Roughan on Super age

February 16th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in NZ Herald:

To my astonishment I have passed the age of 60. In fact two more years have passed since that milestone flew by. In no time at all, I’m going to wake up one morning to realise I can claim the public pension and Winston’s card.

This is ridiculous. It really is.

Babyboomers have begun to declare 60 the new 40 because it’s true. It’s not just that we feel as fit and well as we were at 45, but human longevity has visibly rocketed in our lifetime.

My grandfather died at 66, my father is now 86. At this rate, unless the age of entitlement is raised I could be receiving the pension for a quarter of a century.

I have no need to stop work at 65 and I know I am not unusual.

I believe the age of eligibility should increase. Also a case for means testing, so long as the administrative cost of doing so wasn’t too high compared to the spending saved.

John Key has not made many political mistakes but even on his side of the fence there is a feeling he went too far when he solemnly promised the terms of national would not be altered while he was Prime Minister.

It was a mistake. No one should ever make a promise beyond the next term. We have elections to allow parties to offer different policies in the future. It is unfortunate that Labour’s scaremongering over superannuation in the mid 2000s resulted in Key going too far with his promise. I suspect he regrets making such an commitment.

But he did. He not only promised no change while he is PM, he pledged in writing that he would resign as both PM and an MP if he broke his word. I do not want him to break his word, because it would result in a Labour/Green/Mana Government. I suspect Labour would ever have signed up to increasing the retirement age except for the political benefit that it puts pressure on Key to break his word, which would politically cripple him.

It should be a lesson for future leaders that they should never be pressured into making a commitment beyond one election.

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50 Responses to “Roughan on Super age”

  1. adze (1,695 comments) says:

    “It was a mistake. No one should ever make a promise beyond the next term. ”

    Cynically, I think it’s politically expedient for Key to promise no change in the age of entitlement for the rest of his tenure, because until the majority of Boomers have made it into their 70s, they will vote for an early super. They are too big a cohort to ignore at the polls.

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  2. wiseowl (574 comments) says:

    It’s all right for the shiny arse brigade that sit in Wellington and dorkland to say raise the age but there are many hard working kiwis that in a physical sense are close to worn out by the time they are 65.

    But ho hum, I realise that the provinces and the people that produce the export dollars don’t matter anymore.
    Peasants.

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  3. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Finally hearing someone who says it should be means tested if the means testing is not impractical. Maybe make the threshold of income substantially higher than for benefits and certainly not have the reporting requirements of benefits.

    The technology is already there (benefits) and could be adapted around super.

    Work and income already administers both.

    I believe, rightly or wrongly, we have got beyond it being a right.

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  4. wikiriwhis business (3,286 comments) says:

    Pfffff

    How sickening from this middle class trivialist who has no idea of reality in the low waged economy if you are fortunate enough to be receiving a low wage.

    Kiwi Bloggers will have us believe there is no manufacturing crisis despite an entire world financial turndown, no reference of course to the crucial economic turmoil of the Eu and tent cities of the US. Not to mention the financial raping from too big to fail banks who created the Greek and EU quagmire. But also the closing down of Ford and Holden which belongs to General Motors. Yet these trivialist pirates on KB will tell us all is normal. They are either insane or lying or both but there is no truth in them. Not even a shadow.

    If they don’t know the dollar is about to crash they don’t know anything. So most KB bloggers can’t be listened to about very much anyway. Their self indulgence has a limited time span and there’s no pffff about that!

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  5. peterwn (2,935 comments) says:

    Suppose John had never said this in 2008 and Helen Clark got back in. What scenario would have been more damaging to NZ – a run-away Labour Government for 15+ years or a National government shackled by John’s promise.

    However there is not too much difference between Labour’s proposal to raise the age over a long phase-in and National’s ability to raise the age once John has retired and Winston out of the picture.

    John did point out that health care for baby boomers was going to loom much larger as an economic consideration than superannuation.

    John cannot be criticised for the way he has kept his word on this. It shows integrity. He could have easily weaseled his way out of it without too much political damage.

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  6. Andrei (2,430 comments) says:

    John Roughan is a white collar worker in an industry that is 90% bullshit and thus probably could keep on working well into his dotage.

    But this is not nearly so true for blue collar workers who do heavy physical work, which wears out their bodies, often well before they are sixty

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  7. duggledog (1,111 comments) says:

    Let’s have a situation where those many, many, many deadbeats like Philu for example who have contributed virtually nothing, get a commensurate allowance when they hit 65.

    People like me who have earned the government tax to largely squander for what will be – I’m hoping 48 years straight, already been 35 without a break – deserve to retire at 65. I’m already knackered.

    So get stuffed John Roughan. I bet you haven’t milked cows at 5 a.m. in the freezing cold. Keep your theiving hands out of the entitlement I have paid for in full please.

    Don’t even get me started on ‘free education’

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  8. jims_whare (389 comments) says:

    Why not keep the pension age at 65, however make it means tested between the ages of 65-70.

    So the well off don’t get it until they are a little older. Might save a few $$$ as well

    I mean if you own your own home and are receiving passive income from investments of say $60 – 70K or more per year, do you really need the pension as well?

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  9. dirty harry (240 comments) says:

    Leave the pension alone and leave it at 65. Target the dpb bludgers and the dole parasites. Cut their entitlements to the bone and then some. FFS we are importing workers to rebuild Christchurch while we pay people to sit at home and do nothing.
    Ridiculous situation.

    Leave the pension alone.

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  10. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “…..I mean if you own your own home and are receiving passive income from investments of say $60 – 70K or more per year, do you really need the pension as well?…”

    The returns on 60-70k would amount to less than 5kpa if they were in most managed funds – hardly enough for food to feed two people for a year.

    However private traders working that 70k reasonably hard could get returns of 100k+ pa [an income of 2k week]- but that is currently beyond the skillset of most people nearing retirement. Having said that, it is not beyond most people to actually do it if they put the work into learning how to do it.

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  11. gazzmaniac (2,269 comments) says:

    I think a compulsory super scheme like in Australia is the answer, with the ability to self manage if you want (to stop retail funds rorting the system).
    Yes, I’ve heard the arguments from kiwis that the money is better off in people’s pockets now, that it’s the responsibility for people to save for themselves, blah, blah blah. The reality is that baby boomers are retiring in Australia and they are not costing me money. In addition there is over a trillion dollars in private savings, and Australia has the highest number of millionaires per capita (the millionaires generally being one or two million not tens of millions) – there are over a million millionaires here. That would not have happened without compulsory super.

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  12. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “…Having said that, it is not beyond most people to actually do it if they put the work into learning how to do it….”

    I meant to add ‘……bettering the returns of managed funds’.

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  13. gazzmaniac (2,269 comments) says:

    Harriet – I think jims_whare was referring to an income of $60-70k, not investments of that amount.

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  14. smttc (638 comments) says:

    Jim’s whare, Jim Bolger fucked around with super (surcharge) and it nearly cost him an election after a landslide 3 years earlier. Key has made the promise and he must now stick to it. It shores up a huge swath of vote for the Nats anyway.

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  15. igm (859 comments) says:

    Left-wing bludgers always come to the fore on this argument. The ones that are whinging are those that have contributed nothing, lived in State houses for a lifetime, and spent everything they earned (if they ever worked) on piss, smokes, horses, etc. They vent their envy on anyone who has made success of themselves, then expect to take what they have put into the system by way of means testing. Fairest way would be to pay a percentage of what has been paid in to keep these losers, and if they have contributed FA, pay them FA; it is not then a guaranteed entitlement for the bludgers of society.

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  16. nasska (9,517 comments) says:

    Tell Mr Roughan to keep his slimy hands off National Super. It’s okay for a bunch of desk jockeys exercising their pasty white fingers on a keyboard to spout crap about working forever.

    Eighteen years as a truck driver & a further thirty years as a farmer & my body’s buggered. I’m not relying on Nat Super but there’s plenty more in the same boat physically who are & will be.

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  17. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    Also a case for means testing,

    Right – so all working people pay tax (except special breeding friends of Labour) and you think that Super should be means tested. Let me guess… big tax payers are rich pricks so it’s fair that having paid lots of tax all their life that we say they can’t have access to government super like people who have been on a benefit all their life – Bugger off – you are turning socialist DPF !

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  18. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “……Eighteen years as a truck driver & a further thirty years as a farmer & my body’s buggered….”

    Hahhahahahahahahah

    Truck drivers and farmers will do that to you if you let them Nasska.

    I didn’t take you for someone who likes it rough Nasska……I actually took you for one of those nancyboy types. :cool: :cool:

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  19. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    “……Eighteen years as a truck driver & a further thirty years as a farmer & my body’s buggered….”

    OMG, it’s not fair that your body is buggered… here let the tax payers take care of that for you. How about anyone who’s not buggered, irrespective of how much tax they have paid in their life, is denied the assistance we give you because it’s not fair that your life choices buggered you and theirs didn’t bugger them.

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  20. tvb (3,939 comments) says:

    Superannuation is quite affordable in the short term. But in the longer term perhaps not so affordable particularly when health care costs are factored in. Well it can be dealt with over the longer term.

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  21. nasska (9,517 comments) says:

    ….” it’s not fair that your life choices buggered you and theirs didn’t bugger them”….

    Cry me a river burt. Then when you’re finished put your tissues away & consider how much protected, white collar mummsie employment would be available if there weren’t those who pushed themselves doing physical work.

    The agriculture sector pays the bills for NZ Inc…..most else is churn.

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  22. BeaB (1,948 comments) says:

    If Roughan doesn’t want or need National Super, then he doesn’t have to apply for it. It’s not forced on anyone. You have to apply.

    I bet, though, for all his fine words, he’ll be sticking his hand out as soon as he can. So much for hypocritical pontificating.

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  23. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “….Superannuation is quite affordable in the short term. But in the longer term perhaps not so affordable particularly when health care costs are factored in….”

    Not so tvb.

    Kevin Rudd raised the retirement age to get the vote from the young greens types. But it starts in 2028 – after most of the babyboomers have recieved superannuation and are then dead. It saves nothing.

    As The Australian said at the time “with the affordability of super being a problem now and not in 2028 or after [due to the low birth rates over the last 3 decades] then all these young voters are doing is voting out their own super entitlements – which will be affordable.

    The whole arguement from the left is that they want all taxes paid to those who they see need it more than retirees – the unemployed, single parents, the ‘poor’, and on big government ‘services’.

    Afterall, the advocates of raising the age of super are not also asking for lower taxes from the savings.

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  24. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    nasska

    Yes that’s right. The primary sector is the engine room in our economy and it will continue to be as long as we keep subsidising it with the money generated by the secondary and tertiary sectors who just don’t do hard work like real men (farmers).

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  25. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “….The agriculture sector pays the bills for NZ Inc…..most else is churn….”

    I was going to say the same thing Nasska, and also I might add, tech companies benefit from agriculture by selling technology to the industry to help reduce costs and better productivity ect.

    Technology didn’t give us the agricultural industry.

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  26. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    For about 2 generations now we have been saying in NZ that we need to get past being a primary producer. You know the deal, chopping down trees and sending them to other countries so we can buy back the same wood made into something useful.

    But hey, lets tax the people who buy the imported manufactured and value added goods so that people who work in the primary sector can relax about putting money aside for their future.

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  27. Psycho Milt (1,975 comments) says:

    It is unfortunate that Labour’s scaremongering over superannuation in the mid 2000s resulted in Key going too far with his promise.

    Aw, those mean Labour Party bullies psyched poor John out? Perhaps he could try hardening the fuck up? Also, it was hardly ‘scaremongering,’ given that the previous Nat govt had form for saying they wouldn’t fuck with superannuation and then fucking with it anyway.

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  28. Psycho Milt (1,975 comments) says:

    Left-wing bludgers always come to the fore on this argument.

    Right-wingers always characterise the people who actually do all the work as ‘bludgers’ or some other insulting term, so let’s just skip over that. The people who actually come to the fore in this argument of two kinds: the ones who don’t need any superannuation payments but don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t get them anyway, and the ones who need it because, despite enjoying fat salaries or capital gains their entire working lives they haven’t done much about funding their own retirements because Muldoon promised them a social welfare benefit. The actual poor are generally conspicuous by their absence in these debates.

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  29. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt

    You are right about the Muldoon promise. He vowed to continue with the failed left wing ideology of cradle to the grave. Man that cradle to the grave thing is a disaster isn’t it. So sad that a hard core socialist like Muldoon (even though he was under a blue flag ) was allowed to fool people into thinking his socialist nanny state was ever going to be sustainable long term.

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  30. SPC (4,654 comments) says:

    The super affordability problem is in the length of time people are on it (a separate issue to the baby boomer demographic that the Cullen Fund was to address). The baby boomers were born in the 1946-64 period – the male can expect to live to 85 and the female to 90 (about 5 years longer than the present age at death).

    Most will get it for 20 years or more (it is at around 15 years or more at the moment). In the past it was only 5 to 10 years being supported on super, and the first 5 years of this was means tested.

    Rather than increase the age from 65 to 67, I would prefer a return to the former system where the first 5 years was means tested. The fairest means test is one based on excluding those continuing to work and earning over the median wage (thus would not exclude part-time workers or those on low incomes trying to eke out some savings before retiring) – those capable of and choosing to continue to work in well paid positions do not need it.

    One could also include savings income in the means test, as the surtax did, but this is a total contradiction to policy to encourage the savings that the economy needs.

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  31. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    Right – so all working people pay tax (except special breeding friends of Labour) and you think that Super should be means tested.

    Fuck yeah!

    Super is a welfare payment.

    People sitting on $2million in property shouldnt get WFF.

    Graeme Hart shouldnt get Super.

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  32. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    Graeme Hart shouldnt get Super.

    Of course he shouldn’t – it’s not like he has paid enough tax to support a few hundred other people. Lets make sure he gets the message – policies of envy are valid and he needs to understand that just because his tax has paid for Super that he’s not allowed it ! The filthy rich prick – wish he would leave this country and let us all be the same on a benefit in the glorious socialist state.

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  33. SPC (4,654 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt, maybe because most of the old relatives of the poor died before reaching 65, so they themselves see remaining fit to work to 65 and or keeping their job till then as their major problem.

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  34. SPC (4,654 comments) says:

    burt, yes Hart would be paying more in tax than he would be collecting in super – so we would want him to be living here.

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  35. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    Kimble

    Super is a welfare payment.

    No, it’s a legacy of the cradle to the grave policies which were sold as – nobody has too much and nobody has too little. You know how it worked – pay high taxes while you are earning and the government will take care of you in retirement.

    The real tragedy is that the socialist mentality is too feeble to admit it’s ideology is a failure and instead of recognising it they use Tory party mentality (means testing) to try and make their policies look like they are working. Means testing what is sold as a universal benefit is a total acknowledgement that the socialist policy is a failure – it’s not rocket science that when you need to use your evil opposite’s policies to make yours work that yours are actually a failure.

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  36. DJP6-25 (1,229 comments) says:

    smttc 1.35 PM. Yes, that is indeed the current situation.

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  37. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Social justice is newspeak for Envy.

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  38. SPC (4,654 comments) says:

    burt, it only became universal super in 1975 under Muldoon – before then most only got super for 10 years and for the first 5 of that the payment was means tested. And within 10 years Labour realised it was unaffordable and sought the surtax and National raised that with an increase from age 60 to age 65 (prior to 1975 it was only universal after age 65).

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  39. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    SPC

    Exactly… And the dim-bulb lefties of today still can’t admit Muldoon was a socialist. They rave about how bad his policies were because he was National party – then they claim that their “new” policies will work while refusing to acknowledge they are just like Muldoon’s… People vote for these Muppet’s – astounding isn’t it.

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  40. SPC (4,654 comments) says:

    burt, but … it is John Key who thinks there is no problem continuing with universal super at age 65 … . And not so many years ago it was Bill English claiming that the Cullen Fund was not needed and a better approach was to go for growth and so super would be affordable that way (forgetting super is based on net after tax wage and growth increases the super pay out rate and people are to be on it for longer etc).

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  41. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    SPC

    So National are still a socialist party using popularity rather than sustainable policy to get elected – that’s not news to me.

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  42. freedom101 (439 comments) says:

    I believe there would be a clear majority in favour of raising the retirement age if there was a plebiscite at the time of the next election. Key would not be breaking his word if he put it to the vote.

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  43. deadrightkev (176 comments) says:

    The system is all wrong. Todays earners pay for the retirement of their parents. They should be paying for themselves in retirement and have the option to opt out of paying government super if they invest into a professional super scheme.

    Its just more Labour/National same old same old thinking. Its a scam and retirees get squat.

    There would be no need to means test anyone that opts out and plans for their own retirement. Think outside the square, its a whole new world away from our current two party socialism.

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  44. Warren Murray (238 comments) says:

    John’s argument that he doesn’t need to retire and draw a pension at 65 doesn’t logically justify shifting the eligibility by two years over the next 10 or so, it actually supports the reintroduction of a means test or surcharge, which was introduced by Labour in the 80s and abandoned by national (Ruth Richardson). As long as we have a universal benefit that is paid upon reaching a certain age regardless of the recipient’s income or other means, we are kidding ourselves about making it sustainable by shifting the eligibility age.

    Reintroducing a surcharge would be political suicide, no matter how sensible.

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  45. TM (78 comments) says:

    John Key has definitely fucked up with the super. It is the number one reason I would have doubts voting National. I have been paying taxes for 18 years, but I have no idea whether there will be a pension around when I retire because the topic is of the table. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    The government spends more on super than on all other benefits combined, so if they won’t change the system, it gives other parties a whole lot of bribery money to buy votes if they are willing to change it.

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  46. doggone7 (487 comments) says:

    TM

    You may be too young to remember or know about Muldoon’s jettisoning of a superannuation scheme which inevitably is at the root of the problem we have now. That’s why it a bit rich for someone to talk about Labour scaremongering and National Party supporters including Roughan to comment as he has. It is lovely though that the years have given those short-sighted ones the wisdom they lacked way back when. Another weird thing is that so many of those who thought that Muldoon was the Messiah are now convinced that Key is!

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  47. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    My father died in his fifties. My mother at 79. My uncle just died 2 days after turning 86.

    Dying around the age of 80 is no justification for raising the age of eligibility.

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  48. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    rouppe

    The balance seems to be – get the tick on the OECD report card for having a guaranteed minimum retirement income but don’t have too many on it because we can’t actually afford it.

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  49. gravedodger (1,426 comments) says:

    A couple of points Mr Roughan, many might think you should have retired years ago and secondly you can abstain from registering for it if you feel so strongly.

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  50. muggins (2,901 comments) says:

    I have said this before and I will say it again.
    The word superannuation means “a pension paid on retirement”. So if someone wants to continue working full time after 65 then they have not retired and therefore should not receive superranuation. If a person over 65 only works part-time then they could be paid superannuation but only to make up the difference between what they are earning and the amount of superannuation they would have received if they weren’t working.

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