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ING calls for greater responsibility

ING calls for greater responsibility

New Zealanders need to look past the traditional vote-buying rhetoric of politicians around New Zealand Superannuation and long-term savings in the lead-up to the election, says financial services company ING (NZ) Limited.

This week, political leaders addressed the Grey Power AGM, making a number of promises to superannuitants; among them, an undertaking to progressively life government-funded superannuation from the present level of 65% of the average wage to 72.5%.

But ING’s managing director Paul Fyfe says that in trying to win the ‘grey vote’ in the upcoming election, politicians may be sending out the wrong message to younger generations.

“This is largely vote-buying rhetoric to appeal to existing superannuitants. But given the estimate that, in about 20 years’ time, just two people will be working for every five in retirement, it’s more important to be sure that any changes made today are sustainable tomorrow.”

Mr Fyfe says it also creates the impression that the level and eligibility criteria for NZ Super is always going to be up for negotiation.

“Previously, we thought we had consensus among the major parties around the ’65 at 65’ arrangement.

But apparently that’s not so. How can New Zealanders be certain it won’t change again – favourably or otherwise?”

Mr Fyfe believes the views expressed this week actually make it even more imperative for greater individual responsibility by New Zealanders.

“Placing more reliance on ourselves and less on politicians is the only way to plan ahead with any certainty.

But it’s also time superannuation stopped being used as a political football. Instead, what we need from politicians is their buy-in to a superannuation strategy that will benefit all New Zealanders – now and in the future.”

Mr Fyfe says that, like most financial services companies in New Zealand, ING supports the concept of employer-based superannuation, because it provides a convenient and disciplined way of saving.

“In this respect, the centrally-run scheme as outlined in the Harris Report (September 2004) is a good starting point. We look forward to further refinement of that proposal, together with other superannuation-related announcements expected in the upcoming budget.”


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