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The super disaster

Written By: - Date published: 7:09 am, June 12th, 2012 - 191 comments
Categories: benefits, john key, superannuation - Tags: ,

John Key doesn’t stand for anything in particular. He prefers political expediency, being popular, not scaring the focus groups too much. He is so ill defined that, famously, he “can’t remember” his position on the defining political event of his youth, the 1981 Springbok Tour. Consequently he doesn’t make many firm promises, doesn’t like to commit himself. I wonder if this is the reason that Key is so manically determined to stick to one of the few clear promises that he has made, not to rase the age of eligibility for Superannuation. That one promise has become too important to him.

This is turning into a disaster. A disaster for the country, which needs to be preparing now for financial challenges that could tear us apart. A disaster for individuals, who need to know what the future holds, and to make their plans accordingly. You don’t need me to supply a dozen links on this, everyone knows by now that population demographics make Super in its current form unsustainable.

The public are overwhelmingly in favour of change, as Duncan Garner reported yesterday:

Voters call for superannuation age rise

A 3 News poll shows two out of three voters want John Key to break a policy promise, and raise the age from which New Zealand superannuation payments can be claimed – from 65 to 66, or even 67.

The Prime Minister is refusing to have the debate – so the country is having it for him. In a special 3 News Reid Research Poll of 1000 voters, 63% say yes push the age up to 66 or 67 from the year 2020 – or even earlier and just 37% say no don’t do it. But remember the Prime Minister has promised not to touch it.

The irony of it all is that Key would almost certainly get more credit for addressing the Super disaster than he would get blame for breaking a promise. Opposition parties would hardly be in a position to criticise him for doing what needs to be done*.

We don’t usually call for politicians to break their promises, but this was a promise that should never have been made. Once again Key is proving that, while he may be a PM, he certainly isn’t a leader.

* Thanks to commenter Tangled up in blue for the quote I was looking for on this:

Key said he would resign rather than raise it, but Labour leader David Shearer the issue should not be politicised.

“If he was to change his mind on superannuation we would not politick on it. We would sit down and have a genuine cross-party discussion that I think would lead to a good solution for New Zealand,” Shearer said.

A very constructive position from Shearer, and Labour has called many times for cross party talks.

191 comments on “The super disaster ”

  1. millsy 1

    New Zealand has one of the lowest rates of senior poverty in the OECD. Changes to NZ Super would almost certainly lead to a situation like in the USA, where old people have to live on the streets, or flip burgers for minumum wage.

    The best thing to do is to ask the rich to pay higher taxes. So far they have been given a light touch in this so-called GFC.

    • Enough is Enough 1.1

      I agree Millsy

      Labour is correct in that they have identified the problem. National is correct in that they want to retain the age at 65.

      The solution isn’t raising the age. It is applying apropriate tax rates to those who can afford it.

      This country can afford for workers to retire at 65 and live off a state pension. Someone has to stand up and propose a sensible tax structure that allows this.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        At the moment there are roughly 5 workers per retired person. In the late 2020’s this will drop to 3. By 2050 (when I will be retired, touch wood) this will drop to 2.5.

        Tax rates by themselves aren’t realistically going to fix it. And really, nor should they. Many people in their 70’s can quite comfortably and productivity work and provide for themselves.

        • Enough is Enough

          And what will happen to youth unelmployment if those in there 60s and 70s dont make way for new entrant workers

        • Carol

          But still there will be more workers than retirees. Won’t that just mean there’ll be more jobs and less unemployment in the younger age groups?

          • prism

            Young people will still not be able to find work, and many old people will have to do part-time work with government only paying a part portion of their needs. And why? While jobs that aren’t locality based keep going off shore young people can’t find work, earn and pay taxes that are sufficient to keep the old. That is a simple Economics 101 circle that is now a lie that is probably still being taught at school.

            The work that many young people should be doing is going to Asian countries and we have been given low priced goods to satisfy our consumer wants in return. But we have lost a functioning, working society with opportunities for all to work and build a life as a respected citizen providing for him or herself all their needs from their own pay with time set aside for living their personal lives.

            And all the time there will be a large number of old incapacitated people requiring intensive care but with regular cheery celebrations as the few reach 100 or over. Competitive ageing becoming a new activity, or not, – it could have a theme tune ‘Any age you can live, I can live longer’ – sung to a well-known ditty from the past.

        • Means-testing super would be a good start. Super should be a guaranteed minimum income or supplement to that minimum for those that pay in, not also an additional income for the retired with their own means of living.

          We should prioritize every opportunity we have to solve this problem without increasing the risk of poverty among retirees. If that still doesn’t fund the program, then we should talk about increasing the age of eligibility.

        • Foreign Waka

          Yeah, why not have another potato famine, that will teach those old people to get off their tired behind.
          To force the elderly to work longer is so uncivilized that it takes my breath away. I have to go quite a few years yet but I would not even dream to have as the first target the most vulnerable on the list.
          No wonder there is so much aggression in society where kids are murdered and elderly are being abused with the constant angst in the back of the mind. The hot potato of euthanasia has been dropped, so lets try something else?
          What about taxing people on an income of 100k and above more? How many fridges do you need? At the cost of having the defenseless looking on with hollow faces? A Dickensian society in the making.

          • Tracey

            “No wonder there is so much aggression in society where kids are murdered – let’s keep perspective, more NZers die in workplace related accidents each year than are murdered.

            • Foreign Waka

              Perhaps, but how many domestic and other assaults are being reported each year? How many of those are being perpetrated with a background of poverty, drug taking etc. Fear and anger go hand in hand. People who are afraid have two options: fight or flight. The first one is a road traveled more often by the young, the latter more often than not by the older generation. Result is the same. Behavioral changes do take place when the primary survival needs are not covered.

      • Liberal Realist 1.1.2

        Simple solution is means testing. If you’ve got X amount of $’s invested, EG. enough to support yourself comfortably throughout old age, no government super. Top up those who have some investment but not enough. Of course for this to work we need compulsory (Employer paid) super like Aussie.

        I for one at 32 expect there to be no government super when it’s time for me to retire…

        • Ben

          The argument againt your point is that it would create a disincentive for savings.

          Plus anyone with enough cash can hide their assets from “prying eyes” anyway. Thanks to the changes in gift duty, people can just gift their estate to their children and just get regular cash payments from them. Or something.

          Makes sense.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Then we incentivise savings in other ways, and remove accounting tricks that allow people to hide their assets.

            • Ant

              Exactly, those accounting tricks only exist because we let them exist. It’s well with our power to tighten them up.

              • RedLogix

                I’m thinking you are all too young to remember why means testing was so hated and why we got rid of it decades ago.

                • vto

                  Remind us kemosabe

                  • RedLogix

                    We’ve been discussing the tax system around here forever; by now we should all know that whenever the tax system targets a particular group it creates disincentives and unfairness. This is inherent with all targeting.

                    Now middle NZ more or less tolerates the distortions created by our existing benefit system, because rightly or wrongly it only affects a smallish portion of the population.

                    But everyone can get old….

                    • And everyone should have a right to super, so long as they can’t comfortably support themselves. I’m not saying we should deny super to all people earning any money or with any significant savings, just those who have saved enough to not need any help.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Everyone should have the entitlement to not live in poverty as point of living within society. Sure, this does mean that there will be restrictions on you and that you will have responsibilities to that society but it’s a damn site better than living in the dog eat dog world that the economists and RWNJs envision.

          • Foreign Waka

            All you need to do is open up Trusts and that’s all that is needed.

          • North

            Means testing of super a disincentive to saving ? Complete bullshit ! Is a progressive tax rate a disincentive to our “betters” establishing that they’re “better” and far more clued up than the low people ?

            Does it make them decide not to advantage themselves at every turn and retain the right to hate the bennies ? Of course not.

            This disincentive argument comes from up-themselves aspirational snobs with a cheap lust for some extra bucks for free. Welfare bludgers actually.

            • Roy

              You are right, it is bullshit, because Australia already has means-testing and it does not act as a disincentive for saving there. Why should it here?

      • Bob 1.1.3

        The problem is Enough is Enough, increasing taxes is bad for the economy. We should do what Labour has been advocating since David Shearer took the top spot and follow Scandinavia’s lead with further tax cuts! http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-20/news/31372306_1_stimulus-ponytail-financial-crisis Personally, I would like to see WFF cut (it is an insentive to breed for $, the last thing the planet needs is more people!), and remove all tax fron the first say $15,000 earnt. Most benefit goes to those who need it, but everyone benefits.

        As a general rule, people don’t mind paying taxes, but once they reach what a person feels is an ‘un-fair’ level, they will find ways of avoiding them i.e. Trusts.

  2. Parties, groups and individuals have been calling for a discussion on the future of NZ Super. And calling for it. And calling for it.

    It’s time to stop then posturing and point scoring.

    It’s time for getting on with it and just do it. A blog has been set up to do exactly that.

    All parties have been asked to submit their positions on Super. Any group or individual can submit a topic to be discussed.

    The blog is party independent and open to anyone to discuss the future of NZ Super.

    Just do it. NZ Super Discussion.

    • Eddie 2.1

      The opposition parties are calling for National to join such discussions. Without National, you can’t get cross-party consensus.

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        Standing off posturing and pleading and pointscoring will get nowhere.

        If National choose not to discuss it that’s up to them. That doesn’t prevent a wideranging discussion from taking place.

        • mickysavage

          But that is weird.

          Labour and the Greens are not “posturing and pleading and pointscoring”.  They are debating the issue.  Exactly as you are advocating.

          And National should be criticised for not choosing to take part in the discussion.  And although a “wide-ranging discussion” can take place it is essentially an exercise in generating hot air because nothing will come from it.

          National’s (and associated poodle parties’) stance is the problem here.  They deserve to be criticised for their stance.  

          • Pete George

            ‘are not “posturing and pleading and pointscoring” They are debating the issue. Exactly as you are advocating.’

            ‘National’s (and associated poodle parties’) stance is the problem here.’

            Notice the problem here?

            • mickysavage

              I am not the Labour Party if that is what you are suggesting.
              And you really need to get off this passive aggressive pattern of yours.  You jibe at Labour for “posturing and pleading and pointscoring” and then you complain when I point out which parties the problem is with.
              And you are disrupting and sidelining the thread, again.  Is that your goal?

              • You’re right, I apoliogise, my goal isn’t to talk up a Super disaster.

                My goal is to do something positive about it. What’s your goal?

                • Colonial Viper

                  If your goal is to do something positive about it, you get a FAIL mark for supporting National.

                  • I don’t support National on their Super stance, I have commented against it and campaigned against it.

                    • Then why are you trying to suggest the problem isn’t with National and placing the burden on ordinary citizens to have the policy discussion without them, and then calling out parties and people who want the discussion as “politicising the issue”?

                      National need to join this policy discussion if they want to stay politically relevant. I am happy for them to join it without losing political face and hope all opposition parties will allow them the political cover to do so, as Labour has committed to. We all know that committing to NZ Super exactly as it currently is will eventually run it out of funding, but John Key insists he won’t change it or even discuss changes that could preserve the good effects of NZ Super while still keeping it funded. He needs to grow up and realise his promise was impractical, and that this is no longer a third-rail issue.

                    • I’m not trying to suggest National aren’t the problem. They are most of the problem at the moment. But if they are refusing to do anything then everyone else should do what can be done without them.

                      At best the whole super debate will take time, a year or two, or more. I think the big target for action is the next election. If National don’t want to be prepared for that and all the other parties do then that’s their problem.

                      If all the other parties want to bicker and wait that’s everyones’s problem, another wasted two years.

                    • We already are doing everything we can without National. Nobody is “bickering”, they’re moving forward with their own policies. Stop strawmanning, you’re terrible at it and wasting everyone else’s time.

                    • Bob

                      Good point Pete, wouldn’t a private members bill with most other parties support (excluding Act for example) be able to pass? In that case, National just has to sign off the financials, and due to the fact it is a saving rather than a cost, they should allow it to go through while saving face on John Key’s stance. Win-win?

                    • Good point. Why not?

                      I think if a suitable discussion took place National would join it eventually. They are already committedd to a public discussion paper on super with United Future anyway, that could be built into a major preliminary look at how to deal with Super.

                  • Foreign Waka

                    CV democratic societies will have to allow and tolerate all contribution. This issue is actually not a party propaganda issue 🙂

                • bbfloyd

                  “my goal is to do something positive about it, what’s yours”…..it’s probably not to stroke his own ego….little pete…. which is obviously yours….

            • Ed

              I do see the problem here Pete. The first is the call to restrict where discussion takes place. There are good discussions here, and possibly on your blog (I haven;t looked), but there does need to be a willingness by political parties to discuss it as well. Currently we have a National-led government that is refusing to discuss the problem. That is the first big problem.

              Why is it a problem? Because for long term issues cross party consensus is desirable; what one party does can too easily be dismantled by another – remember Muldoon using closing a savings scheme as an election bribe?

              Labour have shown a willingness to not only think through the problem but do something about it. The “Cullen Fund” was an attempt to anticipate the baby-boomer bulge of retirees by saving during their working life for the higher costs as that group goes through retirement. Instead of applauding Labour for their foresight, National used it as a political football – but thankfully enough of the reason for the fund came though public consciousness to prevent National spending it all on tax cuts for the wealthy. Labour also increased the funding for future benefits for the baby-boomer generation within ACC – again National fought that, and when they came into government lied about the state of the fund (I was pleased to hear someone on National radio calling John Judge on his unprofessional behaviour regarding those lies). For political purposes again National created an artificial crisis requiring higher ACC levies, but they also continued the higher funding of future payments for current claims, even when that may not have been the best spending they could have done. Now they are crowing about “improving” ACC so that they can reduce levies again (helped by treating claimants like pariahs rather than people receiving legitimate benefits as agreed in an Act of Parliament as a trade-off for the right to sue).

              Now we have reached th stage where National’s plunder, borrow and hope policies have made us so worse off that, together with increasing longevity, Labour has to contemplate raising the age of entitlement. National are holding off hoping that honest discussion of a major issue will rebound against Labour; instead it is doing the opposite; but Key feels bound by a ‘promise’!

              I am sure most people would rather we did not have to consider ways of reducing the cost of NZ Superannuation, but we have at least the Labour and Green parties prepared to face reality and plan for the future. Sadly National cannot see past their latest focus group and United Future is going for the baubles. Any support party that does not encourage National to take this issue seriously and devote some resources to informing public debate is indeed a poodle party; I am not surprised that you appear to be trying to distance yourself from just such a party.

              • I repeat, United Future is the one party that has committed National to discussions on Super.

                That may be the best opportunity we have this term.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  National have rejected making a contribution on this debate, Pete. They are opposed to positive change in this area or any other. You are right that they gave Peter Dunne a pat on the head and told him to run away like a good boy, but that’s not helping is it? Your sooper dooper super website is just a pointless distraction, a UF echo chamber. Have a look at the contributors so far. It’s you, Moanique and some other drop kick. Sad.

                  • It’s the negative knocking that’s sad. The Super discussionb is something that needs all the help and co-operation it can get.

                    Your attitude is as bad as National’s – actually it’s worse, they just don’t want to do anything, you are bashing trying to do something.

                    Think about it.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Rubbish, Pete. Your UF focussed site is a dismal attempt to distract from Dunne’s desperate need to shore up his own super. If he told Key ‘you talk or I walk’ the country would be having a genuine debate right now. But Dunne won’t, because he’s a self serving coward.
                      United Future isn’t the answer, it’s the problem.

                  • felix

                    Out of curiosity, how many different handles are you using over there Pete?

                    Obviously “Pete George” is you, and I’m presuming you’re “NZ Super” as well.

                    Any more?

                    • No more. NZ Super is for a similar blog purpose “The Standard” is used here. And any of my opinion anywhere I always use my own name, apart from minor exceptions well in the past, and the occasional times I post at Trade Me because they frown on identifying yourself there (I was reported on and told off for that once when someone asked who I was).

                    • felix

                      Ta, that’s what I figured but thanks for being clear. What got me curious was seeing comments from “NZ Super”.

        • bbfloyd

          “If national choose not to discuss it that’s up to them. That doesn’t prevent a wide ranging discussion from taking place”…..

          Do you ever listen to yourself little pete? that qualifies as the most asinine rubbish you’ve spouted for hours… and that’s saying something……

          with logic like that as your yardstick, i have to wonder whether you are one of those who think that what happens in comics is real……

      • Fortran 2.1.2

        Don’t worry the Media are on to it as their next project.

    • Pete Labour and the Greens are not “point scoring”.  They have adopted a realistic principled decision on what needs to be done even thought it is unpopular.  Your framing of the debate is unhelpful and disingenuous.  

      Your target ought to be the party with the unprincipled head in the sand position, see above.  Oh and also the coiffured one for supporting it.

    • Te Reo Putake 2.3

      “The blog is party independent and open to anyone to discuss the future of NZ Super.”
      No its not. It’s from United Future, as you well know, Pete.

      • Pete George 2.3.1

        It is not from United Future. It happens that I emailed all party leaders and Peter Dunne responded almost immediately, but he had no prior knowldedge of this being set up. He has shown an interest in being involved in the discussion.

        You could make it more wide ranging by supporting it. Submit a post and I’ll put it up. Or would you like to be a contributor to the blog so you can post directly?

        Or do you want to grizzle and achieve nothing?

        • Te Reo Putake

          Bollocks. Set up by a UF candidate and with 100% UF content so far. I’m happy to make a suggestion that you can publish on your self serving site; Peter Dunne should bring the super debate into the forefront by withdrawing cooperation from the only major party refusing to participate in the debate. He can do that by resigning from this dismal Government. But he won’t because he’s got no guts.

          • Pete George

            Bollocks to you. You’re wrong on all claims.

            I’m not a UF candidate (I was last year but that’s history).

            It is nothing like 100% UF content. UF is the only party to choose to participate in the debate so far, other parties are calling for debate without joining, which is odd.

            You are welcome to submit a topic for posting on the NZ Super Discussion blog, and you are welcome to post comments.

            • Pascal's bookie


              Just get on with the discussion. You’ve been pimpimg whatever the hell it is your pimping for long enough. there’s only so long you can stand around saying:

              “we should talk about this. who wants to talk about this? Let’s talk about this”

              before everyone gets bored and stops wanting to talk about it.

              Just get on with it. Talk about it.

              Stop talking about talking about it.

              • I am getting on with doing things, I do a bit more than comment here.

                • McFlock

                  Yes indeed – dunedin is beginning a new golden age, all down to you…

                  • Don’t be a prat. The key to getting somewheregetting as many people as possible involved. The biggest problems to overcome are:
                    a) apathy
                    b) knockers

                    Try thinking about how you can contribute. All I’m doing is contributing to positive action amongst like minded people. The more you look, the more you find common interests.

            • bbfloyd

              Little pete the troll, the troll…. little pete the troll…..sung to the music for “they’re coming to take me away ha ha”……

              that’s some really ugly ego tripping petey boy…..it would be nice if there could be an actual, rational discussion on here without you spraying all over it in your usual fashion….

    • Dr Terry 2.4

      Now that Key has declared himself such a good “listener” (itself an extremely dubious statement), then surely he will want to improve this new found skill through cross-party talks (superannuation being one issue among others).

    • North 2.5

      Thank you, brilliant right-wing apologist and facilitator of national debate. I reckon you might end up The Hero of the Nation Petey Georgeous, knighthood and all.

      Are you not prepared to acknowledge that the only reason we’re not anywhere near what you propose is because Mr Poofy Pants is overpowered by his own sick ego ?

      • Pete George 2.5.1

        You’re wrong on all counts. For a start I don’t support remaining a monarchy and I opposed Key resurrecting the last century honours.

        So far Dunne is the only one who has a guarantee from National to have a public discussion on Super. Tyhat could be the best opportunity this term, especially if all parties make the most of it.

  3. Tangled up in blue 3

    “Opposition parties would hardly be in a position to criticise him for doing what needs to be done.”

    Key said he would resign rather than raise it, but Labour leader David Shearer the issue should not be politicised.

    “If he was to change his mind on superannuation we would not politick on it. We would sit down and have a genuine cross-party discussion that I think would lead to a good solution for New Zealand,” Shearer said.

    link: http://tvnz.co.nz/business-news/tax-hike-youngsters-needed-cover-future-pensions-4922986

  4. tc 4

    Key is also unlikely to put all those votes at risk as that’s what it’s all about with sideshow, not scaring the traditional Nat voters.

  5. Tangled up in blue 5

    Also maybe Key could allow a conscious vote and that way he can cross the floor?

  6. Half Crown Millionare 6

    What happened to the Cullen Fund?

    • It was renamed “the Blinglish fund” after National cut the guts out of it.

      • Enough is Enough 6.1.1

        A policy that Labour now supports

        • Nick

          I think Labour are wrong on this. The Cullen fund is managed well and in general returns higher than the interest rate on government borrowing. Missing a few billion in payments now only makes the super problem worse further down the track.

          The way things are going we will need to borrow to fund super anyway, its better to borrow and have a few years to get on the (eventual) economic up turn and make more money out of it than borrow when we are desperate and spend it immediately.

          Payments to the fund should never have been suspended.

        • mickysavage

          I am actually in two minds on the issue now.  With the likely carnage the next GFC will cause to stock markets it may not be such a bad thing to not invest in.  I would prefer that the money went directly into NZ infrastructure, windmills, planting forests, IT Development, that sort of thing.

          • Enough is Enough

            Be careful Mick, it almost looks like you are supporting a Blinglish policy.

            I am dead against Labour following English on this one. They need to be investing in this fund each and every year.

            A turbulent market doesnt always equate to a loss in investment. A clever manager will make a fund grow in tough times.

            • mickysavage

              I am trying not to EIE!
              If the fund was used to invest in local infrastructure and windmills etc then let the contributions recommence!

            • tc

              “A clever manager will make a fund grow in tough times.” that is one very presumptious statement given what’s going down and existing shares/levels will probably drop making a fund managers job a nightmare in terms of overall portfolio performance.

              Sounds very much like something our smile and wave PM would say.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Hopefully by the time 2030 rolls around having money in a savings account paying interest will be seen as the delusion it is.

        • mike e

          EIO only till surpluses start again.

  7. jen 7

    Labour’s insistence that workers must work longer before being entitled to national super should be cause for outrage within the party. The “there is no alternative” mantra is not acceptable or accurate.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      I reckon lower the retirement age, and make super more attractive, so that older workers can exit the workforce and younger workers (of which there are many unemployed) can start to take over the positions.

      • ad 7.1.1

        An alternative to that would be to make NZSuper means tested. So that (say) those with $100k income from all sources at 70 per year just don’t get receive any. And those with (say) $70k income per year get half.

        Can we really afford universality any more?

        Might want to compensate with higher Kiwisaver subsidy, or something.

        • Colonial Viper

          Can we really afford universality any more?

          We could, if we wanted to.

          • ad

            I was at a good-sized dinner party in Wanaka at Easter, almost all of them seniors (other than myself). Shall we say they were well to do. They did the usual railing against Maori and beneficiaries, supporting hard cuts against Maori, and criminals and bla bla bla garth McVicar redux for a good Pinot-driven half hour.

            So I started out on this great rant about this sector of society which sucks the greatest welfare we have, massively subsidised in everything they do, cossetted from the market and from all the public sector reforms, the Prime Minsiter himself would die in a ditch for them, how much we are all paying per week to set them up in this lifestyle for which they do no work etc etc, nice long sympathetic anti-bennie rant…

            …and then announced I was talking about them.

            It was great sport.

            There’s a few who honestly who could live without it.

            • prism

              I had a similar experience but I didn’t rebut the arguments successfully but certainly inflamed certain people. I admire your guts, but you might not receive any more pinot noir invitations there. And an old saying, even if you did get agreement on one point from someone, “Those convinced against their will, Are of the same opinion still”.

              It is just too comfortable to huddle in a group at the golf club or anywhere really, in a circle all looking inwards, like a bunch of penguins showing their backs to the hard cold winds and frost of reality for others. Keep that view in mind it may make you smile every time you think of this smug group. But do you remember others that have adopted this me-first mentality? It comes to mind that Cook Strait ferry workers went on strike regularly at holiday times to blackmail for better wages and conditions.

              • ad

                The result was pretty good. We all kept drinking. They were sufficiently generous by nature to take the point. I like discussing like that in Tory heartland.

            • Foreign Waka

              What would the % of seniors be at that easy lifestyle vs all retries? And what more how many will that be in 10-15 years?
              Given that the majority will not retire in luxury lets shed some light on the numbers then.

              All of these are NETT rates and do not include Gold card uptake:
              Couple: $ 489.42
              Single in shared accommodation: $ 293.65
              Single living alone: $ 318.12
              Couple, one non qualifying partner: $ 465.48

              Now try to budget on that money and give it a good whirl. This will be an eye opener. I have tried it and with all the costs of accommodation, phone, electricity and heating there is very little left to eat and a gold card would come in very handy indeed.

              So this is this luxurious lifestyle that everybody says is far to much and we have to cut, cut, cut more until those superfluous surplus humans (grandma and granddad) are not a burden anymore.

        • Matt

          “Might want to compensate with higher Kiwisaver subsidy, or something.”

          Thank you, I’ve been waiting for someone to mention this.  Between ignoring the savings Working Group’s advice and slashing the Kiwisaver tax credit, and refusing to confront the inevitable Super problem now, National has inflicted a double whammy on anyone trying to figure out how to plan for retirement. Except perhaps for those who are so wealthy they don’t have to care.

    • Olwyn 7.2

      I agree jen; it is another manifestation of TINA; another margin yet to be squeezed, another cynical move, driven by international ‘agreements,’ and posited as “bold but necessary.” Sigh.

    • Janice 7.3

      I think that the super age should be brought back to 60 but means tested up to 70 or 75. This would enable those that were unable to work due to medical reasons to access the pension earlier but would stop people like Bob Jones and Roger Douglas from getting it. Super is just another state benefit by another name and should be treated as such.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.3.1

        Easier just to do a Universal Income. All income above that is taxed and as it’s enough to live on then nobody will be in poverty.

    • mike e 7.4

      jen those who are in kiwi saver long enough will be able to retire still at 65.
      Given the lead in time before the age is raised it should not be a problem for most’

    • lefty 7.5

      Labour’s position is both disgraceful and lacking in intelligence.

      The very ideaand definition of work needs looking, at, not retirement age in isolation.

      The old labourist ideas that the social democrat welfare state was built on have ceased to be relevant in a world where up to half the workforce is now part of the precariat.

      The amount of socially necessary work needs sharing around and incomes need de-linking from work through the introduction of a universal basic income.

      We need to redefine what we mean by work and widen its definition from the present narrow idea of doing paid labour to make capitalist pricks rich, to the carrying out of useful and fulfilling activities that individuals, families and communities benefit from.

      Labour is stuck in the neo liberal modelof economic management rather than a liberation model for wage slaves.

      • Carol 7.5.1


      • Pete George 7.5.2

        Sounds reasonable (but still debatable) in theory, but a “universal basic income” – to whatever any individual thinks earns it? – has a major problem with freeloading in practice.

        • lefty

          How can you say it has a major problem of freeloading in practice when it hasn’t been tried?

          Freeloading by the boss class is a major problem at the moment – it could hardly be any worse if we changed how we view work.

          If the amount of work that needed to be done is 20 – 30 hours each, as is suggested by the existing levels of unemployment and underemployment, and in addition people who are wasting time and resources doing work that is not particularly useful voluntarily start doing something useful without being paid for it, then there is no reason freeloading would be a problem.

          You need to be capable of imagining a different world to understand what I am saying. Many people are mired in the false consciousness that is a necessary prerequisite for people to tolerate capitalism. This makes it difficult for them to dream about forms of freedom and democracy that are different to the status quo.

          Pete George has got a particularly bad case of it.

          • Pete George

            You obviously have no idea how hard “the boss class” works. Most work harder and longer than many employees.

            When I’ve been “boss class” I worked longer and at more risk (and often less money) than when being employed. I choose employment for an easier and better life balance.

          • Pete George

            “How can you say it has a major problem of freeloading in practice when it hasn’t been tried?”

            It has proven to be a problem on a small scale and on a large scale.

            On a small scale in New Zealand they failed – ironically, it’s claimed, due to lack of central government support.

            That they were unable to fully realise these goals was due to the lack of support that they received from central and local government. After 1978 the ohu scheme withered away due to lack of involvement by the Department, indifference by the Minister and difficulties from local authorities.

            In the end ohu had to carry a much heavier load that their fragile organisation was up to. It is possible that given more support that ohu could have acted as one of the many ways towards a sustainable future -particularly as a form of rural settlement suitable for those with little capital. But whether they could have acted as a catalyst towards sustainable living may never be known


            If you are interested read that whole link.

            I visited a few communes in the seventies, my brother was into them (including Jerusalem). A few keen idealists, and a bunch of transitory users after an easy life on the back of the toil of others.

            • Draco T Bastard

              It requires that the entire community culture be changed. One of those changes needed is the dissemination of the necessary information so that people can make an informed decision about work. The present system, revealed in your own words, actually forces people to work* while a Universal Income makes work voluntary and people will only volunteer if they see that it needs to be done.

              * Of course, that’s systemic of capitalism. People won’t voluntarily work to make someone else richer

            • RedLogix

              The communes and ohu’s of the seventies necessarily acted as a magnet for the marginalised and marginal in society. They never had the opportunity to gain a critical mass or even approach mainstream acceptance.

              Sure you can scoff at them from the safe perch of your middle class pretensions Pete; but while your attention seems to have been captured by the free-loaders you overlooked what was being achieved by the idealists.

              And what might have been achieved if more of us had the guts to believe in what they did…

              • I wasn’t “middle class” then.

                They never had the opportunity to gain a critical mass or even approach mainstream acceptance.

                ??? If it was such a good idea it should have grown with it’s own success.

                Unless you’re suggesting that the country should be one big government organised and run commune.

                • RedLogix

                  Yes it was an idea…maybe even a good one. Never stood a chance because it never reached a critical mass.

                  But then that’s just what I explained and your just doing your usual passive aggressive derailing bs pete. Not to mention the brain-dead strawman. No wonder so many people are fed up with you around here….

                  • No, you haven’t explained, you sound like you’re diverting to the usual accusations.

                    Never stood a chance because it never reached a critical mass.

                    They were given a chance and didn’t reach anything like critical mass. Why not?

        • mike e

          free loading on this site again get your own site pg thats a tip’ time for a cup of tea with John Banks he and ACT.
          You should try freeloading on their site

    • Murray Olsen 7.6

      I’m outraged that Labour’s main policy plank is so anti worker and shows a complete lack of imagination. Means testing of super is the obvious answer, plus tidying up legislation around trusts and tax avoidance. Why should we be giving money to the loud and greedy?

  8. Carol 8

    The issue needs to be discussed. But what’s the point in raising the retirement age, when already there’s not enough jobs (paying a living wage) for people who want them (young and old)? And some people, especially in manual jobs, are already worn out by the time they are 60 – some of them while die before they reach 70.

    And there needs to be a change in attitude to older people, and to work in general. The debate by all parties needs to be much wider than just on the retirement age.

    There needs to be a change in attitude to work:
    – there’s enough work to go round if people worked less days/hours per week and there needs to be more income equality.

    – older people who want/need to work should be supported in transitioning to part-time work, maybe in jobs different from their main careers, and possibly in lower status positions.

    – work that contributes to the community/country’s social well-being should have more status and be more valued (child care and aged care workers, for instance).

    – some older people, amongst the wealthy and most powerful, shouldn’t be sitting in powerful positions, on boards of directors etc, raking in a fortune, and doing sweet FA.

    Older workers are already discriminated against:


    …Waikato University professor of social gerontology Peggy Koopman-Boyden.

    “When things get tougher, people get marginalised and what we call the reserve army is formed.

    “People are there for the good time, but when it’s a bad time they get sent back again.

    “But we need to get older people working because we are going to be short of certain skills.”

    She said that in a recession when employers were not taking on workers they were more likely to be ageist and sexist than when there were lots of jobs.

    A director of recruitment company H2R Consulting, Jane Walker, said it was a battle to persuade employers to take on white-collar workers in their 50s.

    • Income equality doesn’t need to come from cutting some people’s hours, it can instead come from paying senior positions more reasonable rates rather than locking ourselves into a spiral of raising executive compensation, as you point out later. Things are not so bad yet that we must cut employment just so everyone can have a smaller piece of pie. The amount of work available depends more on how much people are spending, which ironically, in turn depends on the amount of people feeling secure in their income, which depends on the amount of work available. The government can stimulate the private sector by standing in as a temporary employer.

      The meme that we need to lock people into the workforce later because we lack training is a false narrative. We lack training because there is not enough opportunity for young people in the local workforce, and people with specialist training go overseas to higher-wage economies, and because not enough employers want to invest in training the workforce, they just want to hire people who already have the skills they want, or who have paid to study those skills on their own. This is unrealistic and unsustainable, and it eliminates people’s opportunities to save or invest during the prime of their careers in favour of spending on postgraduate education.

      If employers would even out the wages they pay a bit more and invest some of their profits in on-the-job training, our economy would do much better on both fronts.

      • Carol 8.1.1

        I wasn’t meaning the shorter hours would mean a drop in wages for most people – just for those earning too much.

        People shouldn’t need to work long hard hours just to make a reasonable living.

        I’m talking about a total make-over of the work system.

        • Sounds like we’re in agreement.

          I think a lot of the reason high-flyers with high salaries work so many hours is that business is often more heirarchical than it needs to be, and that more decisions could safely be delegated lower. There’s a culture change to be considered here too, that being a better business doesn’t just mean being perceived well, it means living up to your perception and genuinely doing the best for your workers, treating them fairly, and offering them opportunities for development and promotion when they can genuinely handle it.

      • prism 8.1.2

        Matthew Whitehead
        If employers could even out the wages they are paying that would be a positive move for improving conditions. But if they could go and study somewhere for a certificate in how to be a good employer, how to treat staff fairly and then got the best and loyal work from staff, that would be a good idea too. We have been bringing in measures to make things easier for employers since 1984 and yet the slack ones still can’t manage their businesses successfully and treat their staff in a very belittling manner. There could be a taxation allowance as an expense for this and it would be a chance for the SME lot to get together and gab in between workshops and role plays.

        An old Listener I was reading reported that research on students showed they did worse at tests when they or someone else was treated rudely. People’s emotions are affected and their memory also. Staff in British operating theatres had been rudely spoken to up to 66% in the past six months by nurses and I think 53% by doctors. That creates a more risk-prone working environment. I wonder if many NZ employers, especially the small to micro ones, know that.

        • Yeah, having some official measures of how to be an effective and ethical business drawn up by MED or something would be a great way to exert positive pressure on businesses without all the blowback caused by full regulation. At the very least auditing the practices and workplaces of large businesses would be a start, especially if there was a mandate for reviewing economic justice.

        • Draco T Bastard

          We have been bringing in measures to make things easier for employers since 1984 and yet the slack ones still can’t manage their businesses successfully and treat their staff in a very belittling manner.

          Make all businesses worker cooperatives.

          I wonder if many NZ employers, especially the small to micro ones, know that.

          Considering that our managers are amongst the worst in the world, I suspect not.

  9. Tom Gould 9

    Interesting that Key is now saying he is not convinced of the need for any change to the age before 2020, which seems different to what he was saying at the last election when he was deliberately muddying the waters implying Labour would up the age immediately?

    • Carol 9.1

      I think I heard someone yesterday (maybe on RNZ’s Panel?) say that Key will likely move towards a policy on the retirement age in the next election – then he can claim he haz “mandate” for it.

  10. belladonna 10

    Means testing would be a better idea to me than losing the vote of those 60 – 67 year olds or thereabouts. Labour are so good at alienating voters, why? Think we need all the help we can get apart from those high income earners that can do without their super.

    • r0b 10.1

      Why would raising the age loose these votes? Nothing changes for them. We’re talking about a change to be implemented in the future. The figure I recall is that no one who is currently over the age of 45 would be affected by the proposals.

      Not that I’m opposed to means testing either – but that opens its own big can of worms.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Why would raising the age loose these votes? Nothing changes for them.

        I talked to older, long time Labour supporters. Many think more widely than the consequences just for themselves as individuals (hence they are good Labour voters). They also think of the consequences for the younger ones coming through.

        And many thought it really unfair that Labour would be looking at cutting off benefits for younger workers, that they had gained from themselves.

        I know some of these voters went with Winston in the end.

  11. vto 11

    Means testing is the elephant in the room.

    Perhaps a super recipient around here could outline the reasons why means testing shouldn’t be done, because it seems to be far from clear, all things considered.

    (but beware – uturn and marty mars may turn up trying to derail things and claim this sort of question means I hate elderly and speak negatively of them)

    • Tangled up in blue 11.1

      I would think that the argument against means testing would be around the issue of people that have contributed the most in tax towards superannuation; not being entitled to it.

      Not that they need it though.

      • The fundamental reason for taxes to fund things like NZ Super is to improve the whole of society by having those who can afford to help others pay for what those people desperately need to survive. I don’t see why Super deserves to be an exception.

    • marty mars 11.2

      hi vot

      I think tangata whenua should get the pension earlier not later. The stats are clear re longevity, comparative income over working life, and extra cultural commitments towards and after retirement.

      but means test the elephants by all means

      • vto 11.2.1

        Oh hello smarty mars. You might be (but shouldn’t be) surprised that I agree there is a very strong argument for offering different methods of assessing entitlement for different groups. Maori are one. Men are another. Manual workers too. Basing entitlement solely on age is arbitrary.

        But the lean non-drinking non-smoking white female who will clearly go to 100 years will dip out bigtime and may have to keep working until 80. But that’s the downside to living a long time I guess.

        • marty mars

          hey vot good to see you are seeing some sense instead of your usual bigotry – well done you.

          • vto

            Never been any bigotry despite your best and hollow attempts to discredit by repeating the smear at every opportunity.

            Where is the evidence?

            You, on the other hand, see everything from a perspective based solely around race, as evidence immediately above. You need to stop being a racist.

            • marty mars

              anyone can check your comments for bigotry vot if they so desire, i am more than convinced that you have displayed the trait in abundance. And sure I could grab a few quotes but this thread isn’t about you arsehole.

              I have expanded upon this retirement issue for tangata whenua here


              • vto

                So, no evidence.

                Just abuse.


                • oh dear vot

                  I wrote a whole blog on it – don’t you remember – you commented on it duh


                  • vto

                    Ha ha, linking to yourself to prove something. That is all the proof I need to establish that you are out of control and on a smear campaign.

                    You pull a whole lot of oddball bits, all out of context, to suit your post and claim it proves something?

                    Ha ha, you are a fool.

                    • what vot? The post is full of links back to the standard as you know – you may be an oddball but hey that’s just you. I put many of them in one place to back my argument that you are a bigot and don’t know what you are talking about in regards to tangata whenua.

                      I hope you don’t do the whole hahaha… thing again – it’s a bit creepy.

                    • vto

                      Go learn the meaning of the word bigot. Idiot. It in fact applies to you and your obsession with me.

                      Would you like to start the debate again? We can discuss whether te tiriti is suitable in its current form for today’s world. We can discuss whether having two sets of rules and parameters for two groups in one place is sustainable. We can discuss whether the concept of first-in-first-served is a good way of going about one’s place in the world. We can discuss why Adele thinks there was no racism in Aotearoa before whitey arrived. We can discuss why you think the colonists were so much dirtier and nastier than any pre-european skirmishes in these islands.

                      But you see, you are unable to discuss these things because you think simply asking these questions means the questioner is racist and bigoted.

                      Just like uturn, your alter-ego, thinks I hate sharks for raising the issue of man’s place in the ocean relative to sharks. And uturn thinks I hate americans for asking for an american to outline the justifications for the american govts war-mongering actions. And uturn thinks I hate environmentalists for god knows what reason.

                      You’re twisted.
                      You’re compormised.
                      You’e conflicted and have a vested interest.

                      Quite simply, you need to knock that stupid chip off your shoulder, because askiing a question to do with race does not mean the questioner is racist, despite that claim constantly being made here in good old racist and bigoted NZ.

                    • Anyone reading the timestamps and previous comments knows who has the obsession vot – look in your mirror for a clue.

                      I have disproved you already in this thread and in others. Your last post, full of pleading bullshit, tells me you have scraped the bottom.

                    • vto

                      You have proved nothing.

                      And scraping the bottom?? That is a good example of what you have been doing though – attack the person for merely asking the question.

                      Your head is in the sand and if Ngai Tahu has people like you looking after its affairs then I despair for them as they will fail like you have.

                      … next

                    • Carol

                      Maybe you two should take it outside? It’s getting boring.

                    • vot I’m sure the iwi doesn’t need your support, after all this is what you wrote about them

                      “… and through inter-marriage and conquest these migrants merged with the resident Waitaha and took over authority of Te Waipounamu.” Ngai Tahu website. LOL, this is exactly what I was referring to. A painting of history at odds with the reality. For example, why write “…through inter-marriage and conquest … took over authority” which implies inter-marriage was somehow equal at the time to conquest? I tell you why – because it makes for a better looking history when compared to writing “though military conquest the Waitaha were conquered and authority assumed by mamoe at the end of a taiaha. … ” As for inter-marriage, how long after the “conquest” was that? Or was it a result of the rape by soldiers?

                      Open mike 08/03/2012

                      That thread is also a good example of what usually happens – where YOU agitate and YOU inflame by adding bile to non-offensive comments – take some responsibility anon.

                    • The other thing I was going to say is that Ngai Tahu are a good excample of an iwi developing innovative ideas to help iwi members make provision for retirement. Initiatives such as Whai Rawa (Iwi saving scheme with contributions from iwi – similar to kiwisaver), Financial Independence Plan (where financial planners work with individual whanau) and partnerships with the retirement commission in increasing financial knowledge with indigenous concepts incorporated. All of these initatives build choices for individual iwi members, their whanau and hapu and the iwi as a whole. That benefits all members of society.

                    • vto

                      Perfect, thanks. From that exchange it can be seen that you have been simply wrong-headed. Do you think your history shouldn’t be questioned? Which question in that is not allowed? Which question shows bigotry?

                      You are all over the place and out of control. You are conflicted. You have vested interests. Your view is therefore worthless.

                      I’m with carol, over-bored. That’s it for me.

                      Keep an eye out for my next questioning, because following this morning’s tirade you have simply raised more questions than answers, as attacking the messenger always does…


              • Rodel

                Yeah boring..but I agree that a low paid manual worker at 70 being on the same ‘playing field’ as a higher paid non manual worker is not valid or fair.
                .My father, a labourer, stopped at 60 as his body couldn’t have kept up the same ,physical job till he reached 70 but our neighbour, a pharmacist worked well into his 80’s.
                It’s more complex than just defining a ‘retirement age’. but then teachers and, (both non manual) dentists apparently die young.

            • Ed

              New Zealand went through some of these issues a long time ago, and decided to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race. Yes in theory Maori and Pacifica people should pay higher life and health insurance premiums, but that is now prohibited. Discrimination on the grounds of gender is however not prohibited provided it can be supported by statistical evidence.

              We are not consistent, and decisions are made for a variety of reasons – fairness being one that is not universally accepted.

        • Fortran

          Before retirement age I will get a manual job so I can retire earlier

          • mike e

            yeah sure footrot you wouldn’t last five minutes

          • Rodel

            Fortran:Typical shallow right wing logic..No mate..try manual work for forty years and then see how you feel.

    • Foreign Waka 11.3

      This would also mean that there is no more hiding behind a Trust fund. Na, this would be the day.

  12. Jim Nald 12

    It shouldn’t be too difficult for Key to break his promise if he reminds himself what he said about no GST hike.

  13. This is the year a $ 1.2 Quadrillion of Derivatives (Of which there is $112 Billion off our books ) will deleverage which will finally after hundreds of years will destroy the Reserve bank system which parasites on the people having to pay taxes and interest on loans they print out of thin air and you are worried about the pension system?
    John Key just went to Europe to get his orders from Dr Mervyn King and had dinner with Bilderbergers Harper and Cameron (here is a nice interview Kim Hill/Charlie Skelton about BB) while signing us on the NATO for the next round of pending wars and you are worried about the pension system?

    What makes you guys think you have anything to say in the matter?
    It’s gone! It’s a dead man walking! John Key knows this as he was the one selling this crap to every pension fund in the world willing to buy it. Here he is confessing to it.

    • bad12 13.1

      You make a good point,really close to the bone, the current debate on the age of entitlement for superannuation seems more to be the Yin and Yang of the Capitalist system debating an extremely moot point,

      Patching up the outliers of the European Monetarist system so as to enable the next round of competitive growth can occur simply has us all running headlong for the brickwall of the next crash,

      Propped up banking systems might even go another decade befor we again have to prop them up again leaving the piles of beans in an uncountable state according to the rules by which we all play out this little competition,aka ‘the race to the bottom’,simply because the ‘level playing field’ isn’t and never was, and,allowing conglomeration of financial banking to consolidate in an inter-connected web means that should the penguins of the Antarctic all choose to fart on a Monday instead of the agreed upon Sunday the whole fucking shit-pile falls over again,

      Hope-fully if you have all been coughing into your personal kiwi-slaver account? you will be in the front of the queue as far as retirement goes because the primitive math I have been using here wold tend to suggest that after the last round of ructions your scheme will only be paying out in the same fashion as any other Ponzi scheme on the Planet ever has…

  14. SamHall 14

    Cha Know? We are not certain about the implications and consequences of entitlement age adjustment but we are certain about the implications of providing an entitlement for people who clearly do not need one but whose means are not examined for political expediency.

    • Carol 14.1

      It’s not so much expediency. The main argument of universal versus means testing benefits, is the costs of admin. It takes quite a bit of effort, admin time etc to administer, check and monitor that the correct people are getting the benefit.

      For the amount of money given out in super (it’s not a large amount for each person), it may be more cost effective to keep it universal, but to raise the taxes on older people with high incomes (including CGT etc).

  15. prism 15

    He must know older people who are doing very well and can holiday and buy freely from their old age pension which is used as discretionary money. They are very happy and so why change it. NZ can cope in the future as they can. Is the government supporting the Cullen superannuation fund at present, and if not when?

    • Carol 15.1

      Older people can all holiday freely etc? Really? I can’t see how I will be able to holiday much in my retirement – haven’t gone beyond a day’s drive from Auckland in years, as I’m trying to conserve money for my retirement.

      • prism 15.1.1

        Carol – You may note that I said ‘older people doing very well’ by which I meant with excess money in the bank, their own discretionary money to which they can add the pension. I know a few of such and their life is a contrast to mine.

        Have you read the stat that single women are the poorest people in NZ, poorer than poor parents. By the time that a single woman is nearing retirement she has probably been getting a lifetime of 80% of male wages, I suppose average rather than median. If they have been teachers or nurses, the majority well-paid positions for women which would result them at the top of the better wealth level.

        I know women in their 50’s who find difficulty in getting employment which pays a living wage, who can’t make decisions about visiting others, having a break, visiting family as it means that for that time WINZ demands they should be looking for work. It is a nasty aspect of social security that is probably not well known. These women, and probably men too, are living under a type of home detention.

        • Carol

          Agree with you there, prism.

          Yes, single mothers have life the hardest.

          • prism

            Carol :: Yes but – I can’t give you chapter and verse but the point I was making was that the single woman who has not gone into the few professions like nursing and teaching that pay a decent wage to enjoy life on is poorer than a single mother with child/ren.

            After the children are grown, she may sink further down the income level, with not many good job openings for mothers trained or untrained. If she can find a part-time job while the children are young, study etc. then she may be able to crash through the fence put up against her. But otherwise it’s likely to be low paid and/or casual work

            The attention of the public and politicians passes over these women who are now being noticed when some push their case as in retirement home workers. (Professional women are in a different sphere. These days the rate for responsibility for Human Resources can be $90,000, higher than established, capable, priceless teachers who are of course priceless so while waiting for assessment as to their real value get paid $50,000 odd.)

      • Bob 15.1.2

        Carol, out of interest, how would you feel if, after scrimping and saving for years for your retirement, a political party decided to bring back means testing as some are advocating above?

  16. vto 16

    You know, the best way to deal with all of this – raising the age, means-testing, differing entitlements, etc etc not to mention the technical difficulties in all of this with the certainty of inequitable outcomes for oddballs all over the place – is to simply put in place Gareth Morgan’s idea for a universal base income for each and every single person. Done. Dusted.

    • ianmac 16.1

      Means Testing would be very tricky to implement. Why should the ones who have planned for a debt free comfortable retirement backed by Super, be the ones to forgo for the sake of those who have not prepared? So the argument would go. Would the clever ones hide their wealth in Trusts and family gift systems?

      David Parker said on Radio something like, “Mr Key is hiding behind his ego in denying discussion about Super.” Political ego at least?

      • Nick 16.1.1

        Exactly, means testing is not the way to manage it. Income testing *might* be better, a higher age or a split age (lower payments if you take super earlier) might be better as well.

        Means / asset testing is the worst thing to do to retirees and the worst message to send to us younger working folk. People will either stop saving or hide assets in trusts making the problem the same or worse.

        Short answer is something has to happen, Super can’t go on exactly the same as it is forever. At least having the discussion is a start but Key thinks its not a priority. Looking at improvments to biggest benefit scheme in the country is not a priority but solo mums and woodwork teachers are..?

        • Dv

          re means testing.
          The simple universality of the pension is good.

          But the pension is taxed is part of the income of the pensioner and so is taxed.

          So currently the tax rate for the high income person is 33%?

          It seems to me a cleaner solution is to raise the top tax rate.

          The gareth morgan model of taxation would be a step in the right direction.

    • ianmac 16.2

      And yes vto. Gareth Morgan should be part of the discussion.

    • ianmac 16.3

      Gareth Morgan”Govt blowing best chance for real reform”

    • SamHall 16.4

      + Us
      We read a bit of Gareth Morgan incl “Health Cheque” and identify with many of his assertions.
      Today in the triumph Herald was a good read.

  17. captain hook 17

    Poor old Kweewee. He is caught like a rat in the trap. The thing is if he raises the age of super then he and his government must provide jobs and it is demonstrably proven that the only thing national can create is disunity and suspicion.

  18. Who wants to retire when there is so much to do? But I want to get paid for it.
    I have a retirement scheme for capitalism. Its called post-capitalism.
    We have another look at our stock of global wealth and after we have provided for the kids so that they survive childhood, we have a big hui and decide how we divvy up the rest. We can divvy up the necessary work we need to reproduce ourselves and provide plenty of leisure and work life balance with built in health and safety. Workers basically administer a semi-automated production system geared to moderate development of renewable resources that restores the earth’s ecological balance. Easy really. 
    Retirement becomes a redundant word along with the system that requires it.

  19. What utter CRAP!

    If recent USA research is anything to go by, NZ could arguably HALVE our central government budget by CUTTING OUT THE CONTRACTORS!


    If NZ could potentially save $40 BILLION by CUTTING OUT THE CONTRACTORS – then there would be plenty of our PUBLIC monies available for social welfare, including superannuation?

    Exactly how much public money (taxes and rates) is being wasted on ‘corporate welfare’?

    Surely the sensible demand is for TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY and PRUDENT STEWARDSHIP in the managing and spending of public monies?

    Why aren’t the Labour Party supporting the ‘opening of the books’ at both central and local government level, and the making available for public scrutiny the ‘devilish detail’ which wouls show EXACTLY where our public monies are being spent?

    ie: The NAMES of the consultants / contractors
    The SCOPE, TERM and VALUE (COST) of the contracts – across ALL sectors of central and local government?

    How can you look at cutting back expenditure when you don’t know EXACTLY where the money is being spent?

    I for one am totally opposed to Labour supporting the raising of the age for superannuation.

    (BTW – I am a constituent of David Shearer’s and voted for him in the 2011 general election)

    Don’t raise the age for NZ Super – LOWER the number of ‘piggies-in-the-middle’ with their private snouts in our public troughs!

    If Labour are not opposing ‘corporate welfare’ – then – I believe that you are effectively supporting ‘corporate welfare’.

    In my considered opinion, Labour should support ‘social’ welfare – not ‘corporate’ welfare.

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’


    • McFlock 19.1

      trouble is, the contractors in the public service are doing what all the fired public servants used to do.
      We need some of that stuff to be done. 

      • This is the problem, just when we start getting some sensible savings in the public service by moving to permanent positions, the same old group of annoying centrists decides National has learned its lesson with its time outside of the playpen and re-elects the idiots, who immediately cut the public service down to its bones again, and then turn around and contract the people they’ve fired for several times the pay. It’s utterly bizarre, ideological nonsense. And then the centrists will tell us that National is better at running the economy. Because they focus all their energy on inflation and interest rates. Sigh.

        There is SOME need for contractors and temporary employees, but the government should hire its own temps directly, and would do better paying contractors reasonable fees instead of so-called “market rates”.

  20. PunditX 20

    Labour does need to explain how this is going to affect manual workers many of whom will not even reach retirement age as it is never mind one that is raised another two years. Deeply cynical and ranks with Harold Wilson shelving the Black Report on smoking and health having taken the advice of civil servants pointing out that any initiative on a reduction in smoking would reduce taxation and increase the uptake of pensions by working men who up until then had the good grace to die before retiring..

    • r0b 20.1

      PunditX – Labour has proposed that manual workers are the exception to the rule – they should retire earlier not later, at age 60.

      • prism 20.1.1

        PunditX and r0b
        You are touching on an essential point for old age pensions. Manual workers of all types, builders, shearers, also nurses (their backs can go from bending and lifting) should have the right to get it at 60.

        Fortran above has suggested a ploy to infiltrate the group by taking up manual work late in life to be entitled to early pension but as pointed out by another commenter, it’s hard work. As a younger townie I did some work on an organic farm and it was exhausting being out in the open hoeing for hours. I think the reality would eliminate most pretenders, and a doctor’s certificate as to joints, back problems or whatever would cut out the rest.

  21. captain hook 21

    rOb. that very un american.
    you know at least you ought to know that hard work never killed anyone.

  22. A mix of entrenched and evolving positions from National today.

    Bill English (via email): “no plans to change Super”.
    He recently said “No one’s proposing significant change in the next fifteen years”.

    John Key (media questions): “Changes to New Zealand’s Superannuation settings may be needed after 2020, although further research is needed before a decision is made, Prime Minister John Key says.”

    That’s progress. Research takes time. People need time to plan. How about starting now?

  23. gobsmacked 23

    Simple solution: Key resigns as PM, and from Parliament. As he said he would.

    He shouldn’t break his promise, he should keep it.

  24. Draco T Bastard 24

    You know, the biggest problem with the Super discussion is that most people discussing it believe that things will continue as is when it’s obvious that they won’t. There’s absolutely no way we can make plans for Super 2030 without changing the underlying economics to the new reality.

    • Foreign Waka 24.1

      There will be change but the question remains: who will be in charge of it and who will have a say. Now, this would be our cue….

    • bad12 24.2

      Correct!!! the current European phase of Capitalism’s long slow motion dance of self destruction is simply another of the Domino’s falling ever so slowly under the weight of a fraudulent and out-right bullshit system of capital management where no-one, especially the political class wish to take responsibility for anything,

      The current push for the age of entitlement for superannuation to AGAIN be raised is the price WE are being asked to pay because (a) that fucktard Sir(spit)Roger Douglas got it oh so wrong those many years ago, and (b) we all know this, we all including every Finance Minister since, but not one of them has been willing to glue Humpty Dumpty in the form of the NZ economy back together as it was befor Roger defecated all over it and place him back upon his wall,

      In the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum politics of NZ where both Labour and National are economically singing from the same song book, and, Russel seems to have the Greens at least humming the tune raising the age of entitlement for such benefits as the Pension is the price WE are being asked to cough up and IF we allow either Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum to move the age of entitlement AGAIN now from 65 to 67 then,

      In 5-10 years when the structural faults inherent within the capitalist model again cause a collapse of both confidence and disappearance of capital WE will then be AGAIN told that the age of entitlement must be raised,

      All of this pontification from on high is nothing but more of the Ruth Richardsonesque ‘There Is No Alternative” bullshit that was shoved down our throats in the early 1990’s when alternatives there are aplenty….

      • Draco T Bastard 24.2.1


        The only alternative is to change the economy’s purpose from private profit to supporting society. Anything else is BS.

  25. vto 25

    Oh noes, we haven’t got enough money to pay for warming our elderly.

    Oh noes, people are leaving our towns for Australia.

    Oh noes, where is all the money going to come from?

    .. we looking in the wrong direction folks … thinking would reveal that a roof, warm fire, vege patch and cow are all we need… so make your choices, tv or cow, vege patch or vege drugs, car or foot, electric lights or sunlight…

    it . aint . that . hard

    • Electric lights are a considerable safety feature for the elderly. Likewise, insulation and heating are an incredibly important factor for their health.

      Not everyone has the luxury of living as close to nature as humanly possible.

      It is a good thing we can extend people’s lives, as long as they’re still happy with them.

      • Draco T Bastard 25.1.1

        Electric lights are a considerable safety feature for the elderly everybody. Likewise, insulation and heating are an incredibly important factor for their health.


        Even the young can’t see in the dark and cold houses are bad for everybody as well.

        • Well, sure. But adults are likely to generally be okay in a low degree of cold and the very young should have either a parent or legal guardian to look after them and make sure they’re warm and safe.

          I was more thinking along the lines of “can’t we all go camping and get close to nature” not applying to people who are old enough that even what we’d consider tolerable cold is a significant health risk.

  26. Bob 26

    Or try not listening to a man who was running the worst preforming Kiwisaver fund in the country (great credentials for financial advice http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/4096739/KiwiSaver-performance-analysis-rubbish-says-Morgan) and try following Sweden by cutting taxes http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-20/news/31372306_1_stimulus-ponytail-financial-crisis

    Sorry, this was supposed to be a reply to Dv

    • Draco T Bastard 26.1

      Well, I’ll just feel sorry for Sweden in following the neo-liberal BS.


      At the May 2012 TED conference in Long Beach, an interesting thing happened, a venture capitalist stood up before the audience and told the truth. One of the original investors in Amazon.com and current chief of Second Avenue Partners, an advisory group and investment company, Nick Hanauer, gave a six minute speech in which he detailed an obvious yet taboo fact, the wealthy do not create jobs.

      Give it a couple of decades and Sweden will fall down – just the same as we are, the US and UK are and Ireland has.

      Fucken idiots keep refusing to learn from history.

  27. Tracey 27

    PG “More research” is Nationalese for put it aside for a few years…

    It’s time for Dunne and Sharples to flex their Ministerial muscles

  28. Jenny 28

    Super has been described as the third rail of New Zealand politics. ‘Touch it and you die!’ And so it will prove with Labour – (unless they can get some buy in, from the other parties in parliament to spread the infamy.)

    The question must be asked why is this the case, what is so special about Superannuation that it is political death for those who try to roll it back?

    Long before the founding of the Welfare State. On the back of the rise of the trade union movement, the universal pension was the first ever Social Welfare reform.

    Why was this reform so important to working people?

    The newly organised workers saw their elder fellows, once proud hard workers slowing down with age, being humiliated and harrassed to keep up, or just simply dumped. As they watched this process unfold, workers knew one day it would be their future too.

    Will we again get to witness older workers humiliated and struggling in the workplace, or alternatively on the dole?

    As Labour try desperately to spread the responsibility for this policy across all the political parties. Will they still continue to be isolated on this issue?

    If Labour can’t get any buy in from the other parties for raising the retirement age, will they persist and do it alone?

    For their own reasons, would this suit the right?

    If Labour do continue to remain isolated on this issue, and on regaining the treasury benches insist on raising the retirement age, regardless, and in isolation, and against all the opposition parties. Is it possible that this could risk a breach with the trade union movement, similar to the break with their other old ally, the Ratana movement?

  29. Jenny 29

    This is turning into a disaster. A disaster for the country, which needs to be preparing now for financial challenges that could tear us apart. A disaster for individuals, who need to know what the future holds, and to make their plans accordingly. You don’t need me to supply a dozen links on this, everyone knows by now that population demographics make Super in its current form unsustainable.


    “A disaster”?


    Really, Anthony?

    Anthony, only one link is needed to show this is a load of old neo-liberal cobblers.

    No Right Turn have exposed the Labour Party lie that there is a crisis in Superannuation.


    As National manufactured a crisis in ACC to turn it from a world leading Accident Compensation Scheme, into a broken and corrupt money making racket, returning a surplus, (profit), to the government of over a $1.3 billion.

    Are Labour spin doctors trying to manufacture a crisis in Superannuation to avoid plying a bit of tax justice on those well able to pay and mostly responsible for the financial storm threatening to “tear us apart”?

  30. Jenny 30

    Just as I predicted the ight have their own reasons for letting Labour swing in the wind on this issue.

    TV news tonight Winstone Peters rails against Labour’s plan to raise the pension age. In the next clip is John Key warning Peters that a coalition agreement with Labour will mean just that.

    How dear is this neo-liberal bit of austerity to Labour?

    Are they prepared to die in a ditch over it?

    The answer seems to be yes!

    Condemning us all to another 3 years of Nat nastiness.

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