Winston says no to super age increase

The Herald reports:

Maintaining the age of eligibility for at 65 would be a bottom line for New Zealand First in any coalition negotiations after the 2014 election, says leader Winston Peters.

His stance could be an obstacle to coalition talks with Labour if NZ First is the kingmaker after 2014 – Labour has made raising the pension age to 67 a centrepiece of its policies and has sought to embarrass Prime Minister John Key on the issue.

Mr Key has been under pressure for refusing to contemplate raising the age of eligibility for super from 65 to 67.

NZ First meets for its annual conference in Palmerston North this weekend – its first since the resurgent party made it back into Parliament last year with eight MPs. It is looking for more next election and could be a strong contender for coalition talks in 2014.

Asked whether NZ First’s position that the super age should remain at 65 was likely to be an issue in such talks, Mr Peters said: “Of course it’s a bottom line.”

It is highly unlikely that Labour could form a Government without Winston, so their policy to increase the age (actually a policy to means test 65 and 66 year olds) looks dead on arrival.

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