Auckland University’s Retirement Policy and Research Centre has done a report based on a 2008 OECD survey of income distribution.
They first note that the Tier 1 pension (NZ Super) for a single person living alone is 46% of the median GDP per capita. By comparison, the UK is 13% and US 17%.
The OECD studied how many people of retirement age (0ver 65 in NZ) were below the relative poverty line of 50% of the median equivalised household disposable income. So this is not a study of absolute comfort, but how those of retirement age in a country fare compared to the overall country.
NZ has the lowest level of elderly people in relative poverty. Only 1.5% of those aged over 65 have an income below 50% of the median income. Also at around 2% are the Czech republic and Netherlands.
I’ve often said we have the most generous schemes in the world. The average poverty rate in the OECD was 13%.
Incidentally our poverty rate for elderly has got slightly worse under Labour – it was 1.3% in the mid 90s and is now 1.5%. But not a big change and still way less than almost everywhere else.
Australia has an elderly relative poverty rate of 27%. So wages may be higher there, but the pension is not as generous relative to wages.
Interesting we spend around the same amount as Australia on social spending for the elderly, as a percentage of GDP.
I recommend people read the full report. Good food for thought.