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National studied raising Super to age 75

Hon. Jim Anderton
Speech Notes

General Debate Wednesday 12 May 2004

National studied raising Super to age 75, would do so again

Mr Speaker,

My Labour coalition colleagues have talked of the disgraceful plans National has to take us into unilateral foreign wars and put us under a Nuclear Umbrella no one wants.

I want to also discuss another issue dear to the hearts of most New Zealanders.

I want to talk about retirement income, or the right to retire with dignity and a degree of comfort.

Mr Speaker, in 1991 I was the sole member of the independent progressive party of this Parliament at that time – NewLabour.

In 1991, we had a National government with Finance Minister Ruth Richardson, an ideological ally of the current National leader.

Well let me tell this House what the Treasury was considering for retirement income when its political master was Ruth Richardson so that the House can know what Treasury would be doing if Don Brash were ever in charge of the show here.

In June 1991, Treasury was writing reports to the Finance Minister of the day, Ruth Richardson, looking at the fiscal savings that could be made by raising the age of eligibility to National Superannuation to 75 years of age.

That is right, Mr Speaker, National were looking at raising the age of Super to 75 years of age – that would be a fiscal saving because most people – Pakeha males, Maori females and males – would never live long enough to get it!

It is a policy that would have stolen the right to retire in dignity – it was an attack on a system of values that is absolutely fundamental to the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders.

In 1991, Mr Speaker, the Treasury examined the option of raising the age of super to 75, effective April 2000.

Government officials don't do these studies out of academic interest.

They do things that their political masters consider worthy of examination.

I have the briefing papers here with me now.

They were released to a member of the Business Roundtable under the Official Information Act recently.

Mr Speaker, it isn't only unilaterally declared foreign wars, Nuclear Umbrellas and Kiwibank that National will be on the backfoot over in next year's election campaign.

They are going to have to explain why they don't share most Kiwis' commitment to a policy to deliver retirement with dignity in our own country.

Don Brash is on record expressing his doubts that the current age of eligibility for National Superannuation cannot be sustained.

Why doesn't he just be straight up front and say he'll raise it to 70 or 75 if he gets the chance.

Mr Speaker, I seek to table two reports. One of June 4, 1991, is from Treasury to the National Finance Minister. The second report to the Finance Minister and Social Welfare Minister is dated June 5 1991.

ENDS

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