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Offering New Zealanders Security In Retirement

Pre-funding superannuation will give all New Zealanders long-term security about the living standards they can expect to enjoy in retirement, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

The Government today announced the details of the proposed Fund for pre-funding New Zealand Superannuation (NZS). A New Zealand Superannuation Bill to be introduced to Parliament later this year will confirm current NZS entitlements out into the future and the will detail how the Fund is to be operated. The bill will also provide a facility for other political parties to sign up to NZS entitlement and funding arrangements.

"Superannuation has been used as a political football for too long. New Zealanders need to know what level of New Zealand Super they can expect when they retire in order to make proper arrangements during their working lives.

"Pre-funding of superannuation means that this, and all future, Governments can give them that assurance.

"The New Zealand Superannuation Bill will enshrine in legislation the package of superannuation decisions the Cabinet took in January and confirm exisiting entitlements:
 the age of entitlement for NZS is 65 (this is currently 64 years and 9 months, but will reach 65 on 1 January 2001);
 restoration of the value of the married couple rate for NZS to be no less than 65% of the average, ordinary time weekly wage;
 the single living alone rate and the single sharing rate of NZS to be 65% and 60% of the married couple rate respectively;
 recipients must have resident and present in New Zealand for at least 10 years after age 20, 5 of which are after age 50; and
 payments to those who qualify for NZS are not income-tested or asset-tested.

"To be more consistent with the Bill of Rights Act, the present discriminatory provisions in NZS entitlements relating to the treatment of same sex couples will need to be addressed.

"The package we have announced today keeps faith with the promises we made to the electorate and ensures their sustainability into the future," Steve Maharey said.

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