The Dom Post editorial:
Bill English was right to put national superannuation back on the agenda, just as John Key was wrong to take it off. There are serious doubts about whether NZ Super is sustainable as the population ages. Politicians can’t ignore this unpleasant fact.
The prime minister has to his credit accepted the reality, proposing a progressive lifting of the threshold from 65 to 67 in 2037.
The case is strong for extending the age by two years, as this newspaper has previously argued. Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell put it in a nutshell in her review last year. NZ Super costs $10.4 billion, or about 4.1 per cent of GDP. Treasury predicts this will rise to 7.1 per cent of GDP by 2060, or nearly $18 billion in today’s dollars.
A lift in the retirement age was inevitable and I am pleased that National is standing up for reality.
All these trends are familiar to most voters. The population knows that the problem is serious, but too many politicians still refuse to face reality. Labour leader Andrew Little is in a hopeless position. He has reversed his predecessor’s pledge to increase the age while failing to make a proper case for the u-turn.
Here’s what Little has said recently:
“If there’s one thing that scares the bejeesus out of me, it’s the looming cost of superannuation. That’s a significant chunk of the Budget,”
And Jacinda Ardern in 2012:
In three years, superannuation will cost more than the entire education budget; preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary put together.
It will grow to be 20 times the cost of unemployment benefits. We need to ask if the universal age of super is set at the right place. But rather than tackle this big issue for the sake of future generations who want a home, a secure retirement and a country with a sound savings plan, they continue to target them and burden them with debt.
Politics can’t just be about making decisions that anger the least number of people possible, it has to be about doing the right thing. Labour’s view that superannuation should be lifted is one that we think needs to be phased in from 2020
Also various quotes by David Parker:
- Finance spokesman David Parker said today that unless there were massive tax increases, it couldn’t be sustained in its present form.
- Parker said he thought people largely understood raising the retirement age was a responsible policy.
- “In two years spending on superannuation will cost more than putting our kids through school and university. That’s wrong. National’s refusal to address the retirement age is hurting our next generation.
- Labour’s finance spokesperson David Parker says pension costs, which make up about half of all social spending, need to be addressed. “If you want an example of where fiscal responsibility starts that’s it – that is the biggest growing cost centre that is controllable for Government.”
So to quote David Parker, Labour is now the party of no fiscal responsibility and Labour’s refusal to address the retirement age is hurting our next generation.