I’m not sure Labour is raising the age of eligibility after all?

October 27th, 2011 at 3:39 pm by David Farrar

’s detailed policy is not online, but according to this Herald report, this may all be a smokes and mirrors policy. Why do I say that? Well the Herald reports:

Mr Goff said Labour recognised for some New Zealanders, to continue working beyond 65 such as those doing physically demanding work and would introduce a “Transition” payment at the same level as NZ Super which could be accessed between the age of 65 and 67.

Now my reading of this is that people aged 65 and 66 will be able to access the payment, which is at the same level as NZ Super. Sothat means they will be getting from age 65, just under a different name.

There is a current benefit for those close to retirement, but it is far below the level of superannuation. A transition payment at the same level as NZ Super, is well NZ Super.

Maybe Labour is proposing that superannuation for 65 and 66 year olds be means tested – you only get it, if you are not working or earning below a certain level. If this is the case, then Don Brash will be endorsing their policy even further – means testing and a higher age. For if you are going to means test 65 and 66 year olds, why not 67 and 68 year olds also?

I  also look forward to the reaction from to this policy. Here is what Andrew said in 2010 about raising the age:

Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan’s proposal today to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 is unfair and won’t work, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU.

“In a low wage economy sch as New Zealand shifting more of the burden of superannuation funding onto working people doesn’t make sense,” says EPMU national secretary Andrew Little.

Will the New Plymouth candidate stand by his words?

Also David Cunliffe seems unconvinced:

Labour will keep Super as it is – will National?

Labour is committed to keeping both the current age of eligibility and entitlement level for New Zealand Superannuation, Opposition Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe said today.

“Labour is committed to retaining the age of eligibility at 65 and entitlement at 66% of the average wage,” David Cunliffe said.

That was in 2009.

I’m starting to think No Right Turn is right in his analysis:

its a cynical, calculated ploy to wedge National against their own base while driving voters to Winston, who is Labour’s only hope of government. Winston, of course, will veto any increase as the price of his support, so its an empty threat, purely for show, dishonest as well as evil.

They are desperate to get Winston back in.

UPDATE: Now seen Labour policy here. It confirms they will means test superannuation for 65 and 66 year olds.

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16 Responses to “I’m not sure Labour is raising the age of eligibility after all?”

  1. Vinick (215 comments) says:

    For “those doing physically demanding work”.

    Subtext: office workers need not apply.

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  2. RightNow (6,839 comments) says:

    It was only a matter of time before the No-Party Party slipped some No-Policy Policy into their No-Campaign Campaign.

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  3. david c (254 comments) says:

    On December 8, 2010 you said this Mr Farrar:

    “Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan believes the age should start to increase from 2020 by two months a year until 2033, when it would reach 67.

    I agree entirely. One could also do it starting in 2024 and increasing by three months a year.”

    Do you stand by your words of supporting this Labour policy?

    [DPF: Are you blind? I blogged my support of raising the age earlier today]

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  4. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    The NZHearld has a poll….
    60% leave it at 65
    2% change to 66 and
    38% move it to 67.

    So again, Labour’s on a winner here.

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  5. RightNow (6,839 comments) says:

    david c – are you a Labour supporter? The reason I ask is that you seem keen to dig up old quotes and frame them to look somehow questionable.

    You could just read what DPF wrote today:
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/10/labours_savings_policy.html
    “As a fiscal conservative, I welcome Labour’s policy on the retirement age”

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  6. david c (254 comments) says:

    @RightNow

    My point was that it’s silly dredging up these quotes from the past – exactly what you’re saying!

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  7. Nick C (340 comments) says:

    If the plan here was to help Winston get back into parliament then I think it will fail. Winston didn’t lose his votes to Labour in 2008, he lost them to National. Key will come out emphatically oppossed to this, and it will make people scared of the move determined to re-elect National, something they know that a vote for NZ First will not do.

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  8. RightNow (6,839 comments) says:

    david c – I’d have to grade you an F then. What it has shown is that two contenders to be future Labour leaders, Cunliffe and Little, both expressed views contrary to Labour’s policy announcement, while a conservative blogger has remained consistent.

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  9. Lindsay (142 comments) says:

    DPF “There is a current benefit for those close to retirement, but it is far below the level of superannuation. ”

    What’s that called?

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  10. s.russell (1,580 comments) says:

    The policy says: “those aged 65 or 66 who are not readily able to keep working in an occupation of the
    same kind, and unable to support themselves, would qualify for a NZ Super Transition payment.”
    I am not sure that qualifies as means testing because there is no mention of financial criteria. It seems to be a health criterion. Which may mean all or nothing. Is this any different to a sickness benefit?
    It might end up meaning simply that Labour will pay NZ Super rates to sickness beneficiaries aged 65 and 66.
    Or maybe it means that manual workers (mostly Labour voters) will get to retire at 65, while others will have to wait.

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  11. BeaB (2,080 comments) says:

    How can they hold such strongly worded views last year and the year before and then changed completely this year? What liars they all are and once again showing that they will do or say anything to get back into power. They really make me sick as they always claim the moral high ground and standing on principle.
    Leave National Super alone and concentrate on making us all more prosperous instead of dreaming up more expenditure and more taxes.
    I for one am much happier with National Super than the absurd money-go-round of Working for Families or borrowing overseas to build up NZers saving, a ridiculous idea. Both of these are the kinds of lunacy that drove Greece and other countries into financial ruin.

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  12. Tauhei Notts (1,644 comments) says:

    With the recent proliferation of inter vivos (family) trusts in New Zealand I cannot see how any means testing for N.Z. Superannuation could be administered.
    And don’t talk about a superannuation surcharge; that was merely a tax on people too mean to pay accountancy fees.

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  13. Muzza M (291 comments) says:

    David Langes superannuation surcharge was a lottery win for me. My Dad who was an accountant and worked hard all his life and invested his money wisely worked out the he would be paying nearly all his state pension back in tax. He did not believe in creative accounting to avoid tax. He was so angry that he gave each of his five children $50,000 on the condition that we used it to buy or upgrade an existing property.

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  14. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    They probably intend work testing a super rate benefit at age 65, not means testing.

    The question is whether the person has to be unfit to work – SB or IB eligible – whether they pay the unemployed the dole only.

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  15. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    As to Machiavellian agendas, Labour is only following the Retirement Commissioners advice on this issue. Taking expert advice will always leave opportunities for populists. That all parties do this on some issues, but not on others is usually explained by their representation of different groups in the society.

    Here otherwise Labour is requiring less of employees and more from employers in terms of Kiwi Saver contributions and National supporting critics talk of the burden on employment creators.

    The real question is how Labour (or National) propose to afford tax paid super – Kiwi Saver is a suplementary savings programme for individuals. There is no explanation of where the money to resume contributions to the Cullen Fund will come from (our ability to borrow the money is diminished by the projected public debt by 2014).

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  16. Rich Prick (1,634 comments) says:

    Didn’t Ruth Richardson have some thoughts over “means testing” that Labour hated then? Good idea if you ask me, but so funny it is now Labour Party policy. Now that they spout sensible policy, they really must regard themselves as the “Government Impossible”.

    Nice to spout when you don’t have to actually deliver it.

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