Winston’s bottom lines

There’s a lot of unknowns about how next year’s election will go. One of the biggest questions will be how National goes under Bill English’s leadership – will their support drop now John Key has stepped down? Will it stay dropped?

Labour are still struggling to be a major party. They seem to have given up competing head to head with National, and are now relying on Labour+Greens, but their Memorandum of Understanding doesn’t seem to have enthused voters.

There is one certainty – the media will continue to promote Winston Peters as ‘kingmaker’. There’s a good chance (but no guarantee) NZ First will end up in a position where they can play National off against Labour+Greens. Winston remains adamant he won’t do that until after the election.

But there have already a few bottom lines mentioned.

1. Superannuation

New Zealand First’s objective is to preserve the entitlement of New Zealanders to retire and receive New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) as it now is with eligibility at 65 years and as a universal non-contributory publicly funded pension scheme with no means-testing.

It’s very unlikely Winston would relent on this one.

2. No Maori Party

Ensure the future of the Maori seats is a decision for the people to make having examined the significant increase in representation numbers of Maori MPs under MMP.

And (in June 2016):

Stopping separatism …is a bottom line for NZ First working with any future government, Winston Peters says.

“…and for example a parallel state where you’ve got a state within a state because of separatist racist laws then we will not go down that path and I’m saying it right now.”

Peters has ruled out a coalition that included the Maori Party in the past. This doesn’t look like changing.

3. Immigration

New Zealand First is committed to a rigorous and strictly applied immigration policy that serves New Zealand’s interests. Immigration should not be used as a source of cheap labour to undermine New Zealanders’ pay and conditions.

The rest of their Immigration policy sounds strong but is actually vague.

…stopping mass immigration is a bottom line for NZ First working with any future government, Winston Peters says.

“…if mass immigration continued…then we will not go down that path and I’m saying it right now.”

It’s difficult to know what Winston would insist on for immigration, but he plays the immigration card often to supporters so would have to make some demands.

4. Pike River Re-entry

Winston Peters says Pike River re-entry is bottom line to election deals

Winston Peters says re-entering Pike River mine is a “bottom line” to any election deal made next year.

“I’m making no bones about it, we’ll give these people a fair-go, and yes this is a bottom line, and it shouldn’t have to be,” he said on TV’s Paul Henry show on Wednesday morning.

Any political party seeking New Zealand First’s support to form a government in the 2017 election will have to commit to re-entering the mine.

National want to leave any re-entry decision up to Solid Energy. Andrew Little has supported re-entry but has not absolutely committed Labour to it.

5. Police numbers

Winston Peters demands 1800 extra police

The New Zealand First leader and Northland MP wants the number of police officers increased by 27 percent, in line with Australia’s per capita ratio.

“We’re looking at something like 1800-1900 officers just as a start now to get to a level where we once were, and then build upon that,” he says.

He says it’s a bottom line in any negotiations regarding the formation of the next Government.

So that is five bottom lines that I’m aware of.

? Prime Minister

Arise Sir Winston, Prime Minister of New Zealand?

…here’s another theory that’s been doing the rounds much longer.

It is that Peters will only retire after he has fulfilled his ambition of one day being prime minister. It’s even said to have been put on the able in NZ First’s protracted negotiations to form a government in 1996.


Forget ‘kingmaker’, Winston Peters wants to be the next Prime Minister

That seems to be a claim only on the Paul Henry Show, Peters doesn’t say that. But is that one of his goals?

I don’t think National would agree to a Winston as PM deal, but would Labour and Greens, where none of none of Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw have any government experience? Peters has already been deputy Prime Minister, from 16 December 1996 to 14 August 1998 (under Jim Bolger).

Are there other Winston/NZ First bottom lines so far?

Seymour slams Super policies

Act MP David Seymour has slammed ‘baby boomers’ (I’m one of those) that he says will “turn our country into a debt-ridden basket case”.

The Spinoff: NZ baby boomers are building a banana republic, and no one gives a shit

The Treasury has made it clear that current superannuation policies will turn our country into a debt-ridden basket case, and yet media remain largely silent and politicians in denial. Young people need to get voting in a hurry, writes David Seymour.

You could be forgiven for missing that the Treasury published its four-yearly Long-term Fiscal Outlook this week (please, please stay with me, I promise this is worth it). The gist of the report is the same as the previous two editions:

If no policy changes are made, by 2060, when current students reach retirement age, government debt will be 206 per cent of GDP.

No matter how well you prepare for retirement, you’ll be living in a banana republic.

No, it’s unlikely to be a republic, New Zealand politicians are as reluctant to deal with ditch the monarchy as they are dealing with escalating superannuation costs.

The reason? Ageing baby boomers who will be more numerous and longer-lived in retirement than any generation before them. Right now there are four working-aged taxpayers supporting every retiree, but by the time current university students retire there will be only two.

Probably – unless eating ourselves to earlier deaths reverses the improving life expectancy trends of recent decades.

The cost of pensions and healthcare as a share of the economy will double, the government will run large deficits, and the international financial community will demand higher interest rates on New Zealand government debt, leading to larger deficits.

John Key and Bill English claim the country can afford the huge increases in costs, or they don’t care about leaving the problem for future governments.

The first way of absorbing the change is to raise taxes by about a quarter, so GST becomes nearly 20 per cent and the top tax rate goes over 40 per cent, along with every other rate being increased by the same proportion. People embarking on their careers now would pay a 25 per cent extra “boomer tax” for being born at the wrong time.

There tends to be a bit of resistance to increasing tax rates, especially by this sort of amount.

Another alternative is extreme productivity growth, the private economy grows faster than ever for longer than ever, and public services become more efficient than ever. We basically trade our way out of this situation and become so rich we can afford all-you-can-eat pensions and healthcare for retiring boomers.

This is the Key/English gamble.

The problem is that pensions are tied to income so getting wealthier just increases the amount paid out.

The final option is to adjust pension entitlements. Follow Australia, the US, UK, Germany, Canada, to name a few, who have increased the retirement age so there are more workers and fewer pension recipients.

Seymour laments the lack of media coverage of the report and the predicted problems – but people have been shouting  about Super unaffordability for a long time, but politician’s ears are deaf to it.

John Key has torpedoed the debate by saying he’d rather resign than raise the pension age, effectively saying to his supporters: choose fiscal sustainability, or me. Labour and the Greens have followed suit, abandoning the policy after the last election. New Zealand First would rather serve yum cha at their party conference than debate the issue.

Almost every political leader is holding their hands up to their ears and chanting, “la la la la la.”

Peter Dunne tried to force a re-evaluation of Super in the last term of the current Government, proposing ‘flexi-super’, but English and Key looked like having no intention of  acting on the ‘discussion document’ that was done as part of their confidence and supply agreement with United Future.

If NZ First holds the balance of power after next year’s election there is now way Winston will allow any cutting back of Super payments for his primary constituency.

National under Key’s leadership is committed to kicking the Super can down the road.

Unless ACT gets a few more seats and is in a balance of power situation and forces National to do something?

That may be what Seymour is angling at.

To have any hope of success I think that Act and Seymour will have to promote Super change (not ‘discussion’) as a core election policy, and they will have to win enough seats to be able to force Key’s hand.

If Act succeeds in the election then the choice may be National+Act with Super reform, or National+NZ First with a booming Super budget with a risk of our economy blowing up (after Winston has retired or died so he won’t care).

I think Seymour has the gumption to have a go at this. Would he get enough support? Will younger people start to vote for Act to try to sort out their not so Super prospects?

Time for a meaningful discussion about Super?

A meaningful discussion about the future of universal superannuation in New Zealand is long overdue, but the National Party is adamant that kicking the Super can down the road is the best way of avoiding it.

Stuff: David v Jacinda: Super changes a poison pill that must be swallowed

David Seymour:

“A political hot potato that no party wants to handle.” That’s how The Nation’s Lisa Owen last week described rising superannuation costs, and she’s almost right. Since Andrew Little last year abandoned Labour’s policy of raising the age of eligibility, ACT is the one party campaigning on sustainable super.

Now perhaps that may be sort of correct. In past terms of the current Government Peter Dunne campaigned for changes to Super, promoting ‘flex-super’ which is still a United Future policy.

Politicians across the spectrum, including the Prime Minister, treat changes to super like a poison pill for how it polls with older voters. But if this Government doesn’t make changes, a future one will. By denying this, politicians deny younger Kiwis the chance to even discuss the issue. They are showing contempt for younger voters.

It is often framed as an ‘appeasing older voters’ versus addressing issues that younger peeople will face in the future.

No-one wants to punish today’s retirees or near-retirees. The question is how super should work in the decades ahead. In the long term, policy change appears inevitable – we’re healthier, working and living longer, resulting in a rapidly aging population. This trend won’t stop – half of babies born today are expected to live until the age of 100, and in my lifetime we’ll go from five taxpayers per superannuitant to two taxpayers per superannuitant.

The effects of this huge demographic shift can’t be overstated, with its effect on super alone costing an extra billion dollars each year. It’s reasonable to assume taxpayers won’t tolerate this forever, and fair enough.

When asked about the problem, politicians gloss over the real scale of the cost and instead pivot onto smaller issues. A typical tactic is to focus on immigrants, who can receive the pension after just 10 years of residency. This period should be extended, but that would be just a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of super for the existing ageing population.

Another idea mentioned is flexi-super – letting some people take it earlier at a lower rate, or later at a higher rate. It’s a good idea, but ultimately doesn’t affect the policy’s cost. It needs to come with more substantial reform.

Some suggest means-testing – taking super away from retirees with high earnings. But it’s surely both unwise and unfair to punish those who choose to continue working and pay taxes.

So that brings us back to raising the age.

That’s something that National won’t consider, and I presume NZ First won’t either.

Jacinda Ardern:

I agree with you David, on most counts.

Where I disagree is with David’s interpretation of other parties position on this question – namely ours. Labour knows we have a problem and we knew it when Michael Cullen set up the Super fund. We knew it when we campaigned to raise the age of superannuation, not just one election, but two. That may have been rejected by voters, but we can’t give up on the conversation on how to guarantee universal super for everyone. That has to be our bottom line.

So yes, you’re right. The National Government has rejected taking action in this area, and they are wrong.

But Seymour points out:

The Prime Minister promised in 2008 not to make changes under his leadership.

Not only that, Key and Bill English refuse to consider planning for the future affordability of Super.

If they get back in for another term that’s another three years of inaction, unless ACT and/or Dunne hold the deciding votes and force National to do something.

If NZ First hold the balance of power then no change will be locked in, whether Labour or National lead the next government.


Perhaps the courage we are now asking for needs to come from us, but also from voters – we need them to start banging down a few doors too.

It doesn’t seem to be an issue that voters will decide elections on.

A meaningful discussion about the future of universal superannuation is needed but is unlikely to happen in this decade.

Super greed

John Roughan has written an odd column, saying how nuts it is that people who are still working and have good incomes and are well off can get National Superannuation from age 65.

As a reporter at Parliament when the Lange Government introduced the surtax, I vividly recall Venn Young, a minister in the previous Government, explaining to me the only reason those objecting to the surtax had accepted a 66 percent top tax rate for so long was the promise of a pension at 65, paid regardless of other income, assets or private savings.

I remember being amazed, because they must have known all those years they were paying that tax rate the budget was in deficit. They weren’t paying for all the public services they were using at the time, let alone contributing to their retirement.

And I was furious, because in their delusion that generation had voted down a properly funded scheme 10 years earlier, which would have matured about now.

My generation has failed to fix that mistake though it has made the economy stronger and more demanding for the next generation.

That lack of political will to deal properly with superannuation over the last fifty years, probably because older people are a large and growing bloc of voters who tend to turn out more than  younger people, has been nuts.

This is not the first time I’ve tried to advance an alternative superannuation scheme in this column. It’s the best I can do.

I think the pension should not be available until we retire from regular paid work, and it should be available at any age after 60 to better cater for those in physically strenuous work.

That’s been suggested and rejected. United Future’s ‘flexi-super’, which allows you to choose when you start receiving Super anywhere between 60 and 70 (at a lower rate if you start younger) has been promoted by Peter Dunne and ignored by National.

In view of my generation’s enrichment by housing investments in recent years, at the expense of young working taxpayers with no equity who have to rent those investment homes, I think an asset test would be fair too.

That’s very contentious.

Only some of Roughan’s generation have been ‘enriched by housing investments’. And many of those who have  use trusts to protect their assets.

And people who have built up assets claim they have paid their ‘fair share of tax’ so deserve some of that back – they say it’s unfair to penalise them for earning well and using their money wisely.

While Roughan generalises with ‘my generation’ he doesn’t say whether he has enriched himself through property investment.

Our children are working in a tougher environment than we did, they’ve had to pay back tertiary education costs we never faced and now they face house prices fuelled in large part by my generation’s investments for retirement. They should not have to provide me with a pension until I really need it.

Fine, I hear you say, don’t take it. And you’re right. I’m trying to think what makes me any different from Donald Trump. It tax avoidance worse than taking money you don’t need from the public purse? Both are perfectly legal, if that is the only test you recognise.

But Roughan sounds annoyed that Governments and parties haven’t heeded his advise to change universal eligibility for Super.

However while receiving Super for someone his age is legal I don’t think it’s compulsory.

But since it’s not going to happen and all political parties are determined to give me a benefit I don’t need, what’s the point of refusing? That’s how I rationalise it, but really it’s just greed.

So he’s miffed that it hasn’t been reformed and uses that to make an excuse for being, as he describes it, greedy.

That doesn’t sound very rational to me.

NZ First Super bill voted down

In a close vote a NZ First bill that would have reduced Superannuation paid to older immigrants – and New Zealanders who had lived overseas – was defeated at it’s first reading in Parliament yesterday.

New Zealand First , Labour, Greens and the Maori Party voted for the bill but National, ACT and UnitedFuture had just enough votes to defeat it.

Grant Robertson (Labour):

These solutions being proposed in here by Denis O’Rourke may not be perfect, and we do have some concerns that we want to air at select committee about whether or not we have got the definition right. We do have concerns that the concept of universality is being called into question by this bill for the first time through the pro rata system. That is a very serious step to take and one that the New Zealand Labour Party is not confident that this bill will achieve in a way that we would want to vote for at the end of the road, but we want to see the issue debated.

Jan Logie (Greens):

The Green Party does not support this bill as it is written. We have some very deep problems with it, but we will support it to going to the select committee to enable a discussion and parliamentary consideration, particularly of section 70 of the Social Security Act .

So while Labour and Greens voted for the bill they has major reservations about aspects of it.

David Seymour (ACT)

You will find that even though it is a lovely idea to at least go forward to select committee and debate section 70 the reason it is so fraught is that there are so many pension schemes that it is simply very, very hard to reconcile the many schemes that there are around the world. With that in mind, this is a bill that is insincere in its commitment. It will not have the effects that we hope for, and for that reason it would not be a good use of the select committee or the House’s time to continue debating this bill through any further stages.

NZ Herald reports: Superannuation bill voted down

A New Zealand First bill that would have reduced the entitlement of older immigrants to a New Zealand pension and would have let superannuitants to receive overseas pensions without penalty was voted down in Parliament tonight after a fiery debate.

The bill, in the name of Denis O’Rourke, proposed a pro rata entitlement based on the length of time a person had lived in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65 years.

The bill would have allowed a full pension only to those who had spent less than five years living outside New Zealand between 20 and 65.

The bill would also have allowed superannuitants to collect an overseas pension as well by abolishing section 70 of the Social Security Act, which reduces superannuation by the amount of any overseas pension.

To qualify currently for Government superannuation, a New Zealand resident must have lived in the country for at least 10 years after the age of 20 and at least five years after the age of 50.

The current age of entitlement is 65. It is universal and not-means-tested.

Denis O’Rourke’s opening speech in the debate:

National’s David Bennett’s contentious response where he called the bill and NZ First a disgrace:

All InTheHouse videos of the debate: New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Pro Rata Entitlement) Amendment

Seymour Super pressure on Key

David Seymour continues to pressure John Key on the future of Superannuation in New Zealand, this time via Question Time in Parliament yesterday.

This is one way of differentiating ACT from National, on an issue that is of concern to many, the affordability of an escalating Super cost.

Seymour: “Does the Prime Minister plan to still be in office in the 2020s when the cost of superannuation to New Zealand taxpayers rises by $1.5 billion every year?”

Key has promised to resign rather than change New Zealand’s superannuation.

This continues a campaign from Seymour. In February in NBR ACT wants referendum on Super:

ACT Leader David Seymour is challenging other parties to support a binding referendum to determine the future of New Zealand’s superannuation system.

“This is smart politics, maybe a bit too smart,” says NBR political editor Rob Hosking.

“It makes John Key’s policy of not lifting the age above 65 — when every other country with a state pension is doing just that — look like the gutless dodge it is,” Hosking says.

“But it also gives Key an out, if a referendum votes on raising the age. If that happens, it will be good for the country.”


“If the public can vote on the New Zealand flag, a matter that is largely symbolic, why not follow the same process for another intractable problem, one that politicians have been dodging for decades,” Mr Seymour says.

“It is vital that we ensure NZ Superannuation is viable over the longer term, avoiding undue fiscal stress and pressure on tax rates, and achieving fairness across generations.”

Three weeks ago (at Stuff):

ACT is trying to get the other political parties to agree to a referendum on the future of NZ Super, which the party says is unsustainable in the face of an ageing population .

ANZ’s retirement calculator suggests that to live decently in retirement, a person would need to save about $622,000 in the absence of NZ Super.

An ACT/Seymour press release on budget day two weeks ago:

National’s Budget ignores elephant in the room

The Budget’s focus is too short-term and ignores intergenerational issues, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“National is denying the demographic realities behind rising Superannuation costs,” said Mr Seymour.

“New Zealanders are living longer than ever, a trend which won’t go away any time soon. As life expectancy rises by about a year each decade it would be fair to raise the age of eligibility for Super by about the same.

“Otherwise, today’s young people will be forced to fund NZ Super through higher and higher taxes, with no guarantee of receiving the same benefits when needed.

“The longer we wait the more drastic will be the inevitable adjustment. We must recognise the need for more intergenerational fairness.”

And yesterday Seymour questioned Key about the affordability of Super in Question Time in Parliament.

Prime Minister—Statements on Superannuation

7. DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by his statement in the House last week that because New Zealand Superannuation costs are currently less than 5 percent of GDP, and are forecast to rise to 8 percent of GDP by 2060, this represents a responsible path for overall Government spending?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): I stand by my statement, which was “We have set out a responsible path for overall Government spending so that current settings for New Zealand superannuation are both affordable and fully factored into our long-term forecast.” That is true, as the Budget shows. Other parties in this House from time to time want to cut back on superannuation entitlements, while other people want to spend the money on something else. That is a fiscal choice they should put clearly to the electorate, including Andrew Little and his idea of means testing.

David Seymour : Does it not strike the Prime Minister as odd that he is commending OECD fiscal arrangements, given that countries like France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain are all facing a brutal fiscal adjustment that means pushing up the age of eligibility for pensions, increasing pension contribution rates, and shifting indexation from a wage to an inflation basis? Is that the future we are offering younger New Zealanders?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : No, I think it is about correctly reflecting, actually, on the current position, which is that New Zealand superannuation currently costs 4.8 percent of GDP and is expected to rise to 8 percent of GDP by 2050. At the moment, the OECD average today is 9.5 percent and is expected to rise to 11 .7 percent. So, yes, although the costs of New Zealand superannuation will rise, I think it is affordable and within our projected forecast.

David Seymour : Does the Prime Minister plan to still be in office in the 2020s when the cost of superannuation to New Zealand taxpayers rises by $1.5 billion every year?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I certainly hope so, but of course there will be many elections to run on, and I look forward to working with the member for as long as he is the member for Epsom, which is where I live.

Expect Seymour to keep nagging away at Key and National over Super.

Surely the escalating cost of Super is worth a flag scale national discussion and referendum.

David Shearer – superannuation

From a David Shearer speech:

The same principles (see social contract and fairness) apply to superannuation. While you are working you contribute to superannuation, so that when you retire there is something set aside to live on.

That is fair.

In fact, our scheme is one of the fairest in the world because it set aside the same amount for everyone, whether you were at home raising the kids, working to build the dam, or the boss.

It’s a scheme to be proud of, and its crowning success is that in New Zealand we have one of the lowest rates of poverty among seniors of anywhere in the world.

I want to make sure that endures into the future. All New Zealanders should be able to look forward to receiving super – including our children and grandchildren.

Young People

When I speak to young people, I notice they have lost hope that super will be there when they reach retirement age.

They have lost their faith in politicians who have used this issue as a political football and are only interested in the politics of the here and now, not about building for the future.

They can see that we’re living longer, that we have more people in retirement than ever before, and that the numbers are growing rapidly.

I believe it’s our responsibility to find a way to pay for that so our young people don’t miss out when it’s their turn.

Today, for every retired New Zealander there are about 5.6 people working and paying taxes. By 2040, there will be about 2.5 people working for every one retired.

By the time of the next election – 2014 – the cost of superannuation will exceed everything we spend in education – pre-school, primary, secondary and all the polytechnics and universities. And it will continue to rise.

Preserving NZ Superannuation

So how do we preserve NZ Superannuation for future generations?

Dr Cullen helped — he ran a strong economy that achieved good surpluses, and put some of those surpluses into the NZ Superannuation Fund to help with some future costs. But it doesn’t pay the increase in costs, and after the global crisis the government stopped contributing altogether.

The Labour government added to it with KiwiSaver so people in the workforce could set aside something extra for their retirement, and the economy would benefit from deeper pools of savings.

That has been very successful – 1.7 million people are enrolled in KiwiSaver.

Australia has employers contributing 9% into their super scheme – it’s massive now and they have capital in the trillions of dollars.

It was the same scheme introduced by the Labour Government that Muldoon cut in 1975. Just think where we could be now if we’d continued with it.

But the superannuation bill hasn’t stopped growing.

Super Options

So we in Labour have looked at the options. And the overriding principle in our plan is fairness. Much of what we propose is based on the analysis of the independent Retirement Commissioner. That we raise the age of entitlement from 65 to 67 – just like Australia, the UK and the US have done.

John Key says we can avoid the problem by growing our economy faster. Problem is, we’ve barely managed 1% economic growth since he became Prime Minister.

It’s simply not being honest to guarantee we can pay for our super beyond the life of his government. No economist agrees with him.

Instead, we need to take some tough decisions. I’m prepared to do that. But only on the basis what we do is fair.

1. Young able to look forward to superannuation

First, young New Zealanders should be able to look forward to superannuation when they retire.

We can’t expect them to keep paying a growing superannuation bill just because we refuse to take the tough decisions.

A young person starting out today goes into debt to pay for their education. Then they face house prices totally out of reach for an earner on the average wage.

Meanwhile do we want more and more of the tax they pay to go to an expanding super bill when there’s still health and education to pay for? That’s not on. It’s not fair.

2. Time to prepare

Second, it’s fair to give New Zealanders plenty of time to prepare for any changes. They must be phased in gradually so people have plenty of warning.

No one near retirement age is going to lose their current entitlement, because that wouldn’t be fair.

3. Manual workers

Third, we need to be fair to people in manual jobs or who, for whatever reason, cannot continue to work.

If you’re a bricklayer or you’ve been on the freezing works chain for 40 years and your back has given out, there will be transitional assistance for you.

4. No cut

Fourth, we won’t cut the rate of superannuation – that’s not fair to anyone. Let me reiterate that – it’s not fair to make changes for super for people who are already retired, and I won’t.

I want us to look ahead at the kind of country New Zealand is going to be in 10 or 20 years from now, and ask how we prepare for that future. Our plan protects everyone who is retired now, while also guaranteeing younger Kiwis they too will be provided for in their old age.

5. Cross party consensus

Finally, I want to restate my pledge that I will work across the parliament with whatever party to achieve a consensus on how we move forward.

We are prepared to take the tough decisions. But there are other ideas that we are also prepared to look at. It’s time politicians worked in the best interests of New Zealand.

Superannuation is about planning for the future. And planning for New Zealand’s future is what responsible leaders should be doing.

Peters and Key kick Super discussion in the guts

Winston Peters and John Key have double kicked cross-party hopes of a sensible discussion on National superannuation in the guts.

Winston Peters was asked whether NZ First’s position that the super age should remain at 65 was likely to be an issue in such talks

“Of course it’s a bottom line.”

Mr Peters has rejected Labour’s calls for cross-party talks on the issue and he said Labour had made a terrible mistake with its super policy.

“If I was advising them on a political level I would ask them, how does this work?

“You’re sending out a dog whistle to a future voting group but you are not addressing the problem here and now. The here and now is an economic solution.”

NZ Herald: NZ First’s bottom line for super: 65

There have been growing calls for cross-party and outside parliament discussions on the future of NZ Super, so making bottom statements on the 2014 election are very disappointing.

And John Key, already in a self imposed instransigent Super position, has raised the politicking when the country needs leadership in the opposite direction.

“This is my challenge to Winston Peters. I dare him to go out there and say he will not under any conditions form a Government with Labour even if Labour’s policy is to raise the super age from 2020, not in the three-year period from 2014 to 2017.

“I dare him to say that. He will not… because he’s tricky,” Mr Key said.

Key can ill-afford raising trickiness regarding superannuation.

Ironically in the interview with TV3…

Prime Minister John Key is not ruling out working with New Zealand First in the future, saying he will spell out potential partners ahead of the next election.

National and New Zealand First may be the only parties refusing to address the possiblility that the baby boom will become a Super boom and bust.
This is my challenge to John Key – and Winston Peters – to take the growing concerns of many groups, parties and people on the future of NZ Super seriously, and to put aside their self bound straightjackets of no change and no discussion.
Key and Peters have given the Super discussion a bit of a kick in the guts, but a growing number of people have had a gutsful of this sort of politicking when serious leadership is called for.

Sorting out Super – what now?

We should start the discussion now. National may choose to stay out of it for now, but they will have to join at some stage.

Suggested progress:

  • Involve all willing parties and any groups and organisations with an interest in the future of NZ Super in discussion and proposal of policies.
  • Open it to wide public discussion.
  • Gather as much information and opinion as possible.
  • National and United Future have a Confidence and Supply commitment to public discussion on flexi-super – this can be used to develop the Super debate further.
  • In time for next election campaign have a commitment from all (willing) parties on the future direction of NZ Super and a timeframe for dealing with it.
  •  Include NZ Super in parliamentary business early in the next term (first half of 2015)

Let’s make it happen. Starting now.


Want a Super debate? Just do it…

Parties, groups and individuals have been calling for a discussion on the future of NZ Super. And calling for it. And calling for it.

It’s time for getting on with it and just do it. A blog has been set up to do exactly that.

All parties have been asked to submit their positions on Super. Any group or individual can submit a topic to be discussed.

The blog is party independent and open to anyone to discuss the future of NZ Super.

Just do it.

Blog: NZ Super Discussion


NZ Super Discussion is an open forum to discuss the future of NZ Super.

Many parties, organisations and individuals have been calling for a discussion on the future affordability and age availability of NZ Super. This blog is a means of doing that.

Positive input welcome.

This is a cross-party non-partisan forum, so please don’t use it for political criticism or pointscoring.

Please keep the discussion on topic and abuse free.

Anyone can submit discussion topics for posting to

Just do it.