened.

              We are in a disaggregated world. Don’t drive yourself insane railing against the world. Stake out a small part of it, be a part of controlling and changing it.

              • Ad

                Sorry “there is in reality NO Kyoto 2″

              • Jenny

                Andrew Simms is the author of the book ‘Cancel the Apocalypse’. In which he writes how we can face the challenge of saving the environment without slipping into denial, despair or cynical profiteering.

                Work harder and longer we’re told, bow to the judgement of the markets, pretend that life-supporting ecosystems are a luxury whose protection and enhancement we cannot afford to prioritise.

                Andrew Simms

                (This almost reads like a preamble to the Labour/Green Party coalition agreement.)

                http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/01-12

                Ad, am I a Sisyphean, railing against the weight of the world, as you suppose?

                Or is my condemnation of the political machinations and deal making of our political leaders that sees them promote austerity and downplay climate change have a rational base.

                Andrew Simms quotes Raymond Williams:

                “To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.”

                Raymond Williams

                This is why I count notorious tory, Winston Spencer Churchill as a radical

      • Foreign Waka 8.1.2

        Yeah – why not. The top 20% will be able to afford super earlier and better then any other section in the population whether or not you would implement your suggestion. What you really seem to support is even less tax for the upper 20%.

    • Rogue Trooper 8.2

      cos’ the families of the last 30 years rarely hang out together

  9. DH 9

    The bog standard answer to an aging population in pretty much every western country has been immigration. And no-one gives a damn about what happens when the immigrants get old.

    It’s the usual story with politicians; make sure they live a cosy life and pass the buck onto the next generation(s)

    • Foreign Waka 9.1

      Maybe we all should just shoot ourself when we hit 65?

      • Ad 9.1.1

        Logan’s Run.

        Lohan’s reified.

        • Foreign Waka 9.1.1.1

          Ok?…..Whilst running trough the sewer towards the end of the tunnel and the inevitable sunrise some one has to fill in the gaps for Lohan as she is unable to verbalize her thoughts??????
          Not sure what you want to tell me here….

  10. I continue to suspect that the left-wing may well have lost the last election due to Labour attempting to address this issue in the way that they did.

    i.e. Raising the superannuation to address this “problem” was nearly as, if not more unpopular, than asset sales.

    Labour appeared to think that due to an anti-asset sales stance being a “sure-thing’, that they could “slip in” an unpopular issue. Ergo manipulating the population to compromise.

    I suspect this split (or demotivated) the left-wing vote.

    It is without question that more people voted for parties against asset sales however the way people voted and didn’t vote could lead to the conclusion that the Superannuation issue was even more unpopular than asset sales.

    I suspect that voters would have come out in droves had this policy not been pursued by Labour. What a pity more thought wasn’t put into the range of options available for how this issue could be successfully addressed. (See Jenny’s comment @ 4)

    Once again, I send warm congratulations to Labour’s strategy team. /SARC

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Labour thought it could out-Tory the Tories by appealing to middle class fiscal conservatives re: the retirement age.

      Idiots.

    • handle 10.2

      Got any proof voters stayed home because of Labour’s superannuation policy? Wouldn’t they just vote for Winston Peters?

  11. AsleepWhileWalking 11

    At a time when all countries need young workers to ease the cost of pensioners (aside from possibly Mongolia), NZ decides to drive them out of the country by introducing youth rates while doing nothing about home affordability assuming that they will stay and take whatever crumbs life in NZ throws them.

    I reckon NZ youths are smarter and more likely to leave the country than those in the UK which will keep our youth unemployment down.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      NZ decides to drive them out of the country by introducing youth rates while doing nothing about home affordability assuming that they will stay and take whatever crumbs life in NZ throws them.

      Remember, a lot of them can’t afford to leave. Sure, the airfare’s cheap but having enough to set up once they get to where they’re going? not so cheap.

  12. karol 12

    Ultimately, the best solution would come via a universal income. I also think we should move beyond a set retirement age for all, and have graduated steps towards full retirement. And some people’s bodies are ready for full retirement earlier than others. Many people have much to contribute even though their energy levels may not be as high as that of younger workers.

    And, of course, close the wealth income/gap would make it possible to employ younger people in the process of gain experience, as well as older people.

    As someone approaching 65, I am against the way young and old are pitted against each other on this issue. Boomers are not very much in favour these days. However, the problem around aging results from the large number of us, and is not something of our doing. Certainly most of us benefited from the boom years, and things are getting tougher for each successive generation.

    Sure the neolibs and most of the wealthiest are boomers, but many boomers are not that wealthy at all. And the majority (especially of older boomers) did not get a uni education. Many people fail to differentiate between boomers and older age groups, and between older and younger boomers, let alone recognise the class, ethnic and gender differences.

    A fairly recent survey (dated 2010), on which a larger study has been based, shows that there are more boomers renting than the people in the age groups just above us.

    The study, to be launched by the Family Commission today, surveyed nearly 2000 people, aged 40-64 years, and found their home-ownership rates half what they are for those currently aged over 65.

    Research lead editor Charles Waldegrave said the decrease in home ownership could have a significant impact on social housing issues as the baby boomer generation became elderly.

    I think various stages of semi-retirement are the way to go, with graduated social security benefits related to ability to work. This would be possible with a universal benefit.

    But work places and employers would need to change their attitudes to the benefits of having some of their workers as part time elderly. e.g. ways of enabling people to shift to a slightly different occupation, or at a different level, recognising the benefits gained from past work experience.

    And many older workers would need to change their attitudes to their role as (probably part time) workers, as they shift away from the kinds of work they did in the past, and give way to younger managers etc.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      But work places and employers would need to change their attitudes to the benefits of having some of their workers as part time elderly. e.g. ways of enabling people to shift to a slightly different occupation, or at a different level, recognising the benefits gained from past work experience.

      That sort of flexibility is what you get with a UBI. About the only policy that you want to go with it would be penal rates.

      And many older workers would need to change their attitudes to their role as (probably part time) workers, as they shift away from the kinds of work they did in the past, and give way to younger managers etc.

      Everybody is going to have to do that as total number of hours needed to work in a day/week decreases.

    • oftenpuzzled 12.2

      I am approaching 70 still in full-time employment and enjoying it. I would willing not receive super while still employed and I imagine I am not alone in that. Many of us who continue to be physically and mentally able and wish to continue contributing to society through our work output and tax input would support various stages of semi retirement. Your suggestion Karol of enabling people to gradually retire into different spheres of part-time work is a good one. Of course some will argue that this will deprive the young of employment, but then we would be moving out of our full-time employment. Anyway much food for thought in this discussion.

  13. @ Handle
    Clearly I have no proof! I wrote my comment employing words such as suspect and could lead to the conclusion to relay to anyone reading that I am sharing a supposition; proposing an untested explanation for the phenomenon, not something that is proven! I have supplied clear reasoning for reaching the conclusions I have.

    I am well open to the fact that there are numerous potential reasons for the stay-at-home response. I simply suspect that this was one of the things Labour contributed to their own failure.

    Hopefully Labour are looking into what they did wrong. Due to their ongoing foolish decisions and behaviour I’m losing confidence that this is the case.

    Good point re Winston Peters. (Did he have an non-raising the retirement age?). I doubt whether everyone would be o.k. about voting for NZ First and the rabble that Mr Peters collected around him(!)

    • JK 13.1

      I think Blue Leopard’s supposition that people may have stayed home and not voted because of Labour’s suddenly announced retirement age at 67 years policy, has some validity.
      We found – while out campaigning during 2011 – quite a few people were very unhappy about this previously unknown policy.
      And I don’t think Labour is looking very far back into what they did wrong. They still have Mallard – the chief campaign organisor – pulling all the puppet strings, and no-one has said they’ll revisit the age increase to superannuation. If I remember correctly, Shearer has confirmed it since then.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Yes Labour, what exactly is the need to appeal to the fiscally conservative hawks and to the well off middle class who don’t need super to retire.

        So let’s increase the retirement age, further disadvantaging future generations of young NZers, at the same time as leaving the wealth of all those who are older and got free uni educations, stable full time work on leaving school/uni, cheap socialised housing etc almost completely untouched. (if the CGT is not expected to raise any significant sums of money for many years, then it’s leaving existing wealth pretty much untouched).

        But of course, you’ll be kind enough to make some accomodations for making sure those who need to retire earlier are looked after. It’s not like that mechanism won’t be subsequently used by the Tories a few years down the track to wreck the lives of those manual labourers and care workers who are supposedly your key support base. You know, by implenting harsher criteria, medical assessors with a chip on their shoulder etc.

        At that stage, you can complain loudly about how unfair it is that it’s happening.

    • handle 13.2

      Thought I might have just missed a breakdown of the non-vote somewhere.

      “Hopefully Labour are looking into what they did wrong.”

      Not much sign of that.

      • blue leopard 13.2.1

        @ Handle

        Sorry, your question was a straight-forward one and I responded as though it was more loaded!

        Yes would be good to see a breakdown of the non-vote.

  14. Steve Leigh 14

    It’s the usual divide and rule which in this case is young vs old.

    The two most resource-expensive stages of live in terms of resources are the very young and the old.
    Nowhere can I find that the baby boomers were considered a burden when they were young. Societies and their economies were recovering from WWII yet they still allocated recources to fund pediatric and child healthcare, schools, milk in schools, free universities the list goes on. Note also that this all began when the social norm was a stay-at-home mum, 2.3 kids with a sole provider working Dad. Yet their taxes paid for large govt departments social works plus pensions etc……
    Now if they were not a problem then and given that entire generations have worked paid taxes and added to the social capital of this and the other western countries over the decades whats going on?; These cohorts are smaller now than they were at the outset due to attrition AND people are having smaller families or no children at all so there is actually much less being spent at that end. When You really have to start thinking whats going on.
    The ‘problem’ as waved about by govts (Thatcher-Reagan-Rogernomes) is deliberately created and not about demographics at all. It suits those creaming it at the top to have a large pool of divided low wage workers to pick from and discard at will. I’m not quite in the baby boomer generation but know that most of my older friends want to hand over their jobs to the upcoming generation and retire. We aren’t here to work just because we can through living longer. But there is the ratio of workers to benificiaries to consider which is possibly the same as it was during the baby boom years before wages fell in relative terms. Aaaahh theres a thread to follow…

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