Peters in super trouble

Written By: - Date published: 7:24 am, August 28th, 2017 - 207 comments
Categories: accountability, superannuation, winston peters, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , , ,

Newsroom has the story (Melanie Reid and Tim Murphy):

Co-habiting Peters billed $18,000

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters took higher superannuation payments than he was entitled to for seven years – while living with his de facto partner – and has been required to pay back $18,000 to the state.

Peters filled out forms when he turned 65 that qualified him for the single person’s superannuation rate, which is about $60 a week higher in this case than a person would receive if declared to be living with a partner, which he was.

Why he didn’t put the error right until last month will be the subject of intense political examination four weeks out from the general election and in a campaign period that has already claimed three party leaders: Andrew Little, Metiria Turei, and Peter Dunne. …

Read on for plenty more detail. There’s an additional twist from Newshub (Lloyd Burr) who was on to the story before it broke:

Winston Peters’ shifting story over pension overpayment

In the space of 24 hours, Winston Peters has told two different versions of what happened with his pension overpayment. …

Version 1 was the usual Peters bluster and distraction, version 2 was when he came clean and issued this statement:

Peters: A Mistake That Was Fixed

Some media contacts have called to alert me about a possible story about superannuation.

“From what I can glean it is about the following:

• In early 2010 I applied for superannuation, in the company of my partner, and in the presence of a senior official at the Ministry of Social Development.

“In July of this year, I was astonished to receive a letter from the Ministry to advise there was an error in my superannuation allowance and a request that I meet with them.

“I immediately contacted and met the area manager of MSD.

“It was unclear on both sides how the error had occurred leading to a small fortnightly overpayment.

“Suffice to say, we agreed there had been an error.

• Within 24 hours the error and overpayment had been corrected by me.

• I subsequently received a letter from the area manager thanking me for my prompt attention and confirming that the matter was concluded to the Ministry’s satisfaction.

“I am grateful to the Ministry for their courtesy and the professional and understanding way they handled this error.

“Like the Ministry I believed the matter had been put to rest.”

Peters may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing. His problem is that it is difficult to believe that an expert on superannuation did not realise that he was receiving the wrong payment (for seven years) and that the timing of his resolving the issue and paying it back (during the media circus around Metiria Turei) is suspicious to say the least.

Update: Peters denies details and the $18,000 figure


Presumably this was Tim Murphy’s #MotherOfAllScandals. Somewhat over egged?


207 comments on “Peters in super trouble”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    The only news value in this story is how it illustrates the utter hypocrisy of Patrick Gower and National’s other yapping poodles.

    Watch as they feign outrage for about three minutes.

    • Carolyn_nth 1.1

      Yep. A non-story.

      Yesterday I did finally decide the Royal Flush meant it was something that potentially would take down another party leader – after Little, Turei, Dunne, etc – and that it was possibly something to do with NZ First and gambling.

      Got the NZ First bit and meaning of Royal Flush right – but the only gambling related to this non-scandal, is that Murphy was gambling on the story being a major scandal. And it ain’t.

      These MSM journos have really got a warped sense of priorities in relation to political reporting.

      • r0b 1.1.1

        Royal flush because king (maker) to go with queen (Metiria) and jack (Dunne)??

        • Carolyn_nth 1.1.1.1

          Yep, esepcially with reference to NZ First as Kingmaker: But also royally flushing out some party leaders – the equivalent to the most powerful cards in a pack.

          The Tim Murphy, Melanie Reid story this morning said:

          and in a campaign period that has already claimed three party leaders: Andrew Little, Metiria Turei, and Peter Dunne.

          I said on Open Mike yesterday evening, before the superannuation story came out, this:

          An alternative might be NZ First – some party gaining by the loss of GP, UF, and NZF leaders….? And something to do with gambling.

          And then this:

          I have come to the conclusion that the mention of Royal Flush, in the context of “explosive convulsions” in this election so far, is a reference to adding to the collection of party leaders who have stepped down. i.e.

          Key, Turei, Little, Dunne…. and?

          And possibly to do with racing or gambling.

      • Cinny 1.1.2

        Def agree with you Carolyn

    • Tracey 1.2

      Herald and Stuff not headlining.

      Upon being dumped from Parliament he lied on his form and said he was single when actually in a de facto relationship. She told the truth when she registered a few years later which is when they cross referenced.

      Surely it doesnt matter why he lied, he lied and took money from the poor taxpayer. BUT unlike Turei this wont trigger outrage cos he wasnt a beneficiary and the hatred displayed toward them is not reserved for Super recipients.

      Turei’s point about to be proved again

      • Carolyn_nth 1.2.1

        Well, yes – that is THE scandal. But, neither Turei’s nor Peter’s benefit fraud are the political scandals of the century – the media treatment of them and non-super-annuitant beneficiaries, is a big scandal.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          It’s only fraud if Peters knowingly misled the MSD.

          • tracey 1.2.1.1.1

            He better be sure he repaid less and it wasnt a negotiated settlement down from 18k 😉

          • popexplosion 1.2.1.1.2

            No. He’s going to be a minister, aging makes him miss the specially designed for aging person’s form then what other mistakes will he make as a minister… …the old are not voting for someone that’ll expose their growing infirmity. Something so basic was either fraud as you say, or much worse a oversight displaying risks to the nation.

            • popexplosion 1.2.1.1.2.1

              What! Who are you? Why are you in my house! You can’t be here! The govt will demand I repay money! Senility leads to anxiety, to financial risks, it’s a slippery slope. Why are ACT not raging about T urei rights, why should govt get to abuseyou depending on who you live with?

              No. Peters is gone. The joke will adapt and change. Living alone, how could you miss them!

              • popexplosion

                And when you don’t have the money, when Peters isn’t a fraudster, or senile, and MSD did muckup, what of all those who don’t have the money to payback! Govt criminalising the old, the poor, I don’t hear MED saying sorry for making a mistake.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.2.2

              I can think of other scenarios. e.g. someone else filled out the form and he missed what they did. Or someone altered the form later (see comments below on this). Easy to jump to conclusions and make prejudicial judgements about people.

              I don’t think MPs or Ministers aren’t allowed to make mistakes in their personal lives, it’s how they handle them that matters. Which is why I’m more concerned about Peters obfuscation this morning than I am about guessing what happened on the form.

              • popexplosion

                Worse. MSD might want leverage…. …arguably why Turei had to oust herself was potential problems later… …so many people take home working for family payments, do undeclared sash jobs, get kids to help out towards costs, cousins sleeping on the sofa and giving undeclaredincome….

                T urei was onto something.

    • infused 1.3

      I don’t think anyone really thinks this is a story. Unlike MT, he paid it back right away.

  2. Cinny 2

    Peters is going to be on newshub in about 5mins, here’s the live link if any are interested.
    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/shows.html

    • Tracey 2.1

      Thanks. I wonder if anyone asked his partner if she went in to fill forms with him as he claimed. Sounds like he didnt have to queue

  3. Pat 3

    Yes its not a good look and is a worse case than MT and Peters has a little explaining to do, but hardly the scandal of the century as promoted…as stated on open mike I doubt Peters will be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as MT…we will see.

  4. weka 4

    According to the Newsroom piece Peters replaid before the GP welfare announcement where Turei talked about being a beneficiary.

    There are things to be answered in the Peters situation but It seems unlikely he would have been knowingly overclaiming because the risk of getting caught would have been high and with very serious consequences.

    • Tracey 4.1

      2 days before! I wonder how long after he was alerted of the overpayment that is?

      60 bucks a week is probably small change to him and he might not notice BUT that is also why he didnt need to sign on. Isnt he one of the few left with the whopping old Super package for MPs?

      • AsleepWhileWalking 4.1.1

        Omg forgot about those

        • tracey 4.1.1.1

          Make the Super you and I are in for look like pocket change. Am trying to imagine he in his pin stripe suit alongside his not yet retired partner at WINZ

      • alwyn 4.1.2

        He was in the old scheme but would have qualified for the rather generous annual pay-outs in 2008 when he lost his seat in the house.
        I imagine he started getting the pension then. I imagine that he is currently collecting his pay as an MP, his extras as a Party Leader, his Parliamentary Super from his time as an MP from 1979 to 2008 and his National Super.
        Quite a nice little pay-packet isn’t it? He would probably be on the right side of $400k.
        I don’t know about the Parliamentary Super, of course. It might be suspended if you return as an MP. Knowing the MPs proclivities I doubt it though.

        Any MP elected after some date in 1991 doesn’t get to go into the old scheme of course. There will probably be a couple of them left after the election but only a couple.

        I wonder if anyone has asked Jacinda Arden whether she has made a “Captains call” and will not allow him to be in Cabinet if she can form a Government?

      • Bearded Git 4.1.3

        $60 a week over 7 years is $21,840. Winnie needs to come clean exactly how much he has been overpaid and so has paid back. Otherwise this will go on and on.

        Standardistas need to stop talking about MT (this is what the Nats want, to keep reminding the public about MT situation which plays well for them like it or not) and talk about policy instead.

  5. The decrypter 5

    Not a very juicy story . Maybe pad it out a little and say Winston used his Gold card on his bus.

    • Tracey 5.1

      He lied to get more money at the taxpayers expense. Turei’s admission was focus til she resigned.

      • weka 5.1.1

        We don’t know yet that he lied, it could be a mistake.

        • tracey 5.1.1.1

          True but we have to assume the worst do we not to get it close to Turei’s treatment?

          • marty mars 5.1.1.1.1

            Why treat others the shit way she was treated? Rise above this bullshit I say.

            • tracey 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I was making a point Marty. That everything she did or said was viewed with jaundiced eyes. I have no idea what the truth is here. I remember him holding up a NO sign in Parliament once… prolly should have said YES

              • weka

                Peters needs to front up but we need to be careful to not affirm that everyone should be treated like Turei but instead point out why treating someone like this is wrong.

                • tracey

                  Kind of thought I was making that point. Will do better.

                  • weka

                    The framing by many so far seems to be hurt Peters like Turei, now that it’s justified. Which means any beneficiary from now on. Trial by media.

                    As an aside to that, still don’t know if this was the MoaS but Tim Murphy is looking like he made some dick moves here.

                    • Pat

                      is the only political “scandal” headlining Newsroom this morning…..so it is reasonable to assume this is it

                    • tracey

                      Yup and my first post stated that Turei’s point about unfair vilification of beneficiaries was meant to convey this. My other posts flow from that. I absolutely get your point.

                    • weka

                      @Pat, then one of the Shub journos posted saying it’s not the MoaS, and Newsroom/Murphy haven’t confirmed. I’m not sure they said it would def be Monday morning, as opposed to when the story was ready, so who tf knows. Dick moves.

                    • weka

                      @Tracey, yes, I think pointing out the hypocrisy of NZ re Turei is important, I’m just worried about the numbers of people who want to treat all people like that now. Some of that is people trying to point to the hypocrisy and some of it will be genuinely think it’s ok to go after people in this way 🙁 (am following more on twitter).

                    • tracey

                      People love to hate Winston and clearly some journoes felt Turei and Greens needed “taking down a peg or two”. But of course they reflect not shape the news 😉

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.2

        Does Winston have family who will place daggers in his back over it? Probably not.

  6. Ross 6

    The real story is who leaked the info? This is Peters’ private info. Someone may have breached his privacy.

    • tracey 6.1

      That is ok. Collins and Bennett breached the Privacy Act as Ministers. We only care what beneficiaries do when in 20s not Cabinet Ministers

    • D'Esterre 6.2

      Ross: “Someone may have breached his privacy.”

      This looks very likely, and it’s a serious matter. Everyone in the public eye ought to be concerned about it.

  7. Cinny 7

    Such a non story, turns out when he went into to apply for the pension he took his partner with him and even introduced her as his partner. As soon as Winny knew there was an overpayment, he fixed it up.

    Looks like nothing more than a weak as stitch up.

    Heaps of people get overpaid or underpaid from the MSD. What interests me is the double standards re Meti from the media.

    • tracey 7.1

      I am still struggling with the notion Peters, and his partner ( who was not retired then) visited a WINZ office and no one really noticed.

      The Double Standard will be glaring but self reflection is not something in abundance amongst our political reporters and politicians… and me of our fellow citizens.

      The interesting thing is when did they tell him, what time lapse between that moment and him repaying 2 days before Turei’s announcement.

      As an aside, isnt he on the lucratice Super scheme reserve for our older politicians and wouldnt that have kicked in when he left Parliament? That he felt he needed extra is is interesting

      • Cinny 7.1.1

        Trace, he is doing another interview, this time on TVNZ just after the 8am news.

      • Carolyn_nth 7.1.2

        Hmmmm – he says he applied for it in front of a Ministry of Social Development official. Basically. The application is a form – and it is online.

        Giving the form a quick skim, I’m a little confused. It says at the beginning that there is not need to go to a meeting at W&I to apply. then later talks about the things the applicant needs to take to a W&I meeting.

        • tracey 7.1.2.1

          Again, I was joking. I do not think for a minute he and Jan went to a WINZ office and queued like the rest of us would. I will bet he made an appointment so as not to waste his and Jan’s precious time

          • D'Esterre 7.1.2.1.1

            Tracey: “I do not think for a minute he and Jan went to a WINZ office and queued like the rest of us would.”

            Nobody applying for Super can just turn up at an MSD office and queue. They wouldn’t get in. Wouldn’t have when we applied a few years back, let alone now. It’s necessary to make an appointment. And one must turn up with a bunch of documentation; I cannot now recall the detail of those requirements. But Winston would have gone through the same process.

        • alwyn 7.1.2.2

          I don’t know what you have to do now but when I applied, about the same time as Winston, you definitely did have to go and see them.
          It would have been very hard to make an accidental error in the application regarding you living arrangements.
          Given he was at the time merely a retired former MP I find it hard to see why he would get special treatment from a “senior official”.
          As for making an appointment everybody had a appointment.

        • D'Esterre 7.1.2.3

          Carolyn_nth: “Giving the form a quick skim, I’m a little confused. It says at the beginning that there is not need to go to a meeting at W&I to apply. then later talks about the things the applicant needs to take to a W&I meeting.”

          We in this household went through this process a few years ago. At that stage, one could either fill in the form online (which I did, and the MSD site was infuriatingly hard to use) or on paper.

          Either way, it was necessary to go to a meeting in person, and I’ll bet that requirement still applies.

          Winston’s older than I am, so it’s much more likely he’d have filled in a paper form.
          With regard to eligibility for Super, everyone who is about to turn 65 gets a letter – from MSD, I think – advising them of the process.

          The pension is available to everyone, regardless of their other income: that’s the whole point of the system. And long may that last! Winston’s as entitled to it as anyone else.

          I can see how he wouldn’t have noticed his payment rate – if that’s what happened – on account of he has other income, and likely the pension goes into a savings account. I know other pensioners in that situation. And if he uses an accountant, it’s possible he’s pretty hands-off with regard to his accounts.

          It’s best if people avoid the schadenfreude until – or if – we get more information. His situation isn’t necessarily commensurate with that of Metiria Turei.

    • Sacha 7.2

      What counts is only what he wrote on his form about his relationship status and living arrangements, not who he took with him to an appointment. There’s paperwork with his signature on it.

      • weka 7.2.1

        were they living together at the time? Do you think Peters intentionally lied?

        • tracey 7.2.1.1

          I would be surprised if he deliberately misled them. It is a bit of a non story but deserves more if the media are going to approach consistency with Turei.

          When I say “deliberately misled” I mean it in the way Bennett used it.

        • Carolyn_nth 7.2.1.2

          Hmmm… he was doing work giving other people legal advice at the time. It’s a bit of a stretch to think he did not understand what he was signing.

          This article from 2011 (the year after Peters applied for super).

          In the past three years, the NZ First leader has been busy working on boats, riding horses and starting his own business.

          “So many things I couldn’t do all those years. Even though I find politics fascinating and rewarding, there is a serious downside.”

          He is coy about his business and his clients, saying only that he uses his legal experience to help people solve their problems. One such problem involved a government department misinterpreting the law.

          Mr Peters has an enviable life. He and his glamorous and successful partner, Jan Trotman, the former managing director of pharmaceuticals company Janssen-Cilag, live in a beautiful house in St Marys Bay, Auckland, with their chocolate labrador, Bella.

          Actually, not a good look when many say people having a lot of money should not get super – and Peters wasn’t just given it, he deliberately applied for it, and seems to have claimed a single person’s super – although he says he did not understand how that happened. He seems to be saying it was an admin error.

          • weka 7.2.1.2.1

            “It’s a bit of a stretch to think he did not understand what he was signing.”

            I wasn’t suggesting that, but it’s possible for instance that someone else filled out the form for him and he signed it without reading it properly. A bad mistake, but still a mistake.

            I’m not sure we know yet what the overpayment is for, do we? People are assuming that it’s because of the partner status thing, but I’m not clear where that comes from.

          • tracey 7.2.1.2.2

            It is irrelevant given the High Court precedent of the Banks case. He claimed he signed but didnt read and the Court upheld that.

            Of course if. Beneficiary did that… the sky would fall on them like a tonne of bricks but experienced lawyers/ businesspeople/MPs… not so much.

            • McFlock 7.2.1.2.2.1

              The banks case was special because electoral declarations seem to be the only document it’s perfectly legal to falsely sign unknowingly. His defense rested on incompetence rather than duplicity.

              Anyone else gets done for plain signing a false document, knowlingly or not.

        • alwyn 7.2.1.3

          From what he said, quoted above,
          “In early 2010 I applied for superannuation, in the company of my partner, and in the presence of a senior official at the Ministry of Social Development.”,
          He certainly would appear to have been in an admitted relationship.

          • tracey 7.2.1.3.1

            And lucky to not have to queue with the great unwashed. Maybe they were all at the races together 😉

            • D'Esterre 7.2.1.3.1.1

              Tracey:”And lucky to not have to queue with the great unwashed.”

              Nonsense. Nobody applying for the Super can queue, nor could they at that time. We needed to make an appointment. In this household, one of us is older than Winston, and had to make an appointment. So Winston would have had to as well.

              Over 20 years ago, a relative made redundant applied for the unemployment benefit. Even then, it was necessary to make an appointment. A MSD office isn’t the ED at the local hospital. Wasn’t, even 20+ years ago.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                So you think the Ministry for Human Rights Violations keeps the appointment times they arrange with their victims/employers?

        • Skinny 7.2.1.4

          Oh please you lot wake up Winston is making his own cup of tea. Oh what a beat up on our champion. He just pulled the big stunt. Garner, Gower and Burr are in on the play worried that Labour rocketing up in support plus the Greens will not need the King Maker. They know National are gone if NZF isn’t there to give the chance of a cobbled together deal with Peters, Labour with NZF they will settle on that but not with the Greens. I know it 🙂

      • tracey 7.2.2

        Remember Banks and his form? Turns out our elected reps can sign things and not be expected to know what they signed. Coukd explain English providing invisible language teachers to primary children failing at maths.

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    I hope this story is a place holder for the real #motherofallscandals which will come out tomorrow.

  9. Sacha 9

    This will not resonate with the public because most do not see a pension the same way as a benefit.

  10. Sanctuary 10

    Turei admitted to knowingly defrauding WINZ and had not paid any of it back over subsequent years, despite knowing she obtained her funds illegally. She then told a story that sounded increasingly shifty.

    Peters received a letter from WINZ about his pension, promptly arranged a meeting, was “astonished” to discover his mistake, and paid back the amount immediately with everything sweetness and light between him and the ministry.

    See the difference?

    • tracey 10.1

      And kept quiet about it once he knew while also receiving the largess of his MP Super as a perk for old timers. See some moral equivalence?

      • Sanctuary 10.1.1

        He says he didn’t know about it until the ministry sent him the letter, at which time he immediately corrected it.

        So you post is an accusation Peter’s has lied about not knowing about it, without a shred of evidence that he did lie – in fact, he was prompt and full in his cooperation and repayment when he was told, indicating he may have really not known.

        Give up on this. It is a piss-water weak

        • tracey 10.1.1.1

          According to Newsroom he gave contradicting accounts. That throws his credibility into the light.

          Remember when he held up a NO sign in Parliament.

    • Carolyn_nth 10.2

      Nope. Turei was not approached by a W&I official and told they knew of the fraud. After she went public about the fraud. She said she would pay it back, and arranged to meet a W&I person.

      Turei was quite poor at the time of her fraud and scraping to get by. Peters would have been reasonably well-off, though not an MP at the time, would still have had plenty of money.

  11. tracey 11

    On their way to WINZ?

    Just a photo not a link to whaleoil sludgery

    https://i1.wp.com/www.whaleoil.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/winstonpetersjantrotman.jpg

  12. Sanctuary 12

    He says he didn’t know about it until the ministry sent him the letter, at which time he immediately corrected it.

    So you post is an accusation Peter’s has lied about not knowing about it, without a shred of evidence that he did lie – in fact, he was prompt and full in his cooperation and repayment when he was told, indicating he may have really not known.

    Give up on this. It is a piss-water weak attempt at a stitch up.

    • tracey 12.1

      According to Newsroom he gave contradicting accounts. That throws his credibility into the light.

      Remember when he held up a NO sign in Parliament.

      In the past the media would ravage him. Interesting to watch if they are the same or less this time. Afterall he is a Kingmaker

      • Sparky 12.1.1

        Who do you think the hacket job on the Greens and NZFirst benefits mate? Both parties are anti TPPA whilst the Nats and Labour are not.

        • tracey 12.1.1.1

          It is far from a hatchet job on NZF yet

        • Darth smith 12.1.1.2

          Why are you lying jacinda has already said she would not sign the tappa and labour voted against it.

          • weka 12.1.1.2.1

            Labour previously have said they would alter it and go ahead with it. Can you please show where Ardern said she won’t sign?

    • weka 12.2

      I haven’t seen direct evidence that he lied to MSD, but his RNZ interview this morning is muddled and doesn’t clarify and does look like he is obfuscating. It could be that he doesn’t have the information to be clear, but that raises some issues about his level of competency to be in govt or even parliament.

  13. Sparky 13

    The pathetic two faced MSM showing their hypocritical colours yet again (no need to guess which colour that would be).

  14. tracey 14

    Tim Watkins = Over Egging.

    Just damaged some good credibility built up at Newsroom by his antics yesterday.

    Woukd have been more useful if he had wriiten up the money English is chucking around with his own ATM beside it.

  15. weka 15

    Here’s the RNZ interview with Peters from this morning. Peters is blatantly obfuscating,

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201856300/winston-peters-admits-superannuation-overpayment

    • tracey 15.1

      He sounded frustrated to me but why not give waiver? Just like the PM could request retrieval of his text mesages.

      Thing is Winston sounded convincing about the Owen Glen thing too…

      • weka 15.1.1

        I wouldn’t give a waiver to the MSM. People are entitled to their privacy, even Peters.

        Peters could clarify though. Listening to that interview I thought he’s either confused, or he’s obfuscating because being clear will look bad, or he simply doesn’t have the information to answer properly. The latter could be cleared up this week and he could have signalled that that is what he will do. Peters didn’t sound convincing to me but I can see that he might get away with this if he blusters his way through it.

    • Carolyn_nth 15.2

      In the interview, it was unclear to me what level of super Peters claimed on the form: single; married; de facto?

      He also went some way to answering some other questions I had: MSD contacted him about the over-payment in July, after Turei had admitted her benefit fraud; someone at IRD had leaked the story to the media.

      Who at IRD would be motivated to leak the story to the media, and why?

      There seems to be an element of entitlement from Peters; there also seems to be an element of Dirty Politics – someone leaked to Newsroom – looks like an attempt to take out Peters in an election period.

      And Murphy does seem to have exaggerated this as #themotherofallscandals – which colludes with the idea there has been a DP attempt to take Peters out.

      • weka 15.2.1

        I’m going to relisten because I didn’t get all of those points.

        I think the MSM are reaching the point where no-one can trust them. I could see it being nothing to do with DP, but how would we ever know? That’s fucked up and Murphy hasn’t done Newsroom any favours with that tweet.

        • Carolyn_nth 15.2.1.1

          OK. I re-listened. He did say at the beginning that he never claimed for a single person’s super.

          A journalist told him the leak came from someone at IRD. Later in the interview he is confusing about what status he entered on the form. Makes it sound like the form is confusing. Or it might be he is confused about why he was entered as single.

          He said Turei made her speech with the fraud confession at the GP conference, which was around the time he was busy with the NZ First conference on 15 or 16 July. Was not contacted by MSD until about a week later.

          This is the confusing bit as reported on RNZ website:

          “My status was very clear when I turned up at the senior official’s desk with my partner to fill out the form.”

          He had had a long discussion with officials, but it was still not clear what had occurred.

          “We can’t work out why the document is not what it appears to be,” he said.

          “That’s about as far as we can get. We’ve had a long discussion … In the end, we decided there’s an error that’s been made, we don’t know how, let’s fix it up.

          • weka 15.2.1.1.1

            It’s possible he didn’t fill out the form but in the interview told WINZ his status was defacto/married.

            “We can’t work out why the document is not what it appears to be,”

            Yeah, that’s part of the obfuscation. Does he mean the form was changed later? That’s not hard to establish by looking at the form. I suspect it’s that he thought he’d ticked married but hadn’t (or someone else filled it in for him).

            • Carolyn_nth 15.2.1.1.1.1

              In this NZ Herald article, Peters is reported as saying someone must have altered the form.

              Speaking to Newstalk ZB this morning, Peters said that he declared that he was in a de facto relationship with partner Jan Trotman when he applied for superannuation.

              There appeared to have been an alteration to his application form but “no one knows how it was made”, he said.

              That meant he ended up getting the single person’s superannuation rate, Newsroom reported, which was $60 more a week than the payments for a person in a de facto relationship.

              It was not until Trotman applied for her pension that MSD discovered Peters’ payments were too high.

              Peters said he never realised the error because his payments were well below that amount which his married friends were getting.

              “Frankly the figure was not high at all and way lower than most of the ones that I was aware of from people I knew who were married or widowed.”

              Why would he be getting a lower amount than other married people? Unless he or his partner were getting a state pension from another country?

              • weka

                Thanks! Things getting clearer by the minute.

                He said somewhere that there are 5 rates. Benefit’s aren’t straight forward (which is part of why I’ve been suggesting it could be a mistake rather than a lie).

                • Carolyn_nth

                  Looks like 4 rates – but also the deduction of any overseas state pensions being received, but count as #5.

                  Single, living alone: (Before tax) $900.20 – (Taxed at ‘M’ (if you have no other income) $780.40

                  Single, sharing (Before tax) $827.20 – (Taxed at ‘M’ (if you have no other income) $720.36

                  Married, civil union or de facto couple (both partners qualify) (Before tax) $681.60 each – (Taxed at ‘M’ (if you have no other income) $600.30 each

                  Married, civil union, or de facto couple* (only one partner qualifies) (Before tax) $645.56 each – (Taxed at ‘M’ (if you have no other income) $570.56 each

                  • Treetop

                    How frequent is there renewal of NZ Super?

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      Whose renewal?

                      Once a person is entitled to it, they don’t need to renew. I think it’s up to the individual to let W&I know of changes to relevant circumstances.

                      The only exception is those who might be eligible for an Aussie state pension, which is means tested – people can be asked for updated information every year-18 months as to whether or not they are now eligible for an Aussie pension – which would get deducted from the NZ super entitlement.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  I expect is is more likely to be a mistake.

                  Also, I think Peters may have applied for super so he could get a super gold card – the main way to get one is when a person applies for and gets granted NZ super.

                  I suspect, as he is so strongly associated with getting the super cold card for over 65s, that he would want one of those, more than he would want some NZ super.

                  • Treetop

                    @12:01

                    It is a can of worms on knowing what your actual entitlement to NZ Super is when you have an overseas pension.

                    People from some eastern European countries receive a mixed payment and add in being a married/civil union/defacto couple.

              • Carolyn_nth

                Isn’t that a different tax rate, not the before tax pension payment?

              • tracey

                Perhaps he was earning more? He had his MP pension as well remember.

      • tracey 15.2.2

        Someone who thinks any loss of NZF votes might go to National?

      • tracey 15.2.3

        Newsroom claim he repaid 2 days before Turei made her first announcement.

  16. mary_a 16

    The rules are quite clear when applying for national superannuation. There are different payments for different situations, such as married couple, single, de facto etc.

    As recipients of superannuation, my husband and myself are familiar with the rules, regulations and requirements and the penalties for not being truthful when making application for the pension! From memory on application, we were required to sign a form similar to that of a statuary declaration, stating that we have been truthful with our information.

    Another point is, we also check our bank statements to make sure what goes in is what we are supposed to receive, no more and no less. Any discrepancy and we would have acted on it, for our own benefit, as I like to believe would most beneficiaries of superannuation! Quite easy to do. It’s called doing checks and balances!

    Peters is a lawyer, a long term MP, also a so called advocate for those receiving superannuation. So how come he allowed himself to receive more superannuation for seven years, than those he claims to champion?

    Some more questions need to be asked here methinks!

    • tracey 16.1

      I believe he wouldnt check his balance. His MP Super alone may have been 100k per annum plus travel. He was doing law work and his partner is wealthy.

      We know you dont have to tead what you sign cos remember John Banks Court case.

    • Anne 16.2

      …we also check our bank statements to make sure what goes in is what we are supposed to receive, no more and no less.

      Unfortunately many of us (including me) don’t bother to check because well… we’re lazy. It should be the same each time anyway. I also recall having to attend an interview in the run-up period to receiving the Super and it would have been around the same time as Peters. Since then it is likely online applications have been introduced and maybe the need to attend in person is only necessary in the event of a complication.

      If Peters’ partner was present at his interview then it is does sound like the error lay with the MSD staffer who conducted the interview. Maybe she/he thought the partner was his daughter or sister. 😉

      • D'Esterre 16.2.1

        Anne: “If Peters’ partner was present at his interview then it is does sound like the error lay with the MSD staffer who conducted the interview.”

        It’s probably a mistake in data entry: fat finger rides again! Mistakes happen: nobody’s perfect….

    • Jenny Kirk 16.3

      Yes – there’s something a bit weird here, mary_a.

      Didn’t Winston say he introduced his partner to the WINZ person, and didn’t he also say he was “single” when asked to describe his status.

      WINZ ask a lot of questions when you apply for NZ Super, and its a bit odd that they didn’t pick up on the fact that Winston had a partner when he applied as a “single” for the NZ Super.

  17. xanthe 17

    anyone who has actually dealt with MSD will have no trouble accepting Winstons claim that this is an un attributable stuff up, MSD make these all the time. complete non story.
    however if the information re winston’s super came from IRD as claimed then thats a story!

    • tracey 17.1

      Bennett deliberately broke the law when releasing a beneficiary name to media and Collins also which attracted death threats to an innocent person. Why is Peters privacy such a big deal in that context? I woukd hate to see a witch hunt at IRD while those 2 remain Cabinet Ministers.

      Note: I do value privacy and this leak is wrong. The two sets of rules thibg is more than bewildering tho.

      Is anyone suggesting National had a direct or indirect hand in the leak? Hard to prove cos they do not do their own dirty work…. well except for Collins

  18. Sacha 18

    Winston thinks everyone is as well-paid as himself, so do not need to check their income:
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/96209970/winston-peters-denies-claims-he-was-receiving-a-single-persons-entitlement-to-the-pension

    “I never looked at it because most people don’t. It goes straight into a savings account …”

  19. tracey 19

    Old Parliamentary Superannuation scheme: An MP who came into parliament in 1990 and retires at the next election will be eligible for an annuity of $51,450 a year, if he or she contributed at the maximum rate, according to the Government Superannuation Fund. The annuity is adjusted annually for inflation. The MP could instead take a lump sum of $354,806 although the scheme is primarily geared for annuities.” 2009

    http://i.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/latest-edition/34339/New-MP-super-scheme-just-as-generous

    • tracey 19.1

      Winston was getting $2 for every $1 he paid into his MP Super from the taxpayer up to somewhere between 15 and 20% of his salary. Bear in mind at times he was on a Cabinet salary and also received clothing allowances and travel and accomdation on top of salary if entitled.

      The key word here is entitled. Peter Dunne and Bill English (talk about using taxpayers as an ATM.Bill) would also have been creaming it until the rule change. However if you read the above link you will see the new rules are almost as good as old.

      No wonder these guys have little idea about how low income kiwis live

  20. Sanctuary 20

    I will say it again . – nothing will come of this. Neither Labour or National are interested in a sideshow sucking publicity away from them, and Peter’s supporters hate the media.

    It’ll be left to the dogs who bark at every car to run with it until the vanish in a puff of their own outrage.

  21. Ad 21

    If NZF slips 1 or even 2% on this, National will be in serious coalition trouble.

  22. dukeofurl 22

    Could his partner could have become eligible for a part British pension ? That often trips people up as its overseas pensions are not extras but counted as part of the NZ Super. ?

    She was a senior executive at Johnson & Johnson when met Peters, so may have had an international career with time in UK

    • Carolyn_nth 22.1

      I’m sure Peters would have mentioned that, if it was the case. NZ First have a policy to get rid of that requirement – ie adjust super entitlement to amount of years lived in NZ.

      Peters seems to think the error was picked up in relation to his tax returns to IRD.

  23. Ma Rohemo 23

    The only scandal here is that someone has so much income that the extra $60 per week goes, along with the rest of his super payment, in to a savings account.

    He didn’t notice it for 7 years? If I received an extra $120 per fortnight in my super payment I could help but notice the increase in wealth.

    • McFlock 23.1

      Yeah, it’s right up there with forgetting about 50,000 shares you own or an overseas bank account with tens of thousands in it.

      But the other thing about it is that when you get to that level, you get to write a cheque and claim “oopsies”, because you can write a cheque on the spot. No arrest, no charge.

      It’s taken as a sign of honesty and reparation, while poor mugginses who can’t make these shows of “good faith” (because they’re poor) get hauled through the courts because of overpayments WINZ made and the mugginses didn’t even claim for, and even tried to repay well before winz discovered their own fuckup.

      • weka 23.1.1

        Being an MP probably helps too.

      • tracey 23.1.2

        Well said. He did the same with his ‘”charitable donation”. Just paid it.

        Interesting Bill English thinking that he needs more info before saying if tjis would impact Peters being in Cabinet. On that reasoning he needs to stand down as PM based on the double dipping convoluted family trust dodge

        Pretty sure when my Super registering time comes I wont get to deal with a senior MSD Official to smoothe the way

        • Carolyn_nth 23.1.2.1

          Interesting Bill English thinking that he needs more info before saying if tjis would impact Peters being in Cabinet.

          Ardern is pretty much saying the same thing.

    • Ma Rohemo 23.2

      On re-reading; I should have said “the real scandal” not *only*.

    • Treetop 23.3

      And an extra $20 from tax cuts. You would not even notice the extra $20.

      Just think were the $20 tax cut put into housing, a difference would be seen and mean a heck more.

  24. Peroxide Blonde 24

    Paula Bennett

    Paula Benefit

  25. popexplosion 25

    How much was he paid and when was it paid. Shifty feg movement. Ummm…

    Clearly we need to dig deeper, has he broken electoral law…..

    That’s my taxes, oh, he’s right of center and the Nats need him…

    Nothing to see here, watch the ad, stunning scenery, not a house, or gridlocked road, and especially no shot in the lake’s.

  26. Treetop 26

    Who made the mistake I ask?

    What address was put on the application and what was the partners address?

    If both addresses are the same nothing was being hidden.

    Work and Income do this sort of shit all the time, (under or over payments).

    The issue gets blowen up when how it occurred needs to be established.

    In all fairness the ancient 1964 Social Security Act needs to be rewritten.

  27. tracey 27

    The party with a history of leaking private details for political advantage in recent history? National. Bennett and Collins.

    I havent listened to Hooton for months. That he thinks an uncosted unrealistic announcement is real policy… Humanities closing down big time in Waikato and Otago. Ten languages offered by 1 teacher per school?

    Attributing Murphys over egging to a left wing blog?

  28. Treetop 28

    Peters has just increased the Green vote, looks to me that Labour and the Greens just might do it.

    I don’t mind a Labour/NZ First government ANYTHING is better than the current government.

  29. weka 29

    A theory on National’s strategy for winning the election including taking down NZF,

    http://politik.co.nz/en/content/politics/1176/

  30. tracey 30

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/96212308/Peters-goes-full-Winston-on-the-AM-Show-over-superannuation-overpayment

    Lloyd Burr… isnt he one of the ones pursuing Turei on her way to a caucus meeting to vote on her future berating her for not being Democratic????

  31. patricia bremner 31

    Ask yourself, “Who benefits if NZ First lose votes?

    Where would those votes go?

    Imo, National would gain most by this.

    • Treetop 31.1

      I think Labour will grab some NZ First votes. The well off pool is shrinking and the middle ground will blame National for ruining housing, the only way is to CHANGE the government.

      How much of a risk for the middle ground to vote Peters and not have a change of government?

  32. Michael 32

    Plenty of beneficiaries have been convicted, and some imprisoned, as the result fo the same “innocent mistake” Peters admits he made when he used a document to obtain a state benefit. Yet Peters is treated with kid gloves (even Metiria got an easier ride than most). Why the double (or triple) standard? Of even more interest is what, if anything, claimants in the Game of Thrones will do about it?

    • Treetop 32.1

      This is why the 1964 Social Security Act needs to be rewritten. Pulled apart to be on par with any other legislation, irrespective of who you are.

      Work and Income have two golden rules
      1. Advise of change of circumstances.
      2. Unless a person asks the right question they can be kept in the dark.

      The only golden rule for a client is.
      Ask for the decision in writing.

      • Michael 32.1.1

        “This is why the 1964 Social Security Act needs to be rewritten”. It is, via the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill, which is currently stalled in Parliament because the Nats haven’t got the numbers to pass it. This is because the Bill contains provisions that compound many of the injustices in the SSA (in spite of the Nats’ propaganda). It will be interesting to see what happens to the Bill in the next Parliament. One clue: Labour voted in favour of it until iit became aware that observers knew of its odious contents, whereupon it pulled its punches. Winston may not like the Bill either (some of his caucus don’t but it’s unclear how much power they have in these matters). It does seem clear, though, that Winston doesn’t have a lot of goodwill towards MSD so that might affect his position on the Bill. I think the SSA will be repealed and replaced with something else but I doubt beneficiaries (and superannuitants) will be treated any better regardless of the outcome on 23 September.

        • Janet 32.1.1.1

          You are right , Instead of bleating on about Winston Peter’s legal right to his Universal Superannuation and the very unlikely case that he tried to cheat the system , we should turn our mind to the fact that there are quite a number of superannuates living in poverty in New Zealand because they are being cheated of their full payment of superannuation by MSD because of the governments refusal to face up and amend section70 (1) of the Social Security Act 1964.

  33. wyndham 33

    I thought superannuitants regularly receive a questionnaire from WINZ asking them to certify that their personal circumstances have not changed ?

    Certainly would have occurred several times over a 9 year time span.

    • weka 33.1

      what circumstances do you think have changed?

      • tracey 33.1.1

        Marital/partnership circumstances?

        • weka 33.1.1.1

          I thought he was in a relationship when he applied. Hard to keep track of all the details though, esp as they’ve been drip-fed.

          • tracey 33.1.1.1.1

            Yes but I think wyndham is saying during the course of the years since he applied why no clarification sought of his circumstances? He could have become single, or if he showed as single he could have become partnered?

            I am not retired but is it like with election form where they send you your details and ask if it has changed. Peters would have received something saying he was single.

            I do think the much bigger issue is who leaked it. Why is Dunne staying quiet as Minister in charge of the Department that is accused…

            • weka 33.1.1.1.1.1

              I don’t know how often they are asked to confirm their circumstances, but if Peters thought he was being paid at the right rate then there would be no change of circumstances to declare. WINZ forms (IME) don’t list what you put on the form last time. They give you a whole new form to fill out. That idea about it being like an electoral registration is a good one though, I wonder why they don’t do that.

              I agree about the leak, haven’t followed that side of it much though.

              • tracey

                So there is an assumption that if you are a married super collector you never become single and vice versa? Or if your partner dies is that picked up by another department and a new form sent out?

                No one of the other political parties is making any comment about the leak and breach of privacy. None that I have heard or read anyway. All the people who squealed about Hager using “stolen” info seem to have lost their tongues

                • weka

                  Ok, sorry, I get it now. Yes, if Peters believed he was being paid the correct rate he wouldn’t be signalling a change of circumstances but WINZ should have picked it up. We really need to know what pensioners have to fill out because we’re just guessing.

              • Anne

                I don’t know how often they are asked to confirm their circumstances,

                Once a year we get a letter advising us to fill in an enclosed form if our circumstances have changed. If they have not, we are told to ignore the letter.

                • weka

                  Thanks Anne, this is what I have been suspecting. And form doesn’t have the details from your last form on it right? It’s a blank form.

    • Macro 33.2

      Nope they don’t.
      I’ve been a superannuate for over 6 years.
      Frankly I wouldn’t know what rate I’m supposed to be paid at. (And I strongly suspect Winston didn’t either). I receive a different amount each fortnight than my wife – but then I have my Armed Forces Super as well.

  34. james 34

    Could be easily cleared up if Mr Peters allowed the release of the form showing he DIDN’T click the ‘single box’.

    Im guessing he cannot.

    • weka 34.1

      Can you prove he filled the form out himself?

      • james 34.1.1

        No – but given that he said he applied with his partner there at the same time it is safe to assume he most likely signed the form.

        I dont believe that there is any accusation that he didn’t fill it out – not that that matters if he signed it.

        He just says there was a mistake, without saying what that ‘mistake’ is.

        He can easily prove that it wasnt him ticking the wrong box – but again I dont think he can.

        • weka 34.1.1.1

          How could he prove that he did or didn’t tick the box?

          His own explanation is that when it got looked at neither WINZ/MSD nor himself could explain the form. He says it’s been changed. Maybe someone at WINZ did that? Or maybe he made a mistake on the original day and is fudging it now because it plays better. It’s Peters, who would know.

          All I’m saying is that there are lots of potential scenarios, and people will speculate but it’s better to present them as theories rather than facts.

          • Nick K 34.1.1.1.1

            It’s Winston Peters so the default starting position is not to believe him at all, and then you look at the alternative scenario which if even remotely possible is almost certainly true.

            • weka 34.1.1.1.1.1

              I think the thing about Peters is sometimes he’s honourable and sometimes he’s full of shit and it can be hard to tell which is which 😉 In this instance his evasiveness is fucked up.

  35. “…it’s safe to assume he most likely…”

    Concrete evidence then!
    Case closed.

    • james 35.1

      I know you are a bit slow – but try using the whole sentence that you try to quote in your hurried attempt to be a smart arse

      ” given that he said he applied with his partner there at the same time it is safe to assume he most likely signed the form”.

      And my point remains – why does he not release the form – that might clear a few things up.

      • Robert Guyton 35.1.1

        “He can easily prove…”, just a Bill English can “easily prove”, by releasing the Barclay texts. Paula Bennett could “easily prove”, if she gave the go ahead to release the details of her under-question activities. So many National Party MPs could “easily prove”, aye, James!

      • Robert Guyton 35.1.2

        “I know you are a bit slow…in your hurried attempt…”
        “And my point remains – why does English not release the texts – that might clear a few things up.”
        fify

      • tracey 35.1.3

        He just needs to release the letter from MSD saying they made a boo boo, just like English can get hold of those 450 texts and release them, but won’t.

    • The decrypter 35.2

      James believes every political party -except lab/gr, tell the truth.

    • Pat 35.3

      think it may be safe to say that as someone who can work a story Winston is equally adept at killing one….do not think this has legs despite the intentions of the media (and whoever arranged it)

  36. tracey 36

    IF Peters has Bill’s texts might this kind of thing make him release them? Or find a dupe to do it for him?

  37. adam 37

    That it, sad.

    I have more access to news than our so called journalists.

    For starters why did national suddenly remove Key, and go for a hard right Catholic, to sure up it’s religious right vote.

    I know the answer, and I’m guessing quite a few journalist in the newsroom know as well.

    • james 37.1

      “For starters why did national suddenly remove Key, and go for a hard right Catholic, to sure up it’s religious right vote.

      I know the answer …..”

      And of course you will provide said information that you know, and back up the comment that National removed Key.

      Yeah Right !!!!!

      Come on then – put up …..

  38. Ad 38

    This has done its cycle already.

    Doesn’t even get a mention on tonights’ tv 1 news:

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news

  39. Liberal Realist 39

    Queue the start of Dirty Politics 2.0 IMO

    Leaking private details to the media? Or is the start of a DP campaign to take Peters and NZ First down a few notches? Or is it to serve as a distraction? Peters will now have to release his records otherwise the leak will hit it’s mark and have an impact.

    See the Watkins piece on Stuff.co.nz where she states that Rimmer called Peters a ‘charismatic crook’ on Sunday, The Hairdo made a cryptic statement suggesting foreknowledge, and Williams rightwing revenge tank ‘Taxpayer’s Union’ was “primed”.

    Not at all a fan of Watkins but she does have a point. If this was a leak (what else could it be?) then it’s “extraordinary and almost unprecedented”.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/96222746/winston-peters-scandal-and-a-recipe-for-revenge

    • Ross 39.1

      It certainly has a strong whiff of Dirty Politics.

      The Ministry of Social Development told its minister Anne Tolley on August 15 under the “no surprises” policy that it had met NZ First leader Winston Peters about his superannuation payments. The Prime Minister’s office has confirmed English’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson was then told by Tolley’s office. A spokesperson said Eagleson did not tell English or others in the office.

      I guess it begs the question: who (if anyone) did Eagleson tell?

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11912771

      • Ross 39.1.1

        Then there is Steven Joyce’s comment:

        “I checked with National Party people today and nobody as far as I can see or who I spoke to had any idea about it.”

        Haha as if the leaker – or someone who knows the identity of the leaker – is going to happily admit to it. Is Joyce really that thick? He is certainly taking the public for mugs.

      • Cinny 39.1.2

        Seymour isn’t in the national party, me thinks someone told him in passing or he overheard something and it went from there.

        Either way Winny will get to the bottom of it, he always does

      • lprent 39.1.3

        Well in the old days it would have been Jason Ede for the social media, and some ex-journo acting as a PR hack.

        I’d just have a look at who used to be employed there.

      • Treetop 39.1.4

        If Eagleson did not tell English, Eagleson was not doing his job.

        PM is in charge of ministerial matters.

        Tolley says the matter was a MSD operational matter.

        As for no surprises, the buck stops with English. On record he was not told so he would have been surprised when he found out.

        English has slinked away in a corner, he does not want the spot light on him re the 450 texts.

  40. Tanz 40

    Storm in a teacup. He paid it back, he admitted to it, he probably made an innocent mistake. Big deal. There is no sense of entitlement and no ‘I did nothing wrong’
    attitude…unlike with some.

  41. Keepcalmcarryon 41

    Nats panicking over Jacinda, greens self immolate, what spectacular timing for a “scandal” to knock out labours other potential coalition mate.
    Dirty politics, follow the leak.
    How is leaked government held personal information in the public interest when the money was already paid back? It isn’t? Then no protection for leaker or “journo”
    Start seizing computers, let’s see some politically motivated jobs go. And that dickhead reporter if this is his mother of all scandals.

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