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Experts to lead new Retirement Policy Centre

Experts to lead new Retirement Policy and Research Centre

Social and economic pressures caused by the coming retirement of baby boomers will be the focus of a new Retirement Policy and Research Centre at The University of Auckland Business School.

Launched today, the Centre will be jointly directed by two leading retirement experts, Senior Economics Lecturer Dr Susan St John and superannuation and financial consultant Michael Littlewood.

"Our ageing population is a critical issue for New Zealand, but hasn't received the economic analysis it deserves," says Dr St John.

"By 2020, 22 per cent of New Zealand's population will be aged over 65, and by 2050 this is expected to be over 25 per cent.

"Changing retirement patterns will affect savings schemes, the health sector, property market, pensions, insurance, workplaces and community services. Both the government and businesses need to understand and adapt to these changes."

The Retirement Policy and Research Centre will produce reports on retirement income issues and provide a stimulating environment for postgraduate research. It has already made submissions on the KiwiSaver scheme and is producing reports on the decumulation of assets during retirement and the Retirement Villages Act for the Retirement Commission.

The Centre is the only retirement or ageing research centre in the country based in a business school. Its focus will be on applied economic analysis which complements existing social, demographic and gerontological research.

"New Zealand tends to adopt and change policies without proper research and with no real discussion of alternative strategies," says Dr St John. The Centre wants to change the way New Zealand approaches these important questions by contributing fact-based analysis and commentary to the policy-making process."

The involvement of Michael Littlewood provides an important business connection, as the financial services industry has a key role to play in discussions about retirement income policies. Michael has been prominent in the financial sector as an employee benefit adviser, member of the first Todd Task Force and councillor of the Association of Superannuation Funds of New Zealand.

ENDS

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