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Govt To Remove Quaint Anomaly

"The Government will legislate to remove an anomaly unfairly depriving around 1,200 widows of pensions from the Government Superannuation Fund," Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

The proposed legislation will take effect from 1 July, next year.

"An earlier attempt to repair the anomaly in the previous Parliament by former Labour MP Jill White via a Private Members' Bill was defeated by the then National Government.

"I am confident this Parliament will take a more enlightened and progressive approach," Dr Cullen said.

Eligibility for GSF pensions is now suspended when the widows of GSF contributors who retired before 1985 remarry. The suspension remains in force until the marriage ends either through divorce or the death of the partner.

"The provision is a hangover from the old male breadwinner concept, so that when a spouse remarried, she was deemed to become the dependent of her new husband so no longer justified receipt of her deceased former husband's part pension.

"That is out of step with current social mores," Dr Cullen said.

The move is expected to cost a little over $2 million a year.

Ends

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