Dear Izzy

Written By: - Date published: 9:12 am, March 15th, 2017 - 27 comments
Categories: superannuation, wages - Tags: ,

I received this in The Standard’s inbox yesterday

Married couple, increase after tax $8.36 a fortnight each or $4.18 each a week!!!!! Disposable Income, 0.5971428 each a day !!!! Goes up on April 1st, how the hell did they arrive at this sum ? On the bright side, can have a treat and go to the movies on ‘Tuesday Senior’s Night ($7.50), and only spend $2.82 extra. Sadly the extra $4.18 a week will not allow the purchase of a $5.50 ice cream which is no longer affordable.

Regards Izzy

So being the fact driven fiend that I tend to be, I had a quick look around online about how ‘they’ decided to set the value at this value.

The rationale is described in the WINZ 2016 rate increase notice

NZ Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension rates will increase by 2.73 per cent on 1 April, so that the married rate continues to equal 66% of the average net wage.

Effectively in a married situation each person on superannuation receives only about a third of the net average wage.

So you’d better not be renting in Auckland. Apparently my apartment is now worth more than double based on recent sales in the block what it was then the last valuation was done less than three years ago, and rents here are up 50% and climbing rapidly.

The Ministry of Social Development that WINZ got folded into last year is somewhat more reticent about the calculation basis. There appears to be no such informative information. Just a bare list of rates.

Nor can I find anything about where the net average wage was calculated from.

I would have expected that it’d be from the Statistics Department’s New Zealand Income Survey. However their information releases currently only go up to June 2015 quarter and it was discontinued in 2016. Their new Labour Market Statistics releases are here.

However if you look at the annual rate of wage inflation for the December quarter, it was a derisory 1.6% for the year. That is probably the kind of data that your superannuation rise was based on.

Since the annual Consumer Price Index from December 2016 was meant to have only risen by 1.3%.

(WTF!)

  • The CPI inflation rate was 1.3 percent.
  • Housing and household utilities increased 3.3 percent.
  • Transport prices decreased 1.0 percent.
  • Tradable prices decreased 0.1 percent, while prices for non-tradables increased 2.4 percent.

I tend to do most of the shopping, cooking and a fair chunk of the bill paying for myself and my partner. I’d have to say that whatever world the statistics department is living in, it bears little resemblance to mine. The cost of running our place rose by more than 5% last year. I was looking through the bills of a friend of mine who is renting. Her total bills have risen by nearly 20% over the last year.

Anyway, I’d better get to doing some paid work.

27 comments on “Dear Izzy”

  1. Siobhan 1

    What I want to hear from Labour…a plan for MASS construction of Social Housing for all Life time renters…and at the very least, social housing for lifetime renters once they retire, or have certain medical conditions that leave them vulnerable.

    I mean seriously…how do people live?

    How do little old ladies and singles with dodgy knees, and old men with emphysema and gout..how on earth do they keep going in this rental market?
    How on earth do they even manage to move their belongings from one hovel to the next? As a home owner you include the cost of a removal van in your price….renters sure don’t.

    It just beggars belief that we have become such a brutal country.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      It just beggars belief that we have become such a brutal country.

      Such brutality seems to be part and parcel of the capitalist system. We can see it throughout history. Top down hierarchical systems are oppressive to the majority of people. They have to be to maintain the ongoing theft from that majority that’s used to make a few people rich.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        DTB
        Actually you miss a vital point. That money taken from people which they need to have a life actually goes people already rich, not to make them rich. It is to make wealthy people richer, or enable them to buy bigger and more expensive things, ie they can buy trips to the moon, literally. We’re in The Cloud in the computer age, the Cuckoo Cloud. And still the meme is peddled about how marvellous our age is. It’s a bloody marvel all right.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    I tend to do most of the shopping, cooking and a fair chunk of the bill paying for myself and my partner. I’d have to say that whatever world the statistics department is living in, it bears little resemblance to mine. The cost of running our place rose by more than 5% last year. I was looking through the bills of a friend of mine who is renting. Her total bills have risen by nearly 20% over the last year.

    It’s the magic of averages and lying with numbers.

  3. Kay 3

    And I’m anticipating for the 5th year running that those on Supported living Payment (ie seriously ill/disabled) will not get a single cent, based on the CPI or something like that not increasing, or whatever pathetic excuse they can come up with this year. Oh the luxury of being a pensioner /sarc, that $4.18 would almost cover the surcharge for one of my medications.

    Happy April Fools Day.

  4. April 1st is like April fools day.

    We get an increase in our pension rates alright, but every Utility and Companies like Insurances and Council Rates also increase at the same time which combined, exceeds the value of increased Pension rates.

    So in effect, every year we are going backwards.

  5. Molly 5

    I was reading a critique of the CPI once (sorry, can’t recall where) where it stated that any “volatile” changes in any of the items would be flattened (ie. ignored) in the expectation that it was an anomaly for that particular timeframe and would be averaged out over a longer period.

    At that time, petrol prices were rising significantly, along with utilities but the CPI remained steady.

    The example you give of rents – gives an indication how flawed this indicator is.

    The fact that it is used by both governments and employers to justify reduced benefit, salary and wage increases means that many of those beneficiaries and employees are playing a losing card against the unavoidable rising costs of living in NZ.

  6. Ad 6

    When older people are existing on such wafer-thin financial margins, it sure illustrates how foolish it was for English to needlessly open up the superannuation debate in election season.

  7. adam 7

    In one year we have gone from doing it tough, to really struggling. Rent has gone up by $40 dollars and has wiped us out, we can’t move becasue rents are even higher elsewhere. Gotta love this new Auckland.

    The power bill is up by 9%. The water bill by 5%. Internet by 15%. Where is this money for rent suppose to come from? Wages are stagnating. Thank goodness our doctor is cheap and good. But medications going from $3 to $5 wiped our any chance to save.

    The lie that says inflation is at 1.3% is a out right lie. But then again, lying is the new normal from conservatives.

  8. greywarshark 8

    No information or stats available on important government policies or history of past information, records that should be archived. Way to go. How to govern a country into a banana republic, that eats tonnes of bananas, that it imports? (A perfect example of our fucked-up country’s economy and system of government.)

    One way is not to bother with statistics. In Alice in Wonderland words are what the being in power decide they are – and that would include important statistics too.

    In NZ we don’t have a poverty level that has been set at some rational measure. That means that government can deny any claims because ‘we don’t have definite, reliable figures, so how can the critics claim poverty’.

    Do you accept that, in a modern, educated country that keeps records and has 1,000s tonnes of computers, hard drives and other electronic machines built to store and assist with measuring and counting and recording? What are you if you do, primitive man and woman?

    So your rabid, rancid politician, leader, one of the elite powerful or serving such, just doesn’t want to know effective, advisory stats, and instead announces sweeping decisions on the basis that “People are telling me this is what they want”.

    A second way to deal with annoying statistics and records: Throw the stuff out. It is just an annoying waste of space and irrelevant to what should be done today.

    Learn from other western countries’ politicians who don’t give a damn. Follow the behaviour of long term Prime Minister Harper, a Canadian clown, (the profession from which many politicians now arise from).
    https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/the-harper-government-has-trashed-and-burned-environmental-books-and-documents

    Wikipedia covers this in its page on Harper, Canadian PM 2006 to 2015. (Nine years of faulty damaging politics can ruin a country!) –
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_policy_of_Canada
    (Note that it is important for us to keep control of our local governments):
    The report says that environmental improvements in Canada proclaimed by Harper were largely achieved by provincial governments.)

    • Kay 8.1

      Somewhat ironically those imported bananas are always way cheaper than local fruit in supermarkets meaning they’re the main (and often only) fresh fruit pensioners/beneficiaries can partake of.

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        Yes god for cheaper fruit. If more people can organise food buying clubs and arrange to get buys from organic orchards as first preference, or spray free or even ordinary, you can save a fair amount I believe and also buy some dry goods in bulk and split up. There are quite a few food clubs around. You might even get a box of bananas cheap too.

        Also if you know your neighbourhood and see fruit dropping with nobody at the property using, you could ask to pick up and take to the club. And find out from your Council if there are any food trees planted. An olive tree I pass often dropped most of its fruit on the pavement. They take a bit of skill to cure I think but then last for ages.

        It’s a good way of coming together, but you may have to structure it so that it isn’t just a quick visit, with no friendly greeting, or group interaction. No use having community arrangements if you don’t bother to say hello and how’s your day. They can do that pleasantly at the supermarket, and looking for cheaper food isn’t the be all and end all to life. It’s forming friendly interacting relationships.

  9. feijoa 9

    Yes.
    we are being lied to

  10. Wayne 10

    In my view 2.73% is not a bad increase in the circumstances. It reflects that wages went up by that amount last year. Given that inflation was 1.3%, why is this terrible, or in the words of Draco, proof that NZ is a brutal country?

    As an example Auckland rates went up 2.5% in 2016 which is less than 2.73%. Food inflation was 1.5% in 2016. In short Stuff the Politicians is wrong. Overall those on National Super are not going backwards.They are holding their own or slightly increasing.

    Would Labour, or the Greens boost National Super to more than 66% of average wages?

    However I would concede if the only income a person has is NS, it is a basic income. If rent is paid it will definitely be difficult, although presumably there is accommodation supplement.

    This is precisely why Labour promoted Kiwisaver, to ensure that most people when in retirement would have more than the basics.

    • McFlock 10.1

      The annual adjustment of superannuation is calculated according to stipulations in the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001.

      edit: crap – first stuffed the link, then meant to put it as a top level comment rather than reply. Need to focus on work I think 🙂

    • lprent 10.2

      Perhaps I didn’t make it clear.

      The quoted 2.73% increase was from April 1st 2016.

      By a simple inspection, this year’s increase obviosly looks like it is no more than 1%. You’d have to calculate it, as it wasn’t what I was asked. I was asked how it was calculated.

      The best example I could find in a rush for the net average wage was that wage inflation was about 1.6% over the last year.

      • Wayne 10.2.1

        On re-reading the main item I did see it referred to 2016. I missed it the first time and assumed there had been an announcement for 1 April 2017, which must be due about now.

    • lprent 10.3

      Ok. Does anyone know if there is accomadation supplement for superannuation (I am on my phone eating lunch 😀)

      • Wayne 10.3.1

        It has just been announced that this years increase in NS for a married couple is $10.12 gross, so about the same as last year.

        The same document also stated that Accommodation Supplement is available with superannuation.

      • Ross 10.3.2

        There are supplements available including AS, Temporary Additional Support and a Living Alone Payment.

        Someone living alone who receives Super is paid $769.52 (net) a fortnight but I don’t know what they’d get paid if they were renting and had no assets. Maybe someone can help?

    • Carolyn_nth 10.4

      In my view 2.73% is not a bad increase in the circumstances. It reflects that wages went up by that amount last year. Given that inflation was 1.3%,

      My Auckland rent goes up by 5% every year. Then there’s power and water rates always sneaking up.

  11. dukeofurl 11

    Its intriguing as Stats NZ seems to be moving its goalposts for collection of income details

    “After consulting users of the NZIS and weighing up the costs and benefits we decided to integrate the NZIS content into the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS).

    We also decided that:

    The NZIS will be discontinued after the June 2015 collection.
    From June 2016, information collected from the current NZIS about income from wages and salaries, self-employment income, and government transfers will be collected as an income module within the HLFS.

    The HLFS is used for deciding who is working , and so on, eg Unemployment rate.

    Looking back for other figures using the phrase ‘average net wage’ showed this
    ‘Figures from Statistics NZ show as of March this year[2013], the average hourly wage was $27.48 or $57,158.40 per year.

    the current gross NZS couple rate is $681.60 pw or 35,443.20 per year when the back calculation ( divide by 0.66) says that the average net wage which gives this figure is
    $53701.80,

    Yet 3 years ago the net yearly wage was $57k?

    Looking at the lastest stats gives these numbers
    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/LabourMarketStatistics_HOTPDec16qtr.aspx

    Average ordinary time hourly earnings $29.75 +1.3% ( annual change)

    plus the Average weekly paid hours (FTE ) 37.97hr
    Taking those to give the Average weekly income we get $1129.60

    There is no way this is connected to NZS couple gross rate of $681 pw by the 0.66 factor.

    Whats missing here ?

  12. Chris 12

    Benefit rates have essentially been based on figures plucked out of the air since they were no longer based on the cost of living, which was 30 or so years ago. Add the 1991 benefit cuts to that and they become more meaningless. Add the ongoing decimation of other parts of legislation that both National and Labour governments were hellbent on exacting such as an increasingly punitive administration, more stringent criteria for the ever-growing need for add-on benefits like special needs grants etc and a culture of denial and intimidation within Work and Income and…well…the results are obvious.

    The writing was on the wall back at the time of the cuts in 1991 when Labour did a u-turn on its promise to restore the benefit rates that the razor gang of ShipleyRichardson/Bolger whacked through with the ECA and market rents. Labour eventually patched up the latter two but left the cuts to benefits in place, then went on to do some pretty serious structural damage to what NZ always believed was a pretty comprehensive safety net. If only we could see back then what Labour’s refusal to restore pre-1991 benefit rates was going to develop into.

  13. Andrea 13

    Married couples get the 66%. Singles don’t. They get less.

    Funny thing, though. None of them gets power or rates or phone or dentist, podiatrist, etc at a reduced rate. But no. The same rate as people with a bigger income – despite being unable, in many cases, to supplement that income with even a part time job.

    If a long ago National Party hadn’t danced Cossacks across tv screens, perhaps, maybe all those feckless, filthy rich, had it so good and every shearing shed hand was a secret PhD, Baby Boomers would not be awaiting genteel poverty aka Superannuation.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Labour is the only party with a plan to fix teacher shortage
    Only Labour has a comprehensive plan to fix the critical shortage of teachers that is already hampering our schools and is set to get worse after nine years of inaction by the National Government, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 hour ago
  • Labour to invest in regional road rail
    Labour will invest in a rapid rail network connecting Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga, and double funding to help complete important regional roading projects, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “The ‘Golden Triangle’ of Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga contains half ...
    2 hours ago
  • Rattled Nats announce slapdash roads policy
      The Government rattled by the polls, has announced a poorly thought through slapdash policy for new Roads of National Significance, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood.  “There is a complete lack of any answers in National’s plan to build ...
    21 hours ago
  • Let’s do this – Labour’s election campaign launched
    The Government I lead will be a government that listens, then acts. A Government that leads, not follows, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern at the launch of the Labour Party’s 2017 election campaign at a packed Auckland Town Hall. “I ...
    21 hours ago
  • Government must apologise over rebuild debacle
    The Prime Minister owes the public of Otago and Southland an apology and then he must come up with an unredacted copy of the business case for the Dunedin hospital rebuild, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. "For too long the interests of ...
    3 days ago
  • Government caves to multi-national tax avoiders in the shadows
    News that the Government has secretly caved in to the demands of multi-national tax avoiders come as no surprise, but will disappoint Kiwi taxpayers, says Labour’s spokesman for Revenue Michael Wood.   “It has been revealed that a United States ...
    4 days ago
  • Cheaper to stay at The Langham than emergency housing motels
    Labour’s comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis and ensure there’s enough state housing, means we won’t be paying through the nose for emergency accommodation like the current Government has to, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “National has ...
    4 days ago
  • Government must come clean on water
      News that the National Government is secretly working behind closed doors on its own water charging schemes shows their utter hypocrisy on this issue, says Labour’s water spokesperson David Parker.  “They have been carping on about Labour’s plan for ...
    4 days ago
  • Government pays twice the price for emergency housing motels – with two more on the way
    Under Labour’s plan to build at least 1000 state houses each year, New Zealand wouldn’t be paying more than double the valuations for motels to house Kiwis needing emergency housing, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Under questioning today, ...
    5 days ago
  • HAM shows country needs Labour on housing
    The latest Housing Affordability Measure report shows affordability dramatically worsening for Auckland first home buyers, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    5 days ago
  • Canterbury kids get more support for mental health
    Children in Canterbury and Kaikoura will get dedicated mental health support to help them overcome the trauma of the earthquakes, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We’ll fund an extra eighty mental health professionals for the next three ...
    5 days ago
  • Statement on Julie Bishop’s comments
    It is highly regrettable that the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party. I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour stands with Pike families
    A Labour Government will stand with the families of Pike River and reaffirm its commitment to safe workplaces by ensuring there will be a Minister responsible for Pike River, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “The Pike River disaster ...
    6 days ago
  • Yes to Sallies – Labour will build more state houses
    The Salvation Army’s latest report ‘Taking Stock’ shows why New Zealand needs a Labour-led Government committed to a massive house building programme, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “When the Sallies say the country needs 2000 extra state houses a ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealanders deserve better than scaremongering over water
    New Zealanders need to hear from National about how they will fund the clean-up of our rivers and lakes for future generations. Instead, National has broadened its scare-mongering, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    1 week ago
  • School Leavers’ Toolkit to equip young people for adult life
    Labour will give school leavers the practical skills and knowledge they need for adult life with a new School Leavers’ Toolkit, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Our teachers and schools do a great job of teaching our children ...
    1 week ago
  • Pay equity to be a priority for Labour
      Labour will make sure that the country’s mental health workers are a priority when it comes to pay equity negotiations, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “It is very important for me to right the wrong created ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s positive education plan
    Today’s announcement on learning support is more tinkering and proof that only a Labour Government will deliver the resources that schools and parents are crying out for, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “We have a positive vision for a ...
    1 week ago
  • Pike footage raises questions over government’s actions
    The Government’s seeming determination to turn a blind eye to new questions about what happened at Pike River Mine is troubling, says Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor. ...
    1 week ago
  • Solution to rent rises lies in building houses and stopping speculators
    The spread of rental increases from the big cities to the surrounding regions shows why we need to get on top of the housing shortage build homes our families can afford, and lock out the speculators, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean rivers don’t cost $18 a cabbage
    National is falling into a bad pattern of promising the world and not saying how they will fund it, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for honest answer on transport funding
    National needs to explain how they will fund the $6 billion funding gap in their 10-year Auckland transport plan, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for true numbers on overseas speculators
    It’s time for the Government to give accurate figures on the number of houses being bought by overseas speculators, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Raymond Huo. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair and sustainable trade: A Green Party vision for New Zealand’s trading relationships
    Trade is a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It provides us with the things we want and need, and enables us to pay for those with exports that generate business opportunities and jobs. However, it should be recognised that ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean rivers for future generations
    Labour will lead a nationwide effort to restore our rivers and lakes to a clean, swimmable state, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand really can do better on health
    Labour’s commitment to affordable access to high quality healthcare will provide a better service for New Zealanders than the current Health Minister, who will not apologise for statements that he made that wrongly criticised hard-working staff in the Southern DHB’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan the answer to motorway chaos
    Labour’s plan to build a light rail network and improve heavy rail and bus services across Auckland is the only answer to the kind of motorway congestion Aucklanders endured this morning, says Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build rail to Auckland Airport
    A world class city needs a rail connection from the CBD to its international airport – that’s why Labour will build light rail to Auckland Airport as a priority, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Let’s get Auckland moving ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is pay equity just too hard for this Govt?
    You are hard pressed these days to find someone that openly admits their misogyny, that men should still be paid more than women. Politicians proclaim that they want to see women paid more, but do their actions back it up? ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s commitment to our Rainbow nation
    The Labour Party has reaffirmed its commitment to New Zealand’s rainbow community with its 2017 Rainbow policy, featuring the goal to end HIV in New Zealand by 2025. Grant Robertson says Labour continues a long and proud tradition of advocating ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s vision for Auckland more than reheated roads
    Labour is more ambitious for Auckland than the reheated set of transport projects proposed by National, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Waiting urology patients are the tip of the iceberg
    The 10 patients waiting for urology surgery at Dunedin Hospital are just the tip of the iceberg, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.  "Hundreds of patients are waiting for follow-up appointments, but they are not deemed serious enough to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Landowners Misled by Maori Party
    Māori landowners are being misled by Government hui being held throughout the country promoting the troubled Māori Land Service (MLS), which underpins the Crown’s unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Johnny-come-lately approach to multinational tax won’t wash
    It’s a case of baby steps for a Government that still allows multinational companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “After nine years in government, five years after the issue of multinational ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Auckland congestion up there with the world’s worst
    Traffic congestion is costing Auckland up to $2 billion in lost productivity according to the latest report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood.  “This is a disaster and underlines the need for ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Experience in Youth Parliament 2016
    Being a Member of Youth Parliament was an unexpected, but fabulous opportunity for me. It provided me a way to connect with other young people who have some things in common, and to learn what it is like to be ...
    GreensBy NZ Green Party
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour backs renters’ call for warm, healthy homes
    80 per cent of renters wish their home was warmer and drier, and that’s what Labour will deliver, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • We can – and must – do better for Kiwi jobs
    Labour has the plan to get more young New Zealanders into jobs and tackle concerns raised in the latest statistics which show an extra 3000 young Kiwis are neither earning or learning compared to the same time last year, says ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Statement from Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
    I want to start by giving my thanks to Andrew. His announcement today and the situation we have found ourselves in is not what anyone expected or wanted In my time working with Andrew I know one thing to be ...
    3 weeks ago

%d bloggers like this: