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The retirement age debate

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, March 2nd, 2014 - 164 comments
Categories: class war, superannuation, welfare - Tags: ,

Poverty cartoon

This discussion has had a few really good goes on open mike.

Labour’s policy is to gradually change the age of retirement to 67 with an allowance made for those aged 65 who can no longer work.  There are passionate views in support of this and opposing this.  I thought that we should capture the thoughts in one post and let Labour (and the Greens and anyone else) to absorb the thoughts of commentators.  And I must admit that I have conflicting thoughts on what we should do.

I am a baby boomer, the recipient of an education paid for by the state, without a student loan and with a tertiary qualification and in state sponsored good health.  I am personally happy with the idea that I should not get superannuation for a further two years because god willing I will not need it and the state can fund other things such as glue ear checks for kids in poor neighbourhoods and school breakfasts for low decile schools instead.

Regrettably the financial analysis is quite clear.  The current entitlement to superannuation will drain more and more of the state’s resources and Aotearoa will face a financial crisis in 10 years or so due to the baby boomer bubble approaching retirement.

This is why the fifth Labour Government created the Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver.  Unless we start to pile money away now then the only way that superannuation will be affordable in the future will be through significant tax increases.

The other side of the argument is that increasing the age of retirement will cause significant hardship to the working class.  And I agree with this argument completely.  My father was a boilermaker by trade.  He is aged 76 and although his health is reasonably good he is the only person of his graduation class to still be alive.  The rest of them died years ago, their bodies having given up after a lifetime of hard physical work.  He is healthy only through a combination of good genetics and the fact he has not eaten meat for 55 years.

So what do we do?

Labour is trying to show that it is being fiscally responsible by highlighting this as an issue and proposing a realistic solution.  National is showing how irresponsible it is by refusing to consider changing the eligibility age and at the same time kneecapping the Cullen fund so that the ability of the state to fund future pension payments has been seriously reduced.

But it is a difficult line.  There is policy that a 65 year old whose body is wrecked through work should be allowed to retire now.  But allowing everyone to retire gracefully at the age of 65 years means that there will be jobs for 18 year olds to fill.  Allowing older citizens to retire later means that there will be less jobs for our young.

The debate really needs to be about how we share the resources of our society around.  We need to make sure that those of us who are older can exit from the workforce with dignity and those of us who are younger can have jobs.  And there is enough money to make sure that everyone can live comfortably.

So for me I believe that I should not receive a pension until 67 at least, and for someone in my father’s position it should be no later than the age of 65.  And our young should be able to get jobs.

To the policy analyst who works out how to resolve these thoughts in a way that is acceptable to the electorate there will be a chocolate fish …

164 comments on “The retirement age debate”

  1. Policy Parrot 1

    MS – I thought this policy had a provision for medically based retirement at 60. The simplest answer here is probably – make medically based retirement available at 60 on the same criterion that applies for the old invalids benefit/Supported Living Payment.
    This would also be income (but crucially not asset) tested.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I thought this policy had a provision for medically based retirement at 60

      Yes it does and apologies I have not made this clear. The situation is even more complex in that currently there are a number of pre 65 year olds relying on invalids benefit. The reality is not as clear as the perception!

      • lefty 1.1.1

        Fiscally responsible?

        Bullshit!

        It is time for Labour to think outside the neo liberal economic framework on issues like this.

        We have a huge amount of accumulated wealth built up by generations of workers. It’s just that a few rich fuckers have seized control of it and propagated a phoney economic view of economics that is still being bought into by people who like to think of themselves as left.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Didn’t you know? Smashing the bottom 50% of people who have minimal net wealth, while giving the asset rich 5% and trans-national corporations a smooth ride is the very definition of “fiscally responsible.”

        • Murray Olsen 1.1.1.2

          When social democrats use the phrase “fiscally responsible”, the workers should stock up on painkillers. I haven’t got a clue who this sort of talk is supposed to impress, but so far ACT love it. Labour should be upsetting the Tories, it should have them crying into their Veuve Cliquot, it should not be looking for approving pats on the head. Give us a reason to have some faith and some hope, and we’ll get people out to vote for the present opposition. This is not it.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.2.1

            It’s an unfortunate turn of phrase, but it’s a fairly mundane principle, that governments should try and stay within budget. Considering the Left is happy to make this a point of difference between us and the fiscally irresponsible National Party it seems a bit daft to reject the concept just because the phrase reeks.

          • Rosie 1.1.1.2.2

            +1 @ Murray Olsen

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      “This would also be income (but crucially not asset) tested.”

      Not sure what to make of that. Surely if someone wants to retire at 60 under this medical exemption you’re making, and they are currently over the income threshold, they’d just quit their job?

    • weka 1.3

      “I thought this policy had a provision for medically based retirement at 60. The simplest answer here is probably – make medically based retirement available at 60 on the same criterion that applies for the old invalids benefit/Supported Living Payment.”

      Bludgers!!

      Anyone who thinks that the same criterion should be applied either doesn’t know much about SLP or believes that the right wing governments will somehow treat 60 – 66 yr olds differently than everyone else.

      Firstly, getting the SLP is a high bar. There has been active policy for some years now to reduce access to SLP and instead have people on the old sickness benefit or now on the dole with an illness related exemption. The people being refused SLP (even against medical advice) are then treated like shit both by the govt and by society in general (roof painter meme).

      The other issue is that those two or seven years might be the end years of the persons life and their quality of living may be very poor if having to work, but they may not have any obvious illness that get’s them exempted. Sorry micky, but there are serious implications to your willingness to be denied super for another two years. All other things being equal it’s a nice gesture, but in real life at this time, the govt is not competent to make medical assessments for superannuation.

  2. just saying 2

    For anyone who thinks the medical profession will be the saviour of the working class via pensions at 60 for those with munted bodies or who are otherwise too worn-out to work, I have three letters for you:
    ACC

    It’s important to remember that by-in-large and with notable exceptions, the comfortably-off clan is no friend to the working class.

    edit -snap (above)

    • Policy Parrot 2.1

      Of course, if any publically accountable organisation has been instructed to operate in obvious conflict to its original design and purpose, then there is a strong likelihood of peverse incentives being offered to its contractors. Obviously there would need to be something like a Retirement Ombudsman independent of MSD to assure those who are skeptical.

    • Lan 2.2

      Come on! Remember the whole argument with ACC about “pre-existing conditions”? ACC does not look kindly upon worn out tradespersons – regardless of age and stage. Moreover if they are self employed and they can get ACC it will be on net income – so they will do better (“better”?) on a “sickness” benefit .. or whatever else is available from the public purse. The whole issue of raising retirement age is nuts..make it income tested if need be..

      • just saying 2.2.1

        And they have had no trouble getting doctors to do their bidding. I don’t want to see any more use of the well-off and powerful as gate-keepers for resources for the hard-up, and choosing the deserving vs the undeserving.

  3. Molly 3

    To add another idea to the discussion – one I’ve mentioned before.

    I understand that along with asset testing (and recuperation from estates up to a certain figure) – the government helps some of our elderly in retirement homes. And the figure is up to $700/wk?

    It is not hard to see how this is unsustainable if this figure is correct. My in-laws who lived in one for a few years before my mother-in-law passed away, at an estimated cost of $72,800 a year. My father-in-law has now been living there alone since – four years – $145,600. Their estate (when it is worked out) has long gone.

    In all these years – in the place that we visit – there have been very few brown faces in the residents. I believe that many Maori, Pasifika and cultures with accepted stronger whanau ties keep their elderly at home.

    Why not offer a tax rebate to those families – at a reduced cost to government? This will have a multiple effect, raising the effective income of all of those families, supporting the continuation of social and emotional ties without the added cost of financial hardship, subsidising families and community instead of (often overseas owned) retirement companies.

    My father-in-law in a case in point. Under his direction we purchased a property with a separate unit for him and his wife, meeting all his requirements and getting a separate valuation. Before moving in, a family meeting denigrated into a farce, which resulted in us being left with an empty unit.

    His reason for choosing a home? Less family aggravation and it was easier to do so. His wife declined considerably from the time they moved in – for her the ease was not a primary consideration.

    I’m thinking that policies to alleviate the impending cost blowout, need to be strategic and tick more than just the box that reduces cost. Redirection or adjustment can benefit communities other than just the superannuitants.

    • just saying 3.1

      Very valid points, Molly.

      Except the burden of physical and emotional care will fall primarily on the shoulders of women. Most families are frantically busy nowadays – Busier than ever before, in my lifetime.

      I’d also suggest that the lack of brown faces is also probably partly due to the much shorter lifespans of Maori and Pacifika people.

      • Molly 3.1.1

        I agree with your points re lifespans and burdens.

        But also there are already families (and women) taking on that burden regardless, and carrying it under financial, emotional and physical stress.

        As we know, these families are more than likely to be those living in reduced circumstances. Even though it’s reach may be fairly small, the impact for those people will be huge.

        And it may encourage others to stay with their families for longer – because they are not “such a burden”.

  4. MS Labour is channelling ACT on this policy. Has it no shame?
    There is plenty of wealth accumulated out of the sweat and blood of many generations of workers that should be taxed as ‘unearned increment’, as was the call in the 19th century before NZers were bamboozled by neo-liberal mantras about property rights and the entitlement of the rich and recognised parasites when they smelled them.
    If Labour has some guts it would adopt that current wing of respectable bourgeois opinion that condemns the ‘financialisation’ of the economy as parasitic on the productive sector and impose a serious capital gains tax.
    It would lose a few thousand parasites but win a few hundred thousand hard working hosts.

    • The Chairman 4.1

      Indeed. It’s extremely discouraging and difficult to support the left when they’re channelling the far right

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        +1

      • Ergo Robertina 4.1.2

        +1 As well as being trapped in an intellectual straitjacket of technocratic austerity that makes this move seem inevitable, Labour seems to think Super can be used for a bit of triangulation, in this case to push back on a perception in the wider electorate that Labour is fiscally irresponsible.
        And Mickey Savage is also trying to do a bit of clever triangulation by suggesting baby boomers got a free education, and are now doing a noble thing by moving the retirement age, when of course, changing the entitlement will not affect boomers too much (only the tail-enders). (KJT on this thread makes a good point re this being more complicated than intergenerational unfairness, but I do think it is one strand).
        A few months back I was amazed to see this poster openly admire Labour’s triangulation (his word) of the TPPA issue; so it is a conscious and I believe deeply cynical strategy.

        • mickysavage 4.1.2.1

          What I was suggesting is that baby boomers, myself included, have already enjoyed significant help from the state and maybe we should put something back. Whether through abatement of super depending on what independent income I receive or increased taxes it seems to me that some adjustment is required. And I am of an age where I would retire at the age of 66 and 4 months if my calculations are correct.

          • Ergo Robertina 4.1.2.1.1

            ‘What I was suggesting is that baby boomers, myself included, have already enjoyed significant help from the state and maybe we should put something back.’
            If you want to put something back then please build up the social infrastructure that allowed you to get ahead, rather than taking it away with narrow ideological austerity thinking.

  5. scotty 5

    Cunliffe could ,defuse the super issue ,and Keys’ scaremongering
    by reiterating , definately no change in his term or his next for that matter.
    It’ll free up some space for honest debate, and leave Key stranded,

    • mickysavage 5.1

      The trouble is the change has to be signposted so that people can adjust. Labour’s policy from the last election was to start raising the retirement age in 2020. If such a change occurred overnight it would make things really difficult for people.

      • Skinny 5.1.1

        Oh come Micky this may be a fiscally responsible Policy and all that, however in election year it’s a dead duck. How on earth does this encourage the 800,000 bloc to come out to vote. It doesn’t. It just given Key-National a platform to lambast the crap out of Labour in those vital weeks leading up to polling day.

        It’s the bloody pits when ACT come out giving a ringing endorsement of a Labour policy. The not fit to work aspect of the policy gets easily lost in the noise. There were other steps like ‘means’ testing i.e super wealthy no taxpayer funded welfare, this sets the bar ‘us against the rich pricks’ and would gather far better positive mileage with the right rhetoric thrown in by the spin merchants. Even another better step would have been a national referendum.

        Remember historically any third general election is the main oppositions to lose. Labour are doing a very good job of that with idiot stunts like this. I want to hear a U-turn or atleast a dampening down of it. You listening Matt?

        • KJT 5.1.1.1

          It is “fiscally responsible” to remove all welfare and allow people to starve.

          The ultimate aim of those who have talked up and supported this type of policy.

          • Ergo Robertina 5.1.1.1.1

            +111 Being enslaved to technocratic ‘efficiency’ and fiscally responsible dogma is ultimately wasteful and counter-productive; its cost in human potential and human suffering.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1.1

              +1

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1.2

              E.R. – correct.

              Orthodox financial economic thinking and money markets dictating the kind of NZ society which is both possible and desirable.

              So it looks like Labour is intent on increasing our already excess labour pool even further.

              Where are the jobs coming from? Who exactly is it who benefits from having a surplus of workers on hand competing for non-existent employment positions?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.2

            +111

        • The Chairman 5.1.1.2

          Good points, Skinny.

          • Skinny 5.1.1.2.1

            A crisp military salute to you Comandante!

            When the shop steward comes into the boardroom stamping his fist on the table voicing the rank & files disapproval for the reasons outlined, it can’t be merely shrugged off. 

            In order to make a hostile takeover you must have the shareholders with you. 

            Or at the next shareholders AGM their ‘will’ be blood on the boardroom table and it won’t be ours it will be the Chairman’s.

        • marsman 5.1.1.3

          Perhaps, if David Parker cannot see his way past increasing the retirement age he should not be a wannabe Minister of Finance. Five years of Bludger Bill’s Bullshit at NZ’s Finance Helm has been quite enough tinkering by incompetent, blinkered, ideologues. An Asset Tax, a Financial Transaction Tax and vigorous pursuit of wealthy tax dodgers may solve the same issue. Why punish the poor and the elderly once again?!

          • greywarbler 5.1.1.3.1

            @marsman
            Are you for real? I agree so wholeheartedly with you that I somehow feel you are being satirical. Anyway I hope not and that I’m just getting paranoid.

            While I don’t want us to be burdened by draconian taxes, properly applied they are good medicine. You can help or kill with Vitamin A if used in too large quantities. This country needs some strengthening medicine, it’s tottering poor thing, and needs good prescriptions
            for its financial future, not just handing out crutches and telling people to get out and earn especially when we know that there aren’t enough earnings out there for everyone. What a travesty of policy about superannuation age rises, and 67 wouldn’t be the last – I think good old Mother UK has gone up to 70.

            • marsman 5.1.1.3.1.1

              @ greywarbler. Yep, I’m for real. Absolutely no satire in what I said above.

        • Rosie 5.1.1.4

          “Remember historically any third general election is the main oppositions to lose. Labour are doing a very good job of that with idiot stunts like this. I want to hear a U-turn”

          Ditto. I stopped at U Turn because a mere dampening down is not acceptable.

  6. MrSmith 6

    Great post MS

    Why is know-one talking about lowering the retirement age and don’t give me the we can’t afford it line hell this government just pissed away 500 mil selling income producing assets, not to mention the roads to know-where, things are meant to be getting better right!

    Another thing to consider is how valuable are all these retirees to society, they contribute a huge amount for very little or no reward, for instance if my mother had still been working at 67 her grandchildren would have been shipped off to a creche or someone would have had to stay at home caring for them.

    Also the word Labour to me means hard physical Labour and don’t give me the hard work never killed anyone line, I have worked doing hard physical Labour most of my life and of the people I’ve worked with most are now falling apart, knees, hips, broken backs or dead and lets not forget about the fact Maori and Pacific Islander don’t live as long so the retirement age unfairly discriminates against them, isn’t this who the Labour party are meant to be representing the working class Man&Women instead they seem have fallen in to the ‘we can’t afford it’ ‘lets do the right thing’ message whispered to them in there sleep, all so the 1% can carry on feeding their cats gold fish!

  7. KJT 7

    I get a bit tired of repeating myself so will put in a link.

    http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/on-new-zealands-retirement-income.html
    “Since the 70’s they have been constant in the meme that we cannot afford super. A meme that has been driven entirely by the self interest of those, who are too wealthy to need super and too mean to pay taxes, and a greedy finance industry”.

    “Aotearoa will face a financial crisis in 10 years or so due to the baby boomer bubble approaching retirement.”

    According to treasury. Who have a much accuracy as looking at chicken entrails.
    If it is really the case the State should be investing in things, infrastructure, local business/production, education, regional development etc, which will make it easier later.

    http://www.policyprogress.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Superannuation-and-Retirement-Savings-Peter-Harris.pdf
    “3Good policy process
    the case of New Zealand Superannuation
    There is a disturbing tendency to evaluate government policies and programmes in terms of how much government spending they involve, often in relation to a potentially volatile comparator like GDP. The Brash Taskforce was the worst offender on this front, but similar sentiments pervade recent reports from the Treasury, the IMF, the World Bank and the Business
    Roundtable. Policy prescriptions derived from this“standard” reflect poor policy process and are based on almost zero real analysis”.

    In other words we are basing policy on idealogical brain farts from the same “economists” that not only failed to predict the GFC, but were largely responsible for the overconfidence that preceded it.

    Relying on the “finance” industry “investments” to still be viable in 2025, is just plain stupid, as many US, Irish, Greek, Cypriot and English people can testify. The costs of bailing them out, again, worldwide, already way exceeds the costs of PAYG State super, or a UBI.

    By 2025 18% of the population will be over 65 and to retain a super at 60% of earnings will cost 8% of GDP. (Financial services currently 7% of GDP) It is inherently fair that that proportion of the population should get a proportionate amount of the national income. Unless you believe, as some do, that the national income is only for the wealthy, and the banking system.

    Over 65’s are not a cost. Super allows them to contribute to society in many valuable, but often unpaid ways. Not to mention the 49 years of work, that working people have already contributed.
    If you look around you pretty much every retired person is involved in some sort of community supporting, effort. What is the value of the Grandma who minds the kids while mum is at work? And the ones who are still working, will presumably, be paying taxes over and above the amount they get for super. A 40% top tax rate for example means that those on high earnings will still be paying more tax than they receive in super.

    “I am a baby boomer, the recipient of an education paid for by the state, without a student loan and with a tertiary qualification……………….”

    Another comfortable university graduate, in a desk job who is OK about make working people grovel for an income. The working people who paid half their income in tax, so you could go to University, before the same entitled little brats got into parliament and voted them selves tax cuts, at the same time as they colluded to increase their own incomes. .

    And it won’t stop at only two years.

    “I am personally happy with the idea that I should not get superannuation for a further two years because god willing I will not need it and the state can fund other things such as glue ear checks for kids in poor neighbourhoods and school breakfasts for low decile schools instead.”

    Why not just up top tax rates and tax on wealth, so we can pay for all that, and develop ways of ensuring a future for New Zealanders , and super, NOW!

    “The debate really needs to be about how we share the resources of our society around. We need to make sure that those of us who are older can exit from the workforce with dignity and those of us who are younger can have jobs. And there is enough money to make sure that everyone can live comfortably.”

    You are really talking about resources, not money. How we make sure that everyone has enough resources to live a decent life. Money is the allocation mechanism we use to direct resources to were they are needed (ideally).

    We are back to the obvious answer. A UBI which entitles everyone to a share of societies resources, (which looks after young and old) which we have all contributed to building up..

    http://keithrankin.co.nz/krnkndisc_pap.html
    “A tax­benefit regime that provides publicly sourced income to all adults – whether as pensions, cash benefits, tax allowances or a combination – can be called a basic income system; the guaranteed income can be called a social dividend,1 a monetary return on collectively inherited resources. A social dividend can be more, less or equal to an adequate benefit. A full universal basic income (UBI) is an adequate social dividend, equivalent to at least an unemployment benefit, “.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/ubi-2-why-should-we-push-for-a-ubi-universal-basic-income/
    “We already have a UBI, for older people. NZ super.
    It has been totally successful in removing poverty amongst the elderly, (less than 3% in poverty). We can, at least, extend it to children.

    Time we “made poverty, history!”

    • RedLogix 7.1

      To the policy analyst who works out how to resolve these thoughts in a way that is acceptable to the electorate there will be a chocolate fish …

      You get my chocolate fish KJT. The open question is of course, how acceptable to the electorate would a UBI it be?

      Mickey neatly outlines the opposing forces and issues at work here and there is no doubt in my mind that a UBI is the tool which cuts the Gordian knot.

      The crucial thing that a UBI brings to the table is flexibility and choice. By the time you’ve hit fifty life has handed out many of it’s unexpected twists and turns, and few of us get through it all scot-free. And how we fare in the health lottery is the most capricious of all. (Although in general terms research clearly shows that the wealthier you are the more likely you are to age well.)

      Our next door neighbour is a woman whose life story is horrendous. She’s essentially stuffed at 55.

      And I can point to another woman who celebrated her 80th birthday climbing Mitre (in the Tararuas) and had a party up there with her mates.

      No single ‘retirement age’ policy can possibly span that gap. Nor should it try.

      And pushing the age out to 67 … then inevitably 70 … has to be viewed in the light of the fact that once you’re past 50 it becomes increasingly hard to get to an interview, much less a job. I know for a fact that one major employment agency simply bins every applicant over that age.

      As far as I’m concerned this business of raising the retirement age is nothing more than neo-lib short-hand for pulling up yet another ladder.

    • TightyRighty 7.2

      you keep repeating yourself because no one cares what you have to say. you can write as many self indulgent blogposts as you want. they’ll all continue to be wrong.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        Says the person who has never made a viable argument yet.

        • McFlock 7.2.1.1

          +1
          I prefer challenging ideas from a commenter I respect, like KJT, to generic shit from a meaningless waste of space who just wants to spread discord.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      Money is the allocation mechanism we use to direct resources to were they are needed (ideally).

      And it doesn’t work because it’s presently controlled by the private banks.

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    Incorporating some of the above…
    • Capital Gains Tax during first term of a new govt.
    • institute a UBI (which would bury the WINZ stigma)
    • “retirement” from age 60 for those that want to or need to
    • kick raising the age to two elections out while a national discussion is held. There is a rump of late 50s to early 60s men that had the s**t kicked out of them initially by Rogernomics and latterly the Nats who are hanging out for 65 and the gold card. ShonKey is shamelessly appeasing them for votes and Labour should think rather hard about doing the same with the difference of instituting the positive angles such as the Cullen fund and UBI.

    Personally I don’t think you retire until you have drawn your last breath, but in terms of paid work to exist that is a different matter.

    • KJT 8.1

      Labours restoring the “family benefit” is a step towards a UBI for children.

    • lefty 8.2

      Very good Tiger Mountain.

      A UBI also means we can retire when we are sick of working, either temporarily or permanently.

      Employers are always going on about flexibility. Strangely enough they are correct to some extent when they say a flexible workforce is a productive workforce.

      A UBI would provide a great deal of flexibility for the people who produce the wealth, the workers.

      Of course bosses and their neoliberal political parties are not really interested in flexibility – exploitation and control is their game.

  9. ianmac 9

    Then there is Means Testing. If on retirement those who have an income greater than say $100,000 would not be entitled to Super. Disentangling Trusts and hidden other income would be difficult, but if it is OK to track down Beneficiary cheats then the same diligence could be applied to Super Cheats.
    (I get Super now and it is so needed and so welcome.)

    • KJT 9.1

      I used to think that means testing was part of the answer.

      Until I started looking seriously at the “unaffordable”, non argument.

      Don’t think that taking things of someone who has built them up over lifetime, compared with someone who didn’t bother, is fair, either. Especially if you don’t take them off the person who has kept it as money and gets an income from their assets.

      We already have people who are actually physically or mentally incapable of working full time, but not sufficiently decrepit to get the invalids benefit, on the “bones of their butt” because to get the UB they first have to liquidate assets they have built up over a lifetime.

      Inheritance taxes and/or deferred land taxes.

      And. Get rid of private trusts.

      The other option, income testing, to me, is a definite no no.
      The person who has been tax dodging all their life gets the super, while a PAYE payer misses out.

      • ianmac 9.1.1

        But if on an income above $X, that person would not need Super in same way that the PAYE payer would. Therefore the richer one had proportionally less to loose.

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.1

          The point is that once you accept the ‘means testing’ in principle. inevitably some future right-wing govt will use the pretence of some crisis to reset the thresholds so low that it impacts everyone.

          And what we do know from experience is that for many elderly people, especially those who’ve worked hard at honest jobs all their lives, will often forego a legitimate benefit they are entitled to, rather than undergo the very real humiliation of the means test necessary to access it.

          (An experience of course we routinely impose on the poorest and weakest in our society anyhow- but that’s a tangent to this discussion.))

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.1.1.1.1

            @ Red Logix,

            I question the premise of your first paragraph – is this really a decent argument against means testing? (genuine question!). The said right wing government would have to get the public onside to do such a thing – if the threshold was going to be dropped ‘so low that it impacts everyone’ (presumably adversely) then wouldn’t this end up being an unpopular policy that would get them voted out – or not voted in in the first place?

            • RedLogix 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Well there is no question in my mind that the neo-libs would like to reduce Superannuation to the status of ‘just another targeted’ benefit.

              The other argument against means testing is that it discriminates against those who have saved and invested for their retirement – but it’s easy to see how this can be twisted.

              By undoing the Universal aspect of Super it becomes easy to extend the bene-bashing meme to the indigent elderly who failed to invest in enough property to support their old-age … and thereby keeping the middle-classes like me onside, while marginalising the poor and weakest.

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                Thanks you provide good points of debate, Red Logix

                Questions I would raise to your points:

                What is ‘discrimination’?

                Are social security measures that focusses on a person’s need really discriminating against those who are not lacking in ability to support their lives?

                Or is this concern about ‘discrimination’ about saving one’s ‘place’ in the ‘hierarchy of wealth’?

                Shouldn’t social security measures be about need – not about people’s urge to stay ‘better than the Jones’s’?

                Lets reframe ‘discrimination’ to a concern that allowing some Superannuation and not others for a time* places those who have saved on a ‘worse footing’ than those who haven’t. [*n.b I like the idea of means testing between the ages of 60 – 70 years]

                It depends on what the threshold is as to whether means testing puts those who have saved on a worse footing or not – i.e. how many houses and how much businesses and how much savings does one need before not getting a few hundred dollars a week puts people who have saved on a worse footing than those who haven’t and only have the superannuation to live on?

                Re the bene-bashing meme (good point)
                Should we be answering to the political framing of a mean spirited/narrow minded/ profiteering mentality or should we be creating our own narrative that those who think in these ways need to answer to instead?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  A UBI is simpler and inherently encompasses a means test as all other income is taxed the same as everybody else.

                  Universality is soooo much easier than targeted “benefits”.

                  • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                    Hi DTB,

                    I have to admit that, at present, I can’t get my head around a Universal Basic Income – if there is a belief that we can’t afford Universal Support for the elderly, nor can afford welfare for those without jobs or with sickness, nor can afford wages that cover each person’s livelihood – I simply can’t understand how a UBI is either affordable or more to the point an answer that people will take on board by the end of the year. (Note -I am thinking that if I can’t ‘get my head around it’, I suspect there will be a huge amount of other people that can’t)

                    I am open to UBI – yet feel it is a lot for people to understand and take on board by the end of the year; when we can’t even seem to get people voting for a decent government on a regular basis(!) – I am therefore taking the approach of shifting this thing in increments until we manage to create a decent and informed population that will support really decent approaches that will actually work for longer than the next hour.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      What’s difficult about:

                      1) Giving everyone $400/week
                      2.) Taxing all other income at PAYE rates and also changing other taxes such as the royalties on mining enough to cover that $400/week

                      It’s our economy and it’s minimum purpose should be about ensuring that everyone has a reasonable living standard.

                    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                      As I suggested in my comment – what is difficult about understanding it is how we could afford it – considering there is only a minority of NZers on welfare and Superannuation now and even this appears to be ‘too much to afford’ – so how does promoting paying everyone solve this?

                      [There is a problem occurring currently with taxes – people required to pay them, when they are wealthy enough, employ people who are dab hands at hiding their money and avoiding the payment. I am inclined to suspect that if all people paid the correct amount of taxes as they are required to now (no avoidance was occurring) we probably wouldn’t be even having this debate over the affordability of anything. Therefore responding by saying ‘we simply tax people more’ – especially the very wealthy more – doesn’t in reality solve anything as they stand – If a political party started speaking with other political parties internationally and arranging deals with foreign countries and islands to remove all these bloody tax avoidance shelters where people hide money – NZ being one of them – then I would start thinking something was really being done to deal with these ‘unaffordability’ issues – and I wonder would we even need a UBI then?]

                      As I also mentioned – and this really is an important point – I fail to believe that New Zealanders en masse will be voting for such an idea by the end of the year, therefore I prefer to discuss what is do-able by adjusting the current system – rather than freaking non-political types out over very new ways of dealing with things – I suggest to you this will simply get them ‘running to the familiar’ despite how disadvantageous this may be for them, and despite how very much you (or I for that matter) may wish them to respond differently.

                    • KJT

                      You do what the right wing have done, successfully, with, “we cannot afford super/welfare”. Endlessly repeating a meme with absolutely no evidence to support it, until even those that should know ,better begin to believe it.

                      Except that our competing memes. A “country without poverty”, we cannot afford poverty” and “everyone has a right to live” have the advantage of having evidence on our side.

                    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                      Hi KJT,

                      You do both myself and yourself a disservice by ignoring the inverted commas I have put around ‘affording’.

                      note: the ‘belief’ in: ” if there is a belief that we can’t afford ”
                      and the inverted comments in: ‘too much to afford’

                      How about address the points I make rather than falsely likening me to a right winger – or is that the best you can do to address the queries and/or points I make?

                      I am not saying we can’t afford superannuation
                      I am not even against UBI (saying I don’t fully understand it yet)
                      I am involving myself in a discussion that is saying that in response to the notion ‘we can’t afford it’ we pay everyone in the country a payment when we don’t even have the largest ‘leftwing ‘party in the country acknowledging the value in superannuation ??

                      I simply think there is a much simpler answer taking into account the level of awareness that NZers have of these issues of addressing the notion that we ‘can’t afford it’ than expecting people to take on board a completely new system.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      As I suggested in my comment – what is difficult about understanding it is how we could afford it – considering there is only a minority of NZers on welfare and Superannuation now and even this appears to be ‘too much to afford’ – so how does promoting paying everyone solve this?

                      The adjustment of taxes is how we afford it. Although that’s incorrect. The reality is that we have all the necessary resources available to afford pretty much everything we want. The problem is the distribution and who has control of those resources.

                      I suggest to you this will simply get them ‘running to the familiar’ despite how disadvantageous this may be for them, and despite how very much you (or I for that matter) may wish them to respond differently.

                      If we don’t tell them otherwise what else can they do?

                    • KJT

                      I know you were quoting.

                      Not just replying to you, or disagreeing, simply amplifying your points .

                      And. Like you, I think there is more than a years work to do, to change perceptions and memes.

                      we have 30 years of mean spiritedness and obsessive neo-liberalism to reverse.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      “Reverse” suggests going back to the way things were.

                      The democratic socialist left need to show a way forward, for a future which is going to be very different to the environment of the 20th century.

                    • KJT

                      Sorry, Blue Leopard, probably replying too hastily.

                      Some of those points you made, I am still thinking about, for more UBI posts.

                      Where I hope to be able to address them with the attention they deserve, when I have had more thinking and research time than at present.

    • PapaMike 9.2

      I have a concern over the limit of $100,000 a year you quote.
      That means that somebody has invested, say with a bank around $2,650,000, paying current rate 3.75% before tax.
      I think the means test income limit is far too high.

  10. Disraeli Gladstone 10

    As much as it pains me to say, I think United Future’s policy on super has some merit. At least as a starting point (it has some flaws too). The flexibility allow manual labourers and people with historically lower life expectancy to get some use of their pension that they have contributed to throughout their life by the age of 60. It also allows people who feel fit and want to continue working to wait until 70 before claiming their super.

    I’m just a little uncomfortable with the whole being rewarded to wait. It’s not very fair to those people who simply cannot wait.

  11. geoff 11

    Irrespective of the financial analysis….using it as a campaign issue is a great way to lose votes.

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      It will also win votes from a certain demographic. Probably not as much as it loses from other certain demographics, though.

      • Tamati 11.1.1

        It could. But those it should be favouring and the Gen X and Gen Yers who are notoriously difficult to get out to vote. It’s also likely to appeal most more right wing voters, who on balance would never vote Labour/Green.

        It’s good policy, just unpopular.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1

          No, it’s crap policy that’s justifiably unpopular.

          • tamati 11.1.1.1.1

            People howled and screamed when it went up to 65, yet no political parties are advocating it being dropped back down.

    • Skinny 11.2

      +1 Nice one Labour just make it harder for the teams of on the ground troops door knocking to get the Labour vote out by knee capping us with stupid crap policies that lose a hell of alot more votes than sucking up to some of the so called sensible middle bloc swing voters.

      Policy council wake the fuck up!

      • Naturesong 11.2.1

        My thoughts also.

        On December 7 2013 I wrote to David Cunliffe about this issue.

        Subject: Raising Super Elegibility
        Category: Send a message to David Cunliffe
        Message:
        Dear Mr Cunliffe,

        I live in Glen Eden, which is part of the new Kelston electorate.

        I am also a member of the green party, and represent them on occasion as a foot soldier (door knocking, collecting signatures etc)

        In the lead up to next years election when talking to people I will be encouraging them to party vote green and electoral vote labour.
        As a result I need to be up to date on labour policies and be able articulate and advocate for them.

        Recently Mr Parker announced that if Labour win the 2014 election your party would be looking to raise the elegibility age for super to 67.

        Surely this is a second term policy to be forwarded after there is a broad consensus?

        As it currently stands, its a vote killer, and I personally believe the policy to be misguided. There are other ways to address the issue.

        Given you recently said: “Workers, where National is telling them they want to cut them off at the knees, don’t want to hear from us that we would too – just nearer the ankles with more anaesthetic.”
        National have not announced any intention to cut super off at the knees, so why is your party advocating cutting super off at the ankles?

        Next year when someone asks me why they should vote labour when you have this policy. My response has to be; you shouldn’t.

        If labour truly wishes to gain the treasury benches next year, this policy will make it a great deal more difficult.
        I urge you to reconsider.

        Kind regards
        xxxxxxxx

        The reply I recieved is as follows:

        Sent: Tuesday, 10 December 2013 9:54 a.m.
        To: xxxxx
        Subject: RE: Raising Super Elegibility

        Thank you for your email.

        I will pass your comments about Labour’s Superannuation policy on to David Cunliffe.

        Yours sincerely

        xxxxxxx
        Office of the Leader of the Opposition

        … and nothing since.

        • Rosie 11.2.1.1

          Excellent letter Naturesong and unfortunate that you haven’t received a personal reply as yet. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes as you can’t advocate for this policy and it puts you at odds with your purpose – to help win electorate votes.

    • BM 11.3

      You can’t really knock Cunliife and Parker though.
      They’re just representing the views of the Labour party, which is their job.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/226416/delegates-reject-proposal-not-to-raise-super-age.

  12. Lanthanide 12

    “But allowing everyone to retire gracefully at the age of 65 years means that there will be jobs for 18 year olds to fill. Allowing older citizens to retire later means that there will be less jobs for our young.”

    Citation needed.

  13. bad12 13

    Great Post Mickey Savage, and, thanks for putting a human face in the form of your Dad and His comrades into the discussion which starkly tells the story of what i and other’s have been banging on about repeatedly vis a vis those who have only their labour and strive every day providing the grunt and the actual sweat to the economy,

    First a question, in your Post you say that the Labour plan to raise the age of entitlement has attached to it a provision that will allow those who’s bodies can no longer support their inclusion in the workforce to retire earlier than the proposed age of 67???,

    i have until now never heard of such a provision, can you provide us a link to who in Labour has put forward this proposal, and, importantly here, does such a proposal simply leave those who would avail themselves of it at the mercy of a WINZ benefit????,

    This issue, the raising of the age of entitlement to address the Politics of the issue first, i believe IS the one issue which destroyed the chances of Phill Goff in the 2011 election, no-one, and i repeat, NO-ONE who does not already intend to vote for Labour at the 2014 election is going to come off of the fence casting a vote FOR denying themselves Superannuation later in life and if Labour are serious about gaining the Treasury Benches in 2014 i would suggest that this is the one policy that will stop them doing so,

    i do not for one moment accept that 67 is the final stop as far as raising the age of entitlement goes, some countries are already talking 70 as the age, and, the intended COMPULSION of personal retirement savings schemes points to what is intended for the Pension in the future, if i am correct then raising the age of entitlement to 67 is just cynical lies from LIARS pushing an ugly piece of Neo-Liberal Dogma,

    Having in recent weeks used the Hated ”There Is No Alternative”,(TINA), David Parker the Labour Finance Spokesperson can only be viewed as the ghost of Roger Douglas hiding His neo-liberal agenda behind the smile of David Cunliffe,

    My view is this, IF Labour are serious about winning the 2014 election they should back away from this policy NOW, back away from it with the maximum amount of noise and propose to address the issue at the 2017 election,

    ‘There Are Alternatives’, one of these alternatives being the much discussed means testing of all income against the entitlement for superannuation, i would suggest that those alternatives be independently assessed and what is considered the most popular and effective fiscally be put to the electorate at the 2017 election as a referendum,

    Labour tho as i stress above, need back away from the current policy now, with the maximum amount of publicity AND laying out the Referendum option to be used in 2017 as the correct means of addressing this issue, if not, i have my doubts that the electorate is likely to move in any great numbers to cast a vote for Labour in 2014 than what the current percentages suggest…

  14. Steve Alfreds 14

    My concern with incrementally increasing the retirement age is we will see a corresponding increase in the number of people, through no fault of their own, claiming the over 55 benefit. So we end up with yet another false economy (probably another great idea from the bowels of Treasury). It’s not like the wonderful employers of New Zealand are queueing up to hire workers over 55.

  15. Jenny Kirk 15

    Brave of you to start this conversation, Mickey S. I thought it was dried and dusted off under David Parker – having several times tried getting him to change his mind.
    Moving the superannuation age to 67 years is not the answer when so many people have lost their jobs when they’ve been in their mid 50s, or had ill health and are unable to work fulltime in their previous well-paid jobs, or still have a mortgage to pay when they reach age 65.
    And I’m not talking brown or manual workers here – I’m talking about educated pakeha who have been trained professionals, and who have fallen – not necessarily on really rough times – but into times where they are using up their savings before they reach age 65 – and so are going into older age at a considerable disadvantage to people like you, Mickey S.
    And then there are people who are in the older age group and find themselves raising their grandchildren because the parents are ill, druggies, in prison, or whatever.
    And look at all those oldies who are now living in poverty – according to the latest stats.
    Along with the 25% of children also living in poverty.
    There is something very wrong with a world which gives tax cuts to those who are already wealthy or have a comfortable income, and then wants to raise the age of superannuation because “the country cannot afford it ” . Bull-sh-t !

    And I agree with you Geoff – its a vote loser. Why Parker cannot see that, is beyond me. I think he lives in the comfortably-off Wellington bubble too much and doesn’t get out enough to see the real world that most of us others live in.

    The Dunne idea won’t work either. An early superannuation which is means tested, and then those people who took it won’t ever get the full superannuation after they reach (if they reach) the qualifying age. That’s discrimination in another form.

    There ARE alternatives. Susan st John and her researchers have produced quite a few. And the first of these is to get NZ back into a proper progressive tax system and cut out those benefits for the rich.

    • Anne 15.1

      I thought it was dried and dusted off under David Parker – having several times tried getting him to change his mind.

      So he won’t budge? Does he want to be the Minister of Finance? Or does he want to go down in NZ Labour history as the dumb politician who lost the 2014 election for them and allowed the NActs to cement themselves in for two more terms? Because that is what is at stake.

      I’m getting sick and tired of stupid Labour politicians who know they’re smart (although tend to think they’re smarter than they are) but who are living in some warm, cuddly little bubble somewhere on the edge of the universe and don’t have a clue what is going on in the real world the rest of us live in.

      It doesn’t matter if you say you’re raising the age to 67 in 20/20, 3020 or 40/20. All the voters remember are the two magic numbers “67″. When is Labour going to get real and learn that there are a few things one has to do by indirect means and by stealth so that the horses don’t get frightened.

      Yes, there are times I feel so despondent with Labour I wonder whether to walk away… this is one of those times.

      • MrSmith 15.1.1

        “Does he want to be the Minister of Finance?”

        Piss off he wants Cunliffe’s job, anyway Norman should get the job he has at-least earned it.

        Parker’s in the wrong party.

        • The Chairman 15.1.1.1

          Indeed, Mr Smith.

          Labour are largely constrained appeasing the right within. It often results in policy falling short, or in this case, totally heading the wrong way.

      • greywarbler 15.1.2

        Anne
        I don’t want Labour doing things by stealth. That sounds like Julia Gillard and it didn’t do anything but create wedge politics and then open the door to Abbott the Monkey. There has to be explanations for things so reasonable people can understand, warnings about the future. But Labour need to talk about taxes for the wealthy, CGTs, FTTs and leave the super alone. It’s no use trying to dump on super, look for other ways to make it affordable.

        • Anne 15.1.2.1

          That’s sort of what I meant greywarbler. Look for other ways to reach the same outcome and don’t necessarily link it to the super scheme.

        • Jim Nald 15.1.2.2

          Just to make things more interesting for David ‘T.I.N.A’ Parker and encouraging the Labour caucus to engage more thoroughly with the super issues (but not that much time left in the run up to the general election), perhaps the Nats might like to launch a campaign such as:

          “Keep Our Super” … and “No Change to Super” ?

          :-P

    • Draco T Bastard 15.2

      There is something very wrong with a world which gives tax cuts to those who are already wealthy or have a comfortable income, and then wants to raise the age of superannuation because “the country cannot afford it ” . Bull-sh-t !

      QFT

      I think he lives in the comfortably-off Wellington bubble too much and doesn’t get out enough to see the real world that most of us others live in.

      That seems to be true of every politician. They really don’t know what it’s like working in physically demanding jobs for a living even if they’ve worked in them when they were young.

      And the first of these is to get NZ back into a proper progressive tax system and cut out those benefits for the rich.

      And another QFT.

  16. jpwood 16

    It is too late.

    The superannuation timebomb/landslide/tsunami is already here. A gradual shift of the age to 67 will do nothing except make it seem as if the politicians are doing something. The numbers are staggering and will bankrupt this country and there is nothing politicians of either stripe will do.

    One of the problems is that no one is confronting the numbers, because if they were it would scare the bejebus out of us. Usually it is expressed as being say 5 per cent of GDP rising to a possible high of 8 per cent. 5 per cent, 8 per cent, that doesn’t sound too bad?

    In 2012/2013 Government spending was 91 billion dollars [http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/financialstatements/yearend/jun13snapshot/01.htm#your_tax_dollar]. The Government revenue from all sources was 64.1 billion [http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/revenue] (the tax component of this was 58.7 billion). Spending on social welfare was 26.3 billion [http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/expenditure], two thirds of which is on superannuation. Nearly 30 per cent of the money raised in taxes last year went on paying the pension. And we are only in the first few years of a demographic surge that will last for around fifteen to twenty years.

    We should be panicking; it is the only rational response.

    Superannuation is unaffordable now. In effect we are borrowing to fund it now. By the time the Cullen fund becomes available to be paid, it will not cover 1 year of super. At its highpoint, if nothing changes we will be borrowing 30 billion dollars a year to pay for this. And guess what, it is going to happen because no one wants to deal with the enormity of what this means for the future of this country.

    If a new party came on the block proposing to borrow 300 to 400 billion dollars and this money wasn’t to go towards building wealth long term, it was to be paid to finance the current domestic spending of part of the population and later generations are going to spend decades repaying that money – we would think they were mental. The thing is that is what every political party is proposing right now. In short, we’re fucked.

    What should we do? There is no point in carping on about which party did what in the 1970’s that got us here, that is just part of the by-play of inertia that got us to this point in the first place. I’m not going to blame the ‘selfish’ generation who voted for these policies all those decades ago.

    We could do two things right away (as in the laws and regulations for this need to be passed tomorrow):
    1. Superannuation needs to be mean tested (on both an income and assets basis)
    2. We need to realistically figure out what this will cost the country over the next 20 years and borrow that money right now. Our nation’s credit-rating is at the best it is going to be at the moment and is likely not to be this high again in my life-time. Take that money and Cullen fund it right away. Instead of pursuing the pointless exercise of building up a fund that is hopelessly inadequate borrow the whole amount and use the surplus over debt repayments to pay down the principal.

    The above is of course a terrible idea, and probably will not work. The depressing thing it is a million times more sensible than what we are actually going to end up doing.

    • KJT 16.1

      Your whole comment is simply a repeat of the treasury BS.

      What you are really saying is that we can no longer afford to provide our elderly with food, services and housing in future.

      Manifestly untrue in a country with an excess potential supply of all of these things.

      If we cannot use 8% of GDP to allow 20% of our population to live, what sort of country are we?

      However did we keep all these people when they were children, with a much smaller economy and less in the work force, than we have now?

      It is only unaffordable if we keep our low top tax rates. Tax rates which are much less than our neighbour, Australia, and most of the OECD.

      Borrowing for tax cuts for the wealthy, selling income earning assets and repatriating profits offshore is bankrupting us, not welfare.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1

        +1111

      • jpwood 16.1.2

        I’m all for raising the tax rate, but again apart from tinkering around the edges no party that will be in Parliament after November is suggesting anywhere near the type of radical redistribution that is required.

        My suggestion above was only shows the consensus low tax approach adopted over the last four governments cannot rationally cope with this problem.

        “What you are really saying is that we can no longer afford to provide our elderly with food, services and housing in future.”

        Yes that is exactly what I am saying – if we need to spend 90 billion a year to keep the unemployed, underemployed, sick and elderly in a relatively meagre state while paying for all the other things we need to keep our society going, and we are only earning 65 billion, something is seriously out of kilter.

        Not only can we not afford to the aged and indigent, we are taxing at a level that only allows us to pay for two thirds of current speding on health, education, defence and so on.

        • Draco T Bastard 16.1.2.1

          So raise taxes. It’s the only reasonable answer.

        • KJT 16.1.2.2

          Higher progressive taxes are inevitable.

          No successful country, in recent times, has cut Government expenditure, as a proportion of national income, by as much as we have since the 80’s, and remained successful.

          All have maintained a base level of social and State infrastructure.

          Borrowing so that a few can take overseas holidays and gamble the excess in offshore derivative markets, is not the road to prosperity, or even survival.

    • Tamati 16.2

      I can assure you if New Zealand tried to sell 20 years of superannuation worth of bonds (say half a trillion dollars worth) our credit rating wouldn’t be AA for much longer.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.3

      The government doesn’t need to borrow money at all and that simple fact is what brings your entire argument down. In fact, the sooner that the government stops borrowing and starts taxing correctly the better. But that is unlikely to happen because the rich like their government guaranteed income that government borrowing brings them.

  17. Bill 17

    And was not this so-called ‘bubble’ also a ‘bubble’ when those people were all children needing financial support in a country that, due to women being essentially excluded from the workforce, had only half the available workers that it does now?

    Wouldn’t be shrinking wages and a regressive tax regime having anything to do with fuck all now, would it? Of course not.

    I mean, for fuck sake, the working class has been severely shafted these past 30 odd years in relation to the 30 years before that, and now those in more comfortable positions want the working classes to work more years to cover the shortfall that has occurred because of the wholesale theft of the wealth that the working class built up.

    Anyone in favour of raising the retirement age care to address/refute these points?

  18. bad12 18

    As a little addition to my comment above and again sticking for now to the politics surrounding raising the age of entitlement, how DUMB was it to have Phill Goff fronting the 2011 election with a promise to raise the age of entitlement,(no wonder Slippery the Prime Minister was laughing up His sleeve),

    Remember this is coalition politics and IF Labour had of had the numbers to form the Government in 2011 they obviously would have had to do so with Winston Peters NZFirst,

    Who does Winston most represent again, shucks the older set either close to or at the age of collecting their pension, SO, even with the numbers to be able to form a Government Labour couldn’t have changed the frigging age anyway coz i doubt Winston having just got back into the Parliament would have then agreed to cut His own throat,

    Its a fucking Forest Gump Policy, i pick it cost Labour 2% of the vote in 2011 and i predict if they persist with it it will again cost them 2–5% of the vote in 2014,

    So, go ahead Labour, keep campaigning on a vote loser, with luck you can gain enough votes to form a Labour/Green government and Winston wont make it back into the Parliament, what a gamble tho, does anyone believe He wont,

    Of course there’s always National/ACT who i would suggest would fll all over themselves to support such legislation IF Labour put it befor the House, hell if Slippery were still round as leader of the opposition He would probably make it a ‘conscience vote’ ha ha ha for the Tory MP’s so He could cast a nay vote and claim Honesty…

    • Skinny 18.1

      Bang on Bad12 I like your straight shooter approach. Speaking of straight shooters I hope Mc Carten gives the LP party the message this is not turning Left! It is a fact that ACT support it so it is a Right policy. Scrap it as a sign Labour is heading back Left.

    • Draco T Bastard 18.2

      If Labour get in with this policy on their books they will pass it with National’s help. There’s really no doubt about that. They’re both neo-liberal parties out to screw the less well off.

  19. (averages ahead) Māori earn less over their working life, work in lower paying jobs, can have cultural obligations as they get older, and die younger than other people – so based on all that raising the age when retirement benefits are paid is a direct attack on Māori, that is a direct attack on the indigenous population who have lost so much already and for what? As indicated in some above comments there is no crisis of funding it is a crisis of prioritization and it is obvious where the lines are drawn – not under tangata whenua but through them.

    So go for it labour, show us who are important in your bored church.

    • RedLogix 19.1

      And I could not agree more marty.

      You’ve hit the big button in this issue – that neo-liberal economic rationalism really only values people in terms of their monetary worth and/or potential.

      • greywarbler 19.1.1

        that neo-liberal economic rationalism really only values people in terms of their monetary worth and/or potential.
        And add that, ‘This ‘monetary worth and/or potential,’ can be stripped from people, as deemed pragmatic with no substitute opportunities or equivalence, and then such people will be deemed Worthless.”.

    • just saying 19.2

      lol
      The bored church of the comfortably off – that’s Labour today. That is all the representatives and policy wonks, and most of the active memberhip as well. Looking out for number one whilst enjoying the facade of being compassionate and decent.

      And everybody knows who is important: No policy announcements about state housing, but a flagship policy providing substantial financial help for the children of the comfortable to buy brand-spanking-new first homes.

      Raising the age of entitlement for National Super? You’re right Marty:

      …a direct attack on Māori, that is a direct attack on the indigenous population who have lost so much already…

    • Colonial Viper 19.3

      Parekura Horomia was only 62 when he died. Right now, thousands of Maori males like him pass on before ever receiving a cent of NZ Super. Wait until the age gets jacked up to 67.

  20. Ergo Robertina 20

    ‘I am a baby boomer, the recipient of an education paid for by the state, without a student loan and with a tertiary qualification and in state sponsored good health. I am personally happy with the idea that I should not get superannuation for a further two year…’

    Nice try at an attempt to portray this as the baby boomers as a generation taking a hit from neoliberalism rather than inflicting austerity on others. Only those born at the latter period – towards 1964 – will be affected, and they are likely to have benefited from housing capital gains.
    Yet again, the Super age debate is a case of the baby boomer generation still holding the levers of power and shafting the younger generations (and during Rogernomics/1990s the older manual workers).

    • KJT 20.1

      And those born after 1984 had lower taxes all their lives, cheaper mortgages and the much easier access to tertiary education that the student loan scheme allowed.
      While those working before 1984 had a 65% top tax rate to pay for all that “free stuff”.

      We can go on about “intergenerational fairness” all you like, but it has little to do with it.

      As always, it is the rich and greedy, of all generations, stealing from the rest.

      A tertiary educated student who had a job for the last 20 years, is likely to be much better off throughout their life than all but the most privileged bloomers, for one.
      While a Maori child born in Otara is likely to be as poor as someone in the same situation in the 30’s.

      • Ergo Robertina 20.1.1

        I agree it’s more nuanced than a tidy intergenerational fairness argument, but it is a fact the baby boomers disrupted a historic compromise in 1984 which had previously ensured the economy served social ends. This doesn’t mean every baby boomer got rich. And it doesn’t mean that the laissez faire economy ushered in did not enrich younger people.
        At least in the days of a high top marginal tax rate you had to be earning a high income to qualify. Whereas now even low to middle income earners are saddled with high student debt, and while mortgage rates may be comparatively low, NZ’s houses are now among the most unaffordable in the world compared with incomes. And in forestry, for example, workers take home 30% of the share of income, compared with 70% in the 1970s.
        And, yes, many goods such as TVs are of course cheaper than 40 years ago, so comparing eras can be somewhat fraught.
        But Mickey Savage seemed to be framing this as responsible boomers taking the brunt of necessary change, thus raising a generational argument himself.

        • KJT 20.1.1.1

          Mostly agree with you, except.

          Many things are not quite so simple.
          Affordability of houses actually has more to do with the monthly mortgage repayments than total price. In that way, houses are more affordable, now.
          The problem is there are many more people with precarious low paid jobs, or no jobs. Both young people, and over 50’s.
          Just as car ownership is actually more expensive now than they were. Buying that first car, costs you less, but depreciation is many times what it was, pre 1984.
          And, the top rate cut in at the level of income of people like high school teachers, technicians, and tradespeople.

          • Ergo Robertina 20.1.1.1.1

            The rate of home ownership dropped slightly in the latest Census, which seems odd if houses really are more affordable in a day to day sense.
            Thing is, if interest rates were not low, ordinary incomes could not service the huge debts accompanying the financialisation of the housing sector. I’m not sure that’s much of an advance.

            • KJT 20.1.1.1.1.1

              Agree. Not simple.

            • RedLogix 20.1.1.1.1.2

              Well the Property Investors Association (yeah I know devils incarnate around here) do make the point that right now renting is so much cheaper than owning – that it’s a fair incentive NOT to buy.

              For a median priced unit (around the $420k mark) a typical tenant is about $6k pa better off renting than owning it. That’s a fair lump of after tax income.

    • mickysavage 20.2

      Nice try at an attempt to portray this as the baby boomers as a generation taking a hit from neoliberalism rather than inflicting austerity on others. Only those born at the latter period – towards 1964 – will be affected, and they are likely to have benefited from housing capital gains.

      If you reread the post ER I am honestly conflicted on the proposal. Maybe my catholic guilt could be assuaged by a tax increase which may be the best way to fund existing entitlements.

  21. Ray 21

    If we are going to use Capital Gains Tax to help pay for this (and we should) let there be no loop holes for the lawyers and Trust brigade to slip through

    Bang it on all house sales where there is a net gain i.e. you can sell your house and buy another but if you are left with unearned money in your pocket, thanks very much

    I say this after hearing strong left wing people who own $2 million houses trying to claim they were lower middle class

    And of course a good chance it would bust the housing bubble that has turned baby boomers into millionaires and allow the new poor (university graduates with debt) into affordable housing

    Win win

  22. RedBaronCV 22

    67 is a vote loser -get rid of it because another three years of this lot will mean no pensions for anyone anytime.

    Raising superannuation hits the low paid, women (who judging by the australian experience earn about half of males due to wage differentals and lack of paid work hours) and it is these groups that are condemed to the longer working life. Also these people who will need more family support from younger generations bleeding their money.

    These groups vote for labour so why encourage them not too.

    But we still need to have a good look at it – it’s not simple policy.
    Include in the review:
    – the status of those who move into or out of the country – there are some nasty eligibility traps heading our way. Conversely people who have spent little time here and paid their tax elsewhere can still pick up.

    preserving the modest assets of modest people to pass onto family after use. Revive estate duties on larger estates. Raising the age is regressive , poorer families eat up a larger portion of assets in care. shift retirement village profits back into the state sector. They are farming elderly assets.

    -look at portability – many families have the adult children living overseas and cannot join them. No country wants to look after elderly people fracturing family ties.

    -look at a higher pension kicking in some time later say 85-90. That gives a horizon for most people to save too

    I’m not sure about the blocking up jobs argument, too similar to the raising minimum wage arguments, regardless of age the money circulates in the community.

    And seperate to this we need a lot more for the young, we are not training enough of them.

  23. greywarbler 23

    I went to the 66th birthday of a friend with ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) who is glad to be over 65, to be receiving superannuation, and not have to endure the harrassment and denigration of the government departments. And the other attendees who are under 65 are living precariously with money for food some weeks down to $10 or $20 a week. With lavish helpings of said h & d.

    These are all people who have brought up children to be good citizens, and have also worked with valuable skills appreciated in the community. But the protean nature of ME, and its individualistic symptoms lead to doubt of the individual, their motivations and psychological health. It also gives stress to the government clerk who doesn’t know which box to place them in, and fears that a lack of success in moving this person off the books will affect their own employment prospects, and certainly their bonus.

    • aerobubble 23.1

      Its worse than that, if we don’t lower wages to compete with the rest of the world how will the market players (like Key was) earn their big bonuses. You see its just one giant con.

      Ten kids climb into the treehouse. They declare capitalism for all,
      and so print a quantity of money. The kids start buy and selling
      between themselves and the exchange value of the money stabilizes.
      Now one kid declares that value is a consequence of the market,
      that more jobs will be produced when the kids take less wages,
      and that the wealtiest surely know how to run the treehouse
      so have a right to the profits from the lower wages.
      Now turn it round. The rich kid gets richer by taking an income
      stream (lower wages) from the market by misrepresenting how the
      market works, that because he recognized (wrongly) that markets have
      an invisible hand (that actually people make markets) that he should have
      a free ride.

      Our global economy is based around this lie, that we are behold-ant and
      owe the market ideologues. In fact, its we the people who make value.

  24. greywarbler 24

    It is my opinion that we should keep 65 in most cases, allowing those who wanted to stay in paid work to continue, with a small pension paid. I think if all retirees did such volunteer work that they could manage, it would raise productivity in the country, just with 3-8 hours work a week even. But not replacing paid workers. It would provide the well-running basis that an effective country needs to aid, encourage and increase business activity.

    And we should have a system where we can go through a process and decide to die when we want. And we should be better looked after while we are dying, also those giving care. This applies to those looking after people at home, those dying alone at home too, but also to those being cared for by institutions. We would find that a lot of the hospital costs and expensive care in the frail years and that last failing period, would show decreases as people were able to choose to die. There would be a set of requirements that would provide comfort and control by the dying, and acceptance by the family, without the present opprobrium and anxiety, and the threat of courtrooms because of it being illegal.

    And adjust income taxes upwards and fairly tied to those who have most so that they pay more out of what they have spare. This is how a fair, modern progressive economy works! Also ensure that their are good financial and regulatory laws that are implemented to ensure they don’t get their taxable money and ripped off them by specialists in vulture-like behaviours.

  25. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 25

    I haven’t read all the comments on this thread yet, however the idea has been raised before when this has been discussed previously of means testing the superannuation between 60 and 70 years and having it universal after 70. Which seems to be a fair answer to some of the problems that are being raised re popularity and ‘affordability’ of this entitlement.

    If there is a payment that is non-means tested people will claim it – Anecdotal – I acknowledge – yet I have heard that superannuation is jokingly referred to my ‘bus fare supplement’ (by people who do not use buses, are entitled to the superannuation yet still work and even own profitable businesses). They claim this entitlement – not because they need it – because it is there to be claimed.

    When there is a discussion going on about the government ‘not being able to afford’ such payments – and while there are people claiming such payments despite ‘not needing it’ – surely this type of scenario needs to be addressed before doing away with the entitlement ‘universally’?

    I don’t know what the numbers are – therefore it is difficult to comment yet my perception is that there are plenty of people that would benefit from a Superannuation at 60 and there are plenty of other people who don’t need the ‘entitlement’ even at 70 – so how about finding out what the effects on ‘affordability’ is if the superannuation was means tested between the ages of 60 and 70?

    Like others have said – there are hidden benefits to Superannuation – some people would still be alive and productive members of the world (i.e. support for their children and grand children, voluntary work, active politically, studying etc) and others would not even notice or care about not receiving the entitlement because they still have jobs that they can do, enjoy and are profitable. The people who are no longer working have freed up work for others and the people who are still working are not claiming a payment that they do not need.

    I agree with Red Logix at 7.1 where they say “As far as I’m concerned this business of raising the retirement age is nothing more than neo-lib short-hand for pulling up yet another ladder.

    I also agree with the many people suggesting that this should be discussed across the political spectrum in parliament and publicly rather than making it an Hobbesian choice by Labour – that didn’t appear to serve the left well last election and I suspect the same would be the case this year.

  26. Draco T Bastard 26

    Regrettably the financial analysis is quite clear.

    Actually, I’d say that the financial analysis is complete bollocks as the economists who did it don’t know what an economy is nor its purpose. It’s not even the old GIGO. It’s more like: Facts in > complete misunderstanding > garbage out.

    This is why the fifth Labour Government created the Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver. Unless we start to pile money away now then the only way that superannuation will be affordable in the future will be through significant tax increases.

    It’s not money that needs to be piled away. What needs to be done is to build up the infrastructure and productivity so that more people can be supported with less work. This can easily be done with the necessary directed R&D supported through the government creating the money and then destroying it through taxes.

    The real problem is that we’ve put all our increased productivity over the years into doing more of the same – farming. This has left us poor and incapable of supporting more people with less work.

    Labour is trying to show that it is being fiscally responsible by highlighting this as an issue and proposing a realistic solution.

    So, basically, Labour are listening to the people who have NFI WTF they’re talking about and are thus getting it wrong.

    The debate really needs to be about how we share the resources of our society around. We need to make sure that those of us who are older can exit from the workforce with dignity and those of us who are younger can have jobs.

    You know, we used to have a solution for that – it was called penal rates.

    And there is enough money to make sure that everyone can live comfortably.

    There’s always enough money as the government can always print more of it. The problem is that we need to develop our economy so that it works with less human labour and that the results of our economy is spread out through the population in an egalitarian way.

    Our present system can’t do that because it’s designed to put all the benefits of increased productivity into the hands of the already rich. Thus we need to change the system and the first two parts that need changing are 1) stop the private banks from creating money and 2) the implementation of a UBI.

  27. The Chairman 27

    Wouldn’t it be nice to hear that a political party had a productive plan, that would utilize the unemployed, stimulate the economy, boost exports and broaden and increase government revenue streams?

    Thus improving the fiscal position and allowing scope to promote policy such as lowering the retirement age?

    • Skinny 27.2

      Shouldn’t that be the goal lowering the retirement age and also trimming back the 40 hour working week to a 30 hour week. Achieving a universal income citizens can live on. We are rapidly heading in the opposite direction. This 67 Policy is supporting that.

      Forecasts are within 20 years computerisation & robotic’s will takeover 50 percent of jobs. So pushing out the 67 retirement age is a mockery.

      We must tune up the Multi National Corporations while we still can. Abandon the TPPA fullstop it’s just playing into their hands. The rich elite will start dictating who can breed, and for how long we can live. I use to laugh at doomsday preper’s in America. I don’t laugh so loud anymore seeing what madness is going on around the globe.

      • Draco T Bastard 27.2.1

        Forecasts are within 20 years computerisation & robotic’s will takeover 50 percent of jobs. So pushing out the 67 retirement age is a mockery.

        QFT

        And then we also have a bunch of lefties complaining that jobs are going to be lost due to those technology improvements despite the fact that it will be those technology improvements that will allow us to afford (I hate that word) our elderly but only if we change the system so that all the benefits of that technological revolution adhere to the entire society and not just the 2.3% of the population with shares.

  28. James Thrace 28

    We could just always print the money each week, not beholden to overseas interests (banks) and tax it back out of the economy accordingly.

    Then there wouldn’t be any need to raise the super age.

    Or alternatively, we could tax the fuck out of Overseas Interests, or give the IRD some more funding to really go after the 5bn in tax dodgers. Wasn’t it something like $1 to the IRD for tax enforcement returned something like $7.89 in tax?

    • bad12 28.1

      CV, makes the point, i presume He has done the riffmatic, that the Government could print as little as 20 million dollars a week and stuff that in the Cullen fund,(presumably to compensate for what Slippery’s Government have refused to deposit),and the fund would be enough to iron out the expected bulge in Super payments in the relevant time-frame,

      As i point out below i think the whole narrative around the ‘need’ to rise the age of entitlement is Bullshit,

      If between 1980 and 2013 we managed to pay for Super when the population of over 65’s is said to have doubled then its pretty bloody obvious with a small tweak here and there Super at 65 is totally affordable,

      Incidently the first scheme introduced here in 1898 was means tested…

      • Colonial Viper 28.1.1

        Both JT and you Bad12 make some points worth discussing. But apparently for Labour, There Is No Alternative.

  29. RedbaronCV 29

    Some countries pro rate the pension depending on the number of years spent there . So you get a full pension if you spend 40 years here after the age of 20(leaves 5 years for OE) and the payment is progressively prorated down for lesser years. Resident not taxpayer. That way we will avoid a full pension to one John Key. Subsidiary hardship grounds.

  30. bad12 30

    OK, so far in this Post all i read is OPPOSITION to the Labour MP’s plan to raise the age of entitlement,(remember this policy was left up to the MP’s to decide by the Labour Party Conference),

    i have already posted twice above on what i see is the political outcome of Labour continuing to push this policy going into the 2014,

    What i havn’t addressed is the MONEY, the economics surrounding this supposed imperative to rob people of their superannuation,

    Here i hope i will point out the Absolute Bullshit inherent in this piece of Neo-Liberal thievery, not designed to stop at age 67 but in my opinion, designed to stop when Everyone is plugged into compulsory personal superannuation schemes where the age of entitlement will have been moved out of the reach of us all, and what of those who for whatever reason cnnot save for their retirement even when in work for periods in the rotational employment economy suffered by the bottom 30% of the economy???, FUCK EM seems to be the prevailing economic orthodoxy,

    The numbers, the following is a small history of GDP growth in dollar terms off of the Wikipedia, its brief and simple but of importance to the discussion as i will explain,

    GDP Growth (millions $)
    1980 $22.976,
    1985 $45,003
    1990 $73,745
    1995 $91,881
    2000,$114,563
    2005 $154,108
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/economy_of_new_zealand

    Fast forward lest i put you all to sleep and from the Government we have the figure, again in dollar terms, for 2012,

    GDP Growth (millions $)
    2012 $208,688

    Ok here is an estimate of GDP in the year of our lord,(you may not have one, so just the ‘year of’ will be your reference point), 2036, in dollars again and based upon the the Actual growth in GDP from 1980 to 2012,(this includes a number of financial crisis),

    GDP Growth (estimate millions $),
    2036, 371,000 (millions $)

    Can you all follow that, for a quick estimate i have simply taken the 1985 figure and estimated the dollar value of Growth from then until 2012 a period of 27 years and then applied the same rate of growth to the next 24 years taking us to 2036,

    Why 2036???, lets let ACT do the talking i assume that Labour’s David Parker,( a closet Neo-Liberal if i ever seen one),uses much the same figures to promote what i see as LIES,

    “Since 1980 the number of people over the age of 65 has doubled. Statistics NZ predict this age group will double again by 2036. In that time the cost of NZ Super is projected to increase from 9 billion dollars a year to 20 Billion dollars a year”

    http://www.act.org.nz/q=posts/topic/superannuation

    The first question this begs of the Labour/ACT view of NZ Super is ”So how among a climate of tax cutting did we manage to pay for this doubling of over 65’s from 1980 to today,???

    Next, given that GDP will be expected to grow between now and 2036 and the government share and spend of this at present 70+ billion annually, approximately 30% of GDP will also grow in dollar terms how can the present age of entitlement be unaffordable,

    The estimate for the Government tax take and spend for the year 2036 being $123.5 billion or 30% of the estimated GDP in 2036, which if you compare the Government spend now and what it will be in another 25 years along with comparing it with the past 25 years backward to the 80’s means that in ESTIMATED terms there will be a MAYBE shortfall of 2 billion dollars annually during that time…

    • bad12 30.1

      A PS, that last bit, the estimated Government shortfall in revenue of an annual estimated 2 billion bucks cannot be simply attributed to the cost of Superannuation, it is an estimate of an all of budget tax take and spend cross the WHOLE of the Government budget…

      • bad12 30.1.1

        No need to go far to find the answer to the question i ask of the Cullen fund, a Post by Mickey Savage on 19th December 2013 gives us a better understanding of just how short or not we are of the money stuff,

        ”Now worth 24.93 billion dollars the Cullen Fund between 2012 and 2013 earned profits of 5.5 billion (dollars), unquote MS,

        So the shortfall in total Government revenue i have estimated at 2 billion bucks across the WHOLE Government spend annually from the figures in my comment above out to the year 2036 is now down to 1 billion dollars annually,

        That’s not the real picture tho is it because the Cullen Fund aint there to plug a hole in the WHOLE Government spend is it,

        SO, applying the Cullen Fund right now to the annual cost of Super it is obvious, unless your David Parker,Phill Goff or the ACT Party, that it is affordable on its current % of the government spend out to the year 2036 with what is in the Cullen Fund right now,

        i really do, hate fucking Liars that is…

    • KJT 30.2

      Not to mention that if we can afford to put, say, a million, into a private super fund, which the finance industry immediately take a cut of, if we haven’t had to bail them out because they have lost the lot, we can afford to put a million into a PAYG scheme, without the banking industry ticket clipping.

  31. bad12 31

    Sorry bout this, another PS, tell us all wont you David Parker, what is the annual profit so far made from the Cullen Super fund, would the annual profit not equate to the 2 billion dollars a year shortfall in what i estimate the ‘real figures’ to be up to the year 2036,

    lastly, i hate fucking Liars of any ilk…

    • bad12 31.1

      Jenny Kirk, do you really think the ears of David Parker are open enough to actually take on board such info,

      Perhaps a copy sent to both David Cunliffe and Matt McCarten might be in order…

  32. Jenny Kirk 32

    I’ve been looking up some of the information I’ve sent David Parker on this very subject, and this included the statement that there ARE Alternatives.

    I think New Zealand super could be affordable into the foreseeable future if successive governments remain focused on policies that encourage economic growth including:

    · Immediately re-starting Govt contributions to the NZ Super Fund which was created to “smooth over” a sharp growth spurt in superannuation from baby boomers which is not expected to continue into decades later.
    · Making KiwiSaver compulsory for those earning over a certain amount
    · Maybe increasing the level of employer contributions to KiwiSaver to 6% phased in over 3 to 5 years – subject to the size of the employer’s company and ability to do this. There may be a need for legitimate subsidy from government sources or exemption for small businesses.
    · Improving NZ’s job situation with imaginative, viable, sustainable employment opportunities which create a secure future for our younger generations. It would be good too if those over 55s who’ve been made redundant in the last few years could also get themselves another secure job.
    · Start lifting the minimum wage to at least that of a “living wage” over a period of time so that more people have the opportunity to save.
    · Increasing tax rates for those on higher incomes. Universal provision of benefits usually goes hand in hand with progressive taxation.
    · Tweaking the anomalies which currently occur in NZ Superannuation. For example, increasing the number of years which would allow rich migrants to become eligible for NZ Super. The requirement for migrants is currently 10 years resident, 5 of which must be in NZ over the age of 50 years. If this was increased to 25 years, for example, older rich migrants would have a longer period to qualify for NZ Super. There must be other anomalies I haven’t yet found.

  33. Colonial Viper 33

    Labour raising the retirement age under the guise of “being fiscally responsible” and “we can’t afford to be as generous in future” is exactly what it sounds like: neoliberal, TINA, orthodox monetary bullshit which will only increase generational inequity.

    Of course the current Super age can be “afforded” – currency units are not resources, they are nothing more than electronic ledger entries created via key strokes.

    And even if you insisted on not creating the money required and having to gain sufficient monies via taxation, why is that not being discussed as an option? Does no one have the guts to ask the question? Trans-national corporates shift up to NZ$10B in profits offshore every year. Who dares says that “there isn’t enough money” to fund NZ Super?

    Or is it that it is once again time for ordinary workers to help pay for the low effective tax rates afforded to corporations and those who hold millions of dollars of assets.

    Last question – and this to me is the killer one – ask yourself exactly which sectors of society benefits from increasing an already excess labour pool, at a time when youth underemployment and unemployment remains through the roof?

    Where are Labour’s policies for full employment?

    The young, and particularly the brown young, are getting fucked by the top 10% of boomers yet again and they don’t even know it.

    • The Chairman 33.1

      Indeed.

      One can only assume the right within are still pulling the strings.

    • felix 33.2

      Exactly CV. There’s plenty to go around, it’s just that too much is accumulating in the hands of too few.

      This so-called “crisis” is nothing but the story of the banker, the businessman and the worker sharing a dozen biscuits.

      The banker takes 11 and says to the businessman “watch that bastard, he wants your biscuit”.

    • Lanthanide 33.3

      “Of course the current Super age can be “afforded” – currency units are not resources, they are nothing more than electronic ledger entries created via key strokes.”

      Yip, so we should just create more of these electronic ledger entries, give it to people “in poverty” and then they magically won’t be in poverty any more.

      • RedLogix 33.3.1

        Not quite Lanth.

        What CV is getting at is the difference between ‘resources and capacity’ and ‘currency units’. In everyday life we are so accustomed to treating the two are completely interchangeable that it’s easy to forget that they are not the same thing.

        While the book transactions balance to zero, the value transaction of our structural Current Account Deficit does not. With $10b worth of value being exported out of the country every year, we are forced to ‘borrow’ the balance otherwise the value of our currency would slide down towards zero.

        That ‘borrowing’ is achieved by the big banks creating credit and pumping it back into our housing market. The magical effect you are so anxious about is exactly what is already happening.

        Except that this magic money pump is being directed to the middle and upper classes and not those ‘in poverty. They’re carefully shut out of the process.

        • Draco T Bastard 33.3.1.1

          Except that this magic money pump is being directed to the middle and upper classes and not those ‘in poverty. They’re carefully shut out of the process.

          QFT

          Thing is, the rich know that there’s limited resources and so they’re setting themselves up to own all of them because once they’ve done that they can command everyone else.

          • Colonial Viper 33.3.1.1.1

            What CV is getting at is the difference between ‘resources and capacity’ and ‘currency units’. In everyday life we are so accustomed to treating the two are completely interchangeable that it’s easy to forget that they are not the same thing.

            Yip. Plenty of brand new currency is being created world wide weekly. Tens of billions of dollars worth. If you are part of the power elite you can access that new money at virtually 0% interest rates.

            Then use it to pull the world’s real assets and labour under your control. You get the physical resources, and the suckers get in exchange the currency units that you created out of thin air. What a scam.

            On a more local level, a lack of money supply into poor neighbourhoods is used to effectively ration resources to the poor, keeping those in poverty and near-poverty under efficient political control via unrepayable debt.

            TL:DR poverty is used by the power elite as a political weapon.

  34. Enough is Enough 34

    When we go through times of recession and high unemployment, we don’t turn around and say lets cut benefits because it is the fiscally responsible thing to do do.

    Well we do if we are Ruth Richardson, but a Labour party wouldn’t.

    Applying the same mindset to the pension is a bottom line for me in terms of any support for the Labour party.

  35. Rosie 35

    Thanks Mickey, and thanks to those who put forward suggestions of how the super entitlement age can be kept at 65. Economics, not my strength……………

    Two things however.

    1) Of short term and immediate concern:

    Worst timing ever for the Labour Party to raise a vote killer (as has already been expressed) when we are in an election year, and no ordinary election at that, one that is critical that the Left have to win. During the post Clark years, the Party, in the eyes of the voter, has been floundering. Having Cunliffe elected as Leader has introduced new energy and hope. But wait, what’s this, a bitter pill to swallow for the potential Labour voter? How many will end up party voting Labour out of a sense of urgency and duty, rather than a belief in their policy and worse still, how many voters will this policy turn away? Pity the poor foot soldiers such as Naturesong who commented above. Will they not get cold feet about their volunteering duties, when they in their hearts can not promote such a policy?

    This puts the Labour voter in the same camp as the National voter who didn’t want asset sales but were compelled to vote National for the sake of keeping them in power in 2011. There is a sense of reluctance and distrust in casting such a vote.

    2)Of long term concern:

    For those baby boomers who have benefited from a life time of helpful state funded services the suggestion of raising the retirement age may be acceptable and palatable even, but what about the generations behind them, the ones with a decreasing amount of access to those services that were once provided, services and policies that kept us once well fed, well housed, well paid and well looked after and educated?

    In the repeat screening of “Mind the gap” Bryan Bruce talked about the downward mobility of the middle classes and how this group has become the struggling class, and the working class have moved into the working poor classes. What of the evolving precariat? How on earth can those us in these groups stay well enough to sustain a productive working life until 67? As a result of the neo liberal agenda all generations that come after the baby boomers have fallen behind. Our well being and quality of life is decreasing, just look at those OECD stats in the documentary. Those who have the ability to work until 67 will the lucky ones. The rest will be buggered by then.

    65 as a retirement age is horrifying enough (although there are those who do work well into their 70’s if they love and enjoy their job). 67 is plain unreasonable.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 35.1

      +1 Well said Rosie

    • Colonial Viper 35.2

      And I want to know why Labour is planning to fill up an already excess labour pool with more older workers, when young people – especially young brown people – are suffering massive rates of unemployment and underemployment which at a guess approaches 50%.

      Where is the plan for full employment, Labour?

      Why are you disadvantaging the entire population or ordinary low and middle waged workers and unemployed?

      Why is Labour pushing for more people to stay in the labour force even longer when there are already way too few full time jobs available?

      I mean, WTF Labour caucus?

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 35.2.1

        Exactly CV

        It gives the impression that the caucus haven’t even thought about these effects

        It also goes against the perception I got from Cunliffe’s State of the Nation speech (was I wrong?) that the focus will be on an economy that benefits all NZers – not just the very wealthy top percent, specifically a focus on jobs, jobs, jobs for all – a worthy focus, I thought, as it supplies NZers with what they need and an aim at 100% employment takes down the welfare costs of the government/NZ taxpayers.

      • Rosie 35.2.2

        Excellent questions CV and fits in with Marty Mars comment about the lower life expectancy for Maori.

        And lol as to “I mean, WTF Labour caucus?”, have you asked them personally, as a Labour Man? You don’t have to answer that btw, just wondering in the back of my mind how and if the membership and others within the Party are approaching the caucus on this issue.

        And yes, I would like a job thank you very much. I’ve been out of work so long I think I’ve entered an early retirement. It’s hard enough now, what’s it going to be like at 67?!

    • greywarbler 35.3

      @Rosie
      You express the dilemma really well. Good on you.

      • Rosie 35.3.1

        Ta Blue Leopard and Warbly – your contributions through out the thread are noted too :-)

  36. The Chairman 36

    A constructive plan for lowering the retirement age is a brighter future a great number would aspire to and vote for.

    A policy one would expect to see from a genuine and innovated Labour Party.

    Labour missed the opportunity to tackle this from a left perspective, adopting the far rights position instead. Turning what could have been a potential vote winner (lowering the retirement age) to a vote loser (increasing the retirement age).

    I wounder if they still plan on listening to their grassroots?

    Will they drop this policy as quick as their two tax policies?

    • MrSmith 36.1

      Exactly Chairman, if Labour want the 800,000 to turn up at the ballot box then they better start addressing the wants and needs of this group, instead they appear to still be sitting around with their noses firmly stuck in the public troth, dreaming of the coming Royal visit and what Island in the pacific they intend to Holiday on this winter.

  37. The Chairman 37

    And while Labour is focused on increasing the retirement age, what are they going to do to address this recent development (below)?

    50 per cent (not the previously released figure of 28 per cent) of super annuitants who do not own their own homes now live in poverty.

    • KJT 37.1

      Why we need more State housing.

      To lower the huge amounts of interest going offshore and stop the drain on the rest of the economy, which is the money which goes into housing speculation, as well as reducing poverty.

  38. fambo 38

    Both raising the age of retirement AND making KiwiSaver compulsory doubly hurts people in their fifties on low incomes. While they will have even less to spend on daily living, which is difficult enough as it is, it will make very little difference to their income when they retire, plus they have to work for another year or more.

  39. Glenn50 39

    It’s a vote killer that will guarantee a National led government for the next few terms. My children are fairly left of centre but theres no way that they are going to vote for a party that is going out of it’s way to make sure life is tougher for them in their later years. I know this for a fact…they have told me.

    The Wife and I only have 2 years to go before we get the pension so that any pension age increase in 2020 won,t effect us, however theres a good chance that we will vote the same as our kids this time around as this whole increase in pension age policy leaves us disillusioned and frustrated. Thats 9 votes (if I include spouses) that Labour could miss out on this time round unless the leadership regains their sanity..
    Unfortunately it will probably take a good hiding in the election and a few more years in the political wilderness to make them reconsider.

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