What is it with John Key and Super? He usually seems to be able to do pragmatism and “wait and see how the wind is blowing” and focus group sort of evaluation of policies. But he seems to have a Super blockage somewhere in his synapses.
Key seems to be still locked into a painted corner swept under a rug in a hole dug while kicking the can down the road ignoring the Super elephant in the room.
National is refusing to budge on the issue of the retirement age, rejecting Labour’s call for a cross-party solution, which could see the age of entitlement for superannuation rise to 67 from 65.
Prime Minister John Key made it clear before last year’s election that his government would not touch the retirement age – even vowing to resign from parliament if it was tampered with on his watch.
That’s despite a recommendation from the Retirement Commissioner that it be raised over a long period, such as from 2020 to 2033.
It’s been one of the more puzzling stances by Key, holding out against widely held views that our Super options need to examined and a long term solution found with cross-agreement.
Mr Shearer wants political parties to work together to come up with a solution.
And David Shearer agrees,but…
Just days out from the budget, the topic’s back on the table after a pre-budget speech by Labour leader David Shearer, who says National’s economic plan doesn’t address how the country will meet the future cost of superannuation.
…his timing and method made it look more like a political budget attack rather than a genuine attempt to work together.
But Mr Key does not believe that’s necessary.
“Even the Retirement Commissioner herself believes that issue should be addressed in 2020 – there are a lot of issues to address before then,” he said.
So an inevitable response from Key.
National does already have a commitment to look at the United Future Flexi-Super option.
A working party will be set up to investigate United Future leader Peter Dunne’s pre-election policy to allow people to take superannuation at reduced rates down to age 60, or at increasingly enhanced rates if they hold off until they’re between 66 and 70.
Mr Key says that’s “quite do-able” as it gives retirees the choice of when they retire.
After the budget is presented and ensuing debate has been done to death it would be good if Labour (and other opposition parties) could find a non-partisan way of persuading United Future and National to include them in the Flexi discussions.
This would be an excellent way of building a framework for all parties to go on and deal with the whole Super issue properly. This may not get to happen until a change of Government, but if that happens it would be equally important for National to be included in any Super discussions and decisions.
Hopefully it can be done nicely. Otherwise some heads might need to be banged together. Super is one of the most important long term issues facing us. And just about everyone but John Key seems to agree that urgent action is required. Some time in this decade would be good.