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More help for NZ Superannuitants

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Social Development
11th June 2008

More help for NZ Superannuitants

"Legislation will be introduced to Parliament that will ensure that New Zealanders who wish to retire overseas are able to do so comfortably in the country of their choice," said Ms Dyson.

"In Budget 2008 we announced an investment of $6.7m to provide more flexibility in the rules governing the payment of New Zealand Super overseas.

"The first step is to ensure New Zealanders who retire overseas, receive up to 100 percent of their NZ Super entitlement based on how many years they have worked in New Zealand. This would be an improvement on the current flat rate of 50 percent of the NZ Super for all those retiring overseas.

"In addition, the legislation will ensure portability between a range of countries, in contrast to the current rules where New Zealand Super is only available to retirees overseas while they are resident in one particular country.

"The legislation follows the government's review of the treatment of foreign state pensions paid into New Zealand and payment of NZ Super overseas. The review formed part of the confidence and supply agreement with New Zealand First.

"The review looked at balancing access to retirement provisions between the country where a person has worked and where they retire. It found that current policies reflect the universal nature of the New Zealand system and they provide very good protection for most New Zealanders, but there is nevertheless some room for improvements,"said Ms Dyson.

"NZ Super is unique because it is paid in full after a person has lived in New Zealand for 10 years. The Government invests around $7.8 billion annually to fund those entitlements. In most countries the level of a pension is based on the contributions a person has made during their working life.

"The Ministry of Social Development has already begun work to develop a social security agreement with the United States of America, and are making changes to regulations to update how exchange rates and bank fees are handled, said Ms Dyson.

"The government has also agreed to technical changes to the treatment of overseas pensions which will be implemented as funding and legislative opportunities allow," said Ms Dyson.


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