A very interesting report appeared in yesterday’s NZ Medical Journal, as reported by The Herald here:
Raise super age, doctors say
Doctors are calling for higher family welfare benefits and taking GST off healthy food – with the extra costs funded by raising the retirement pension age.
An editorial by three leading doctors in today’s NZ Medical Journal says the country has got its priorities wrong, paying a generous pension to everyone from age 65 while 22 per cent of children are living in poverty, mainly because their parents are on inadequate benefits.
The Medical Association has published a position statement on health equity that proposes taking GST off healthy food, banning cigarettes by 2020, “fair employment” and a “minimum income for healthy living” for everyone – a list taken largely from a British taskforce on health inequities chaired by researcher Sir Michael Marmot. …
Governments worldwide are responding to evidence that poorer people suffer more illness and die sooner than richer people.
The gap between rich and poor is wider in New Zealand than in all but seven of the 30 nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). …
… by far and away the largest expenditure on welfare benefits in New Zealand is that on superannuation,” they say. “Yet the age of entitlement to government superannuation, 65 years, is the same as that in 1899 when life expectancy was 25 years less. …
POVERTY BY AGE
Per cent living in households with under half of median income after housing costs (2009)
* Couple aged 65-plus: 5%
* Single aged 65-plus: 15%
* Two parents with children: 13%
* Sole parent with children: 50%
* All children: 22%
We are going to have to have this debate some time. Maybe it will be possible now that Labour has shown how to stare down supposed “electoral suicide”.