The greatest football game in town kicked off again this week – and I am not referring to the epic All Blacks/Springboks test at Ellis Park last weekend.
Rather, it is the ongoing Superannuation football, which has been a tedious, unresolved struggle between National and Labour for the last 40 years. The latest round kicked off this week with the release of the Retirement Commissioner’s periodic review of superannuation policy.
And all the traditional responses were there, as predictable as ever. The Retirement Commissioner was preaching the normal doom and gloom unless the eligibility age was lifted. The Prime Minister and National were saying it is staying at 65, and that is that. Just as predictably, Labour wants it to be 67, and not to be outdone New Zealand First had to allege it was all a conspiracy with the private pensions industry to privatise the state’s superannuation obligations. Greypower was, as it is with everything these days, just outraged and opposed.
For the spectators in the grandstand, who have the greatest stake in the outcome, and who are literally growing old waiting for some resolution, it was all just like it has been ever since this test series was kicked off by Norman Kirk back in 1973. Same old, same old, with nothing changing and uncertainty remaining.
And just like the stodgy IRB over the years, the Retirement Commissioner did not even look at some of the innovative ideas the spectators are interested in. UnitedFuture’s Flexisuper proposal, which according to some polls is the most popular future option by far, and which the government is currently consulting upon, was not even mentioned in the Report, and the question of making Kiwisaver compulsory – as it should be – was literally kicked for touch.
So, sadly, this now rather pointless test series looks set to carry on into the future, just as it has in the past. Statistics will continue to be collected and quoted knowingly. Yet the various players will stick to same old tactics and stratagems. Nothing will change. Lost opportunity will be lamented by everyone. The spectators will steadily come to the realisation that they need to look out for themselves, because no-one else is likely to.
And the cynic will conclude, that maybe that was the way it was meant to be, after all.