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Maharey meets with retirement income review group

17 March 2003 Media Statement

Maharey meets with retirement income review group

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today met with the members of the expert panel advising the government on ways to encourage greater private provision for retirement income.

The Group comprises investment specialist Vance Arkinstall (chair), trade unionist Lynn Middleton, human resources advisor Owen Nash, Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan, with officials from the Ministry of Social Development, the Treasury and the Inland Revenue Department. The Retirement Income Act 1993 requires that a Periodic Reporting Group is established at 6 yearly intervals to prepare a report on the retirement income policies of the New Zealand government. The Group’s report is due by 31 December 2003.

Steve Maharey said the government would like to see more New Zealanders saving for their retirement.

“Setting aside funds throughout your working life is a sensible course which the government wants to make a more realistic option for New Zealanders. We have asked the Periodic Report Group for advice on the practical steps we could take to achieve this goal.

“The government has guaranteed a basic living standard for older New Zealanders by reversing the superannuation cuts of the 1990s and establishing the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to assist in meeting the cost of an ageing population. However we know that people look forward to a range of new experiences in retirement and it is important that they save for these during their working lives.

“Retirement income policies have been something of a political football in New Zealand. It is important to state that this government is not looking at cutting superannuation rates or raising the qualifying age which is currently set at 65.

“Older New Zealanders do feel vulnerable when political parties suggest changing the superannuation system. In that light I would note that National finance spokesperson Don Brash has recently been floating raising the qualifying age above 65. The government belives this is unnecessary and undesirable,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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