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Don’t kill the Cullen Fund

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, February 24th, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: economy, welfare - Tags:

Michael Littlewood has made a career of advocating superannuation privatisation and is part of an international organisation called Pension Reforms dedicated to the privatisation of superannuation. Yesterday, he was given a platform in the Herald and on the news (one or three, can’t remember), to argue the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (known as the Cullen Fund) should be abolished or put on hold during the recession. That advice is economically illiterate and shows no understanding of the nature of long-term investments. It is more of the short-term, dumb thinking that got the world economy into this trouble in the first place. It says (and I know I hit this point a lot) something about our media that this guy got to spout his ideological rubbish in the Herald and on the news without his credentials, his agenda, or the quality of his advice being questioned or even mentioned.

Let me put this simply: if you are in it  for the long-term and you believe that the world economy will eventually rebound, now is a good time to be investing in assets because their future growth will be faster than their long-term average  growth.

I’ve tried to show why this is graphically. The wavy red line is the value of an asset, maybe a share or a bond or a house. The blue line is the long-term average value of that asset, basically the boom/bust cycle flattened out. The green zone represents a boom, the orange zone a bust.

long-term-investmentNow, if you’re a short-term thinking money-man, you want to be buying when the red line is climbing the most rapidly and selling before it starts falling. But if you’re a long-term investor, when is the best time to be buying this asset? During a bust, because the value is below the long-term average value, you are going to get a greater average growth rate than the average for the asset and much greater than if you were buying during a boom – check out the angle of the two thick purple lines compared to each other and the average.

Let’s take a real-world example. When you put your money in your Kiwisaver account what is actually happening is you are buying shares in your Kiwisaver providers’ Kiwisaver fund. In the last year, the value of those funds, and so the value of those shares has fallen. If you put in $100 today, it will buy you more shares in the fund that $100 did last year. You may have lost money on your Kiwisaver in the last year but, unless you are retiring soon, it doesn’t matter, what matters is the long-term return. Your long-term return on a $100 invested today, when the value of the Kiwisaver shares is below their long-term average is going to be higher than on $100 you use to buy shares in the Kiwisaver fund when they are above their long-term average value.

If you a investing for your retirement, or you are a government retirement fund designed to not even begin paying out money for ten years and then keep going for the next half century, or you are a sovereign wealth fund, or you are any kind of investor looking for a long-term gain who doesn’t have to worry about short-term loss (and you don’t believe we are at the start of a permanent period of economic decline), now is the time to be buying, while people are willing to sell you stuff for less than it is worth in the time-frame that matters to you. Sure, for now, we are borrowing, at low sovereign rates, the money we are putting into the fund but the long-term return on that investment will be much greater. To his credit, John Key makes much the same point.

My concern is that the hard right in National/ACT with the same privatisation agenda as Littlewood will see an opportunity to exploit economic illiteracy in the political media to kill the Cullen Fund, and cripple the future of superannuation in New Zealand.

42 comments on “Don’t kill the Cullen Fund”

  1. Pat 1

    Dollar Cost Averaging is the term you are looking for, SP.

    Despite the principle behind Dollar Cost Averaging, I wonder if holding off the contribution this year might be a good idea when all indications are that world markets are going to fall further.

  2. gets pretty tricky if you’re trying to play intra-cycle games with a long-term fund. and there’s the political element too – once you’ve stopped for one year, will you really restart the next?

  3. Billy 3

    Will you personally be borrowing to speculate in the share market, Steve?

  4. BLiP 4

    Goober John Key and his big business mates have always had their eye on the Cullen Fund . They have taken their lesson’s from the Robert Maxwell School of Business and have been slavering over the fund since its inception.

    The fund belongs to all New Zealanders equally, not the National Party and its big business masters. If they are not prepared to borrow to fund it, then they should just leave it alone and not plunder it.

    hahahahaha – captcha = suited con !!

  5. Jasper 5

    Billy – If we borrowed to speculate in the SM, at least the interest on borrowed loans is tax deductible.

    Furthermore, if we borrowed 2b this year, who’s to say that in 3 years time when the SM turns around, that $2b borrowed won’t be worth double, or even triple. History has shown that when SM hits a (new) low point, the resulting bounceback typically takes it above the previous high point over a 3 – 5 year period.

    In this case, the Cullen Fund is a perfect example of long term thinking, and this year and the next are the years where funds should definitely be borrowed to invest. The long term prognosis is good. Not to mention that if Nactional go ahead with using 40% of the Cullen Fund in NZ, then the resulting profits end up coming back into the Cullen Fund via dividends and what have you. Why have Sky TV, but no shares in Sky TV… you’re effectively getting repaid what you pay Sky through dividends.

  6. djp 6

    Steve you are assuming we are at the bottom of the valley… we could be teetering at the edge of a cliff for all you know.

    As others have hinted at, why should the taxpayer be forced to pay for others to gamble on the stockmarket?

  7. ieuan 7

    Steve, your post misses the point of most of the objections to the government putting money into the Cullen fund. As the government will be running deficits for the foreseeable future then the government will have to borrow the money it feeds into the fund.

    So the question that has to be answered is ‘Does it make sense for the government to borrow money to put into a retirement fund’?

    As Billy has already asked ‘Steve is that something that you would do yourself’?

    Personally I feel that the government should not borrow to feed the fund, they should temporarily freeze contributions but as soon as the economy picks up they should start paying back into the fund.

    Also, looking at your graph, have you factored in the cost of borrowing the money? If the government is paying 5% for the money but only achieving 3% growth how does the graph look then?

  8. higherstandard 8

    For those that are arguing the point with SP it’s worth contemplating where we would be now if Rob hadn’t scuppered Norm Kirk’s super fund plan.

    Covered here very well.

  9. Matthew Pilott 9

    I’m investing in a super scheme because the units are very cheap and if I can get them at 2/3 the cost of a year ago, and small growth will have a fairly solid impact on the overall portfolio.

    That’s what I was thinking about when I heard this guy talk about not investing – surely any decent advisor will be telling you to look out for bargains at the moment (but be wary, of course, of the shakier investments).

    To sort-of answer Billy’s question, and address ieuan, I have debts that are servicable, and could be cleared faster if I stopped those super contributions. So in effect I’m borrowing to invest on the sharemarket. Hopefully works out well in five or ten years.

    If you think you’ll get a better return on the money you’re borrowing then do so to invest by all means. Just as long as you’re borrowing for something very worthwhile (like avoiding future pain from retiring baby-boomers…)

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    HS, cheers for the link. Check out the NZ/Aus comparison:

    New Zealand would have led the world in terms of savings. Based on the $240 billion projection each worker would have $111,200 of superannuation assets compared with $6300 at present and A$74,400 ($86,821) in Australia.

    That’s outrageous. I think the Cullen fund needs every cent it can get.

    Incidentally the pro-Kiwisaver article has a ‘disclosure of interest’ at teh end about the author, but the one in questionin this thread does not.

  11. vto 11

    All these people who think they are experts at money and markets and business (Littlewood, Pierson, Oram, Morgan, etc)…

    I have always said that the only ones worth listening to seriously on these subjects are those who have made some money themselves. Otherwise quite frankly they don’t know squat about the harsh reality.

    Has Littlewood made lotsa money on the markets etc?
    Has Pierson made lotsa money on the markets etc?
    Has Oram made lotsa money on the markets etc?
    Has Morgan made lotsa money on the markets etc?

    It is usually only a small number who are worth listening to.

  12. Matthew Pilott 12

    vto – what if they are successful at analysing the markets and passing on their analysis?

    Do you only even listen to a sports commentator if they were world #1 at that sport? You might find that they’re actually rubbish compared to people who are good at commentating – I think the analogy fits well here.

  13. Felix 13

    it’s worth contemplating where we would be now if Rob hadn’t scuppered Norm Kirk’s super fund plan.

    And isn’t Muldoon Key’s hero?

  14. higherstandard 14

    Felix bit of a long bow, try here

    What’s more telling was his views on HC and MC prior to the electioneering starting last year where he said that MC’s greatest contribution, which would be remembered long after he was gone, was getting the Cullen fund and super saving up and running in NZ.

  15. ieuan 15

    From the Gaynor article: ‘The 1975 scheme would have taken 16 years to reach the first $50 billion, five years to reach the next $50 billion and then six years and two years to reach $150 billion and $200 billion respectively.’

    Gaynor’s growth predictions read like the prospective for a get rich quick scheme, if it takes only 2 years to add another $50 billion how many years before there is so much money in the fund that no one in New Zealand has to actually work anymore?

    Something doesn’t add up, can’t put my finger on it…………that’s right, there is no such thing as infinite growth, that is why we are in the mess we are currently in.

  16. vto 16

    MP, there is some comparison of course, and analytical types probably do have a role. I just always find that so many ‘analysts’ overstate their position. Human nature I suppose. But seriously, its like getting advice on how to make money from your accountant or lawyer – how many of them have made a ton of dosh?

    I guess my point is that people’s expertise is often highly specific and its important to understand where that expertise is overstepped, when evaluating the worth of the commentary.

  17. Quoth the Raven 17

    vto – I ought to have asked Madoff or Stanford for advice last year then.

  18. vto 18

    QtR you egg. They clearly have not made money have they. They have stolen it – quite a difference from what I said ya?

  19. higherstandard 19


    An interesting analysis which I haven’t got the link for …… with an initial purchase of 10k shares – if any broker had made the correct bets on shares for a period of 50 years – only buying shares that were to go up and only selling shares that were to go down (poorly worded but you get my drift) they would amass more money than is currently in circulation on the planet.

  20. Quoth the Raven 20

    vto – I was being facetious, but I think the point stands that making a lot of money does not mean you have greater knowledge to impart. We’ve seen the masters of the universe the big swinging dicks fall flat on their faces in recent times I wouldn’t go running to them for advice.

  21. Chess Player 21

    Ok, QTR, so who then would you reckon could advise us on making money?

    Please enlighten us all.

  22. ieuan 22

    Come on Chess Player, it’s obvious – Steve Pierson

  23. Pat 23

    HS – one of the best returns I have read about was in Sam Walton’s biography. When Walmart listed on the US stock exchange in 1970 each share cost US$16.50.

    If you bought 100 shares in 1970, by 1990 they were worth US$3M. There had been nine 2-for-1 splits in that 20 year period.

    As company shares were a common part of staff remuneration, many long-serving Walmart staff retired as millionaries, simply by not selling their shares.

  24. vto 24

    QtR, sure, a point of sorts. But again, if you consider the ‘masters’ in detail you will find that the vast majority are still loaded to the hilt. It is only some that have crashed and burned.

    And I do in fact consider that those who have made a load of money do have a greater knowledge to impart – on money and market and business matters. By way of example, you could consider Oram vs Morgan. I dont know what Oram has made but my guess is probably not much. And in my opinion that comes across in his opinion. Compared to Morgan

    Aren’t opinions great …

  25. Matthew Pilott 25

    Gaynor’s growth predictions read like the prospective for a get rich quick scheme, if it takes only 2 years to add another $50 billion how many years before there is so much money in the fund that no one in New Zealand has to actually work anymore?

    Three years after we’ve nationalised everything, made a classless society and disbanded the armed forces for a People’s Militia.

    In Soviet New Zealand, money works for you!

  26. RedLogix 26

    Gaynor’s growth predictions read like the prospective for a get rich quick scheme,

    Australia’s Super scheme has over a trillion dollars in it; Norway invested huge amounts of it’s oil wealth, and so on. Gaynor stated that his estimates were deliberately conservative, but however you want to add the numbers up, New Zealand would have been hugely better off than the many billions in debt than it is now. Hell we might even still own one of our major banks.

    Rob’s decision to scupper that pioneering scheme has cost this country very, very dearly. It was a mistake we have all been paying for all our lives, and if Key repeats it, so will our children and grandchildren.

  27. Ed 27

    I think you have confused two different people both called Michael Littlewood. Only one of them thinks he is an expert on superannuation, and I would be horrified if that one was teaching law.

    Regarding contributions to the scheme, I thought it was anticipated that higher contributions would be made in a situation of surpluses than when the government was running a deficit – and that if the government wants to it can forgo contributions altogether. See Clause 44 of the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 No 84 (as at 10 September 2008). If lower contributions are made the government does need to explain to the country what it is doing and the implications – that may not be palatable to the current government.

    The ‘superannuation’ Michael Littlewood has always been totally against any incentives for long terms savings – indeed for any savings at all – and since the removal of the (limited) tax deductions for superannuation contributions we have seen New Zealand savings drop consistently. I believe that the impact of small incentives has always produced a volume of savings that provides much larger benefits to the country than the cost of the incentives – Australia is a country that went directly contrary to the extreme right views of Michael Littlewood and has had a much better domestic source of capital than New Zealand – it shows our high percentage of overseas owned companies operating here.

    Given that National have committed to maintaining National Superannuation on its current basis it is important that we be sure that those commitments can be met as the number receiving them increases over the next 15 years or so. That might not be as newsworthy as Michael Littlewood’s extreme solutions, but it is important to many New Zealanders who now have little opportunity to save more for retirement.

  28. pk 28

    It’s interesting that no-one is actually talking numbers and harking back
    to Steve’s comment that it’s all about long term results

    The government borrows – this costs whatever the current Treasury rates are at the time – checking a couple of sites it’s about 6.5 % at the moment (and that’s a fairly typical rate) – it’s like the mortgage, pay it off and it’s a guaranteed return – so we can have a guaranteed return of 6.5% by paying off debt.

    The Cullen fund needs to beat this return – in order to make up for taking some risk it needs to beat it by a couple of percent – so it needs to return almost 10% – that’s a big return – Warren Buffet – arguably the world’s best investor has done about 13% compound p.a. (from memory, I’m too lazy to check the figures).

    So, the Cullen fund in good times is a bad idea!! As we always have debt, returns in booms generally return to the average (as per Steve’s graph) and frankly, getting such great returns on a long term basis is the exception, especially with such large amounts of money.

    Strangely though, for once it may be a good idea at this point in time as investing at the bottom of the market provides the best returns as Steve points out but ….

    – are we at the bottom of the market? No-one can predict the bottom
    – will we have a return of 10% or more?

    Though I think the Cullen fund was more of a political stunt than a decent investment approach I do think we “could’ lock in our losses if we close it off now. So, I’m not in favour of closing it off as a contrarian investment approach is very successful overall. But one can only take such a long term approach if one does not need the money now and that’s a big question do we need it now?

    My other concern about cashing in the savings and spending them right now is that this recession may have further to go keep the powder dry and something in reserve.

    FYI I’ve managed to invest, good job, frugal and all that, and up until the recent debacle was hitting about 15% p.a. returns easier with small amounts of money down to about 11% at the moment. I’ve even borrowed to invest and succeeded but it’s a very high risk strategy and only do it on <10% of my investments.

    Jasper loans being tax deductable is completely a red herring for the government as we then give up the tax revenue also doubling one’s money??? Extremely unlikely.

  29. Quoth the Raven 29

    Chess Player – Not Wall Street Analysts anyway. See here for why.

    vto – Has Morgan or Oram advised you on shares to buy lately have you made a bundle to snort cocaine off a model’s backside. I didn’t know Oram was an investment adviser now. Anyone here have their investments managed by Gareth Morgan’s company? Have you been making loads of cash the last few months? or are you holding out over the longterm? Point of this post.

  30. vidiot 30

    So I see both the Greens & ACT now both want to suspend payments to the Cullen fund. Never though I would ever seem those two agreeing on something.

  31. Pat 31

    Oh so confusing!

    Labour say keep making the contributions.
    Greens say stop them.
    United say keep them.
    ACT say stop them.
    National say they haven’t decided yet.
    Maori Party say they didn’t know the fund existed until yesterday, so they are gonna check out if they can put in a claim.

  32. Jasper 32

    Pk – I was responding to Billys point about “personally borrowing to invest in the sharemarket”

    Not saying that the government would claim tax back on interest – but we can if we borrow personally to invest in the sharemarket, as long as there is a taxable income stream, which there is through dividends and CGT on shares.

    Still, it’s complete idiocy to stop contributing. Regardless of how much further there is to fall, at best it’s probably another 10%, worst, 30%. Either way over a 15 year period, being the timeframe for the fund, returns will far outstrip any borrowings + interest on borrowings.

    • PK 32.1

      Jasper – on the borrowing side – sorry read it differently as you said “if WE borrowed”

      Disagree on the returns outstripping borrowings though – because if it did then everybody would be doing it – it’s incredibly risky and exceedingly unlikely to happen over a 15 year period. Shares return on average 2% over inflation in the long term – rates to borrow are normally > 2% more than inflation.

      But go do it and I’ll watch 🙂

  33. Rich 33

    You are of course assuming that the sharemarket will recover as has always happened in the past.

    At current prices, one would have to have invested an awfully long time ago (15-20 years) before a stock market investment beats a bank deposit.

    Right now there is a total loss of confidence in the market, which seems to have eclipsed any value in the actual companies as investments. It may be that stocks will never recover and a new model of financing business will be needed.

    Perhaps Labour need to think of what will happen if we go into the next election with the Dow at 5000 (versus 8000 or so today and 14000 at its peak).

    • Ed 33.1

      I believe that the investments of the fund should be left to the investment management team. Of far more importance than continuing contributions is not mucking about with the investments and for example using them to fund ‘think big’ favoured projects within New Zealand. I had thought that it was the response to such suggestions that initially at least led Phil Goff to ask the government that they be clear about their intentions for the Fund. Yes contributions are important, but at least some of the investmetns of the fund will be there for a long time – provided we realise that contributions not made this year need to be made up at some time int he future.

      Yes the investments of the fund were initially invested in very volatile assets – and we can all hope that the exposure to the American dollar has been reduced, and that exposure to speculative investments has also reduced. The fall in values that has occurred was of course not anticipated, but that does not invalidate the decision to invest to make our ability to meet the commitments to National Superannuation more certain. At any given time, I have a belief that long term investment will add value – certainly I would be uncomfortable with political promises to continue National Super without some assets having been set aside.

      The example given of dollar averaging tells a lot of the story – but the point of the fund is confidence in the ability (and poltical willingness) of future governments to pay National Superannuation – I am happier with the money there than being used to avoid borrowing for short term stimulus policies.

      I notice that Kiwiblog is conveniently focussing on the contributions, and not the need for clarity regarding all aspects of the Fund. It may be inconvenient of the government to have to explain what they would do to make up for a short contribution holiday – a bigger concern would be if they started using the fund for other purposes – even they would not know the long term effect of that.

  34. Roger 34

    Lack of NZ capital has been one of the reasons for our high level of overseas borrowings and indebtedness. The funds established by Kirk and later by Cullen are useful steps towards a more self-reliant economy. The Australians learned this lesson many years ago. Small economies need to have the added strength of significant domestic savings to help ride out the booms and busts of the global economy. Let’s not keep repeating the same mistake. If the government really feels compelled to temporarily suspend contributions to the Fund then so be it. But for goodness sake let’s not spend the retirement income of the next generation. Leave the Cullen Fund alone.

  35. Michael Littlewood 35

    For the record:

    1. I am not the other Michael Littlewood who is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Auckland. I am Co-director of the Retirement Policy and Research Centre at the Business School, having retired in 2008 from a career in financial services.

    2. I have not made a “career out of superannuation privatisation” though, until 1991, I did think that was a good idea. My 15 months on the first Todd Task Force convinced me that compulsory private provision was a bad idea and that tax incentives for private provision are an even worse idea. That, in each case, is because they don’t work.

    3. I think New Zealand Superannuation is one of the best Tier 1 schemes in the world but that we need to start a debate now as to whether it is the best way of delivering retirement incomes from, say, 2030 onwards. The fact that I am reasonably content to see something in excess of 6% of GDP go to pensioners from taxation scarcely makes me an “extreme right winger”.

    4. The New Zealand Superannuation Fund will not change the cost of New Zealand Superannuation by $1 but will slightly rearrange the incidence of that cost. What really matters is the future strength of the New Zealand economy. The NZSF is a relative sideshow in that regard, even if it reaches the expected $60 billion or so.

    5. If it’s a good idea to borrow $2 billion to put into the NZSF in 2009/10, why don’t we borrow $40 billion and really do a job on it? If that doesn’t sound sensible then perhaps we need to start thinking about the $2 billion for the coming year. Borrowing to invest in sharemarkets isn’t a sensible idea for savers – neither is it a great idea for governments.

    6. PensionReforms is not “an international organisation … dedicated to the privatisation of superannuation.” http://www.PensionReforms.com is in fact a web site run out of the University of Auckland and of which I am the principal editor. It is dedicated to the promotion of quality research on pension issues from around the world. If I had to sum up the lens through which PensionReforms looks at this research, it would be a generous, universal, non means-tested, Tier 1 pension, no compulsory private provision, no tax breaks for private provision and high quality information that will let citizens decide for themselves how to save further amounts for retirement. That doesn’t sound like the right wing conspiracy suggested by the author of that comment.

    7. What I really want is for New Zealand to start a research-based discussion on what both public and private provision (including KiwiSaver) might look like in 2020 and beyond. We have never had such a debate. Instead, we were rushed into both the NZSF and KiwiSaver by a government that thought it knew better what to do with my tax money than I did. I do not want to see that proposed discussion rushed; worse, I do not want to see the government make unilateral decisions. We should at least have learned that those kinds of decisions are unlikely to survive. On that, New Zealand probably has the best experience of any country.

    8. Finally, I do not call myself an “expert on superannuation”. Over the last 35 years or so, I have learned a few things and have changed my mind from time to time when new evidence convinces me I was wrong about something. I can’t stop other people from describing me as they choose.

  36. Felix 36

    5. If it’s a good idea to borrow $2 billion to put into the NZSF in 2009/10, why don’t we borrow $40 billion and really do a job on it? If that doesn’t sound sensible then perhaps we need to start thinking about the $2 billion for the coming year.

    Sorry, fucking what??

    When I borrow money I have to calculate the amount I can afford to pay to service the debt. Is this not a factor in this case for some reason?

  37. RedLogix 37


    Well done for posting here and attempting to back your ideas.

    Instead, we were rushed into both the NZSF and KiwiSaver by a government that thought it knew better what to do with my tax money than I did.

    Oops sounds like a classic right wing talking point, but I’ll take it on face value. The problem is that until very recently the savings rate in this country was appallingly low, we treated our homes like ATM machines, racked up hundreds of billions of debt, and spent about $1.13 for every $1 we earnt.

    Arguably Michael Cullen was merely trying to do the saving for us as a nation, that we had demonstrably failed to do for ourselves. Maybe he really DID know what to do with our tax money better than we do ourselves.

    That is the whole point of government when you think about it.


    Fair point, but manners…tsk tsk.

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    7. What I really want is for New Zealand to start a research-based discussion on what both public and private provision (including KiwiSaver) might look like in 2020 and beyond. We have never had such a debate. Instead, we were rushed into both the NZSF and KiwiSaver by a government that thought it knew better what to do with my tax money than I did.

    Don’t take it so personally, Mr Littlewood, Kiwisaver wasn’t set up exclusively for you. It was actually set up for NZ as a whole, due to our awful savings culture. Seems to have turned it around nicely. The decision wasn’t made to benefit you, and individually and in the short term, it may have affected you negatively.

    That’s fairly inevitable when a government makes any decision. If it’s better for society in the long term (and let’s be clear – what has been done clearly falls into that category) then it will also probably be better for you in the long term, whether you continue to gripe about your short term loss or not.

    Redlogix – interesting we both saw the same in the same point there…

    • Michael Littlewood 38.1


      Were you aware that most (about two thirds) of New Zealanders were saving enough or more than enough for retirement (before KiwiSaver)? If you go to http://www.PensionReforms.com, then to the Search & options tab and select “New Zealand” as the country, you will find several academic studies that back me up on that.

      I would therefore like to understand what your evidence is for “our awful savings culture”. You mustn’t cite the CAD in this regard (what Michael Cullen used to do) – it says nothing about New Zealanders’ retirement saving habits, something KiwiSaver is supposed to fix. Again, there is an NZIER report listed on PensionReforms that explains this point.

      You needn’t worry about me and KiwiSaver – I joined on day 1, not because I agree with the idea but because I know I will get more out of it than I put in, thanks in part to you. I just can’t resist the temptation of ‘free’ money but I still think it’s a bad piece of public policy – a ‘solution’ looking for a problem to solve.

      You say that KiwiSaver falls clearly into the category of being better for society. The best evidence we have so far is that about 81 cents of every dollar put into KiwiSaver is in fact savings shifted from another place, not ‘new’ money (once again, there is a report on PensionReforms about that). That’s what happens when a partcular savings behaviour is incentivised. Again, there is any amount of international evidence on that point – choose “Taxation” as the topic sort on PensionReforms to see that.

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    2 days ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
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    2 days ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
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    2 days ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
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    2 days ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
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    2 days ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
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    2 days ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
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    3 days ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
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    3 days ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
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    3 days ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
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    3 days ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
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    4 days ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
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    4 days ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
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    4 days ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
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    4 days ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Biosecurity Minister announces world first eradication of pea weevil
    A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa. This means the nearly four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw was lifted today. Commercial and home gardeners can again grow ...
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    5 days ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for Southland flooding
    Southland residents hit by flooding caused by heavy rainfall can now access help finding temporary accommodation with the Government activating the Temporary Accommodation Service, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced today. “The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help ...
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    5 days ago
  • Bridges: Over-hyped and under-delivered
    “Is that it?” That’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s response to Simon Bridges’ much-hyped economic speech today. “Simon Bridges just gave the most over-hyped and under-delivered speech that I can remember during my time in politics,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s not surprising. Simon Bridges literally said on the radio this morning ...
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    5 days ago
  • Police to trial eye in the sky in Christchurch
    A trial deployment of the Police Eagle helicopter in Christchurch will test whether the aircraft would make a significant difference to crime prevention and community safety. “The Bell 429 helicopter will be based in Christchurch for five weeks, from 17 February to 20 March,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. “The ...
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    5 days ago
  • Momentum of trade talks continues with visits to promote Pacific and Middle East links
    The Government has kept up the pace of its work to promote New Zealand’s trade interests and diversify our export markets, with visits to Fiji and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker. Building momentum to bring the PACER Plus trade and development agreement ...
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    5 days ago
  • Coalition Govt’s investment in Customs nets record drugs haul: 3 tonnes stopped at borders in 2019
    The Coalition Government’s investment in a strong border and disrupting transnational organised crime produced record results for stopping drugs in 2019, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The illegal drugs were seized at the New Zealand border by Customs, and overseas by Customs’ international border partners before the drugs could ...
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    5 days ago
  • Separated scenic cycleway starts
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off construction of a separated cycleway alongside Tamaki Drive. A two-way separated cycleway will be built along the northern side of Tamaki Drive, between the Quay Street Cycleway extension and Ngapipi Road. There will be a separate walking path alongside. Phil Twyford said giving ...
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    6 days ago
  • Earthquake-Prone Building loan scheme: eligibility criteria announced
    Owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings will have certainty about the financial support they’ll be eligible for with the release of criteria for an upcoming assistance scheme, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing ...
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    6 days ago
  • Travel restrictions to remain in place as coronavirus precaution
    Temporary restrictions on travel from China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The restrictions which prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering New Zealand have been extended for a further 8 days. This position ...
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    7 days ago
  • Over $1 million to help Tairāwhiti youth into employment
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today that Tairāwhiti rangatahi will benefit from an investment made by the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme. The funding will go to the Tautua Village, Kauneke programme and the Matapuna Supported Employment Programme which will fund 120 rangatahi over two years. “Both programmes work ...
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    1 week ago
  • School attendance has to improve
    All parents and caregivers need to ensure that their children go to school unless they are sick, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin said today. “The school attendance results for 2019 show, across the board, a drop in the number of students going to school regularly,” the Minister says. “Apart from ...
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    1 week ago
  • Crown and Moriori sign a Deed of Settlement
    A Deed of Settlement agreeing redress for historical Treaty claims has been signed by the Crown and Moriori at Kōpinga Marae on Rēkohu (Chatham Islands) today, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little has announced. Moriori have a tradition of peace that extends back over 600 years. This settlement ...
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    1 week ago
  • Waikato Expressway driving towards completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today with Māori King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII officially opened the country’s newest road, the $384 million Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway. The 15km four-lane highway with side and central safety barriers takes State Highway 1 east of Huntly town, across lowlands and streams ...
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    1 week ago
  • 3400 New Zealanders treated in first year of new hepatitis C treatment
    The rapid uptake of life-saving new hepatitis C medicine Maviret since it was funded by PHARMAC a year ago means the elimination of the deadly disease from this country is a realistic goal, Health Minister David Clark says. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which attacks the liver, proving fatal ...
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    1 week ago
  • Kaupapa Māori approach for homelessness
      Kaupapa Māori will underpin the Government’s new plan to deal with homelessness announced by the Prime Minister in Auckland this morning. “Māori are massively overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness, so, to achieve different outcomes for Māori, we have to do things very differently,” says the Minister of Māori Development ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government steps up action to prevent homelessness
    1000 new transitional housing places delivered by end of year to reduce demand for emergency motel accommodation. Introduce 25% of income payment, after 7 days, for those in emergency motel accommodation to bring in line with other forms of accommodation support. Over $70m extra to programmes that prevents those at ...
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    1 week ago
  • Important step for new financial conduct regime
    Clear requirements for ensuring customers are treated fairly by banks, insurers and other financial service providers are included in new financial conduct legislation that passed its first reading today. “The recent reviews, by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand, into the conduct of banks and ...
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    1 week ago